Scribus Forums

Scribus => Beginner Talk => Topic started by: Biblio on December 19, 2017, 09:05:21 pm

Title: New to Scribus but it seems to be lacking
Post by: Biblio on December 19, 2017, 09:05:21 pm

As the title says, I am new to Scribus.  :-\ As in I downloaded it today. So whatever it may seem to be lacking, I could simply not see. Or perhaps I do not understand the software yet.

Now before I continue, I also want to say that I have version 1.5.3. Even though it is not the stable version, I do not know if it would make a difference in my case.

One of the first things that seems lacking to me is an easy way to change the font color to a custom color. And I mean without the rigamarole of custom color palettes and character and paragraph styles. I know that that may be the easier way to go in some cases, but for now, I just want to change the font color to a custom color. Is there an easy way to do that?

The other thing is that when I pasted my short text (which lost its formatting, but I understand that that is how it is with Scribus and I am fine reformatting), the empty lines (and yes, I could use paragraph spacing—I do so in other programs,—but for the moment it is not important to me) remain Arial. And the end of each line is in Arial too, and not in EB Garamond. So every single time I need to make a new line, I have to fix the font. And just to say it again, for the moment, I do not want to mess with styles. If styles are the only way to go, please let me know, because I will have to use them. Since I am learning to use the program, I wanted to play with them later. It is not that I do not ever want to use them. Just not right now.

Also, the text editor seems to have no undo feature.

Now for OpenType. Scribus does not seem to support character variations (for example, in LibreOffice, if I have a lowercase italicized v, with EB Garamond, I can change the font to EB Garamond:cv05=2 to get a different version of the character. I know that Scribus uses check boxes (which is easier than LibreOffice), but there does not seem to be a way to handle this. IS there?

Also, how can TeX files be used in Scribus? I have not begun using TeX, but it could be useful (though I want to have more control over formatting too—despite what people seem to think, the default for LaTex, for example, does not look that great. Well maybe for academic papers, but not for creative typography, or historical typography, etc, etc).

If you have read this far, thank you for putting up with my grumpiness. As I said, I am new to the program. I know there is a learning curve. I would just not like what is supposed to be a professional program (which is not a word processor) to miss out on basic features, even if they are not the most logical to use.

Title: Re: New to Scribus but it seems to be lacking
Post by: mnawij on December 20, 2017, 03:52:36 am
Welcome Biblio,

1) Font colors are chosen within the color & effects menu drop down under the text properties dialog box.  First though you must create the customer color(s) under the Edit Menu->Color & Fills.
2) I do not know of a way to save text formatting when copying from another program.  Maybe someone else knows of a work around.
3) Fonts at the end of the line or beginning of the text box that are different that what is being used I fix by using the 'select item tool' and selecting the text box and then choosing the font that I will be using.  This will apply that specific font to the whole text box.  I believe this has to do with the default font setting for the document.
4) As far as the text editor undo, I believe that I read that it was in the works.  I agree that should be there.
5) OpenTypeFonts: according to   it is there, but I have not had an opportunity to use it yet.  I will have to mess around with it to see what the full capabilities are. (+1 to my never ending to-do list).
6) LaTeX has its place but not so much for creativity.  I tried it a couple of years ago, but it was more trouble than it was worth for design IMHO.

Good luck!

Title: Re: New to Scribus but it seems to be lacking
Post by: GarryP on December 20, 2017, 12:13:17 pm
Just to add a few extra comments/details to what mnawij said:

The selection and manipulation of colours in Scribus is a bit awkward, especially if you're coming from other software that works differently. One thing you cannot do is select colours that you haven't already defined - or imported - but that can be a good thing. It means that you are more careful about colour usage, using only the colours that you have defined specifically for your document. You can create any user-defined colour that you want but you need to do a bit of work to define it and that pushes you in the direction of choosing the colours more carefully. It also means it is less likely that you will use two colours that are similar but not the same by accident. This stops you from having a mismatch when the document is printed.

For example, if you want to use an orange colour (e.g. RGB 242, 147, 74) in your document, you could select that colour and use it in one place and then select another orange colour (e.g. RBG 236, 139, 65) to use somewhere else. That might look okay if the two colours are not next to each other but, after some layout changes, if you put the two items together they may look the same on-screen but when printed they might look very different and the print will be spoiled. By forcing you to define specific colours, Scribus is helping you to avoid potential problems in the most expensive phase of the process. The implementation could be a bit less "clunky" - e.g. changing an existing colour could be made much more easy - but once you get used to the way Scribus works you'll probably see the benefits of working this way.

On importing text, there are some basic things that you can do to keep some (paragraph) formatting but the biggest problem is that Scribus "does fonts properly" where most other applications don't. This is most noticeable for things like bold and italic. When most applications need a bold or italic variant they simply make one "on the fly" by manipulating the glyphs in the font to make them thicker or slanted. Scribus, on the other hand, only lets you use the fonts you have on your machine. So if you don't have, for example, a Garamond Italic font then you can't use italic Garamond. This might seem like a shortcoming of Scribus but, again, Scribus is actually helping you out.

"On the fly" font variants often look wrong. The original font is designed to look a certain way and manipulating it to be "italicised" or "emboldened" can destroy the original designer's intent. Scribus only allows you to use the fonts in the way they were intended and, as such, it is trying to help you to create the best-looking documents. It might seem like a restriction but it means that you need to be more careful about how you select the fonts you use. The Scribus ethos is "help people to make the best looking documents" rather than "let people knock something up quick".

The Story Editor - if that's what you mean by the "text editor" - is very simple and should only be used in certain cases. A good workflow would be to create your text using a basic text editor - no formatting - then import the text (when it's ready) into Scribus and then apply formatting (preferably with Styles). You can then make small changes to the text using the inline editor (double-click the text frame) if necessary. For collaborative projects that puts a lot more work on the person putting the document together but that's just how it is unfortunately.

TeX files can be imported into Render Frames after you have set-up Scribus to use the TeX system of your choice. The instructions for this will be out on the web somewhere, just search for "scribus render tex".

I hope I've managed to explain why Scribus works differently in some ways and, more importantly, why it does so. Most of the weirdness isn't there just to be awkward. Scribus does things differently - mostly - because it's a better way of doing things in the long-run. It's not perfect but most people get used to it pretty quickly.
Title: Re: New to Scribus but it seems to be lacking
Post by: Biblio on December 22, 2017, 05:18:17 pm
Thank you for your good replies!  :D

I have not found fake italics with EB Garamond when using other software.

The other issue is the incomplete OpenType implementation.

•Checking historical ligatures does not activate all the ligatures.
•There is no option for character variants, only for stylistic sets.
•There is no option for swash capitals either, or for turning off contextual alternatives.
•There is no option for custom OpenType layout tags for fonts that have them, not even an option to enter them manually.

Title: Re: New to Scribus but it seems to be lacking
Post by: GarryP on December 23, 2017, 10:45:00 am
You're welcome.

I don't use EB Garamond myself so I can't comment but I'm sure that Scribus isn't the only application that uses the correct variant - e.g. italic. The issue I wanted to point out is that because some applications do things differently to Scribus it would be difficult to comprehensively transfer formatting from other software. If some other software creates an "on the fly" italic/bold when there is no real variant then Scribus won't be able to apply that formatting when it imports the text. I.e. The text may be marked as italic but there's no italic to apply to it.

For the Open Type issues, I see you have added your issues to a separate thread so that's a better place to discuss those things.

P.S. Would it be possible for you to not use that animated signature? It's quite distracting when reading what you've written and, as such, things might get missed.