Under review

Boxshot 5.2.2 beta feedback

Vitaly Ovchinnikov 3 months ago updated 2 months ago 12

Boxshot 5.2.2 is here. Let's discuss the new hardcover books :)

Dragging a pdf spread of the cover onto the book doesn’ṭ work. I have to drag it three times and crop each time. This is a shame. Then I can’t resize automatically. This does work for the dustjacket though :-) I miss the smart scaling of the old version.

There should be a value for the width of the flaps. (This was available on the old book.) Or even better smart scaling. I would like to see the following workflow:

  1. drag the spread of the cover. Smart scale to fit cover.
  2. drag the spread of the dustjacket. Its should then know the flap width automatically and do it correctly based on the smart scale of the cover.

It would be nice to see an option to add a bookmark or two to the hardback book (see photograph below)

I changed the headband to something more traditional by add an image of a headband, but it’s really hard to see. The various lighting make it almost invisible. Also the position isn’t quite right. You might have to add some materials for this to work well.

this was the image I used for the headband. I have a feeling that you don’t realise what the headband actually is.


Traditionally it had another purpose in terms of the binding process, but today it’s literally glued on to the top of the book to look pretty!

Here is a real book with a basic headband and two book marks. Note the vertical position of the headband. Also note how the cover is taller than the book block.

I didn’t see an option to configure the amount of extra space between the cover and the book block. In a hardback book, the cover is usually an extra 5mm on top, bottom and the outside. So if a book block is 22cm×15cm, then the cover will be 23cm high and 15.5cm wide. Each printer will have slightly different settings (I think 5mm is the most) depending on their equipment.

In the manual shape option, it would be nice if it was possible to select two points and drag them at the same time. Let’s say I want the curvature of the spine to be more (or less), it’s hard to select one point at a time and get it right. Although honestly, simply having the flat spine vs rounded spine option like before is probably more than enough customisation.

That’s all for now :-)

Under review

Thanks for the detailed feedback, appreciated. Let me briefly run through your points and comment some of them.

First of all, yes, you can't apply a full cover to the book and have it adjusted to that size automatically. Smart scaling in old shapes has nothing with it, it was a completely different feature. The thing is that Boxshot can't find out which part of the full cover is spine and how much is left for front and back. By providing three separate images you tell Boxshot all the dimensions you need to resize the book. Yes, you need to apply the full cover to each three sides and then define which part to use using "Crop texture" button. Then you can click "Fit to images" and have the book resized to fit. I understand that you may want an easier way to do the same and we'll maybe offer a tool for that, but keep three panels separate. Otherwise you will have to define thickness manually which you probably won't like, as well.

As for bookmarks, there must be a feature request here in the forum, please feel free to upvote it. So far it looks too complex because of the variety of the bookmarks' shapes. A better option would be to add it as a separate object and move the pages in manual mode to make a space for it. It may sound like an extra work, but there are plenty of different bookmark types and we hardly can embed them all.

You can control the headband in manual mode and if it is not visible, it is most likely not configured properly. Feel free to share the project, so I can have a look. As for the bookmark texture, this is probably missed, we'll check it out.

The difference between the page block and cover currently depends on the cover edge radius. The idea was to compute it automatically, but maybe we'll need to add a separate option for that. Try editing the cover thickness and edge radius and let me know if you can do the distance you need using these parameters.

Multiple selection in book editor could be added a little bit later, once we sort out the books. So far we need to focus on the core features, but please feel free to post this as an idea here.

regarding full spread, then how about simply defining the value of the front cover or the spine. I know my cover is for a 23×15½ book so let me just type that in. Then the software can work out the spine.

In fact, maybe it’s smarter to start off like that. I type in 23×15½, then you know the book block should be 22×15, the spine will be whatever it is based on the image etc.

The problem with the crop each time is that I have to zoom out loads first and then it’s quite hard to measure using the UI. Seems like it would be easier to simply enter the values. 

regarding bookmarks, okay, however, there is only one kind of bookmark in the book world. It’s a ribbon. Never seen anything but a ribbon in the several decades I have been in the industry. Not the most important feature however.

The edge radius doesn’t allow more than 3mm although I don’t actually know what an “edge radius” is. 

Either way, 4–5mm difference is standard. In your book it looks like it’s maybe 1mm…

I got your points about the full cover and pages-to-cover gap, thank you. Will see what we can do there.

As for the dust jacket, the initial idea was to use flaps width, as it's been done in old books. However, this way it depends on the book width or thickness. Say if you change the book width, the flaps width need to be adjusted to match. Right now we simply take the dimensions of the dust jacket image and use its width as the "dust jacket width" parameter - simple. As long as you have the image, you don't need to think about the flaps width at all - it is done automatically for you. Do you think the flaps width option would be more convenient? Could you clarify?

I don’t understand. You are able to work out the width of the flaps for the dust jacket automatically, but you can’t work out the width of the cover automatically? I am somewhat confused as to what the software can and can’t do. For the old-style books you were able to work out the width of the cover automatically, but not the new one.

Maybe it would help if I were to explain how I personally use the software. The cover designer knows the dimensions of the book (the spine width they will get from the printer) so that they can create the cover artwork (as a spread) for the client. They will know also know from the printer what size flaps the printer can print (the printer that my designer uses does 7cm).

Then I will get 2 pdfs from the designer – the cover pdf and the dustjacket pdf. I have uploaded an example of a series of 45 books that I need to generate 3D images from: https://we.tl/t-GKHGcF7tkt

Right now in the new version of the software, creating a 3D image from these 2 images is very time-consuming. I don’t mind working out the width of the spine and putting in a value or putting in the size of the cover as dimensions and then putting in the block-to-cover gap, but right now, it takes quite a long time to set this up. In fact, honestly, I wouldn’t even use the new book feature and continue with the old one – it’s just too slow (unless I’m missing something – which is more than possible!)

You got it pretty much right. It is easy to compute the dust jacket flaps once you get the book dimensions. That's what Boxshot does at the moment. As for the book dimensions, you need to get both width, height and thickness from the artwork which is easy when you get three separate images and impossible when you have a full-cover wrap. As long as you are fine to enter the width manually, we can compute the spine from there and then the dust jacket flaps. The problem is only with the book cover, not dust jacket.

So far we have two options in mind:

- "full cover" checkbox, like in the old version of the book. This way Boxshot cannot automatically adjust the book and you need to enter either width or thickness manually. As you mentioned that width is the main dimension, we could use it;

- cover splitting wizard - everything is left as is, but we add an "i have a full cover" button with a popup window where you can load a full-cover image and provide, say, cover width. Then you click OK, Boxshot computes the image parts for front, spine and back and applies them for you, effectively doing that you currently have to do manually.

I am not yet sure which one we'll implement, but it seems that either of them should simplify your workflow.

Also, it would be nice to hear your opinion on artwork wrapping on cover edges. If we have say 5mm gap between the cover and pages, we have to wrap more artwork inside the cover. 5mm inside plus 2-3mm of the cover edge give us 7-8mm of artwork on each side, or 1.5cm of artwork on both top and bottom of the cover. This amount of artwork is being wrapped and effectively cut out of the front/back panels. At the moment Boxshot stretches the last 1-3mm of the artwork onto the inner part of the cover to make sure that the artwork height matches the book height, but maybe we should add an option for that? It is not a problem on some covers (like the ones you attached), but may be important for others. What do you think?

regarding the 2 options, I vote for 1 :-) and yes that would simplify.

Regarding the 5mm edge, you are of course talking about a printed cover (the example I sent you was rubbish for that, sorry).

This indeed is an excellent point and one that I didn’t think of! So normally the designer would send a file like this to the printer https://we.tl/t-OL7hY4bl1f which means there is enough “bleed” however, this brings us back to the problem of defining the size of the cover which is why I think when you drag the cover over onto the book, (not the dustjacket which is indeed simpler), we have to specify the size of the cover, the spine (as values). I don’t know whether Boxshot is able to read the crop values of a pdf and this doesn’t solve the issue of what happens if the cover is a jpg.

It maybe that option 2 is better in that regard for sorting this issue out because there are different options. 

Sometimes the designer will want a quick mockup in Boxshot without the bleed in which case you would have to stretch the artwork for it to look good.

Sorry that I am creating more problems than solving!

I just tried to render out a 16000 x 16000 size file in PSD format and the resultant files are corrupted. When trying to open the file I get "Could not open “Lemon_Cream.psd” because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered." The file is also only 4kb in size. I reduced the dimensions dramatically and it worked just fine so there must be some limit to the size of a generatable PSD??


Looks like a bug, we'll have a look into it. Meanwhile, consider saving to EXR which gives the same color depth and confirmed working fine at the resolution you mentioned.

PSD format has a size limitation of 2Gb. You can get a similar error by making a large file directly in Photoshop and trying to save it. Just make sure you set the color depth to 32 bits as Boxshot does.

We addressed this in version 5.2.3 and Boxshot is now displaying an error message if the file is too big. The workaround is to use EXR format for export. We'll consider adding PSB format support in the near future, it supports higher resolutions and file sizes.

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