QCPro Template Building Guide for Dummies 3 pages: [1] 2 3
HightonRidley
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 8:24:50 AM
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[Edit 6th June]
Ok, everyone can now buy the full guide (overview and 6 chapters) here:
http://razamazazzle.blogspot.com/p/qc-pro-greetings-card-template-building.html

The prices are set to an early-bird 50% discount - valid for 7 days.

I'll be monitoring this topic in case anyone has any questions etc.

A really huge thanks goes to my volunteers - without your help it would never have become such a well-rounded guide with appeal to both newbies and old hands at QC alike.

Thank you Roses Roses Roses
~~Mark (HightonRidley)

NB The UK VAT regime means I have to sometimes add 20% VAT - it doesn't apply outside of Europe, so customers in the USA (and the rest of world outside Europe) will get it at the $15 discounted price.


[3rd June Edit: The guide now incorporates all the feedback from the volunteers]


I'm setting up this topic to allow the volunteers checkers my new guide to ask questions, discuss and give their honest feedback.

Folks will likely be really interested to find out if it's up to scratch - i.e. easy to follow and understand, works as it says on the tin and is flexible, useful and powerful.

Well, here's hoping xd

I'm about to go through the volunteers and select 5. I'll get in touch with them to arrange sending on the guide. I guess there might be some feedback pretty quickly but it's more likely to be a few days.

Thanks for your interest....
Happy Zazzling
~~Mark
aportugueselove
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 12:55:03 PM
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Hi Mark!
I'm gonna download it now. I have an inactive store ready where I can try it. I'll let you know everything about it but probably just tomorrow as it is already night here and I had a busy day! Feeling Zzzzz...!
Best! Smile
Pretty_World
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 3:07:38 PM
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Hi Mark -

The PDF is formatted for a page size of 11.69 x 16.54 inches, so it will not print on a standard printer.

I was going to print a hard copy to work along with so I could read in on the porch with a cup of tea first, and then work through some samples at the comp afterwards.

More feedback later. Just wanted to give you a heads up to the page size.

Lynda

Pretty_World
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 3:09:55 PM
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Page 1 - links in the Useful Links box are not live links and do not permit highlight/copy for pasting into a browser window. Makes it a bit of fuss to look at the example card set.
myshelle
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 3:44:36 PM

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I am an internet dummy,Mark has taken a big chance entrusting me with this volunteer job.About to download,I need to watch and read a couple of times before I attempt, so I expect to be a bit behind the others.
Thank you for this opportunity, Mark

Edited to say,I am able to print.
Pretty_World
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 4:39:46 PM
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The file defaulted to a print at 100% setting. Got my cozy chair printout now.

I really like the approach you are taking with this tutorial! More later after dinner and a full read through.
myshelle
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 6:56:30 PM

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Pretty_World wrote:
The file defaulted to a print at 100% setting. Got my cozy chair printout now.

I really like the approach you are taking with this tutorial! More later after dinner and a full read through.


Good luck pretty-world,reading along with you in Australia LOL
Pretty_World
Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 8:59:49 AM
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I think this is a good tutorial and is going to be very useful for a lot of people.

The tutorial uses the features of Quick Create, combined with a modular design approach, to output a good-sized lineup of greeting cards. The tutorial is fantastic for people who understand the basics of creating a nice design and making single products on Zazzle, and who are ready to take the next step - learning to develop their own personal work flow so that they can fill a store with well thought out product variations.

People who have a lot of experience with Quick Create may also find the tutorial useful. If you already have your own structured approach, and even if you have your own modular approach, Mark's way of doing things is clever and is likely to give you some ideas about how to get even more out of your current templates and QC skills.


I found the flow chart approach and bullet point tips very clear and easy to understand. But if you find it challenging to follow assembly instructions (you know, the "take part A and attach to part B" kind of instructions) then the tutorial WILL challenge you and you might find that you to reread a step and try it again. If you are good with assembly instructions I think you'll find that this tutorial is a lot like building a model kit - fun, detailed, and when you finish you end up with some great stuff to put in your store.


I use Quick Create a lot, and my latest Pretty World workflow is good enough that I just increase my weekly production goal to a minimum of 1000 products per week (24 original garden art images x 42 products per design). That's a pretty good work flow and a satisfying production rate, and I think that it should be kind of obvious that I've figured out how to use Quick Create reasonably well.

There wasn't a lot new to me in Mark's tutorial, but it was still VERY much worth taking time away from my own store work to review the approach. My takeaway is not going to be a big line-up of cards (because that's not the direction I want to take my store right now) but there are ideas in his workflow set up that I will definitely be thinking about when I weed the garden. I'm sure that future Pretty World workflow modifications will use a number of Mark's QC tips so that it is even more efficient and productive.


Can you find this information elsewhere? Yes - a lot of it. There are other QC tutorials that cover QC skills and that might be an easier starting point for working through the basics. Mark's method is going to take some practice and probably is not going to be right for a person that wants to play at Zazzle as a hobby and who doesn't care about building a real business. It is not a difficult method but it does take some time and focus to work through the steps and get everything set up properly.


I'm very interested in reading what the other testers think. I personally just love the approach and think it's going to help a lot of Zazzle artists turn their work into real Zazzle stores and Zazzle businesses - if they choose to work it like a business, of course. But I also know that I'm super comfortable with flowcharts and modular work flow design so what's easy and sensible to me might be less easy for someone who isn't into flowcharts. Smile


Mark - is that the sort of feedback you find helpful? Let me know if you have any questions. I hope my comments give people some good information about the tutorial without "spilling the beans" on the specifics of this clever way to us Zazzle's Quick Create tools.

If I didn't already have my own business plan and product development plan, I'd be very tempted to spend the afternoon opening a second store and QCing up a boatload of products - following the steps in the tutorial. Best to wait until after Autumn frosts, though, before I start thinking like that! Too many good ideas, too little time.

Back to working my own business now. Smile Nice job on the tutorial, Mark. Thanks for letting me review it.

Lynda
HightonRidley
Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 9:10:55 AM
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Wow, that's a very thorough and comprehensive review, Lynda and is very much appreciated.Roses

I'm still absorbing it and will re-read a few times to see if / how I can tweak things.

Thanks again, it was more than I could have hoped for Smile
~~Mark
myshelle
Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 7:36:34 PM

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I was actually being honest, when I stated that I was a “Internet Dummy”
All I know about computers is what I have taught myself, and/or with help from questions to other people or video and written tutorials.
I have been with Zazzle for 14 months.
I have used QC I think maybe 3-4 times,Found it long and tedious creating and customising the products from scratch.
I am not greatly understanding of Photo Shop.
I have no understanding of HTML or the likes.
This for me is to be a huge undertaking.

I have achieved to posting step1, and eager to start step 2.
You do need the knowledge of image re-sizing.
Had trouble understanding some, "terms of use" and was helped quickly by Mark and Lynda.
Keeping a journal.
JaclinArt
Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 7:51:03 PM
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I appreciated the opportunity to review this, but I was disappointed I was not able to quickly digest and comprehend the material.

I'm a visual learner and so for me to really comprehend this thoroughly, I would need it to be done in screen shots, with the key info circled in each step. Although I tried to figure things out step by step, I found that for me the flow chart model didn't work (although that's not to say it won't work for others!

A format like this would work for me...where every step is spelled out fully.

http://forum.zazzle.com/tools/api_templates_buffet_tutorial
a2zgraphicsworks
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 12:51:26 AM
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JaclinArt wrote:
I appreciated the opportunity to review this, but I was disappointed I was not able to quickly digest and comprehend the material.

I'm a visual learner ...


People learn differently. Just find what works for you. The one you referred to is a good one.

.
aportugueselove
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 3:45:18 AM
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Hi Mark!
Just to let you know that yesterday I just printed and today I still don't know if I'll be around the house much time. My first impressions:
- Pdf had to be adjusted in the print. It was bigger that the traditional sheet paper size (A4)
- font size - for me it's ok, but bigger maybe best. Information would have to be re-arranged along more pages and probably you have done it so all text box could show side by side in one page...
- screenshots are presented in a very small size too!
- it would be good to have an index at the beginning. I'm used to check the sequence of topics!
I know this is not very important stuff, just details. But that's what caught my eye after printing! Next time I hope to tell you more!
Aquavel
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 7:51:35 AM
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To begin with, I checked out your example of the first 100 cards you made. That was most enlightening and certainly fueled my excitement in trying this! (Please note: I'm still on prep, which for me is a biggie!)

First Impressions:
The flow chart is clear and I love the fact that you provide visual examples that we can zoom into and see. Because I'm such a visual person, I like to be able to see - as well as read - step-by-step instructions.

Each page of your Guide has very comprehensive info. Your Guide is very well thought out and it's totally apparent that much work has gone into it. It's a powerful tool. (Reminds me of the laminated reference charts by Visibone showing all the CSS or HTML codes and giving examples of how they are used.)

I would love to see the same thing that's on each page in larger type, and then have this compressed guide as an attached supplement to use as reference. I would also like larger visual examples so that there's no need to zoom in (examples that are "in my face" right from the start). Another possibility is to offer two versions of this Guide. One version would be as it is now. The other version would be the same thing but would be spread out and have larger visual examples for each step.

The single most helpful step for me is initial organization and that is what I am doing now. I thought I was fairly organized BEFORE reading Prep and "Initial Set-Up" but I was actually far from it. I have vintage images in three of my stores and those images are all sized differently and I'm used to tweaking images endlessly. Many images I would remake to fit specific products and others I would crop or frame. I thought I was being professional but am realizing I have been making things difficult for myself and wasting time. Since reading through your Template Building Guide, I am remaking a number of images to be used for cards in uniform sizes.

___"I didn't know you could do that."
I love your example of how to boost our after-sales income by creating QR codes. Although I find digital bar codes boring to look at, the idea is absolutely brilliant to the extent that I am getting over my initial reaction. I have generated bar codes for each of my stores and am preparing to use them.

Your tips are invaluable.

More to come!
HightonRidley
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 8:37:24 AM
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This is all great stuff, folks. Thanks Love

About the pdf / printing thing... I'm caught bewtween the devil and the deep blue sea... do I do it in A4 or US letter size??

I started creating the pdf using A4 (as that's natural for me and I didn't think about it) but now have adjusted to US letter size. That way round, if printed on A4, all is ok. Other way round doesn't work so well.

For us Brits (and others using A4/metric): in Adobe Acrobat Reader: Print->Page Scaling: Fit to Printable Area

I can see I'll be doing more screenshots for the guide Grin

~~Mark
a2zgraphicsworks
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 12:16:00 PM
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HightonRidley wrote:
This is all great stuff, folks. Thanks Love

About the pdf / printing thing... I'm caught bewtween the devil and the deep blue sea... do I do it in A4 or US letter size??

I started creating the pdf using A4 (as that's natural for me and I didn't think about it) but now have adjusted to US letter size. That way round, if printed on A4, all is ok. Other way round doesn't work so well.

For us Brits (and others using A4/metric): in Adobe Acrobat Reader: Print->Page Scaling: Fit to Printable Area

I can see I'll be doing more screenshots for the guide Grin

~~Mark


I -really- wish the US would change to the A-B-C-D 'paper' sizing for ease of fitting to many more items as each cut into halves makes an image that is still in proportion. The US letter size is a good choice as it does fit -onto- an A4 page for printing.

Personally - I rarely print anything anymore. Electronically, it can be 'searched' and viewed on most machines, causes zero wear and tear on printers and of course, no money for paper.

Screen shots need to be large enough so the reader/viewer can really read any text on the screen capture.

The one I WAS preparing is nearly all visual, as I have found over the past 37 years of teaching that people who are into visual arts are indeed mostly visual learners (with enough text to 'explain' the images).

One day, maybe we'll see this one too!

.
HightonRidley
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 1:28:21 PM
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Thanks for that a2z, I hadn't twigged that designers would prefer more rather than less in the way of visuals. I can be so dense sometimes!!

Anyways, talking of visuals, I've prepared a YouTube video showing the templates (resulting from the guide) being used in QC...

It's here:
http://youtu.be/DM-a92AFzTw

Cheers all,
~~Mark
myshelle
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 3:10:58 PM

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Posts: 692
JaclinArt wrote:
I appreciated the opportunity to review this, but I was disappointed I was not able to quickly digest and comprehend the material.

I'm a visual learner and so for me to really comprehend this thoroughly, I would need it to be done in screen shots, with the key info circled in each step. Although I tried to figure things out step by step, I found that for me the flow chart model didn't work (although that's not to say it won't work for others!

A format like this would work for me...where every step is spelled out fully.

http://forum.zazzle.com/tools/api_templates_buffet_tutorial


Hi J,I totally know where you are coming from,agree with your points.
Being in my words the Dummy,probably placed me more at ease and I screamed for help.I received it quickly from Lynda and Mark.
I was not at ease asking my questions here, and therefore feel, a suggestion to have a closed forum somewhere else, to toss things around, maybe the answer.
Neither one of us knows how much knowledge, any of the others has and I assumed maybe wrongly,that everyone else would be right up in the world of designing and templates. Placing me at a distinct disadvantage and feeling a little silly and that is putting it mildly.
However where I felt,my questions or slowness to absorb would be an issue,I do realise that these questions I ask should help Mark to update and improve his tutorial.
poddys
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 1:28:31 AM

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Letter size is probably the best, seeing as how the number of users in the USA must outnumber everyone else by a wide margin. With Letter being shorter in length, it can easily be printed on A4.

I spent 15 years in the USA (just moved back to the UK 2 years ago) and it took quite a bit of getting used to the differences between the two countries.

As for tutorial formats, you can say a lot in words, but it's easy for a long description to sound horribly complicated to many people. The old saying "a picture paints a thousand words" holds very true when it comes to tutorials, and it works for all levels of students.
HightonRidley
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 8:24:32 AM
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Thanks for chipping in, Tony - and welcome to the volunteer reviewers !Roses

I've just added a you tube video covering where the other one left off. This one shows the last part of preparing the products created for the market place.

In it I start with the products I got from pushing one of my fine art images for the card front through Quick Create (on the templates built by following my guide).

Idea I then show a slick way to edit the description in each (it's also covered in in more detail on my "more tips" page of the guide).

Even if folks aren't interested in my guide, this tip is a useful one to add to your toolbelt. You use it mainly when you have to make individual edits to large numbers of products. Watch it in action and use it to save yourself oodles of time!

You can see the video demo here:
http://youtu.be/X3tVkBNiQZc

Feedback welcome Smile

[Edit: It's so hot off the press that YouTube is till processing it. UK time is now 17:30 - I suggest giving it half an hour]
aportugueselove
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 10:40:54 AM
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Hi Mark!
Today I tested your Guide. Well, almost!Sad I would have liked to do it 100%.Unfortunately I was not able to finish testing it because Zazzle took too long to generate products into categories.For the last one I waited and waited...still nothing. I am using the kind of files I always use.I don't know what it is but it's impossible to wait anymore.Can it be one of those "break" situations that you mentioned? I did not touch anything! So I did not write the descriptions and tags.Sad

Anyway, it's easier to understand everything when we get hands-on! When I first started reading it seemed complicated! But it's not. You just have to follow step-by-step.I believe this guide will be useful to a lot of Zazzlers.

I also watched your Youtube videos and they are clear and helpful too. I don't know how to give you suggestions to improve your Guide as it seems very good already.
That's it for now. I'll give it another try soon.
Belinha
aportugueselove
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 12:33:17 PM
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Hi Mark!
Me again. Just checked the store and finally the products are in it!It took more than 3 hours.So, let's do tags and descriptions!Smile
Belinha
Aquavel
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 1:54:19 PM
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I'm going to be slow in my review too. Zazzle is taking hours to show products today. Watched the two videos through. Easy to follow and quite wonderful! I plan to watch them again and work along with them when I get to that step.
myshelle
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 7:52:49 PM

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Thought it was just me, with the length of time for products to show. A watched pot never boils.
Busy week for me,so fitting in between.
Starting Step3,good luck to everyone else.
myshelle
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 8:08:51 PM

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myshelle wrote:
Thought it was just me, with the length of time for products to show. A watched pot never boils.
Busy week for me,so fitting in between.
Starting Step3,good luck to everyone else.


WooHooGrin Forward to Step 4,and the wait prior.
Mind Design Grafx
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 2:47:10 AM
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I must be the class "dummy" I just hit step 3. Hopefully today I'll get much more done. I'm plugging away slowly.
HightonRidley
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 4:24:06 AM
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Well done everybody on your dedication to the task Roses

It's good to see that folks are making such fantastic progress, no matter what experience level they started from.

And of course your feedback is going to make sure it's even easier to follow, whether you're at the keyboard or curled up in your comfy reading chair with a print-out Grin

One thing I'm finding as I keep using it is that it's really important to check and double-check that your tags are right as you go. If you're not happy with the final template set's built-up tags, it's a lot of effort to put them right then.

Especially if you generate another template set from the first and don't notice the spelling mistook / typo until then. Hmmm... two hundred to individually correct!

Keep up the good work everyone Love
~~Mark
myshelle
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 1:45:48 PM

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Mind Design Grafx wrote:
I must be the class "dummy" I just hit step 3. Hopefully today I'll get much more done. I'm plugging away slowly.


LOL, You can't be the Dummy cos that is me xd
I thought I had made a mistake, as my step 3 had not shown by the time I went to bed last night.Phew there this morning though.
Onwards and Upwards
Aquavel
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 10:02:02 AM
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Creating multiple cards was easy and will be a tremendous time saver.

The idea of using one image on many cards was new to me and initially I had difficulty wrapping my mind around the concept of producing 100 cards with unique sentiments. A template file with 100 cards?! It was overwhelming. I was stuck in the preparation mode, trying to decide which of my images would work for a large variety of sayings, along with what those sayings would be. I loved your examples with your Father's Day cards, but I realized that wasn't the direction of my stores. Then I thought of the neglected holiday store I started a couple of years ago, realized I had many single images that could be used for multiple occasions and sentiments, and I began to see card making in a new light. Suddenly there were all kinds of possibilities!

I was off and flying. I followed the steps and read through everything. The process went smoothly and I am thrilled with the results! I decided to make cards to commemorate birthdays, holidays, sentiments, as well as be used as invitations, and more.

I didn't create 100 templates but did create 38 that I'm very happy with and 20 that I will use regularly. For this first template set, I didn't use the QR on the back but instead used a thumbprint of the image with my store URL. I'm in the process of giving it a second run through and making another set of templates, and I will be definitely using the QC codes on the back of the next set.

I'm looking forward to making templates for other card products, such as the square and rectangular wedding and party invitations. This is an exciting and invaluable resource! (Now if only I can keep all those customizable text fields in order for the invitations! )

YouTube Videos
Easy to follow. Great shortcuts, tips and reminders.* And you have a great voice!
*I almost made a mistake on my text on the back of the cards, but thanks to your repeated reminders, I caught the error and changed it before I pressed the button for that next step.

Just a note for fellow Mac users:
Regarding keyboard shortcuts, when using a Mac - as I am, the "command" key is the equivalent of the Windows ""control" key in Firefox.

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
Copy: Command+C
Paste:: Command+V
Delete: Command+D

I usually don't use the tab feature in Firefox but I am now. What a time saver!

That's it for now! If this thread is still open, I will report back tomorrow after my second and maybe third run through. Thanks for letting me participate!
myshelle
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 3:55:51 PM

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Yesterday,I found I had made a mistake at step 3Crying
Went back and have rectified I think.
Will try and fit in some time to carry on today.
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