Monday, 18 March 2019

Ludocards Best EU based POD review!:)

Warning; Selfpublishers Only! Following text may be to much to handle if you aren't one!:)
scroll down to see pictures of printed decks & boxes!:)
Keep reading if you are in to *print & selfpublish your own deck & wish to know more about BEST EU POD I've find so far!:))

As promised here is my full review of new EU (Italy) based Print on Demand company I discovered recently, official web page here; http://www.ludocards.com/
printing & shipping quotes here; http://www.ludocards.com/quote.php
& read all info at official faq page; http://www.ludocards.com/faq.php

Disclaimer; My English is Not Perfect & I will only review *services I used & all info presented here are just my opinion at this time according to experience I have feel free to agree or NOT & feel free to correct me if I'm wrong & if you have any doubt or questions about info presented here feel free to note me or best visit official web page & ask directly!:) with that said here is my review on ludocards POD !:)

if you have any experience with POD especially as publisher (my fav are US based; drivethrucards & thegamecrafter & China; makeplayingcards & printerstududio) you can tell this web don't look similar & there is BIG DIFFERENCE how it works so I'll try sum most of its *perks in hope you'll find it useful deciding is this POD for you as there is plenty of HOW TO differences here that may require some time to get used to starting with web interface that may seems overly simplistic & occasionally lacking (I'm told upgrade & ludocard store is expected soon so hopefully it'll enable direct sales like other POD mentioned here, will update this review moment that happen sooner the better as imo web page is Window to World Costumers & Basic aka Only way people worldwide will get to see you present yourself so Good POD web page must provide best interface functionality & statistic?! (; check gamecrafter & drivethrucards for reference how POD web store should look/work Thank You!^^:)

back on topic;
"ludocards print service review & how it differs from standard POD we know (tgc/dtc/mpc/ps) & what you'll need to know to make it work for you;

1. Printing; ludocards will print *ANY number of cards & any size!:) BUT minimum number of Tarot size decks you can print with ludocards is 6!:) imo it's ok as it's always good to have spare or you can gift/sell what you don't need?:) & there is discount for larger quantities so that's good news for selfpublishers!:) & whatever number of decks you decide to print you can ship it 2 ways;

2. Shipping, options;
A) default SHIP ALL your PRINTED DECKS AT ONCE TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS with FREE SHIPPING!:) or if you prefer;
B) DROP SHIPPING OPTION that will let you ship any number of deck you have printed/left in store to different addresses worldwide with tracking number & best available shipping provider (DHL my fav!^^ more info here; http://www.ludocards.com/quote.php ) you will need to log in to your ludocards acc & click *Shipping button of your order & delete your default shipping address that is already there (Note; best contact costumer service in advance/before placing your order & ask to enable your drop shipping option!) also Shipping button let you see status of your orders & add different/new shipping addresses by filling Ship form that also let you review how many decks you are sending to which shipping addresses & how much you have left in store for each of decks you print with this company!:) then you Checkout to pay for that shipping & wait your mail to arrive!:) Note; if you are selling your deck on etsy or your web etc  you can ask for API that would help save you from filling shipping form for each order (not to mention paying shipping each time!:) so expect my update here once I figure how to add these!;) facepalm but if you are already in EU & don't have problem shipping it yourself A) Shipping option may be best!;)

& good news combined shipping (sending several decks to same address) is simple when you have only 1 type of deck published!:) but if you have published several decks (like me!:) & have people ordering i.e 1 of each (wishful thinking!^^ lol ;) you'll need to click *Shipping button & fill shipping form for each of your decks orders & add note if you wish these decks with *same shipping address combined shipping in 1 parcel & same time then pay for that 1 shipping bill, this as well may require you contacting costumer service & asking to combined shipping for specific address & decks you entered or even ask for paypal shipping invoice as in my case *Checkout button in some cases lead to paypal error notification!;// meaning shipping function need some improvement!;// & if you think this is complicated/turn off check out point 3&4 of this review!:) lol Point is combined shipping is best as it don't make big cost difference to ship 1 or 10 decks!:) I find it awesome especially if you have more than 1 deck selfpublished (like me!:) & this bring us to
Most important & Main Reason i'm using this printer service because; ALL DECKS ARE PRINTED & SHIP FROM ITALY/EU SAVING YOUR EU COSTUMERS ANY EXTRA IMPORT CHARGES & POST COLLECTING FEES!:)


3. Creating your (publisher) account on ludocards (unlike normal pod!x,x) is Only possible AFTER YOU PLACED YOUR 1st ORDER?! (think it require your payment as well?x,x facepalm) after that you will be mailed acc details to same email you provided while placing your order & can log in to your ludocards acc where you can review & modify your acc info & order details including Shipping details as well as upload print files!;) interface here is ok but need some improvement as your order is only marked by number like; Order no. XXXX & in case you published several decks it would help if you could add some name to it for easy reference & better overview?;)


4. Print file preparation aka; "How to set up your card images properly" is probably trickiest part as you are expected to upload several separate pdf files (after you log in to your ludocards acc & click *Orders & *Open file list button) ;
1pdf with all images of your cards front saved as pages,
1pdf with all backs images saved as pages or just 1 pdf page if all cards in your deck share same back design!:)
& 1 (or 2 pdf depending on your option) for box design or you opt for no box or blank/white box!:)

You start preparing your print files by inserting your deck specifications (mm or inch, card size & number of cards in deck & your box option!:) & downloading your auto generated templates here; http://www.ludocards.com/quote.php by

Note; even it say: "will print any size" best to pick 1 of offered preset or keep it within *normal EU sizes (aka your card size numbers should be whole cm & mm as it's easier to print precisely!:)

also even if it may sound complicated in my experience ludocards have good print control & you will be contacted by costumer service if they notice any possible printing mistake/disaster!:P ;)
but just in case be aware of mistake I noticed on their template generator page;
*Card design instruction button will tell you so called *bleed area (aka part of your card img that is cut out in printing process!) is 2mm on each card side but imo it's more likely standard 3mm as mentioned in their instruction pdf (I've asked costumer service to check with their printer service before uploading my cards pdfs for print & got confirmed it's 3mm but card generator template is still working with 2mm, will update this review moment it's fixed!x,x)

so here is how you determine your digital image card size in pixel & template you need to work; *your printed card size in mm (i.e standard Tarot is 70x120mm) +3mm of bleed area to each side adds total of 6mm to each of this numbers = 76x126mm converted to pixel = 898x1488px by 300dpi within this size you can see template red line mark 3mm from each edge representing line where your cards are expected to be cut in printing process (aka bleed) & another blue line 3mm from that one representing so called *safe area you should place all important card text & elements you wish to be visible after printing in case print end up off center (3mm drift is considered acceptable by most standard printers!:)

Tip; be sure to remove that guideline template before saving/exporting your img or pdf!:)
you can also use Scribus to prepare your pdf for print!:)

also if you already printed your cards with gamecrafter /other standard printer that use 900x1500px Tarot size template you can drop these img over ludocards 898x1488px & 300dpi template (i.e in gimp:) & export as; png img or single pdf I find guidelines are compatible!:)
& if your pdf files are to large or you wish to fix cmyk specifications you can open your pdf in Scribus & export as pdf with these settings; (see attach img!)



& that's it for cards!:)

same goes for box design (download template, export your box design as pdf & upload to your acc!) unless you opt for *firm 2 piece box in that case you need contact costumer service & ask for appropriate box template as well as paypal invoice for price difference as this *luxury box option cost slightly more than your default 2piece box you'll most likely mistake for this *sturdy version!;)


5) Print quality;
default card specifications options all have rounded corners & print on *special 330 gr/sqm casino quality triplex paper (i'm told this is 330 gsm black core silk smooth paper) assuring zero transparency. Easy to shuffle and resistant to worn-out.

& All (default) boxes options are printed on 300gr/sqm cardboard & gloss or matt lamination.
Note; this may be too thin for 2pice box design so you'll need asking for *sturdy box!:)

ludocards offers plenty of card sizes & shape options including round cards as well as special materials including linen paper, PVC, & special effects gold/silver foil, as well as accompanying booklets or leaflets or other particular items, you will need to contact costumer service for any *special request quote  HERE.

You can also request print proofs & digital file check service as well as designer service or sample deck, all info here; http://www.ludocards.com/faq.php

best part; Ludocards.com is an eco-friendly company
Ludocards entire operations are powered by solar energy & printing procedure follows the strict standards of environmental friendly codes: the papers are not only premium quality but also CE certified and rigorously selected and supplied by European paper mills; the inks for printing are of food level; nearly half of our production is artisan process that is made with hands. We try our very best to look after our planet earth.


6) Production Time; How quickly will ludocards print your deck & when you'll receive your order?
depends on timing of your order (i.e it will take longer if you start this *printing adventure before Christmas like I DID!:) as well as how good your *print ready pdfs are!:)

Standard production time is 15 working days upon receiving the payment Only if all files of artwork provided are “ready to print”! Express services is provided at extra cost. Processing time don't include time required for delivery, which varies from 1 to 5 working days subject to destinations.
Ludocards is not responsible for any delays caused by the couriers.

Delivery date for your products will be delayed accordingly at your own responsibility for any delays in production caused by the errors in file formats, incomplete file submission and any other issues resulting in “not ready to print” files.

so if you are planing kickstarter or other project with fixed timeline best to confirm with costumer service all your files are *print ready BEFORE placing your Order?:) that may save you unexpected delays I got myself in placing my order in December 2018 then having to change my card size several times to get it fit standard 7x12cm Tarot template after noticing card template generator flaw (mentioned above!:) I still had it shipped in time of expected schedule by new year2019!:) & it arrived fast to France!:) but my my reviewer say *default 2 piece box don't seem firm enough so I requested box upgrade to *rigid box ludocards was testing different designs at that time & then they were upgrading shipping providers as well so I end up ready to publish these before March 2019!:)

Now I'm Happy with my ludocards Tarot size cards & firm box print quality & fast Shipping service (DHL my fav!^^)

my only remark/wishlist is;
1. web upgrade please!
2. fix card size template generator! (bleed area is 3mm not 2mm!)
3. ludocardsStore if possible!(sooner the better!;) &

& with this I conclude my review!:) Congrats for reading this long*cough*hopefully not too boring* text!;D  hope you find it useful!^^:) here is your eye candy pic gallery of myprinted Tarot size decks & boxes!^^:)
& table review of Print on Demand Companies I've used with my opinion on quality of their service;
Tarot deck 80c
& firm box!:)
drivethrucards gamecrafter makeplayingcards printerstudio ludocards
print cost &
quality
& extra options

standard card quality linen stock option
& tuckbox


standard card quality linen & UV stock option +extra box & other option


standard + extra card & box other options but too expensive to print less than 50 decks!x.x


same as mpc
- effects & box options!x.x
best production price & quality for larger quantities!:)
+extra options!:)


best for printing 60 Tarot decks & up!;)
discount @ 5000 cards!:) 100 decks!

shipping cost & quality fast & ok for US & your home address, Not for International!x,x Ok for US & International
extra options
UPS not perfect!x,x
ok pricing, charge extra for *insurance BUT tracking is lacking & your only protection is paypal ok












same as mpc
fastest shipping!:)
& FREE SHIPPING to your home address but only if you ship all your printed decks at once!:)
production time 5/7 days 3/15 days 5/12 days 3/5 days
shipping time ok ok ok ok Best!;)
traffic/exposure ok best not much no shop option yet!
costumer service Best & my fav!:)
Brian is King!:)
annoying & not always helpful?;) ok when you are asking about ordering info but in case yur parcel is lost or some issue better luck talking to wall?:) ok & helpful!:) ok & helpful!:)



Friday, 17 February 2017

DriveThruCards review part 2-Prints!



My 2nd DTC review is about their prints quality!:) and must say I like!^^ first and most important; 
          1) all colors are printed perfectly! just the way I see it on my PC!^^:)) 5+!:))
2)   paper quality and size I like!^^

here are some tech facts about what I ordered this time;
Small Poster: Glossy Deluxe 100# text paper, 12x18" folded once for shipment. 
(this looks beautiful!^^ and i like how they print control card for every size you order so if you order poster you get another printed on half of that size that can serve as a great portfolio cover!XD lolz ;))) here is pic
                                 (sorry for bad quality my phone have a bad cam and flash is on!x//:)
                            my only remark was; wish they offer larger size and roll shipping!^^ ;)))
      p.s as you'll probably notice I did same art in several different sizes for comparisons sake and to see what look best and when I placed this poster on my wall I was like; oh! it would look even better double the size!XD and guess what? I uploaded it on my society6 acc and it turns out they can make it up to 28x40 in YeY! and as they often have a free shipping don't be surprised if I review society6 next!^^ lolz and be sure to check it out here https://society6.com/reall


Next is Page size 8.5”x11 Single-sided print No UV Coating this are my fav as size is perfect for portfolio!^^ and there is no gloss coating so your print color will almost had that metallic 3Dish look when you move it!XD here are some pic 


note that yellow pattern in bg is bright yellow but look almost metallic gold on pic!XD I like!^^:))


And last is Tile 8”x10” size, same as previous it say Standard C2S Card Stock  but with print on both sides and Low-gloss UV Coating so it feel considerably thicker and glossy?x,x 
                                        (poster in the middle and smaller prints at sides!:))
                Note I didn't take pic of back here as it's just simple ornamental card frame design!^^
                             but you shouldn't worry, print/color quality is same on both sides!:))
 
must admit it look  most luxurious from all mentioned here like a nice postcard or photo?x,x
but Imo 1side and no gloss is what most artists go for including me,
 so Page size 8.5”x11” is our winner for today!^^ lolz:))

and for last is clear plastic box I included in my order this time; http://www.drivethrucards.com/product/114070/ and it's all what it say! firm, easy 1click open, fit for bridge and poker (and mini size!^^) larger version is supposed to hold up to 120cards! and it fit perfectly for my 120 card bridge deck!^^ lolz ;)) and there is smaller version for up to 70 card that  will fit most of your standard decks
I like this much more than PS boxes because this 1click opening is much smarter and less chance to open by accident!:)) and better then tuck box as it should last longer!^^ lolz
      
                                        (box unpacking!^^ lolz ;)))
another fact worth mentioning is that even my parcel was considerably large (in a big cardboard box as you can see on pic above!XD:)) processing time was same around 7 days but it arrived within 9 days from shipping!:)) and shipping cost was same  flat 2.99$ i like?XD ;)) but when I tried to send 1deck to Belgium I was unpleasantly surprised seeing 14$ shipping cost?X// so I guess that flat   2.99$ shipping is only when you order for your home address or just for my part of the world?x,x facepalm with that said my quest for perfect POD continue,,,  and I will post you with my new discovery!^^ and with that words I conclude this review!^^ THANK YOU ALL FOR VISITING MY BLOG! COME AGAIN AND FEEL FREE TO COMMENT IF YOU FIND SOMETHING INTERESTING & WORTH SHARING!:))) LOLZ

p.s and if you wish to check out for yourself feel free to visit my dtc page;
 http://www.drivethrucards.com/browse/pub/10824/LuckyCardStudio

Monday, 2 January 2017

DriveThruCards/OneBookShelf review!:)))



First I wish you all Happy New Year and Holidays!:)) And as my NY gift to you I present you my review for my new favorite POD DriveThruCards!:)) aka http://www.onebookshelf.com/

I know about this POD way back and it was always on my to *do list to test their work, but what threw me off every time was outdated user (not)friendly interface and idea I had to submit my deck in pdf format?x,x  (wth? most of POD accept standard img files) +long list of instructions how to do that in right way!x,x (Edit this baby http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/PDF/JPEG-to-PDF.shtml may help you skip few boring steps but you are using it on your own responsibility!XD :)))
Good News is; there is BETA option to upload your cards img designs for poker size cards so we can hope this will become standard soon! Until then we're stuck with pdf, actually it's simple once you stop freaking about it and do it!:)) and don't worry about that CMYK/RGB thing, now when I actually did some research and see it printed imo all that CMYK thing is practically what every printer do but don't bother telling you about?!:))) and your colors will look even better than on your screen and as with most printers look exactly as your screen as long as you stay away from light green n blue!^^ lolz 

all you need to do is follow instruction (as close as you can!) and ask for help if you stuck at any point and this is where I say;
DriveThruCards have a best customer support EVER!^^:))  Thank you for great job!^^ :))
you'll be surprised with quick reply n help through *print preparation process that may seems quite dreadful at moments tnx to outdated user interface,!^^:)

Now done with boring part it's time for good part of this review!:))
and there is more to that so let's start with the best;

1st prize for best shipping rates ever goes to DriveThruCards!
seriously I was SHOCKED(positively!^^:) when my shipping end up under 3$?x,x that seems IMPOSSIBLE for my part of the world (aka not US/notEU) especially as it say; Ships from US and I was prepared for worst knowing that and my order was not that light;3x36card decks +15 test cards! 
then another surprise!:))

2fast shipping!^^ my order arrived 18days after shipping which is miracle by itself especially considering it was holiday time!^^:)) as usually it take at least 20days from US to my part of the world even with better shipping options, and here i got it under 3$ and within 18days!:))) and best part NO TAX! even it say printed in US I wasn't even charged for regular post check out!x,x how cool is that?

good time to say;


3rd printing rates! all mentioned above (bridge size and Premium Card Stock with UV!) cost me around 10$!:)  (just look at that larger print n poster options!^^ these are tempting crowdfunding rewards!XD;))) 


4nd print quality!^^ Superhappy with Premium Card stock with UV finish!^^ Colors& text prints look better than on screen!^^ and range of card sizes they offer; Tarot, poker, bridge, mini! and prints and boxes (plan ordering all that next time!^^:)   and best part this is ONLY POD that you can go with any number of cards you wish! i.e 11, 23,38, 99 etc!^^:)

5  Publisher shop page option to sell your decks directly from DTC;
and you can set up your selling price, and even offer download and printed books!:)))
 (I plan adding my other selfpublished deck n books soon so be sure to check it out again!^^:)))

and with that I conclude my review!^^ HAPPY DISCOVERING NEW FAV POD! N LOOKING FORWARD TO MY NEXT ORDER!^^ (that will include custom design boxes n Art Prints/Posters!^^ will be sure to post my review about that as well!^^ ;))

Here are some photo proofs to back up my review!^^ 
hope you like! I know I do!^^ and feel free to ask me anything!^^:))
(as you can see, all deck arrived in puffy yellow envelop &cell wrap as I forgot to order box! facepalm ;)) and with one test card that say Printed in US and info about stock etc I like!:) )
hm, my camera skill is not best but you got idea!^^:)) did I mention all cards are ordered from 1 to last as you can see on lenormand deck above!^^:)) and here are some photos of actual cards;
                       (Note;shiny bg is gift wrap i happen to have at table at the moment!XD :)))

                                                   Grand Tableu barely fit camera!x,x :))

and Restored Coffee Cards (waiting British Museum permission before publishing!:)))
here is 1snapshot to give you idea how good it looks!XD
(btw if you wonder Celestial;Sun,Moon Star card back design is same for my Ancient Lenormand!^^:)))

and Yeah! IT LOOK AWESOME AS YOU THINK!XD LOLZ
 

and some test cards from 2Tarot deck I'm working right now (one is Chakra Tarot all info here!)
other is experimental *Mystery deck with Ancient feel!XD that will be super limited edition with maybe 50 copies for sale only?x,x :)) 
few more close up to give you idea about colors; front;
                                flip back, btw if you're confused I used 15test card to mix different back n
                                     front designs!XD so my 2 of Water flips to 2 of Air!XD LOLZ :))


and few colored cards from supercute deck*(that may seems familiar but it's so infamous we don't dare speak it's name!XD LOLZ so let's just say I modified these few cards with author permission but just to test that style n my coloring skill and there will NEVER EVER BE FULL DECK LIKE THAT!^^( as far as I know:)) and must say i was shocked how good this super flashy colors turn out!XD especially considering how dull it look in my CMYK pdf?x,x 


(again, sorry for bad camera!x,x but let's say it benefit deck identity protection here!XD lolz :)))

and different card back designs I tested;
                                         (hm, again bad camera, RL colors much better!^^:))


 oh! and there is Happy Squirrel I get as gift same day this order arrived!XD so I treat her as part of the pack n be sure to upload good photo when I catch her!XD LOLZ ;))

 hope you find this review fun and useful!^^ if you have any question feel free to ask me n comment!^^
wish you all best in ny and every other year after!^^ and to find happiness in everything you do every day of your life!^^ :)))

 till next!
all best!^^
reall/Irena