How do I print a booklet from raw image files?
August 27, 2007 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of a (Windows or Linux) program to print a comic/booklet from JPG files?

I have a set of JPG files which I want to print in booklet style. Each file represents a page. I would need a program that can take raw image files as input and will intelligently do the layout and printing of the images in such a way that I can simply fold the pages in half and staple them to obtain a booklet.

I know of mapagi on linux, which seems nice. Unfortunately I have found out that it only supports A4 paper format and resizes the image files in such a way that they completely lose their readability.

FWIW the original image files are 1600x2100 @ 300 dpi and print perfectly fine with normal printing programs. It's the layout and pagination that's not so fun.
posted by splice to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Flipbook printer?
posted by sharkfu at 8:52 AM on August 27, 2007

Do you have Quark or Indesign or Photoshop? You can do it by hand, if you want.

Basically: you put the first and last pages together, then the second-to-first, and second-to-last pages, and so on. When you put them together, however, they face the same direction, but each pair of pages switches direction:
[rightside up pN]  [upside down p(N-1)] [rightside up p(N-2)]  [upside down p(N-3)]
[rightside up p1]  [upside down p2]     [rightside up p3]      [upside down p4]
Then, you print the first pair and the second pair double-sided, along the long side. Stack all N/4 sheets, fold, staple thrice in the middle. There's your booklet.

It sounds complicated, but try it with small pieces of paper, and you'll understand what I mean. It's fairly easy to do it manually. This is called 'printer spreads' (versus 'reader spreads'), if you want to google for programs.
posted by suedehead at 9:07 AM on August 27, 2007

Response by poster: suedehead, I understand perfectly how to do my own layout. I specifically requested a program for that very reason. I don't have hours upon hours to paginate hundreds of files together by hand.

sharkfu, did you read the question? A flipbook is in no way what I am looking for, not to mention that the program takes an AVI file as input, not JPG files.

To all: I know perfectly well how to make my own booklet by hand by resizing, , positioning, printing, flipping pages over, etc, etc, etc. I want a program to do that automatically for me, taking JPG files as an input. I even linked to a program that does exactly what I want, but requires me to use a certain paper size and mangles image files beyond readability. Find me the same thing without those two "features" and I'll be immensely happy.
posted by splice at 9:22 AM on August 27, 2007

mapagi is open source, so it's tempting to take a look and see if there's a simple modification that changes the page orientation. I assume that the orientation is the cause of the image mangling.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:38 AM on August 27, 2007

Looking at the source, it seems fairly straight-forward. I don't understand exactly what "in folio" is. Are the pages folded longways and you want the opposite?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:46 AM on August 27, 2007

Best answer: If you have some programming knowledge, you can use the netpbm package to do this; it includes programs that can rotate, resize, flip, and stick images together, and with a small script you could probably accomplish just what you want.
posted by pocams at 9:48 AM on August 27, 2007

Response by poster: I assume that the orientation is the cause of the image mangling.

No, actually, the program resizes the images using an algorithm that is far from lossless. My great quality files become muddy blurred unreadable files. Orientation is fine however.

Basically, it should print pages such that I could stack them all together, staple in the center of the page, and fold them in half. This would result in a comic-book style binding. This means that the cover is printed at the right of a sheet while the last page is on the left, inside cover is on the other side opposite the inside back cover, etc.

pocams, thanks for the suggestion. Not as automated as I would like but I may be able to get it to stitch the appropriate files together and then print them manually. Still, it feels like there should be a program out there that does what I want. In fact, there is, but the only one I found is sadly not very functional.
posted by splice at 10:01 AM on August 27, 2007

psnup may do this - haven't checked the details (it won't convert from jpeg, though - you'd have to do that separately, but it should be easier to automate than the whole layout thing).
posted by andrew cooke at 10:14 AM on August 27, 2007

splice, whoops, apologies if I misunderstood and was too condescending.
posted by suedehead at 1:04 PM on August 27, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry, been a bad day and I'm a bit short with everyone it seems. Thanks for the suggestions. Seems like netpbm is it for now, I'll just have to be careful when printing out the files.
posted by splice at 2:24 PM on August 27, 2007

splice - FinePrint for Windows takes paginated files and prints them as fold-n-staple booklet output in the way you've described. But I believe you'd have to feed it a single master document -- a multi-page .tiff, or something.

It acts as a printer driver, so you just direct a print job to it and define your booklet settings. I know you really want to point something at a collection of JPGs, but maybe the interim step of creating a printable master document wouldn't be so bad...?
posted by Tubes at 4:41 PM on August 27, 2007

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