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Publishing at the Speed of Light

There are moments when certain developments challenge your long-cherished beliefs about the business you are in. These developments pose questions that make you wonder if you were wrong to begin with, about the assumptions you made about your business, its core values, and about the customers you hoped you would attract. One such development came in the form of a series of emails we received through our website query form. These visitors to our website knew about other service providers that provided self-published books almost instantaneously (within a matter of minutes!!) and wondered how we were okay not offering our customers similar turnaround times.

Our company, CinnamonTeal Design and Publishing, called CinnamonTeal Print and Publishing at its launch in 2007, was the first in India to provide self-publishing services. Within a few months of launching our services, we were contacted by the US-based self-publishing house, AuthorHouse. They wanted to know if we would extend their DIY publishing service to our customers in India, in return for a fee (the exact terms of the contract are now hazy). We jumped at the idea and they were gracious enough to help us with the design and development of the required tools. But a few months into this relationship we saw why this might not work for us.

For our ideal customer, we had in mind an author who was sure of her craft, yet hesitant to discard the established best practices of publishing. She wasn’t cocky; while she knew she could write well, she didn’t hesitate to ask for editing help, nor did she cut corners with the process a good book should entail. This author knew that publishing is hard work, that getting a book out there and giving the buyer, a reader who would spend time and money on her book, their money’s worth, involved a lot of effort. So, for this author, jumping the line wasn’t an option. For her, it did not matter how fast her book got to market, rather that her book should be as ready and complete as possible. This was the author we had in mind, and wanted to assist.

DIY publishing would therefore not work for such an author. DIY publishing processes are rather suited for authors who wish to seek no help in perfecting their manuscript, who see no value in an editor who will polish their manuscripts for the better. DIY authors are in a rush to get to market – a template-driven approach, where off-the-shelf products are used to make do, works best for them. Undoubtedly, such authors have their place in the spectrum of writers, they were just not authors we wanted to work with.

So when authors now come and ask us whether we will turn around in 30 minutes or less, we really don’t know how to answer them. Because our gut and our years of experience (11 now) tell us that books are not made that way. That every book is unique and that, therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for a book that must be produced exquisitely. That every book must be edited, more times than one, or at least once, thoroughly. That the cover, spine and back cover are important elements of the book, elements that the author must pay a lot of attention to. That an author must be passionate about her book and take every step to ensure that the book is widely marketed among its readership, and put in place a process that makes the book accessible to those who wish to buy it. That an author must ‘own’ the book as much, if not more, than its publisher.

For now, we will continue to seek that author who believes in perfecting her art of writing, even if she is a dwindling tribe. And work with her to provide another beautiful book. For the rest there seem to be enough providers in the market, who will “turn around” faster than you can say the two words.

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WordPress – Optimizing Images

Images can slow down your WordPress website !!

It is said that Images capture time. But the irony is that the users are too impatient to wait for the entire page to load which leads to increase in the bounce rate.

Worry not. Optimizing images helps you by keeping the file size to minimum whilst maintaining the quality.Lighter the file size faster is the page load.

Let me guide you to set up a basic plugin to improve your website pageload instantly.

Requirements :

Plugin : reSmush.it

After installing and activating this plugin, we are ready to optimize.

1. Where is the Plugin ?

  • On the WordPress dashboard go to ‘Media‘.
  • Under its sub menu you will find reSmush.it

images optimize 1

2. Plugin dashboard

The dashboard informs the user about the status of the pictures present on the website.

3. Changing the Settings

Change the settings accordingly to your needs.

Note: The quality factor value that website owner wants will differ because it depends on how important the pictures .

  • Usually the default value set by the plugin is set to ‘92′ because it shows some reduction in size without any problem.
  • Keep the quality factor between ‘65 to 75′ range because human eyes cannot make out the difference.
  • Check the box for ‘Optimize on upload‘ because enabling this optimizes the pictures at upload automatically.
  • Also check the box for ‘Enable statistics‘ because this informs the administrator about his uploads.
  • Check the box for ‘Enable logs‘ because this is for all the developers who prefer getting detailed information about optimization.
  • Then click on ‘Save Changes‘ after the changes are made.

 

images optimize 3

4. Optimizing Images

  • Click on the button ‘Optimise all pictures‘.click-optimize
  • After submitting it will start analyzing because it scans all the media files.

waiting

  • After analyzing it will displays progress bar as shown below

progress-bar

  • It will display the following message once it is successfully completely.

congrats

5. Statistics

  • Before optimizing you will be getting this information :

no-stats

  • After optimizing, the report will say something like the image below :

final-statistics

Note : The statistics will vary according to the amount of pictures present on the website.

Want to obtain your Google Tracking Id for your website ? Read our article on WordPress – Obtaining Google Analytics Tracking ID.

Having problems migrating on WordPress? read our article to know more WordPress Guide: Migrating website content.

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WordPress – Obtaining Google Analytics Tracking ID

Why should I use Google Analytics ?

Google Analytics is a tool for the website owners to understand how their website is behaving out there in the actual world. This scans all the standard parameters of the website and reports back the status.

If you want to improve your website, stick around this tutorial as I help you setup this feature for your WordPress site.

Requirements :

So let us get started now.

Step 1 : Login

  • Go to Login.
  • Select your Gmail account and Sign in.

Analytics 1

Step 2 : Creating an New Account

  • Select the ‘ADMIN‘ from the left hand side panel.

Analytics admin 2

  • Now click on ‘Create Account‘ button.
  • You will get the following form to be filled.

Analytics dets 3

  • Enter all the correct details and then click on ‘Get tracking ID‘ button.
  • It will display the Service agreement form as shown below.Please read the terms thoroughly.

Analytics agreement 4

  • After reading and checking both the boxes, click on ‘I Accept‘ button.
  • If the process is successful, you will get the following page.

Analytics id 5-edited2

  • There you have the Tracking code.
  • Copy this code.
  • Open the plugin and paste as shown below.

Analytics pasting 6-edited

That’s it. Now you can use this in any SEO plugin that requires the Tracking ID.After that login here  and start monitoring.

Want to publicize your WordPress Activities automatically to your social media? then read this Sharing your activities on Social Media.

Explore the 8 New Interactive Features Ebook can do.

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Tutorial – Illustration using Mouse in Krita

Illustration without using a pen tablet ?

Illustrations in Krita using the mouse is pretty much every beginners dilemma, as most don’t have access to pen tablets. To overcome this problem, we will now learn how to ink and color our sketches using just the mouse.

Note : You can use your own scanned drawing or follow along the with sketch I have already created.

Requirements :

Time : 3 hours including sketching time.

Art : Scanned illustration to be inked.

Skill level: Beginner.

illustration 1

Line weight is key to creating illustrations having a depth to them. Therefore, when using a mouse we will have to manually create this effect of a tapering stroke.We will learn this first before working on our scanned drawing.

illustration 2

  • Open a New file in Krita .
  • Select the ‘Brush‘ tool (choose the inking brushes).
  • Set the Brush size to 12 px.
  • Set the color to black.
  • Select the ‘Bezier Curve tool form the toolbar.
  • With the tool selected draw a simple line and hit ‘Enter’.

Note : This will create a stroke using settings defined for brush tool previously(12px, black).

  • Now select the ‘Bezier‘ Curve Selection Tool.
  • Select the ends of the stroke and delete the portions the stroke in the way shown in the video below.

illustration 3

The curve will look like image below :

illustration 4

This is the exact way we will be creating lines over our scanned sketch.

  • Now open a new document in Krita.
  • Import the scanned sketch.
  • Set its opacity to 33%.
  • Create a new layer above the sketch layer and name it ‘Ink‘.

illustration 5

  • Now follow the curves along the lines of the sketch and hitEnter‘.
  • The line stroke will be created as per the width of the brush you have set. So don’t forget to check your brush too color and size before using the Bezier Curve.

illustration 6

  • Now taper the ends of the stroke by selecting the ends with Bezier curve selection too.
  • Delete them just like previously discussed.

illustration 7

  • Continue the same way for the rest of the illustration.

Note : There may areas where you can allow the lines to overlap, you can delete unwanted portions later.

illustration 8

 

illustration 9

No other actions are necessary right now, just follow along the process until you complete the illustration.

illustration 10

Once you have completed the base outline, you can move in on completing the spikes on the back and the eyes.

  • I reduced the brush size here from 12px to 8px, this helps create more variation.

Having lines of uniform width all over will make the illustration look flat.

I used the circle tool to create the eyes, and the Bezier curve again to create the spikes.

The spike lines are quite short, to save time you can try and manually create them the using mouse freehand.

illustration 11

Coloring

Compared to the whole line art, this segment will be much easier and shorter. So let’s begin.

  • Lock the illustration layer by clicking on the lock icon in the layers panel.

Note : Its frustrating when you inadvertently go about coloring the drawing before you realize you’re painting on the same layer. So to avoid it its best to lock this layer down.

  • Under the inked layer create a new one and call it ‘Base color’.
  • Then select the brush tool and with the mouse just fill in the colors.

illustration 12

The light in this composition will enter from the top right corner.

So we will add highlights to the character based on that.

  • Create a layer and name it ‘Highlights’.

illustration 13

  • Then create a layer called ‘Dark’ above the base color layer.

Note : The shadows of the composition will be created on this layer.

illustration 14

As shown in the above visual,

  • I have used the Bezier curve selection tool to select dark areas,
  • Then used the fill tool to fill in the color.
  • Lastly, I added a background layer below the base color.
  • Then colored a portion of the sky to make the drawing stand out better.

I decided to add few more details such as the tongue and the speed lines to suggest movement. The image below is our final result.

illustration final

Want to analyze your website? For more information read

Sharing your wordpress activities has never been so easy, check out our article WordPress – Sharing your activities on Social Media.

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WordPress – Sharing your activities on Social Media

Having problems sharing WordPress activities to social media  automatically?

We are biologically wired in sharing information about ourselves. I am assuming that WordPress is setup live on the server(if not go here).

This tutorial will guide you to share the posts or recent activity of WordPress which will be directly linked to Social Profile.So that you can save time and get things shared as soon as possible. So lets get on with it.

Requirements:

  • Jetpack plugin already setup in WordPress.
  • Active Social Media accounts details.

This tutorial will only show steps to connect with your Facebook profile. You can repeat the same with others also.

Step 1 : Settings

  • You need to enable all these options in the Jetpack settings.

sharing 5

 

Step 2 : Where to go.

  • Go to wordpress ‘Settings‘, and selectSharing‘.

sharing

Step 3 : Choosing a Connect option.

  • You will get the following choices to choose from.

sharing 2

  • So we go ahead and clickConnect” next to Facebook.
  • Make sure you have already signed in on Facebook.
  • Allow Jetpack to access Facebook basic details for sharing.

Step 4 : Where to share exactly ?

  • If  the Facebook profile is connected successfully, you will get the following message.sharing 6
  • You can select the publicize on ‘Facebook Wall‘ option or the ‘Facebook Page‘ option depending on your social activity preference.
  • Check the box ‘Make this connection available to all users of this blog?‘.
  • ClickOK‘ and then you will get this.

sharing 4

Now we are connected.

Stuck with the old WordPress website domain and want to move to a new one ? Follow this guide WordPress Guide: Migrating website content.

Get to know more on what new we can offer in Ebooks here 8 New Interactive Features Ebook can now do.

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Tutorial – Cutting holes in meshes using Boolean Modifier

Can’t cut the holes in the meshes ? Use Boolean Modifier.

Boolean Modifier is at your rescue. Modelling in blender can be a long and tedious work, but there are places where the process can be simplified. If you have ever attempted to model a gun, furniture or any other object you must have spent some time figuring, how to cut holes through your mesh.

There are of course many ways to deal with this, but I find the Boolean modifier an easy and effective way of achieving results. However, the Boolean modifier is by no means the one click solution, and there are some niggles left to be sorted out.

In this brief tutorial we will explain how to use the Boolean modifier to cut holes in our mesh. We will also deal with the correction of the mesh flow in the second part.

To keep the tutorial simple we will attempt to cut a hole through a simple cube.

So lets get started.

Requirements:

Time : 10-15 minutes

Software : Blender 2.79 or higher.

Part 1: The Cutout

  • Select the default ‘Cube’ and move it to the left(hitG’ after selection, then ‘Y’ and then ‘-4’).

Note : This will move the cube to the left.

  • Now press ‘Shift+A’ and then selectCylinder’ from the mesh menu.

Note : You can experiment with other shapes, but in this tutorial we will be using the cylinder to cut a hole in the object.

Boolean 1

  • In the mesh settings of the cylinder, change the vertices count from 32 to 8.

Note : It is advisable to keep the vertices count to a minimum while using Boolean operations because smaller the count of vertices lesser time it takes once the modifier is applied.

Boolean 2

Change the display type of the Cylinder to wire frame because it is easier to see how the cylinder effects our cube.

  • So go to the Object settings in the Properties panel
  • Under Display change the ‘Maximum draw type’ from ‘Textured’ to ‘Wire’.

Boolean 3

  • This is what the Cylinder should look like.

Boolean 4

  • Scale the cylinder on the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axis by pressingS’ and then ‘Shift+Z’.
  • Then scale it only on the ‘Z’ axis so that the cylinder is longer than the cube( Note : it has to go right through the cube to cut out the hole).

Boolean 5

  • Grab the cylinder using ‘G’ and then move it to the center of the cube.
  • Now the select the cube(always select the object you want the cut through).
  • Go to the Modifier menu and select ‘Boolean‘.
  • Use the Picker icon and select the cylinder.
  • And finally set the type to ‘Difference’.

Boolean 6

Now we can see the active cut out of the cylinder through the cube.

Boolean 7

  • Once you have the position of the cut out you need, go ahead and apply the ‘Boolean’ modifier.

Boolean 8

Part 2 : Observing the mesh structure

  • In edit mode we now have the cube with the cut out, but as the result of the modifier our mesh surface is divided into N-gons(n-gons are faces joined with five or more vertices).

Note : Ideally a meshes should be made of Quads (faces made of 4 vertices).

Below is an image of the cube right now with the SubSurf modifier.

Boolean 9

It is easy to see that there something is definitely wrong with our mesh, check image below to see understand the correct form of the object.

Boolean 10

Part 3 : Correcting the mesh

Objective : Make both surfaces of the cube with the cut out, to be divided into quads.

We will be using the knife tool to cut through the surface and join the vertices.

  • Select the knife tool, then select the vertices which are on the center of the inner circle.

Note : When you drag the cursor away from the selected vertices a red line will appear from that point.

  • Drag this point to the edge of the cubes surface and press ‘Enter’ at your desired point(You will immediately see a new edge being created).
  • Repeat this until you have an edge joining every vertices on the circle to the edge of the cube.

Knife tool tip: When dragging the edge, pressC’ to constraint the knife tool to the corresponding axis.

This should be our final result : A mesh with cutout and proper mesh flow.

Boolean 11

After rendering my model looks like this.

Boolean final

 

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8 New Interactive Features Ebook can now do

Heard about Interactive Ebooks ??

Ebooks are Not meant only for texts and images. With the advancement in the technology of Ebook devices and  the advent of interactive Ebooks, every device is switching to a touch input.

We have managed to summarize a couple of new interactives features that our Ebook is now capable of performing :

1. 3D Model


interactive
Yes ! Ebooks can handle 3D content also. The object can be touched, rotated and zoomed in the 3D space.

The interactivity depends on how good the device hardware is installed.

The files that it can currently take are just .obj format.

This feature can become a helpful tool not only for education purposes but also helps readers relate the element to the text content.

Textures and lighting of the model can also be altered, based on the requirement and compatibility.

2. Image Carousel

slider-icon

Image carousels are  a very effective way in which a number of images can be displayed in a restricted place.

Arrows at the sides can be used to slide from the given image list.

There is an autoplay option available for the image slider.

The images scale accordingly to the device.

 

3. Video

video

 

Including a video in an Ebook is a very good idea of representing media to the audience.

The video can either be from youtube or online stored repository.

Having the video stored in the Ebook comes at the cost of increasing the file size of the Ebook.

The videos can be played fullscreen, paused or even muted.

The autoplay feature can also be enabled on the page load.

 

4. GIF

gif

 

Graphics Interchange Format also know as GIF is getting very popular lately.

It is like a short video with file size properties to that of an image.

These are really eye-catching elements with no requirement to flash player nor does the reader have to interact with this element.

For example : This feature can be used to show different stages of a particular process.

This element can be added just like an image is added because it is a sequence of images packed in a small package.

 

 

5. Audio

audio
Audio can also be used in the interactive Ebooks.

The audio file can either be stored on the Ebook or can be linked to the source on the internet.

Audio file formats vary from ogg,mp3 and so on .

The audio can be set to autoplay as the page is turned to give the content a background music to sset the mood.

This experience increases the readers interest in the story of the book.

 

6. Popup Message Box

popup
Popup can be used for various purposes throughout the Ebook.

A text can be made to pop out a message box when touched or selected.

The text inside the message box comes with various options of formatting.

This feature could be used as information messages to certain words in the Ebook.

Inclusion of the popup does indeed improve the readability aspect of the Ebook.

 

7. Questionaire

feedback
Wouldn’t it be a good way to communicate with your users, if they could respond to your writing immediately after reading your Ebook.

This feature can also be used for educational purposes to evaluate the what the reader has retained.

The questions can be in True/False, MCQ Single Choice, MCQ Multiple Answer and Short Answer type also.

The response to the form can be a self-answer,self-answer with report or even do nothing.

The provision to get the feedback via Email is still in development phase.

8. Widgets

html5

 

Widgets can also be used in an Ebook.

A popup widget or html5 page widget can be used in the Ebook.

The widgets however have to be custom coded and checked for compatibilty over a range of devices.

The widget library is still in a development phase and iterations are been done globally to improve compatibilty.

However, this feature just adds to the things Ebooks can do.

We have an awesome team for Ebook Development. For more details CinnamonTeal Ebook Development Services.

Interested in designing ? Read our article on Smooth strokes using Krita.

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Tutorial – Multiple Colour Gradients Inkscape

Multiple colour gradients can be used in a very easy way using Inkscape.

Let us learn to use the multiple colour gradients in Inkscape.

Requirements :

Software – Inkscape version 0.92 or higher.

Time – 5 – 10 minutes.

Now you can follow the steps given below :

Step 1

  • Draw an object or create your own drawing.
  • Then select the gradient tool.
  • You can now hitG’ to activate it.

gradients

Step 2

  • Double click on the gradient line.
  • After that insert nodes.

 

gradient 2

You can individually select and space out the nodes.

Note : These nodes can be selected separately and gradients applied to them.

It wont change the gradient for the entire object, but creates a new gradient within each node area.

gradients 4

Step 3

  • Prepare colour swatches(also called palette) of colours of your choice.

Note : This will make selecting colours with easy with the colour picker tool.

gradient 6

Step 4

  • Select the first the node.
  • Using the colour picker tool from the Fill container, select the first colour of the swatch.
  • You will notice that only the portion represented by that particular gradient node will be coloured.

fill

  • In the same manner select the remaining nodes and pick out the remaining colours of the swatches.

fill2

You can apply this method to any object or shape in Inkscape. Here is a good usage of the gradient.

gradient

Check out our recent tutorial on Smooth strokes using Krita.

Do you want to know what is new in our Ebook Development? Read more here 8 New Interactive Features of Ebook.

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Quick Tips : Smooth strokes using Krita

Let us learn to achieve smooth strokes in Krita.

Here are the requirements in order to get started with smooth strokes :

Device : Pressure pen tablet ( I am using Wacom Intous Medium).

Brush PackKrita Brushkit v8.2(Free). Download it from here.

I prefer using this brush pack by David Revoy (Its free !) and it suits my needs for illustrative work. Its not necessary you use these, you can use the default brushes also.

I will be demonstrating the smooth strokes on the viking sketch drawn below :

smooth strokes

  • Get the pen sketch as a layer in Krita.
  • Then reduce the opacity by 30%

Note : Make corrections to the sketch by going over it on another layer.

As you can see the result down below.We will be using the sketch over for the actual inking.

smooth strokes

  • Add another layer and call it ‘Ink’.
  • Choose your inking brush ( I am using the ‘deevad 1e inking gpen’ from the brush kit.)

  • In Brush tool options choose the weighted smoothing option with default settings.

Note : Weighted smoothing gives you an easier control, compared to the Basic smoothing and is quicker than the Stabilizer option.

smooth strokes

3 Quick tips for smooth strokes

1.Overshooting lines

Now to begin with the inking.

  • I start wider and overshoot my lines following the sketch (Do not mind the lines at this point).
  • Erase the overshot lines using the same brush by hittingE’(transforms the brush into an erasing brush with the same flow and control).

Keep the number of strokes as minimal as possible, for example the outline of the helmet top was done with one single stroke, your work will look neater.

smooth strokes

Overshot lines look far more expressive and increase your inking speed because the lines are far smoother too.

Given below is a comparison of sketch done with overshooting strokes compared to lines done by carefully tracing the sketch.

smooth strokes

2. Using Basing shapes for line work

There will always be areas of sketch where basic shapes can be used to fill out the line art.

  • In our sketch we can use the Ellipse tool to draw out the vikings shield.
  • Then remove certain areas and fill them out to indicate dents or cracks giving it a more organic feel.

smooth strokes

 

3. Rotating Canvas for easier line work.

  • Rotate the canvas by holdingShift+Space’ .
  • Then adjust the angle using the mouse.

This can help adjust any particular areas of the drawing which are a bit awkward to draw, specially when using a pen tablet where you don’t have enough room.

Use this approach and complete the rest of the inking. My finished result is shown below.

smooth strokes

Wanting to create a 3D book in Blender ? Check out this tutorial Blender : 3D Book.

Having problems migrating from old WordPress to new one.Read more here.

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WordPress Guide: Migrating website content

Migrating from an old WordPress website to a new one? And still want the old posts and comments?

Worry not. Here is a complete guide on how to migrate the old WordPress content to the newly installed setup.

Exporting

We will be exporting the old post comments,pages,etc. using the in-built WordPress feature.

  • Open the old WordPress website you will be migrating from using wp-admin.
  • In the Dashboard, go to Tools and selectExport‘.

MigratingDepending on your requirement, you can choose from the above options given.

For example: If you are only interested in migrating the posts, then select the Posts option.

  • Select any 1 option.
  • Then click on ‘Download Export File‘.

A file will be downloaded on the browser. It will be in XML(.xml) format.

Importing

After exporting the old WordPress content to a downloaded file, move on to the new website where you will be importing.

  • Open the old WordPress website you will be migrating from using wp-admin.
  • In the Dashboard, go to Tools and then selectImport‘.
  • There is WordPress option, click on ‘Install Now‘.
  • It will begin installing immediately.
  • After it is successfully installed, you will get the following message :

successmessage

  • After getting the above message, selectRun Importer‘.
  • PressChoose File‘ and then browse through your directory to the downloaded file(.xml format).
  • ClickOpen‘.
  • Now click on the ‘Upload file and Import‘ and wait for the file to be uploaded.
  • After this step it will ask for ‘Assign Author‘.
  • You can assign the new Author to the posts by selecting it from dropdown.

assignauthor

  • Check the ‘Download and import file attachments‘ because selecting will also download the attachments automatically.
  • Then select on ‘Submit‘.
  • After import is successful, you will  get the following message

Importsuccess

That’s it !! The migrating process was successful because if it had some issues if it would never display a success message.

Note: WordPress will throw an error while importing if the file(.xml) exceeds 2Mb , increase the Max Upload Limit size.(Default is 2Mb)

Want to improve your site perfomance more? Here is WordPress Guide : 7 Best Practices .