Scribus > General Discussion

Response to Questions about our book, “Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Pro

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--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 05, 2011, 11:34:54 pm ---There are hundreds and maybe thousands of commands in Scribus or any other graphic programs, but you only need to learn a VERY small number of common commands to be able to survive. Once you can do that, you can slowly build up your commands and advance to the next level.  On the commands that I do cover, I repeat them a few times to help the readers MASTER them.

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while there is a real need for simplification and friendliness in the Scribus' user interface, i don't think that Scribus should become an application for dummies.

the point where you're fully correct is: we should define one (or a few) type of user we want to have as a target and we  make their work very easy and intuitive!

from my knowledge of the Scribus user base, i think we could try to target the authors of brochures and small magazines.

there are people currently working on several usability issues and i think that it would be interesting to hear what are the easy things to change to make Scribus more friendly and intuitive to people learning scribus, without dumbing down the interface, if possible...



--- Quote from: Meho R. on August 06, 2011, 02:20:04 am ---
--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 05, 2011, 11:34:54 pm ---...
2. Snap to guide: Snap to guide is important, but the Scribus snap function is so “elementary” or NOT mature when compared with other software. For example, in AutoCAD, you can snap to midpoint, intersection, endpoint, perpendicular point, nearest point, etc...
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You can try with Blender :) Seriously, I cannot see rationale in comparing Scribus with AutoCAD. Why should we have all these "snap to" options? We're not constructing buildings or machines, but books and magazines, with blocks of text and images. I had some issues with guides in 1.3.3.x version, but not with 1.4.x, nor 1.5.x.

--- Quote ---3. The use of paragraph styles:  Readers can easily learn this later on Scribus this own if they can survive and start to use Scribus. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.
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I disagree. Use of styles is recommended way for manipulating text and they should be discussed.

--- Quote ---5. The minimum resolution of graphic image: The minimum resolution is covered in ALL major book printers’ criteria already. There is NO need to repeat it in my book, and each printer may have different requirements: 300 dpi, or 600 dpi, etc.
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Yet, on mailing list questions about resolution pop up every so often, so you might give it a second thought.

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i mostly agree with meho, here.

2. the current implementation of guides is mostly good enough for scribus. there is place for improvements, but for most uses, the current features are enough. seeing what you're missing, i really wonder if you're not looking for a vector drawing program: inkscape does what you need! (if you're wondering of what i think are the welcome improvements: non orthogonal guides, locking of guides defined in a master page, defining guides from the current selected item).

3. formatting styles are not relevant for creating books cover, i agree. but it belongs in every generalist scribus manual (your book is not one of them, so it does not have to cover them: but it may be listed as further topics for the user wanting to do more)

5. in a step by step manual on book covers, you should definitively talk about picture sizes and resolution. after a dummy user has read your section on the pictures, there is still a high risk that she creates a book cover which will deceive her when she sees it printed.


Meho R.:

--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 06, 2011, 04:19:24 am ---If you talk to people in the book publishing industry, you’ll know the way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is ABSOLUTELY critical.

A PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is mandatory by a few of the large printers that can actually print your books worldwide.

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As I said earlier, that depends on where do you live and what technology is used in printing process. I work as an editor for a publishing house in south Europe and not a single time were we requested to send our covers in PDF/x-1a:2001 format. Printers here are quite flexible in this regard. So "ABSOLUTELY critical" might be true for some people, but certainly not for all.

Overall, I am VERY happy with Scribus. The one thing I really hope to have is the ability to create PDF/x-1a in version 1.6. I cannot wait until its release in 2012. My above suggestions are NOT complaints, but suggestions to make Scribus better because I like it so much.

I have saved hundreds or more accurately, THOUSANDS of dollars in book cover design: A book cover design costs anywhere from $299 to $999 or more, and I have created over a dozen of book covers with Scribus.

When I first started to use Scribus, I have over 20 years of experience in graphic software, but ZERO experience on Scribus, I was able to create a book cover in 4 hours by looking through the help function, going thru Scribus websites, etc.

One thing I notice is that the Scribus help function or manual has a lot words but little graphic images (at least the one comes with the Scribus software and at the Scribus website), so I decided to document the easiest way to create a book cover with very few words describing the commands or pull-down menu, but many screenshots to help others in similar position. I decide to discuss ONLY the most fundamental elements to make you survive Scribus, such as layers, locking element, levels, inserting text and graphic, extracting barcodes from a EPS template, importing and overlaying an EPS template, exporting PDF files, bleeding, page size, tricks to overcome the PDF/x-1a issues, how to ACCURATELY placed  a full-bleed image on the front cover, font sizes and font choices, free websites for other related software and images, etc.

I still look thru our the screenshots in own book every now and then since the book is our office’s Scribus operating manual. The book not only helps our readers, it helps ourselves also.

It was very rewarding: You do NOT even need to read our book line by line, you can learn Scribus by flipping thru our books and looking thru the screenshots like a picture book.

Believe me, you’ll save a lot of money in book cover design, and Scribus is definitely able to do a professional job for your book cover.

Gang Chen, Author/Publisher, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

I worked for RR Donnelley in prepress, and honestly never once saw a PDF x-1A file the entire time...but then x1a also eliminates a lot of issues that I had to fix regularly (I'm sure they have plants that probably require x-1A, ours was just old and our bulk work was mostly plug and play). 

that being said, I agree with the use of extensive screenshots in lessons and help files... some people are just oriented that way. in fact, that's how I trained one coworker... he literally had to have a screenie of every step!  fortunately he wasn't required to do much extensive modifications but he was able to do basic editing to keep the presses running, and those screenshots allowed him to "remember" things his brain wasn't really wired to do.


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