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Author Topic: Magazine creator  (Read 1250 times)

kilele

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Magazine creator
« on: December 31, 2015, 04:47:22 AM »
Hi
Is there any software to make magazines automatically out of text files? I was thinking of those rss readers that beautify the format to make it more readable. Does exist something like that to make magazines easily? Say you have a txt,doc file with a bunch of text and images more or less formatted. It would be nice an application to take that mess and make a readable thing.

tomos

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 06:52:55 AM »
I'm not fully clear on the question --
for starters: what you want to do with the end result?

Layout/design -- you can do a share of this in a doc file, but it does take work, e.g. double-column is a lot more readable. Add a nice font, headers, footers -- but that's looking more like a book then than a magazine. Magazine probably needs proper layout software, and lots of work -- even then it needs talent, and experience. So I suspect the answer is no, but I might be wrong ;-)
Tom

Curt

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 09:13:58 AM »
I don't know, but Liquid StoryBinder XE can do almost everything else, so why not this as well... It is however not updated any more.

40hz

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 03:28:28 PM »
Virtually any professional desktop publishing package could do that with the judicious use of formatting tags and templates. That's how most commercial magazines do get assembled. But in order to automate the formatting, you'd need to understand a bit about layout, typography, template creation - and how your specific publishing software works - and keep that all in mind when creating your source text and graphic files - or it won't happen smoothly.

Publishing software can do amazing things. But it can't read your mind or make judgement calls. As with as any other program you're running, the adage about "Garbage In = Garbage Out" is especially true when it comes to this type of application. So you'll need to meet it half way, and spoon feed it your source materials in the way it expects to see them, or it's all to no avail. And that usually means there's NO formatting or pretty anything done to the source text. All the stylistic elements and formatting needs to be handled by the publishing package, NOT the word processing or other text creation software.

Which I guess is a long way of saying that it's doable - but there's nothing out there AFAIK that will handle it completely automatically unless you did some preplanning and set up your original materials to be used in that fashion.

Luck!

Addendum: You might want to experiment with some free "book creation" software like Sigil to see if that will work for your purposes. Many successful magazines publish using the EPUB format rather than paper. You can find out more about it here.

If you're looking to also publish to paper, you'd probably be better off going with something like Adobe InDesign.

If you have some time and want to see how the process works in InDesign using a professionally designed template, you can watch the whole thing in this video:



As you might notice, there's a lot of things and terminology you'll need to familiarize yourself with in order to work efficiently with this sort of software.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 03:47:43 PM by 40hz »

kilele

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 11:08:09 AM »
Cheers! I'll check out your recommendations. Basically I was reading this magazine in pdf format:
https://drive.google...Q1E/view?usp=sharing
And found it difficult to read due to the choice of colors in some of the backgrounds and text fonts. I thought there would be some software out there that took this and made it more readable by changing a bit colors, font sizes, relocate articles positions,etc

40hz

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 11:38:11 AM »
Cheers! I'll check out your recommendations. Basically I was reading this magazine in pdf format:
https://drive.google...Q1E/view?usp=sharing
And found it difficult to read due to the choice of colors in some of the backgrounds and text fonts. I thought there would be some software out there that took this and made it more readable by changing a bit colors, font sizes, relocate articles positions,etc



I took a look and all I can say is: Ouch!

FWIW, that sort of thing is fairly common when somebody with little graphic design experience gets turned loose on an epub magazine or newsletter. Indeed, some design professionals are guilty of that as well because (not being readers themselves) they tend to see text as just another graphic element in a layout rather than as something intended to be read.

Good luck! :Thmbsup:

kilele

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 01:22:06 PM »
I took a look and all I can say is: Ouch!
Yes it's quite awful ;)
Maybe I can suggest these guys a few easy to use programs.
So far what I've found is the free version of Serif Pageplus which seems easy and may suffice for their needs.
http://www.serif.com...publishing-software/
Also the web service Madmagz: https://madmagz.com
looks good and offers a printing service which they may find useful. The web version seems to be free at the moment.

tomos

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 03:18:17 PM »
Agreed: ouch!!

(Still not sure are you looking for some method of modifying other peoples work, or some way for them to get a better end result.)

I have no training in this field but can say: the minimum that needs to be changed is --

  • obviously the background colours used :-/
  • make space between columns a little wider
  • text needs to be 'justified'
  • more paragraphs in text with slightly wider spacing between lines after paragraph

In my opinion, it would be very passable (for what it is) if those changes were made.
Tom

kilele

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Re: Magazine creator
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 03:55:30 PM »
Nice tips, Tom. I'll pass them along to the authors of the zine.

Well I meant a program to improve presentation and readibility of any document in general. Maybe the software could detect possible issues and ask the user about actions to be performed.