PHOTOBOOKS
Suggestions

 
 
SUGGESTIONS TO MOMENTO
Are they applicable to your photobook supplier?

Suggestions and comments here are in no way deemed to be a criticism of Momento. Some suggestions would be nice to adopt but may not be financially or technically practical. The points raised may also be applicable to other photoshop software - as I experience other photobook software I may make further, specific, comment. Or perhaps a reader may email me with a comment to add. If it is constructive and useful, it shall be included. The points I raise below were emailed to Momento. They expressed gratitude for the feedback but the individual points were not addressed. 

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PHOTOBOOK

BINDINGS

COMPARISON
of Photobooks

EXAMPLES
Inspiration?
 

1.  COPY OF PAGE FROM WITHIN A PROJECT, and PROJECT TO PROJECT

It would be useful to be able to copy a page from one project and include it in another project; similarly, be able to copy a page and insert within the same project (not just move the page). 

Why: There are several reasons. When working on a project page design, it is handy to be able to save a page in a separate ‘work’ project mbk file, for example, if there are alternative designs for the page and you do not want to destroy what you have already created for that page. It is also useful to be able to transfer a created page from one project to another, to retain the basic design or even to retain the page keeping the same or some imbedded images. A project file could be created of favorite page designs for latter use. 

Workaround: You simply can’t do it. You can use the template feature to some extent but this is not the same as retaining the images and being able to transfer a page from project to project. You can retain selected pages from a completed project by simply copying the whole project file, then deleting the unwanted pages. You can then add new pages to the saves pages but you can only do this once and can’t add any further already created pages.

Ask yourself: Does your photobook software allow copying of a page? Is it important to you?

.... OR COPY INTO ANOTHER PROJECT.


 
2.  REMOVE WARNING SIGNS

I could see no way of temporarily removing the ‘QUALITY’ and ‘EDGES’ signs on a project page.

Why: I had cause for some fine placement of a small image but the Quality sign was in the way.

Workaround. Moving the whole image may help, and the Edges sign can be removed by moving the image but the point is, you should not have to do that. A simple preference on/off indication would be sufficient.


 
3. LINE AND SHAPES

Having a line and shapes drawing tool would be handy. 

Why: Assists greatly with creative design. Lines, and shapes of rectangles, circles and ovals is all that is required, although a full lasoo facility would be handy. The interior of the created shape should be able to be selected as either opaque or transparent.

Workaround. You can create a ‘line’ as a jpeg image but it is fiddly. Boxes and other simple shapes are easily created as jpeg images but there is no internal transparency. 

I wanted to create a single line at the top of each page on a photobook journal in A4 portrait photo. The only was to do this was to create an image I called topline.jpg and insert this on each page as I progressed with the layout. It was tedious but it worked. A blank jpeg file was created in Adobe, and a simple black line drawn. The background of the topline.jpg file was set as the identical colour of the background of the layout page, so when the topline.jpg image was placed on the page, the line appeared 'on its own' so to speak. The topline.jpg image was horizontally long and vertically short - but not too short as Momento could not handle it if too narrow'. Experiment. (The jpweg image is shown drawn on the image here in pink). The text above the line was simply added using the Momento 'Add Text' facility. 

Don't forget you can click on an image to increase size.


 
4. IMAGE TRANSPARENCY

A useful design tool is the ability to select a section of a photograph and make it transparent (to the next layer below) - like an unwanted background for example. The selection could be a simple shape using a select cursor, or a colour. A lasoo selection would be even better from a creative point of view.

Why: Transparency is a marvelous creative design concept and can provide excellent results if used imaginatively. The easier the transparency facility can be used, the more often it will be used. Consider how gif files can be used with html (internet) files, albeit at greatly reduced quality. The concept of transparency would enable a quadrilateral jpeg image to be place over another jpeg allowing a section of the top jpeg to be transparent to the section beneath it in the bottom jpeg. 

Workaround: Using ‘photoshop’ software such as Adobe Elements, Paint Shop Pro or AfterShot Pro, for example, you can generally create the image that you want but you really have to work around the ‘transparency’ and literally fake it, by first determining what it is that you want behind the ‘transparency’ jpeg and actually creating that in the top jpeg. In other words, the ‘transparency’ is embedded in the created jpeg. Note that a jpeg cannot be stored with a transparency function (whereas a gif file can). 

For example. You want to show an image in your photobook of your pet, shown on a plain page background. Using photoshop software, eliminate the unwanted background around the pet, and replace this eliminated background with the identical colour of the photobook background colour. When you then place the quadrilateral jpeg of the pet on the page, the pet will appear as if it ‘floats’ on the page. This is the same procedure to be done when placing a jpeg on a photobook page over another jpeg photo but you have to copy the section of the bottom jpeg into the deleted background of the top image. 

An alternative workaround, and perhaps an easier way to do it if the bottom image is not a plain background, is to create a separate jpeg in a photoshop program from the ‘top’ image, over the ‘bottom’ image. All photoshop programs can do this through the ‘layers’ option. You can even combine the two procedures whereby part of the top image extends beyond the edges of the bottom image. 


 
The background of the original buddah photograph was distracting; I wanted to eliminate this poor background and have the buddah stand out on its own. Using Adobe photoshop, I selected all the unwanted background sections (including the sections between the wheel spokes), and using Adobe layers feature, created a layer of blue under the original image. I matched this blue to the same blue background of the layout page. (The image edges are represented by the pink border.) When this images is now placed on the blue background layout page it 'floats' on its own. This is an easy example. Have a look at the motor cyclists below 'flying' through the page over the other images. Now that is more complicated. 


 


 
5. EASE OF SELECTION OF PHOTO IMAGES

Jpeg images on a project page can be linked together reasonably easily, but there are times when it is difficult to select (or deselect) an image if close to another image or under an other image. If the jpeg file names were shown for a page in the work area, and a means of selecting and unselecting by clicking onto that list, it would make design a bit easier and quicker. Also, it would be handy to be able to select one or more images and lock these together as one in a more permanent manner than the current temporary selection of several images which is not retained when another image is the selected.

Selection of more than one image to be linked could be achieved by using one of the Shift/Ctl/Atlt keys when selecting a second and subsequent image from the list.  This is an important consideration as it is virtually impossible - or at least irritating frustrating - to try and work with layers close to each other, or stacked. To lock two or more layers together, and to be able to specifically select a layer, is important to allow utmost creativity. 

Workaround: just be careful - precise - when selecting an image. You may have to move the cursor to a different part of the image to select the image if there is conflict with another ‘close-by’ image. 

In the image on the right, the black boarder is actually a photo jpeg of just a black rectangle. To position it correctly around the city photo image was frustrating as any attempt to select the 'black photo' invariably selected the city photo, because the two are close together. But it can be done. 


 
6. CHANGING LINKED IMAGES

Linking jpeg images can be moved as one image group, but no other type of  manipulation can be done on that group. For example, resizing a group of photographs would be handy, or using the opaque feature. 

Workaround. None really - you have to resize each image separately. It's not a major issue.


 
7. SPANS
Show where the two-page spans are in the thumbnails below the project page, with a link symbol.

I’m not sure that the two-page span option works well. I tried it and a significant part of the image in the centre was lost in the binding. 

Workaround: I subsequently did another two-page spread by splitting the image in two and allowing a duplicate margin of about 10mm on each image. It is better to have a smidgen of duplicate photo than no photo section at all. 

Note: The Quality symbol warned me that the original image may not give the best quality when printed because I was expanding it too much. It can be ignored. Had the image been placed on just the one page the Quality warning would not have been shown. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

End result. Oops!!! We've lost a monk! 

This is a photo of the actual photobook page where the single image is spanned over two pages. Note that it show up okay on the preview but as far as the area of the spine is concerned, that is not identical to the end result.

Momento warns: 
Even when using the software's Span feature, keep important content away from the binding edge.

If Momento was really smart, it would automatically duplicate a small strip in the spine area. Do it yourself, and don't use the Span option unless the lost section is not important. Now I know! 


Layout mode.

Preview mode.  Remember to click on image to enlarge.

 
8. TEXT

Point 1.
Although Momento is predominantly for photographs and simple caption text, it would be a benefit to have the opportunity to use bold and italic within the text. These can only be selected if all the text font is in that one style. 

Point 2.
Occasionally, the text as displayed in the preview does not match the position of the text in the main working frame, specifically, the size of the ‘box’ that the text is included within. For example, I have had text that fits neatly between photographs in the main working page layout but overlaps a photograph when shown in the preview. 

Workaround: Easy enough to do. Preview everything and manually adjust frames around text by trial and error. Remember - always check the Preview when boxing text. 

 


 
9. FRAMES

***** CHANGES MADE - WELL DONE MOMENTO ******

Since making the suggestion below, Momento have made an excellent change. With version 6.6 now available for download. the 'keyline' frame can be selected in different widths from 0.05 to 10 pt, and with a choice of no less than forty colours. Excellent. This is a significant change to made the design features more versatile.  I am delighted with the change. Perhaps a few shades of grey would also have been useful but, hey, I'm happy. 

I make the suggestion that now perhaps the range of text colours could match those of the frames. Next time perhaps.

Point 1. [This was made last year, 2013].
Momento has a large number of imaginative frames to choose but is limited in its offer of variable width plain frames. A keyline frame is selectable, but no other plain black or white border of greater width. I think this is a necessity for creative layout. A (selected) colour border may also be welcomed.

Workaround: You can easily create a plain border of any colour around any image but creating a small jpeg of the colour and then manipulating this colour jpeg under the jpeg image to be framed. It gets a bit frustrating when the frame width is just a smidgen wider than the available keyline frame, as it is difficult to select and manipulate the frame image jpeg under the photo jpeg.  (See point 5 re ease of selection, above).
 
 


 

Point 2.  [This suggestion still remains relevant.]
Another design feature could be the means of having a frame 
overlayed upon another frame, for example, soft edges over 
rounded corners. (Not so important).


 
10. LIGHT-DARK SELECTION

There is a Saturation and Hue slider available but I am surprised there are no BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST sliders. Brightness (dark/light) selection would be very handy to match up images on the same or adjacent pages. ‘Brightness’ is not of course the same as ‘Opacity’. The availability of a ‘brightness’ slider would be most useful for those not using photoshop software. 

Workaround: If you are familiar with, and use, a photoshop program you would make sure that your photo image meets your demands of ‘brightness’, saturation and hue before transferring to the photoshop page. But even so, if you have two similar photographs on a photobook page you may wish to simply tweak one of then with respect to ‘brightness’ to match the other. Of course, you could match the two photographs using a photoshop program. 

In the example layout on the right, two photos have been joined to give one image. These could have been easily matched for brightness (of the sky for example) using a Brightness slider within Momento. As it was, the two photographs were matched (for the sky) in Adobe. 


 
11. CLOSING MOMENTO

Closing Momento (with or without saving) seems to lock out a subsequent immediate reload of Momento - message comes up saying that only one Momento at a time is allowed. Need to restart the computer to get back up again.

Workaround: No choice - restart computer. 

Note: Once in Momento you can select, open and close any project. The problem occurs when you close down Momento and want to start up again later before you shut down (turn off) you whole system.
 


 
12. MISSING IMAGES

When using ‘Check for Warnings’, the notation ‘empty placeholders’ is indicated when an image is spanned over two pages. This does seem to appear only when there are other ‘empty placeholders’ which are genuine.

Workaround: Ignore it.


 
13. LAYOUT IMAGES IN PAGE DISPLAY STRIP
The individual images in the page display strip under the full page layout do not always show. I have found no consistency in this - some show one time, then not another. I thought it may have something to do with the speed of the computer but the problem happens on both my home and office computer; both should be more than adequate.

Workaround: Be patient, it may pop up.


 
14. LAYOUT PAGE

In Layout mode, it would be handy to be able to see the layout of two adjoining pages and be able to work on both at the same time - for example, transfer photos and images from one page to another, or to line up images over two pages. I appreciate that this is available in Preview mode, but no changes can be made whilst in this mode. In A4 landscape mode, it is appreciated that the two separate page layouts would be smaller on screen than in normal layout with one page. With portrait size however, there would be no change in size (presuming using a normal wide-screen monitor). I would have found this feature handy when doing a journal in A4 portrait. 

Workaround: It’s no big deal - just a handy feature if available. You can of course copy and paste images from one page to another. Sliding an image from one page to another would be quicker. 


 
15.  LOCKING GRID LINES

Customised grid lines are a very handy feature but I would like to see a means of locking them. It is far too easy to accidentally move a line when trying to move an image or text. Note for users: if you accidentally (or intentionally) move a grid line on a page, it affects that gridline on all pages.

Workaround: There is none. Be careful when selecting an image and placing the cursor near a grid line. Always keep a written record of where your grid lines are so that they an be repositioned if necessary - use the grid measurement scale and note the values. 

It is very easy to set a grid line in Momento. For a horizontal line, place the cursor on the top scale, hold the left-hand button down on the mouse, and slide the cursor down. To remove a gridline, place the cursor over the the line and slide it off the page. A 'lock grid' buttom on the tool bar would prevent accidental movement of the gridline when selecting an image. 


 
16. TRANSFERRING PROJECT FROM ONE COMPUTER TO ANOTHER

This concerns the creation of a photobook using Momento over two (or more) computers. I tried to develop a Momento photobook using my office computer and home computer. The Momento software was loaded on both office and home computers, both on the C: drive. My mbk file was on an external drive. My photo file was also on the external drive.

When the external drive is connected to the office computer, the system designates it as G: drive. When the external drive is connected to the home computer the system designates it as D: drive.

Let’s say I start developing the photobook on the office computer. I transfer jpeg images from the external drive to the layout page. No problem. I then take the external drive and connect it to my home computer.  I open Momento with my mbk file and it comes up with ‘The software was unable to find xxx photos’, and follows with a choice: Locate missing photos. Use placeholders for missing photos. Remove all missing photos. Close project without saving. 

It is not practical to ‘locate missing photos’ each time, and whereas using a placeholder allows further work on the mbk file, it is also not practical. 

This happens because the external drive (where the photos are) is now designated as D: drive (whereas it was G: drive on my home computer). Momento seeks a jpeg file in a particular directory, ie g:\momento\my-photobook-images\sam-on-piano.jpg   When I use my home computer the photo of Sam in now on d:\momento\my-photobook-images\sam-on-piano.jpg 
If I can find a way to set my home computer to accept the external drive as g: drive, I think it work okay. The alternative is for Momento not to use the actual drive number to seek images but to work on the basis of seeking the required photo in a director that was on the same drive that the mbk file. [This is similar for an internet html webpage file which seeks jpeg images on a directory down (or up) from the webpage html file.] 

Momento is not expected to change this as there is little likelihood of anyone as insane as myself to want to work on a photobook layout on two computers. But then, I am my own boss so I can do what I like! 

Workaround: These is none. On occasions that I have wanted to work at home, I did so on the mbk file with placeholders for created pages, and worked on creating new pages only. Then back in the office I would have the same problem of the software not recognising where my photos on the new pages were located. This then required a simple ‘drag’ of the images from the photo file onto the placeholders - time consuming but effective. 


 
17. PLEASE WAIT .......

Don't you just hate it when software tells you to do something amd you have no idea why? One of the problems I have is that some software does not seem to be engineered efficiently in that it takes too long to do what is essentially a simple computer-computational task. "In my day" when I thought that 256K of mainframe memory (CPU memory) was all we would ever need, codeing had to be 'efficient'. I think some developers nowadays forget this - but then I am an old has-been when it comes to modern technology sdo, as my son would say, things have moved on Dad! 

One problem I have with my Monento use is when changing from one project (photobook) to another. I emphasise "my' because you may not have this problem. I am using an old Hewlett-Packard system with XP which I will made very good use of one day as a boat anchor. For now ghowever, whenever I want to change a project (ie close one photobook and work on another) I can do so without closing down and restarting Momento, but it takes ages to reload the second project. Monento kinding advise me what to do - ... wait. I'm doing that guys!!! And waiting. Well, no more. I close down the computer and start again.

Yes - I close down the computer, not just Momento. If I exit  Momento without clsoing down the computer system I cannot re-open Momento again. A message comes up advising me that I can only run one Momento at a time. Hey, I've closed down the previous one so what's the problem? But no, I need to shut down the computer and start again. This may not happen to you. It could well be that some code is remaining in my system that gives an indication that another photobook is still running when in fact it has been closed. Do you have similar problem?
 


 
 
18. LATEST VERSION 6

Are you finding it sslower than the old version 5. Again, I thought it was all to do with my old system, still using XP, but I hear from others that they too are experiencing a few operating problems. For one thing, the preview thumbnails at the bottom of the page take longer to load. Having said that, the relaod of previews after a Move or Deelete (page) seem to be quicker.

Another problem is the Sorry - we have experienced a problem and have to close. This now happens too frequent for my likeing, and seems to result when I 'operate' Momento too fast. I am pretty quick with the old mouse and cursor - sometimes too quick, especially when doing something with frames. Momento does not tell me why it is closing - but at least they apologose nicely. When it happens I simply reload and start again - in this instance I usually do not have to restart the computer.

19. LOCKING - LINKING

I have already mentioned the 'locking' of the guidelines into place. I would like to see the facility where two photographs can be locked together. Yes, you can use the Shift key to 'select' two or more photos, and move or delete them as required, but I have had need somewtimes to actually lock (and later unlock of course) two or more images. It is no big deal, just something I could use.
 

20. CENTRE IMAGES.
I would like the ability to centre two images one over the other. I do not mean centre them on the page - I mean one superimposed on another. This is similar in respect to placing one frame over another. 
 


 
 
Okay, these are just my thoughts, and I have no hesitation in saying that perhaps some of the 'problemss' that I have encountered are of my own making. I do not imply that Momento in itself has problems, and I am pleased that the software team, are looking at 'improvement' all the time. The only real issue I would like to emphasise to Momento is the availability of more text tools, such as italic/bold within the text block. As much as I would loike to see a spell-checker, I appreciate that that is probably going too far. But the bold/ital option would be most useful. The other issue is paper. Momento have just released a new format of 'flat-binding' whereby the pages can be opened our 'flat'. This uses quality thick 200 gsm paper. Great for those special albums. But I want to use a thinner standard (not art or glossy) paper, say 120 or 140 gsm, as this is more apropriate for 'text-prdominant' books such as journals, thesies, and other 'document' type books. Blurb has it. Why not Momento. I believe it would open up a new market of users. 

Having said all of this, I still luvs ya Momento, as Kojak would say. And if you don't know who Kojak is, you are two generations away from me! 
 


 
 

Last update 19 July 2014