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OMG InDesign takes DAYS to layout a simple rulebook!!!

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questccg
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I'm preparing to work on my TradeWorlds (TW) rulebook and started working on my Crystal Heroes (CH) rulebook (as prep)...

OMG it is so hard to layout the rulebook. There are bleeds, page layout, margins (for safe zones). It's super powerful... But hard as all cr@p to get the basics.

It's taken me 8 hours to layout 5 pages!

MS Word is so much easier. But not as flexible when it comes to making or adding illustrations and samples, etc.

Anyhow just want to blow some steam and take a break from working on the rulebook.

Cheers!

tikey
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I get the feeling. I've used

I get the feeling. I've used InDesign for years and it still bothers me with some bizarre functions and interface.
Getting hyperlinks to work properly was a maddening experience.

If you need help with something send me a PM, I might be able to lend a hand.

larienna
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I never worked with indesign,

I never worked with indesign, only the opensource inkscape and scribus alternative. Scribus was horrible, while inkscape is single page.

I think if the positionning and layout of each page is unique and important because you have a limited number of pages, then yes indesign could be essential. I am thinking microcosm here where the rules are in fact a large double sided page with multiple folding.

Still, I managed to do pretty good layout with Word / Libreoffice with much less hassle. When I made Fallen Kingdoms, I originally started with Corel Draw, it was a pain, and it was slow. The revised rules were made with Libreoffice. Sure, they don't look like fantasy flight game rules, but since it was a print and play game, having rules that printed well in black and white was a necessity.

benjaminsantiago
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you can message or email me

you can message or email me as well. I teach graphic design, and am just in Adobe programs a lot.

For me, the parts about it I don't like are slightly different keyboard shortcuts than other adobe programs.

If you can get the hang of master pages and character/paragraph styles that's where, to my mind you save a lot of time.

A lot of the rest is really sensitivity to good typesetting; which is hard and takes time :). That being said, there are SO MANY good typefaces in Adobe fonts and those skills are not indesign-specific; they should help you across the rest of your designs.

tikey
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larienna wrote:I never worked

larienna wrote:
I never worked with indesign, only the opensource inkscape and scribus alternative. Scribus was horrible, while inkscape is single page.

Indesign is incredibly powerful, text wrapping, paragraph setting. It really is an amazing tool. Still its learning curve is quite steep, specially if you haven't used another Adobe software before.

Benjamin is right. Master pages are incredible, but they also hard to get them right, you need to know a lot of 'best practices' to get all the juice out of them.

One tip: Remember that you can add 'variables' to text fields like page number and stuff like that so you don't have to do it by hand. I spent a year doing it manually until I discovered that by chance (silly me, I should've known better).

larienna
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One thing I liked about Latex

One thing I liked about Latex is the fact that you don't bother about the layout, but rather the structure of the document (chapter, section, etc). It does the layout for you.

Word and Libre office in the recent years have opted for similar features where you can select a portion of text to be a "heading level 1", or a "paragraph". So if you tag your content correctly right from the start, it is easier to ensure uniformity through the document and makes modification more easier. Else you need to manually set text style and height all the time.

I assume that InDesign would have that kind of duality of manually editing stuff, or tagging the text to inherit a format applied to the whole document. If not, then I agree that it could be problematic As you need to manually adjust every detail all the time.

tikey
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Those are the

Those are the character/paragraph styles Benjamin mentioned earlier. It's nice that most software today includes that option as it helps a lot with uniformity and speeds up the design process a lot since you just change the styles and not each part of the document.

questccg
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Went back to square 0 for my rulebook

Here's a preview of my cover.

It took 2 hours... Setting up the margins, bleed, contour, and working with the colors to get a smooth/cool feel.

Let me know what you guys thing! Cheers.

larienna
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The shadowed area around the

The shadowed area around the page is the bleed or it part of the document? If it part of the document, I am not sure I like it.

The colors are good on screen, don't forget to print test. Still you are in tints of blue, so it should not be too much different.

Else the proportions seems off. First the white bars are not the same size. Second, the top and bottom section are not the same size.

It's just my gut here talking, but the white bars should be both the same size.

For the page proportion, either the top is the same size as the bottom, or you use the 3:2:1 distribution. 2/6 on top, 3/6 in the center and 1/6 at the bottom. But that is just my impression.

Jay103
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I used scribus, but it took

I used scribus, but it took me a while to work out how to get it all to work well. And since then I've forgotten some of it :)

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Have you looked at Affinity Publisher?

I've been using Affinity Photo as a replacement for the incredibly pricey Adobe Photoshop for a while now. It's really amazingly good, and it cost just $49, no subscription. They now also offer Affinity Publisher for the same price: it seems to be a powerful and capable page-layout app. I bought a copy but haven't had much occasion to use it yet. You might want to look into it.

There is also Affinity Designer, which is their version of apps like Adobe Illustrator. I've never used any such app so I have no idea if that one's any good.

Visit Affinity's web site for more info. I'm not associated with them in any way, except for being a happy user of Affinity Photo.

questccg
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larienna wrote:The shadowed

larienna wrote:
The shadowed area around the page is the bleed or it part of the document? If it part of the document, I am not sure I like it.

After much debate... Everyone on my end say they prefer the version with the darker border. It just "frames" the cover and adds an additional layer to the cover.

larienna wrote:
The colors are good on screen, don't forget to print test. Still you are in tints of blue, so it should not be too much different.

Yeah I expect to proof with several devices and do a hard copy to see what a print would look like. Since this will be made by TGC, a proof is all I need to order.

larienna wrote:
For the page proportion, either the top is the same size as the bottom, or you use the 3:2:1 distribution. 2/6 on top, 3/6 in the center and 1/6 at the bottom. But that is just my impression.

Yeah approximately... I didn't want absolute symmetry... So... Your estimates seem correct. I wasn't expecting an in-detail dissection. But I asked for people's opinions. So not everyone will like this rendition.

Best.

larienna
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Quote: Everyone on my end say

Quote:
Everyone on my end say they prefer the version with the darker border. It just "frames" the cover and adds an additional layer to the cover.

I have no objection in putting a frame around the cover, but simply not that frame. A full black opaque frame would be better from my point of view.

lewpuls
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Match your tools to your

Match your tools to your task. If it's a simple rulebook, use a simple tool like a word processor. InDesign is for complex tasks.

questccg
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lewpuls wrote:Match your

lewpuls wrote:
Match your tools to your task. If it's a simple rulebook, use a simple tool like a word processor. InDesign is for complex tasks.

Well I can tell that you haven't designed rulebooks for The Game Crafter POD! TGC requires proper margins AND proper bleed in addition to being 300 DPI and Hi-Res JPEGs.

Using a Word Processor is possible... BUT when you need to produce JPEGs of the pages... Only InDesign can EXPORT to files with the proper margins and bleed.

How do I know this???

Because Tradewars (the older version) was made and sold on The Game Crafter (TGC). The rulebook was designed in MS Word and I had problems making screenshots of zoomed pages and the pasted together... It was a very hard process. Since word operates on about 150 DPI... I had to use my 2nd screen at 200% to do the screen shots for half a page and then combine the later in Photoshop...

I know now having gone through the experience before, I figured for "Crystal Heroes" (CH) I would avoid all the troubles and hassles.

Also Word uses lower res images I believe 96 DPI. The bottom line is if you want graphic intensive rulebooks, InDesign is the best Adobe tool for the job.

I wouldn't use it unless it was 100% required for my present needs. Cheers.

ElKobold
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I have the opposite

I have the opposite experience.

For me, InDesign is a lifesaver.

I do both the rule-books and card layouts in there. Once you get the basics, it saves you a ton of time. Especially if you have to do iterations and change things.

larienna
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personally, I would print as

personally, I would print as PDF and then split the pages in JPG. Depending on the software that creates the PDF, not cure it will correctly export the DPI.

I thought that GC would support PDF rulebooks.

questccg
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To be clear...

The Game Crafter allows for digital assets like a Rulebook or PNP content, etc. That is made available after a purchase. But when uploading content for pages of a rulebook or strategy guide... This is all JPEGs with the correct dimensions for bleed, margins and content.

So NO you cannot just upload a PDF and expect TGC to extract each page with the proper layout.

It would be much too complicated and could be prone to errors.

If you work with TGC, you'll know it's all graphic files (PNG or JPEG). And taking screenshots of Acrobat Reader at 200%+ is just as annoying as doing the same with MS Word.

larienna
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If I remember correctly, GIMP

If I remember correctly, GIMP can extract pages from PDF and save it in whatever image format you want.

pelle
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larienna wrote:If I remember

larienna wrote:
If I remember correctly, GIMP can extract pages from PDF and save it in whatever image format you want.

Yes, it can do that, but not sure if it is a very convenient way or if you manually have to export every individual page to get the JPEG/PNG files?

An easier way (although more work to figure out how to use) would be ImageMagick's convert tool.

I think using a tool like Scribus (or inDesign) makes sense, as this is precisely the type of thing desktop publishing applications are made for. I never took the time to learn how to use it though, so sticking to LaTeX or/and org-mode for now (although I have seen beautiful examples of documents created using LaTeX and it is definitely possible to go that route if you can figure out how to do that).

My ideal would be something like Scribus for laying out pages, but to keep all text in simple plain-text files to edit the rules, but I do not know how to set something like that up. It would probably work to use Scribus for making cards and similar components too, but I would want something like my extension for Inkscape for that, not relying on something like the data-merge in inDesign (I think Scribus has something similar).

larienna
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Latex is awesome for laying

Latex is awesome for laying out documents, until you have to do math formulas. The look will end up like a scientific article or a book.

Unfortunately, if you are restrained in number of pages and ifimage positioning is very important, Latex sucks.

ceethreepio
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+1 for Affinity programs.

+1 for Affinity programs. They are so good.

pelle
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larienna wrote:Latex is

larienna wrote:
Latex is awesome for laying out documents, until you have to do math formulas. The look will end up like a scientific article or a book.

Unfortunately, if you are restrained in number of pages and ifimage positioning is very important, Latex sucks.

I am pretty sure the image positioning ability is there, for those that know how to use them.

If I had the skills to create LaTeX styles like shown in this list: https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/1319/showcase-of-beautiful-typog... (in particular see the RPG rulebook) I would never use anything else for ruleboks. Well, I would use org-mode to type the actual rules and then export to LaTeX, but I would not bother with wasting time on WYSIWYG.

larienna
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Very impressive. I think it's

Very impressive. I think it's mostly a matter of using the right plugins. Sure, there is probably a way to create your own plug in. Not sure in what language they are made, but it is probably relatively complex.

One drawback of Latex is the need to go check if your modifications actually worked. A bit like computer programming, you compile your code and you check if it works.

When it's global layout, it's not so bad. When it's to check if accented character printed correctly, it's annoying, because you constantly need to reread your text.

pelle
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Oh, yes, LaTeX is a bit

Oh, yes, LaTeX is a bit annoying. I almost only use it by typing in some simpler mark-up language, like markdown or org-mode, and then export to PDF through LaTeX.

Saw that the guy behind that German RPG using LaTeX to lay out their books published the styles for free:
https://github.com/ludus-leonis/nipajin

Next time I need to create a PDF rulebook I will see how much work it would be to adopt one of their templates to LaTex-export from org-mode.

larienna
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Quote:Oh, yes, LaTeX is a bit

Quote:
Oh, yes, LaTeX is a bit annoying. I almost only use it by typing in some simpler mark-up language, like markdown or org-mode, and then export to PDF through LaTeX.

I never thought there were markdown to latex converter. That makes sense and it could be interesing and have less chance of bad markup as the idea of MD is to make the text version visually good.

Still if you need to do something with tight illustration placement and number of pages, it will not work.

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