Monday, October 14, 2013

Try Merlin for Free


A number of years ago we developed a batch pagination system for large publishers having many books. Each one of them required their own custom pagination rules that are very difficult and time consuming to implement, and as a result, the cost of licensing Merlin and customizing it was very high.

As a result, we do not license it very often. So we decided to make a generic version that incorporated the most common pagination rules used in North America and make it available to all of our customers at a greatly reduced price.

In order to make the price affordable, we are not able to make any changes to the pagination rules for anyone under any circumstances. What we are offering is a potential to greatly reduce the time spent to paginate a book, and as a result, to increase the amount of time to continue selling.

How it works

Today, after typesetting yellow pages in Yellow Magic, the operator opens the book in Sleight-of-Hand and interactively paginates the book. Depending on a number of factors, we see books paginated with Sleight-of-Hand at rates between 40 and 600 pages an hour, but Merlin can paginate yellow pages at 15,000 to 50,000 pages per hour!

With Merlin, after typesetting in Yellow Magic, the user runs Merlin, imports the book from Yellow Magic, paginates the book, and then exports the book into Sleight-of-Hand. Once that is done, the user can open the book in Sleight-of-Hand and see that the pagination has already been done.

The next step is to review the results of Merlin’s pagination and to use Sleight-of-Hand to re-arrange any pages on which you would prefer a different ad or filler placement.

If you would like to see Merlin in action, please go here:

How do I know it will work for me?

The best answer to that is to try it. We will install it on your system so that you can use Merlin for a free 30-day trial. If you find that it would make sense for you to use Merlin in conjunction with Sleight-of-Hand, then you can license it. If not, the license will simply expire.

So what you need to do is to run some tests with books that you have already typeset using Sleight-of-Hand. If the book you want to use for the test is still a “typeset-able” book in Yellow Magic, then all you have to do is to typeset the book again, run Merlin, import the book, paginate it and export it to Sleight-of-Hand. Then open Sleight-of-Hand and either print the book or review the pagination results in Sleight-of-Hand to determine how many differences there are between how you would have liked to paginate the book, compared to what Merlin did for you.

Be sure that your pages are locked before rearranging the ads.

Now please remember, that the goal would not necessarily be to determine how much work it would take to reproduce the book you published, but rather, to see how many changes it would take to create a layout that you would be willing to publish.

If the book you want to use for the test is an older edition and is no longer “typeset-able”, then please contact Yellow Magic technical support and we will sign-on to your system and typeset the book for you.

Please note, Merlin will only work for 3, 4, or 5 column books. It will not work on 1 or 2 column books.

How do I override what Merlin has done?

After pagination with Merlin, open the book with Sleight-of-Hand. You will notice that the galleys are locked. Do not unlock them.

If you want to review Merlin’s pagination results on screen, you can flip thru the pages by just tapping the key, which will take you to the next page spread. Use F7 to see the previous page spread.

In most cases, all you will want to do is to relocate where Merlin placed either ads or fillers. In either case, left-click the ad or filler. This will take it off of the page and place it in the galley or the filler window. It will be automatically selected, so to place it back on the page in a new position, left-click where you would like it to go and then flow galleys.

Please be aware that since Merlin was attempting to minimize filler, moving something may result in some galleys left in the galley window due to widow/orphan rules. When this occurs, you can use negative leading to remove as much of the galleys as you would like and re-flow to make it all fit again.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact technical support.

Magic Club

Because we will not be evolving Merlin or modifying it at all, if you want to add Merlin to Magic Club support, it will be at half-price. Support will be limited to answering questions and helping you get your book paginated, but will not supply any updates.

How do I get started?

If you would like to take advantage of this free 30-day trial, please contact technical support to get it installed. We will have to connect online to your workstation on which you use Sleight-of-Hand to install it. Once installed, we will test it by paginating a book and making sure it works, and then provide some online training so that you can do your comparative testing.