Desktop publishing recommendations: iStudio???

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by GITANAJAVA, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. GITANAJAVA macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Location:
    Have ibrik, will travel.
    #1
    After reading a few reviews of iStudio and their website, I'm considering purchasing this new "intermediate grade" desktop publishing application (http://www.istudiopublisher.com/index.php/store/). I'll probably take it for the 30-day test spin first, but, before I do, I was curious to know if anyone here had adopted it already and had any comments/observations to share on their experience with it.

    Until I lost my hard drive (long story, don't want to go there), I was a heavy user of The Print Shop, Appleworks, and Pages. I like C:4 Group's concept for iStudio, posturing it as a midway point for users who need more than Pages, et al., but who don't want/need the cost, complexity and firepower of Quark or the Adobes.

    I've looked at Scribus and another open-source DTP, but didn't really care for either.

    Comments and recommendations? :confused:
     
  2. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #2
    I don't know much about iStudio. I did read trough the website and there are some nice features, but lack of language support (for now), so it is only usable for american english people. That's a big disavantage, if you ask me.

    As of color management etc., I didn't find any infos about that. How does it use the CMYK model? Are spot colors supported etc.?

    I would try the demo, before buying anything.

    I would also look at appz like iCalamus, Create (Stone Design), DesktopPublisher Pro, Swift Publisher.
     
  3. GITANAJAVA thread starter macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

    Joined:
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    #3
    Opeter: thank you for the links and your comments.

    Buried in iStudio's main text, they provide a link to their development concept and specifications -- http://www.istudiopublisher.com/index.php/support/developers/ -- and although they back up this statement, "A major distinguishing feature of the engine is its inherent multi-language capabilities" with necessary technical details, you are apparently correct that User Support and the GUI are available only in English.

    As for clues to colour management, iStudio/C:4 may have some reference to this in their video tutorials. Taken together, all of this leads to my principal complaint, "NOTE TO DEVELOPERS EVERYWHERE: don't make it so difficult for potential clients/users to find this information!!!!" A certain amount of text covering your design philosophy, fluffy marketing persuasion, and the names of your dogs is inevitable, but at some point, cut to the chase. ;)

    Has anyone out there some user-experience yet with iStudio?
     
  4. GITANAJAVA thread starter macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

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    #4
    Hello again, Opeter, et al.

    I wrote the developers of iStudio regarding the questions and issues we have discussed here, along with a link to this thread. Andy Carrott of C:4 Support says they will check into the thread early next week with some answers and follow up.

    Standing by for more info from them, and hopefully, details from any passing iStudio users. :D
     
  5. AndyCarrott macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Some of the existing professional publishing products are difficult to use, expensive, and have a steep learning curve. With iStudio Publisher we have set out to reverse these issues.

    The ethos behind iStudio Publisher is to make DTP available to a wide range of users by offering an intuitive interface, whilst at the same time providing sufficient functionality to create professional looking documents. One of our primary design goals for iStudio Publisher is to allow users to get started quickly.

    We see iStudio Publisher filling the gap in between the word processor applications and the high end applications. Our development is based on what users of iStudio products want and we encourage our users to provide feedback to help shape our future product development.

    We would definitely recommend that you try the iStudio Publisher 30-day trial before making a purchase. The trial gives you the same functionality as a fully licensed, purchased copy.

    Regarding your lost hard drive experience, from iStudio Publisher version 1.0.5 onwards (due soon) there will be a simple Relicense option that will allow you to recover your license after a hard drive replacement and without having to refer back to your original purchase email.

    We are planning to add user interface localization to later releases of iStudio Publisher version 1. With a localized user interface, all of the controls, dialogs, messages and Help pages will be localized to the user's chosen language / locale. It is likely that we will schedule the localization delivery in three stages:
    1. Western Europe;
    2. Eastern Europe; and
    3. Asia.
    We are also considering localization to Middle Eastern languages, as we've had a number of requests for this.

    Regarding the script and language handling capabilities of iStudio Publisher, in terms of the documents you are able to produce, here are three important considerations:

    1) Internal iStudio Publisher operation
    The iStudio Publisher application is completely Unicode in its internal handling of text codepoints. This means you can enter any Unicode codepoint and it will not be translated into any other encoding. The layout routines use Unicode analysis, line breaking and formatting rules. How you enter these codepoints into a document depends on your chosen input method. Some typical ones are:
    • via the keyboard - for example, if you have a keyboard that can generate CJK codepoints then these can be entered directly, or you can use key combinations if that is appropriate to your keyboard / locale;
    • via copy and paste of text, from another application; or
    • via the Edit -> Special Characters menu option.
    2) Glyph rendering
    Each Unicode codepoint entered into a document can only be rendered if it has an associated glyph in the chosen font. If you see rectangles, blocks or other strange characters, it means that the active font does not have the appropriate glyphs for the codepoints and a different font should be selected.

    3) Internal support for layout of non-Western and complex scripts
    The current version of iStudio Publisher does not expose support for non-Western and complex scripts to users, although the internals already handle them. When this support is added, users will be able to choose the language of each complete document, then override this on a per-paragraph basis. Support will encompass:
    • right-to-left scripts
    • bidirectional embedding
    • diacritic stacking
    • normalisation of codepoints, combining characters
    • grapheme clusters
    • contextual glyph substitution
    • spelling and hyphenation support
    Colour management is a complex subject, and one that we have been working on for some time. The most important issue from our perspective is to correctly gauge how much we make this visible in the application, bearing in mind the background of our typical users. This is quite tricky as we are attracting users with a very wide range of capabilities. We need to support users who do not care about (or understand) colour management, whilst at the same time provide sufficient coverage so that informed users can understand how we use colour in a typical workflow, and can get documents to print with predictable results.

    The next maintenance release of iStudio Publisher (version 1.0.5) will have improved colour support as outlined below.

    Version 1.0.4 handles images as follows:
    If you import an image that has an embedded colour profile, the profile will be preserved, will be used during display, and will be embedded in any created PDFs along with the image data. If the image has no associated profile it will be treated generically, and the results may be less predictable.

    Version 1.0.5 adds the following for internal colours:
    Wherever you specify colours within iStudio Publisher, such as for text, stroke, fill and shadow, you use Apple's Color Chooser (as is also currently the case). Some of the Chooser's colour pickers allow you to select the input colourspace, and this information is now preserved within our document structure. Associated colour profiles are embedded in iStudio document files, ensuring that colour definitions within the file are portable across platforms. Generated PDFs will also preserve this information.
    Previous versions of iStudio Publisher converted all colours to the Mac OS internal calibrated RGB, which was then saved in our file structure. For most people this will not have been a noticeable issue.

    There are certain things that we don't do, which comes back to the level of capability of a typical user. We don't allow you to assign profiles to images (you have to do that elsewhere before importing), and we don't support spot colours or Pantone colours, because of the cost of licensing the technology and the necessary complexity of the application's user interface. We don't want to scare people off who don't know what they are, or have no idea why they might need them. However, we may change our view on these issues if enough people request them, and we have had quite a few related support requests to date.

    iStudio Publisher includes an Application Update Roadmap, which lists the new features and other improvements that will be added through the future 1.x versions. You can open this Roadmap from the Help menu. We will be issuing an updated Roadmap with each new update release of iStudio Publisher.
     
  6. GITANAJAVA thread starter macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Location:
    Have ibrik, will travel.
    #6
    Andy, thanks for your thorough attention and answers to our questions and concerns; you even anticipated a couple questions I would have asked.

    Especially appreciate your details on the learning curve and the relicensing option. In a perfect world, one would never move, never travel, always keep one's originally purchased disks in a bank vault, keep hard copies of every registration email, and never ever have a crashed HD. The relicensing option you discuss is a stroke of genius that takes into account the cold realities of mobile computing, "portable jobs," and flawed men-&-machines :)

    One more question, with comment: A feature of The Print Shop that I used more than expected was its large library of templates and images (cards, calendars, sign-maker, banners, seals, borders, etc., etc.) one could use alone or in combo with other images and features for a broad variety of professional and personal projects. One "stock" library was included with the main application; if I needed more image options or more complex templates/graphics, they were available on a separate disc I could insert/remove as needed. Having an image library to kick-start my creative flow or to quickly throw together a small rush project was incredibly useful, even for someone like me who wants every design to have my unique style stamped on it. Is there a comparable feature or option to a "stock image library" included with iStudio?

    Let me know at your earliest convenience. I look forward to giving the 30-day trial version a test run!
     
  7. AndyCarrott macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    We're intending to provide comprehensive online document resources submitted by us and by our users - a library of documents that everyone can use. This will be instigated soon via our website, and will build into an online searchable database, with everything available as a free download. By getting users to contribute to this it will also help us find out how they use the application and how we can improve it.

    The subject matter will cover a wide range of document types such as reports, business cards, cd covers, labels, education-related materials, manuscript paper, graph paper, flyers and posters. Users should always be able to find something close to what they want.

    We still need to decide about clipart. We may choose to commission/license and supply a clipart library with the application. It is also likely that we will provide a recommended list of online sources of clipart, including free of charge clipart.
     
  8. GITANAJAVA thread starter macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Location:
    Have ibrik, will travel.
    #8
    :cool: Andy, rockin' idea, the collaborative approach: a good traffic driver, an ego-stoker for us creatives, and a stimulating kick-start. I hope you do add the clipart library, especially if it's a clipart house along the lines of Dover -- a wide variance of styles, periods, and artists. Despite having access to ten or so stock image galleries and clipart resources, my visits to Dover's "Friday Freebies" have generated some of my most rewarding designs.

    Thanks again for following this thread! :D

    TO ALL: if you've purchased iStudio or downloaded the trial version, you are invited to share your experiences with the 250+ folks following this thread. Ta!
     

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