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The Professional Photographer's Newsletterhttp://www.poundslabs.com/
Pounds Remote Ordering System

Layout Tool
You may have missed it; however, the new PROS Layout Tool was implemented two weeks ago.  The PROS Layout Tool is an option now available inside your copy of PROS that allows you to build your own products (referred to as templates).  You will find that with the Layout Tool, you can build multi-image products directly from within PROS! Up until now, you have had to perform such tasks in an image-editing application like Photoshop.  The Layout Tool allows you to build multi-image templates that still allow us to individually adjust (for color and density) each image, thus providing you with a great product your clients will enjoy.

Starting with a blank page, you use the Layout Tool to add image and text nodes as well as effects to your heart’s content.  Nodes may be moved, resized or rotated and set to accept images, text, vignette masks, and backgrounds.  But wait, that’s not all!  Use the Layout Tool to add text colors, image opacity, drop shadows, and grid constraints. The Layout Tool’s “Montage” node creation function allows you to set various node creation offsets and then add a random set of nodes spaced throughout the selected layout at the touch of a button.

In short, you now have the freedom to easily create your own unique products (remember, the PROS Layout Tool calls them templates).  Products you create can be saved and organized in “My Templates” to be used over and over again.  Studios with more than one PROS workstation can create and save templates on one PC and then copy them to any other PC which uses PROS.

Horsepower matters...
We have found that building the order file for a set of complicated layouts is a very processor intensive process.  Each mask used in a template, a drop shadow for instance, must be rendered by PROS before the order is sent to the lab.  With a speedy processor (over 3 GHz) and enough memory (1 GB or more) it can take a few seconds to build each mask.  A slower processor (about 1.5 GHz) can take 20 to 30 seconds to render the mask.  For example: a fifty page album averaging 5 masks per page has a total of 250 masks. A 3 GHz processor might need 10 minutes to render the masks while a 1.5 GHz processor might take well over an hour.

Don’t know your PC’s processor speed?  In Windows, you can find out by right clicking on 'My Computer' from your desktop and selecting the 'Properties' option.  Look for the processor speed on the General tab.  On a Macintosh? Simply go to the Apple menu and click on 'About This Computer'.

If you want to learn more about the PROS Layout Tool, click here.  If you are interested in attending a free training class at one of our service centers please, send an e-mail to comments@poundslabs.com.  Just put “Layout Tool Training” as the subject and your contact information in the body of the e-mail.

Photo Magnets
We have added Photo Magnets to our product line.  These wallet-sized magnets come in units of four and are die-cut with rounded edges.  You can order them with a standard portrait, a portrait with personalized text, as well as select digital graphics.  [more…]

Novelty Product Line Expanded
Starting June 20, you will be able to order mouse pads, ceramic mugs, two-sided keychains, bag tags, and puzzles from Pounds using PROS.  Check our blog next week for a link with samples and more information.

We have been working for several months now to put together a process that will allow you to have Pounds print album pages and return to you complete assembled albums. The PROS Layout Tool discussed above is a key part of that process.  We will offer both flush mount and bordered albums in a selection of page counts and cover options.

Starting June 20, we will make the Album catalog available in PROS.  This will allow you to order flush mount albums.  Beginning July 1, we will start accepting bordered album orders.  Pricing and procedures will be finalized between now and these dates.  This information will be published in our July newsletter.  If you are interested in receiving this information prior to the first of July, please send an e-mail to comments@poundslabs.com.  Put “Album Info” in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the e-mail.


Tid Bits

Web Hosting Update
In the May newsletter we asked about interest in Pounds offering an e-commerce Web site where our customers could post images and accept orders (to see a copy of that newsletter, click here). We received a number of very positive responses.  If you did not respond but think you might be interested, please send an e-mail to comments@poundslabs.com and put “Web Hosting” in the subject line.

At this point we are looking at a roll out of the basic service the first of August. We are still working on the mechanics and pricing.  More than likely there will need to be some monthly charge based on the maximum number of images hosted for a customer during a given month.  For example, we are considering pricing of about 2 cents per image so that 1,000 images would cost $20 per month. The only fees based on the sales price would be the processing fees charged by PayPal (about 3 to 4 percent).

Anyone Interested in a RAW Workflow!?
We are still evaluating the value to our customers of offering an option of processing RAW camera files and the best processes available.  The response from our last newsletter from customers that would be interested in the service was not very high.  If you didn't respond previously, please do so now if RAW processing is a service you would like to see offered. 

Mike Oakley Moving On
After a little over five years with Pounds and countless hours counseling customers over the phone and in seminars, Mike Oakley has announced that he will be leaving Pounds at the end of next week to start up his own photographic business.  Mike will likely come back from time to time to lead technical seminars for Pounds.  Being the gregarious person that he is, Mike says he wants to keep up with everyone he has come in contact with during his time at Pounds and can be reached via e-mail at moakley@portraitefx.com.  Good luck to Mike from all of us at Pounds!

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Date of Publication: June 2, 2006
Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc. • 901 Regal Row, Dallas, TX  75247 • (800)350-5671
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