Hello Hive!

Today I want to illustrate the fundamental steps of my experience in creating an e-book that you can find for a few more weeks at the link reported in THIS POST.
To create this e-book, essentially a photo book, I used 2 open-source platforms that you can download for free on your PC and that perhaps many of you will already own. I'm talking about Inkscape and OpenOffice Writer.




Vector Graphic Platform
Open-Source Software

For the creation of the photo book I needed a way to customize each page, so I started creating my resource on the Inkscape platform. Inkscape is open-source software that you can download for free and that allows you to create vector graphics. I show you the classic window that you will find by opening the software on your PC.


At first, I simply created a rectangle, resizing it to the classic standard A4 size. I selected the shape and searched for the color I liked best thanks to the "Fill and shape" section indicated below.


I had an idea in mind about the elements to insert on the page and I immediately started making them by creating rectangles, rounding the edges, and adding a side gradient. After pairing them, I removed the middle portion through some commands on the path and placed the Photochain logo in the middle. I then used a variant of the elements to create the page number to insert in the footer. I put everything in the correct position by creating a left and right page. Et voilà, I had my photo book page template.


So I focused on the accessory elements: the cover, the header pages, and the closing pages. Each of them required a different approach which I will not illustrate as it is too long: it was simple, but with a multitude of commands that you can use using Inkscape. You can find many tutorials online, and maybe I'll create one here in the community. For the moment, I aim to show you only what can be done with this tool and the result that can be achieved. Here are the images of the 3 elements described above:


At this point, the bulk of the work: inserting the images inside the photo book. I placed 2 per page, changing the orientation according to the major axis of the image. I then entered the text in the different types of typefaces that distinguish it. In the image below I show you where to find the types of fonts available. I only used 2 because, at first glance, the result seemed effective.


Since the images varied a lot in aspect ratio, I had to reevaluate the pages on a case-by-case basis by adjusting the alignments. Once finished, I started the export job: to go to the second phase without any changes to the elements of the pages, it was necessary to export the individual pages in image format. The procedure was the same for each page and I will describe it in detail.

First, you need to select the shape that makes up the page size, go to the menu bar, and click on edit. At this point, you can scroll the drop-down menu to look for the item "Resize Page to Selection" and clic on it with left mouse button.


Once this is done, you have to go to the side area on the right of the Inkscape screen and look for the item "Export Png Image".


After clicking on it, start setting the parameters in the image above:
- Click on the button at the top with the word "Page", selecting it;
- Make sure that the dimensional values ​​are those shown in the image.
- Click on “Export as” and choose the name and the place where you want to save the file;
- Click the “Export" button making sure that the “Close when complete” item is not active (the neighboring square must be empty).
A short wait for it to load and the document is saved. Like I did, we have to repeat the operation for each page. A piece of advice I have adopted: for each page you save, give the name the progressive number of the position it will have in the e-book; I started from the cover to the bottom like 000, 001, 002, etc. The second phase will be easier for you, which I will now illustrate.



Productivity Platform
Open-Source Software

In the second part of the project, the one that will concern the creation of the pages of the photo book, you can use OpenOffice, an open-source suite with different possibilities: I used the very simple OpenOffice Writer.

After downloading and installing the package from the official website you find in the item above, launch the software on your PC. Just choose which page to open, in my case a simple text document. What we have to do is start inserting the pages of our photo book one by one: the process is simple, but it must be done carefully because the images will be perfectly adapted to the size of the document page. If you don't, the result could be a photo book with lots of white space at the edge of the page.

In the method that I have shown you, we have the images of the pages saved in the correct size. The OpenOffice document as it is allowing us to insert them while keeping white margins on the page that we have to cancel.

To avoid resizing the images already to size, it is necessary to set the correct size of the page margins on the rulers, in this case null, both horizontally and vertically. In the figure, I show you which are the rulers and the position that the handles must-have.


If we can't do it, don't worry: here I describe a trick to use during the insertion procedure with manual resizing.

Tip before you begin: When the positioning rod is fixed on the first row, press enters to unlock the second row as well. At this point, go back to the beginning of the first line and begin the procedure for inserting images: in this way, every time we insert an image, a subsequent page will also be created. If you don't, there may be problems creating a new page, which won't be inserted automatically.

So we have to insert the images. How do we do it? Very simple: let's move to the menu bar under "Insert". Moving to the image item (almost on the bottom) we access some options from which we should choose "From file". A window will open from which we should look for the location of the image in the file system. We double-click on the file to be inserted.


At this point, we need to move the image to the bottom edge of the page and to the outermost corner of the document, as shown in the figure.


We click with the left button on the handle present at the opposite corner of the image, the one higher and on the opposite side with respect to the corner aligned with the page. Keeping pressed, let's widen towards the side margin then upwards just beyond the edges of the page and only at that moment release the left mouse button: the system will align all the edges of the image to those of the page.


Let's make sure there have been no mistakes. By decreasing the zoom percentage that you find at the bottom right of the OpenOffice window indicated as a percentage and a scroll line, the image must be as shown in the figure, with the corners matching those of the page. I recommend carrying out this type of check in the final phase, before saving the file.

The final piece will be the saving of the file: I chose a format with high compatibility towards all devices or the PDF. If you also want to do the same, follow these instructions:
on the menu bar click on “file” then on “export to PDF format”. A window like this will open:


In "General" item we can leave everything as it is, but we must go to the item "Initial View". Here you will have to set the options as you can see in the figure, which will allow you to open the documents with the classic layout of a book, with facing pages. Finish by clicking on “Export” and choosing where to save your file on the PC.


Depending on the size of the file, the system may take some time. You can judge the results by using this type of method by downloading the PHOTOCHAIN ​​PHOTOBOOK from my Google Drive archive. The resource will be available for free throughout the month of January.

I hope I have been of help and thank you for your attention. Greetings from me and the Digitall Project. If you want, subscribe to the Universo Binario community through the links below.

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