Using Scribus to re-produce the ‘Palindrome’ artwork – Part I

As everyone knows, I am a great proponent of open source software and wherever possible I use it for whatever I need to do on a computer. Now, one thing particularly thin on the ground is DTP software. The only one I know of is Scribus. I have been using it for a while and it is very good but up until version 1.3.5.1, it wasn’t able to handle bleeds and printer marks etc. All these things are essential for professional output that can be used by a print house.

Anyway, when it came to re-releasing our Palindrome CD, I was gob-smacked to note that I had no high-res PDF outputs!!!! This meant I would have to re-generate the files. Only one problem. The original files were in Quark and InDesign. I still have Quark v5, so that was no problem. However, I no longer have Acrobat Distiller so I could not generate the PDFs from Quark without splashing the cash.

So, welcome home Scribus.

I created a new page of the correct dimensions for a booklet spread, setting the bleed to 3mm. Once in the page, I then added the required guides. After that, I added three more pages of this size to give me an 8 page booklet. I then added another page and guides for the Tray Liner and a final page for the on-body artwork. So, I now had a complete layout spread, properly paginated, for an eight page CD Booklet. I then saved it as a template for future use then re-saved it as ESCD 13 Palindrome Artwork.sla

At this point, I created a new layer called ‘Images’ and added an image frame to pages 1 + 8. I then imported a high-res tiff of the artwork. I aligned it to the correct guides and did the same for the remaining pages. So, after locking down the layers, I now I had all the actual artwork in place. All the above was ultra easy, intuitive and quick. And the usability was fabulous – definitely the equal of Quark and InDesign. Now we come to adding the text – probably the most difficult part.

For each page that had text, I created a text frame and pasted in the text from the open Quark document. After right clicking the frame, I was able to quickly alter the font, size etc using the properties tool box. All very easy. I altered the line-spacing, frame angle and so forth as required. All so easy and all so quick. Within 30 minutes, I had all my text in place and everything was looking identical to the original versions.

Next comes the PDF export …….. read all about it in Part II

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