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Author Topic: Verdict of Scribus  (Read 3954 times)

Perplexus

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Verdict of Scribus
« on: January 23, 2013, 04:16:51 pm »
I have used the program for a while now and I want to express and share my experiences on the program.

I like it. It was a #$% to learn (I used "Scribus 1.3.5 Beginner's Guide written by Cedric Gemy) but after a while I began to understand the workings of the program.
This program is much more powerful than it seems to be at first glance.

What was confusing to me was that most of the powerful features can be found in the menubar under Windows: Properties, Layers, Arrange pages and Align and Distribute. That is normally not the case in other programs. Windows in the menubar in other programs is the least important one of them all.

What is further lacking is a good documentation. It was necessary to buy a good book otherwise I wouldn't have learnt to use the program at all. The documentation online is fragmented and written by several authors. There are Youtube videos on Scribus but they are few in numbers and not all of them are of good quality. Maybe I can find the time in the future to remedy that.

All in all a good program. It has surpassed my expectations. What is needed is good documentation.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 04:42:11 pm by Perplexus »

toyotadesigner

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 07:44:13 pm »
You are right, the documentation is somewhat outdated and 'lousy'. No, it's not bad, but I guess to document every tiny bit of Scribus would require a huge work force.

I don't know if the Windows version is similar to the Mac version, but have you discovered the panels yet? F2 for the attributes, and under the top menu 'windows' there is the panel for object distribution, layers, etc. The eye at the bottom gives you a quick preview of the final version, cropping out the bleed. But don't hit the eye if your document contains more than 64 pages with huge images.

I used to work with InDesign, but was fed up by the upgrade policy of Adobe. So I trashed InDesign and turned to Scribus. OK, Scribus definitely is different, but more or less similar to PageMaker. You can shorten your learning curve by creating single or double page layouts and playing with the functions, options, etc.

A very nice extension or script is the 'setguides2object.py' which does exactly what it says. Run it with GhostScript and enjoy the precision of Scribus. An additional advantage of using GhostScript is the fact that it acts like a RIP and interpreter, letting you print PostScript to your standard PCL printer.

I've just finished another image book with 146 pages, which will be printed professionally as a hardcover book this week. AFAIK, there is no task I can't perform with Scribus in the publishing arena :-)

dave61430

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 03:29:26 am »
I'll add my 2 cents. I am a long time user of Serif PagePlus. This is a powerful package, but I ran into a problem with a pictorial directory of over 50 pages with between 9 and 12 images per page. I would have tried this with MS Publisher since at some point I'll be turning this over to someone else, but that costs. I have looked at Scribus in the past, but discarded when I didn't even see a bold button where one should normally be. But I am giving it a second look and yes it is powerful (and yes, I can bold text, but not a simple button press).
It doesn't appear to have a page limit problem, but I am having a strange problem with resizing/cropping images, things lock up and I can't access the properties box (which I find should be left open by default). Unfortunately, I can't at this point, say exactly what brings this about. I'll work on it some more and if I can find a reproducible cause, I'll post.
I do have some questions which might be answered when I've had time to go through the manual more thoroughly, but one is does Scribus do books by chapter. That is make a separate file for each chapter, then define to Scribus for global things like page numbering, print (to .pdf in my case). This is what saved my bacon with PagePlus, but can be desirable if one wants to avoid huge files on slower machines.
After I am satisfied I'm competent with Scribus, I'll take a look at a trial version of MS Publisher, but for someone not having anything, I would at this point recommend Scribus.

toyotadesigner

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 10:36:59 am »
Quote
I have looked at Scribus in the past, but discarded when I didn't even see a bold button where one should normally be.

Well, that's because Scribus is a professional page layout software. If you use professional font families with Open Type Fonts, you have more choices than 'Regular, Bold, Italic, Bold Italic'. Draw a text frame, define the columns, double click the frame, paste your text, go to the Menu -> Edit -> Edit Text. In this window you can double click any word or paragraph, and select the font weight at the top left. For Myriad Pro I have  around 20 font weights and styles to select from - much more than a 'bold button' can deliver. Using the text editor is a lot faster than working with text in the text frames, and you don't have to open the text tab in the properties panel every time.





Good book or magazine design is more than click 'n go!

Quote
I am having a strange problem with resizing/cropping images, things lock up and I can't access the properties box (which I find should be left open by default). Unfortunately, I can't at this point, say exactly what brings this about. I'll work on it some more and if I can find a reproducible cause, I'll post.

At least on the Mac you can drag an image into the page, scale it (it scales only the frame) and then right click 'Fit image to frame). One click on the image activates the frame, double click activates the image so you can move and scale it with the image property in the property panel.

Working an single chapters with page numbering: I haven't done this yet. But maybe a workaround would be to number the pages from the first chapter from 1 to 48, from the second chapter from 49 to 96, etc.

And yes, a huge drawback is that the properties panel doesn't stay open where you've left it. Too bad, I really hope this will be fixed in the next release.

Arran

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 12:27:20 pm »
Quote
but I am having a strange problem with resizing/cropping images, things lock up and

Well, I had this too and since then I prepare all pics in Gimp to the exact sprecifications (size, resolution) of the layouts and have no problems since. Sometimes a pic needs some workings if you size it considerably down, which again, is in higher quality with Gimp than with the tools in Scribus.
Have you first consulted the Manual? You can probably find the solution there.

Happy Greetings from Scotland's nicest Holiday Island

dave61430

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 09:14:17 pm »
OK, I can't reproduce the lock up image thing. My properties box does stay put between Scribus settings, (PC and latest release.)
The more I'm using it, the more I like it. One thing I would like to see, sometimes when using a styled paragraph it's nice to be able to override the style for a particular instance without changing the style or creating a new one.
You can do this for most attributes but not for space below/above, would be nice to have this.
The chapter thing I mentioned was useful to me not for it's intended use, but because PagePlus doesn't seem to be able to handle the largish file I was making. So far Scribus hasn't given me a problem in this regard.

trondhuso

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2015, 01:23:12 am »
(I have  been warned by the forum software that this is an old thread, but I am still posting to it).

For two days now my oldest daughter (9 years old) has been playing around with Scribus. We have created a small "newspaper" and it has been fun for her to create this four page publication. The version we've used (until we found there was a way to upgrade to 1.4.5 under Ubuntu 14.04) was 1.4.2 (I think, it's the one in the repository) has some clear bugs.
1) When writing in the text area, the editor like to keep the style to Fixed Linespacing and not to Automatic line spacing. Even when we changed it, it stuck to (for instance 19pt and 15pt line spacing). We ended up just write the articles in Writer and copy/paste it into the text frame. Then we marked all the text and re-formated it. I could see that the cursor still wanted the following style to be in a different size and different line spacing.
I have tested it again, and I see that scribus is insisting that the following style/format shall be (currently Arial 12pt + fixed linespacing set to 15pt).

2) Printing. Today the paper was done. Mom was interviewed and photographed and so my daughter wanted to print the paper. In the printer window/box coming up there are a lot of choices and I set most of it to what I hoped our Brother printer would accept. It's not a postscript-printer.
When printing we got an error. After the upgrade the error is gone, but the page is now blank.

I have now installed 1.4.5 on my computer as well, and I to get the blank page when trying to print a page with less dummy text and no pictures.

Searching for Scribus and printing I see that it is a common problem and that most people "fix" this by exporting the document into PDF and print it from Document Viewer or Acrobat Reader. Some has found a program called bookbinder (java-program so can run on any platform).

After this experience I cannot really say that Scribus is a mature program. I'd love to use it for some project, but when key features like the ones described above does not work or seem buggy, I cannot use it for anything. And it seems kind of dumb to create a document (with spreads for instance) in Scribus. Export it, then merge it again in another program (like bookbinder or Gimp or even InDesign).

I read on the mailinglist some suggestions for Google Summer of Code. None of the suggestions was related to the above findings. If I could suggest one low hanging fruit for GSOC:
Fix printing

If you want another one:
Correct the bug in the text frame editor.

As I am a developer myself, I know printing is one tough task.
I also would like to help out fixing bugs, but as I don't have any knowledge of c or c++ (which I understand Scribus is written in), I don't think I am much of help. And I also don't think doing bug fixing in a large project like Scribus in a language you don't know much about is a good idea.
I do c# and php development daily, and I have also done 6502 assembly back in the days of c64, some perl and looked at python - so if you think otherwise please do ping me.

Best
Trond

toyotadesigner

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2015, 08:08:35 am »
As far as I understand you are running Scribus under Linux. Did you install GhostScript?

GhostScript usually is installed in any Ubuntu system, however, it can be installed manually later.

http://packages.ubuntu.com/precise-updates/ghostscript-cups

http://ghostscript.com/doc/current/Install.htm

You can check if GS is installed by clicking the eye in the bottom margin of the Scribus window frame. If Scribus renders a nice looking page, it is installed. However, there is one caveat: Scribus is a professional page layout app, working in CMYK mode (4 color printing). So chances are high that the colors of your images will be somewhat shifted or pale if you print to your Brother printer. A workaround is to generate a PDF for v 1.4 -> compatibility Acrobat 1.4. Set the resolution limit to 300 dpi on the first tab, then select all fonts to be embedded (fonts tab), then in the color tab select Output intended for Screen/Web and uncheck everything in the Pre-Press tab. Save your PDF. Then open your PDF with GS or any PDF viewer on your system and print it - it should come out as a nicely printed RGB newspaper for your daughter.

BTW, I've just had 6 image books with 156 pages each about Paraguay printed from a professional printing company, and they are fantastic. Scribus generates the cleanest PDF I've ever seen, and I have worked with PageMaker, InDesign and Quark. None of these apps managed to produces such a great output.

GarryP

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Re: Verdict of Scribus
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2015, 03:17:49 pm »
Welcome to the forum Trond.

I'll try and give some feedback to your issues.

1. Formatting

Using "Styles" (menu "Edit -> Styles…") should fix the problems you're having with text formatting. Set-up a character style for how you want the text formatted (e.g. font/size/etc.), then set-up a paragraph style based on the character style but with the paragraph formatting you want (e.g. line spacing), then apply the paragraph style to the text.

If some formatting changes are later applied by accident then just re-apply the style to fix it. (The "direct" formatting features should only really be used for minor "emergency" formatting issues, and getting used to using styles can really speed things up when you want big formatting changes so they're worth the little bit extra effort to learn.)

2. Printing

Printing from Scribus is a well-known problem and the advice usually given is to not print directly from Scribus but to print from a PDF reader (such as Acrobat) instead. If you create the PDF first you can then check it properly before printing; think of it as a final proof check. (You only need something like bookbinder if you have special printing requirements which you probably won't have if you're using a normal desktop printer.)

Scribus was designed to create documents that would be sent to a printshop so the "extra" PDF export step is just part of the normal production process. (And once the file is in PDF form you don't need to open Scribus to print it again, so that's a bonus).

(My personal preference would be for Scribus to lose printing functionality - except preview - altogether but I can't see that happening any time soon. I.e. The developers could leave printing to the PDF readers and concentrate on more important things.)

General

I've been using Scribus for some years now and, while it does have a few "interesting features" (ahem, bugs), it's generally fine and does what's needed without much fuss. (It's certainly better than anything else that's free. It's difficult to argue with the price!) As with any software you just need to get used to using it.

You don't need to take my word for it though, see http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Success_stories for more than ten years' worth of testimonials.

I really hope your experience hasn't put you - and your daughter - off using Scribus in the future. It really is very good once you realise the best way to use it.

Garry.