Create a full-bleed spread across 2 pages

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I am Bryan Burkhart, Creative Director at Blurb. As we continue to develop BookSmart and the book templates within, we discover some smart workarounds along the way … via a couple screen grabs, I will show you how to create a two page image spread with one image.

I have successfully created two page full bleed image spreads in the following way:

1.Choose the full-bleed page layout from the templates for the left page and for the right hand page (see below).

2fullbleed pages Create a full bleed spread across 2 pages
2. Drag your image from your picture library into the left-hand page, and again, drag the same image into the right-hand page.

3. Line them up so the ‘seam’ or the book gutter has the image lining up correctly. This will involve using the ‘zoom tool’ (located just above your book spread, it appears when you click and highlight your image on the page). If you need to zoom: enlarge the image to get the image to span the two pages; move your image on each page until you are happy with how it lines up in the center. You want to make sure you don’t put the important part of the image in the gutter (in this case, the guy with the red hat).

one image 2 pages Create a full bleed spread across 2 pages
This is the simplest way and I recommend playing around with it as it works really well with certain images.

If anyone else has any interesting workarounds or tips, let us know in the Forums!

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  1. Why not use an image-editing program (like Photoshop) and resize the image to 6000 pixels wide (2 x 10″ x 300DPI) and then cut it in half, saving each half. Put one in the left page box with align top left, and the other in the right page box with align top right.

    The rest is just theory….

    But both of these methods will result in some of the image being lost in the glue in the gutter. So I would resize to maybe 5900 pixels wide, then select 3000 pixels from the left side and save that to a file, then select 3000 pixels from the right side and save it to a file. Then place those images in the appropriate boxes as I mentioned above.

    What this will do is repeat a 100-pixel strip down the center of the two pages. Since a bit of this strip will never be visible due to gluing this should allow a better line-up in the center of the image.

    Again, this is theory. It seems instinctive to me, but I have not tried it. Also, maybe 100 pixels, maybe 150 pixels… It would take some trial and error.

    By Scottes
      November 16, 2006 – 4:05 pm   Permalink
  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Scottes. A lot of people don’t have Photoshop or image-editing software, but for those who do and give this tip a try, please let us know how it goes. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      November 16, 2006 – 5:01 pm   Permalink
  3. yeah.. I would certainly do this. Who doesn’t have access to image editing software but is trying to complete a photo book with 2 page full bleed images? The Gimp can do this for free.. I like Scottes mehtod rather than trying to line the images up by sight..

    By george
      November 18, 2006 – 1:30 pm   Permalink
  4. I have used Scottes’ approach and it seems to work in the BookSmart software but I have not printed my book yet so cannot say for certain if it leaves a gap down the center or not. Is it necessary to overlap the image past the gutter on the binding edge? Up until now I have been using a photoshop canvas of 2888×2475, resizing the image to be 5176 pixels wide and cutting it in half. Then, I can use the ‘align left and top’ and ‘align right and bottom’ buttons to line up the images perfectly. My understanding from the website is that there is no trimming on the binding edge and no overlap is required, but from Bryan’s blog post it would seem to be necessary. Can someone at Blurb clear this up? Thanks.

      November 19, 2006 – 8:46 am   Permalink
  5. George, thanks for The Gimp recommedation. Good idea.

    By Kathy
      November 20, 2006 – 10:55 am   Permalink
  6. David, thanks for the comment on trim. As luck would have it, we are just about to add a new FAQ on trim. Here’s the new FAQ in all its glory and before it’s added to the FAQ section:

    How close to the page edge can I add content?

    We recommend that you keep important content at least 1/8-inch away from all sides of each page. If you go beyond the 1/8-safety margin, which is our trim cutoff, you do so at your own risk. It’s your responsibility to make sure text and images that aren’t supposed to bleed are well within this cutoff. If you are unsure how close you are getting, print out a proof copy from your personal printer to see how it looks. Blurb won’t accept reprints based on content that is cutoff the printed page.

    By Kathy
      November 21, 2006 – 12:07 pm   Permalink
  7. Hi Kathy

    Thanks for the reply and updated FAQ. Perhaps you would consider also explaining how trimming affects a full-bleed image used on the cover of the book – presumably only 3 sides are trimmed?

      November 21, 2006 – 1:14 pm   Permalink
  8. Whoa!! I think Scotte’s method is a mistake. remember the typical gutter on a book can be as deep as a half inch in the seam… if you cut the photo in half…then there’s no room for play when they stitch the book up.

    There’s no bookmaker who can hit each page precisely on the line…so blurb software– i’m sure must use the outer ranges of your photos to make the bleed. so better to put the same photo in each page and line them up by sight the way the guy from blurb suggested…that way there’s picture slopping over beyond the border of what you’re seeing in their software to cover the full bleed.

    Scottee’s method means you’re going to lose image at the seam.

    By Patrick
      November 22, 2006 – 12:18 pm   Permalink
  9. Scotte’s method is not a mistake, it’s the proper way to do it for someone who knows how to crop an image in an editor. What Blurb should do is run a test book with various gutter overlap, perhaps 100-150 pixels as Scotte guessed, or perhaps 0.125″ or so. Just test it and print it.

    Why make everyone go out there and test it themselves? Just print a table of what overlap should be used for different book thickness, like 40pg, 100pg, 200pg etc.

    Maybe they just want us to all go print test books to drive up volume? :-) Seriously though, why go through the trouble of setting up this blog, and then take the “tell me how it goes” approach to a possible solution that could save everyone time and money?

    By Chris
      November 26, 2006 – 1:56 pm   Permalink
  10. Chris, thanks for the suggestion. We can’t possibly test all the great ideas out there, but the ones that make the most sense might eventually end up in our FAQs one day. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      November 27, 2006 – 11:51 am   Permalink
  11. More on this topic. Blurb books, printed digitally and on demand, have the same bleed and gutter trim whether your book is 40 pages or 400. Only when a book or magazine is printed the traditional, offset way, is it necessary to adjust gutter trim for bleed.

    By Kathy
      December 5, 2006 – 3:18 pm   Permalink
  12. So did anyone ever find out if the Scottes method worked too? I am going to be producing a yearbook for my homeschool group and would like to know before hand how to go about this.

    I am a digital scrapbooker using PSP to do my pages so I will be wanted to use full-bleed option.

    By Dalynn
      April 21, 2007 – 11:56 am   Permalink
  13. I sent a support question in yesterday asking this same question. My answer back was a referral back to this very same blog that asks the question! And I had already read this! Clearly there has to be overlap to account for the gutter. And it would seem that Blurb could come up with an answer to this? My guestimate would be 1/4 inch lost on each page for a total of 1/2 inch. But at this point that’s just a guess!

    By Karen
      July 5, 2007 – 2:29 pm   Permalink
  14. I have to agree with Chris and Karen. This is a very important question for people who like to be accurate and precise in their layouts. Blurb could easily answer this question by doing a very quick experiment as outlined by Chris. Assuming Kathy is a Blurb employee, does she have the authority to do this? Can she go to her supervisor to get it done? Whether printed by offset or not, because the binding of the book does not open flat, a portion of each page will be “sucked in” to the spine of the book. That sucked in portion needs to be the same on each page, a duplication, so that the remaining visible portions of the two pages seem to flow smoothly into one another. We’re not asking about gutter trim exactly, we’re asking about gutter overlap. This depends mostly on the style of binding and the thickness of the paper, and to a smaller extent, the thickness of the book, and arguably, the page position in the book. This problem is handled nicely by one of your competitors, by having a few actual “Picture Layout” selections that span two pages (called by them a “1-up spread”). The next BookSmart update may have that option, but you could sell more books now, if you would find out the answer to our question. I can’t print my book until you do. Thanks.

    By Scott
      July 29, 2007 – 7:13 pm   Permalink
  15. For books I have designed using BookSmart with 2-page image spreads, I usually factor in 1/16 inch image loss (image bound into the gutter) per page. This has worked fine for my books I have in front of me. Yes, there is very subtle differences between a 40 page book and a 200 page book regarding image loss. But for me, 1/16 of an inch gives me what I’m looking for in a two page spread.

    Some people also find the type of image optically plays into it. For instance, if you have a photo of a desert landscape with strong horizontal lines, the image loss will not ‘feel’ as large as an image that has strong vertical lines such as a photo of a side of a tall building for instance.

    You are correct about not trimming the gutter edge of any page / image you see in booksmart in preview or edit mode. When you have a single image spanning two pages (each page is a separate image container, we do not have image containers that cross the gutter area) what you see is not trimmed off on the gutter edge.

    I do recommend ordering one book prior (as a proof) to a large order to test these kind of details out first hand and make any necessary adjustments, I hope sharing what has worked for me, works for you. Thanks.

      July 29, 2007 – 9:14 pm   Permalink
  16. Thank you, Bryan. That’s exactly what I needed to know. I’ll be realigning my spreads and ordering my proof book within the next 2 days.

    By Scott
      August 1, 2007 – 12:53 am   Permalink
  17. What about this: I am trying to create a two-page full bleed spread. My original document in Photoshop is 14.64″ x 7.32″. I layout my page without worrying about any thing getting cut off except 1/8″ in the gutter area. I then cut the image in half and drag those into the blurb layouts as two seperate pages. What do you think?

      August 2, 2007 – 12:19 pm   Permalink
  18. We\\\’ve moved this discussion over to the Forums – – so that everyone can participate in this dialog.

    By Kathy
      August 3, 2007 – 10:38 am   Permalink