[ The latest version of my ebook about Photos for Mac and iOS, Take Control of Photos, has just been released. Much of the research I did for this story came from the work of that book. If you use the Photos app a lot, consider purchasing the book. ]
For many years, Apple allows you to use iPhoto and then Pictures to create designs with your photos, upload the designs to Apple servers, and then take delivery of specially-printed items in a few days. My family makes annual calendars and often creates books as well. These physical products are great ways to keep our photos throughout the year, even when we are not staring at a device.
Unfortunately, Apple has not been in the industry to produce books and calendars. Instead, third-party services are allowed to create special apps and make them available for download in the Mac App Store. These free apps allow you to create projects based on your Photos library and order them from within Photos. (Certainly, you can only build books by uploading photos to a website. But in my opinion, it's based on Mac from your existing library of images and using a native app.)
Apple started leaning for extensions last year, but with the official announcement that it is coming out of this category, some other companies have finally jumped in. As a result, there are two apps available free of charge from the Mac App Store ̵
Build the books
Given what they are made to do that It is not surprising that these apps are more liked than they are different. Both allow you to build books from different design templates. To add images to a project, drag them from the main photo view to the project icon in the sidebar. You can see all the photos in your project or just see those you have not used yet. A very useful feature, since you want to avoid duplicates and make sure all the good pictures come in. Both extensions allow you to select the number of images on a page and choose from a variety of different layouts. And once you make Apple's original implementation a better one, both will let you perform free form adjustments of image sizes on any page, if you think you can do a better job than the preformed templates can.
Both programs offer pre-designed templates so you do not have to make your books completely from scratch. Mimeo certainly wins when it comes to volume: Mimeo's maleplukker offers more than 50 options (including versions of Apple's old painters), while Motif is limited to 14.
The apps also have differences. If you are someone who wants the ultimate in adaptability, Mimeo shines. You can add or remove photo boxes, resize them at will, drag them anywhere on the page, and even send them to the front or back, so if you want a complex design with overlapping pictures, you can do it . (Mimeo also lets you run images over the center's spread.) Mimeo's interface puts thumbnails of all your pages at the bottom of the screen, with a toolbar on the right that pushes out the drawer of your photos and lets you choose layout preferences.
There are no drawers in Motif, which place the project's images in a strip above the bottom and allows you to switch between a single-spreading view and a set of project thumbnails through a pair of toolbar buttons. This is a better interface decision, since I'm the kind of person who builds books side by side and want to have access to all my project images at all times. You can access layout options by clicking on a little icon under a page. Motivates templates for between one and nine images on one page. (Mimeo has templates for one to four images, and then a "5+" category with some different layout options for many more pictures.)
If I had to summarize the differences between the apps, I would say that Motif feels more modern and is easier to use since it places project images (instead of thumbnails) on the main interface and is not. It does not depend on a bunch of extraction trays for to access images and layout controls. While Motif offers more flexibility in the layout than Apple's old tool, Mimeo will give it to you. If you want ultimate control, Mimeo will give you that.
You can try them both and see if you want. But at this point I would recommend that most people start with Motif, because of the streamlined interface. (Most people do not need their book building tool to be a miniature QuarkXPress.)
Get the books
Now we come to the second part of the equation: Actually, the books are written! I built annual retrospective books for 2016 and 2017 with Motif and Mimeo, respectively, and ordered them so I could see how well the end product was.
Both companies had exactly the same prices for the product I purchased, a bound 11 × 8.5-inch book: $ 30 for the first 20 base pages, and $ 1 for each additional page. (These prices seem least competitive with web-based services, when I checked Shutterfly, sold the same format for $ 28 for the first 20 pages, and $ 1.11 for each additional page.)
The quality of both books was quite like. I preferred a bit of the backbone of the Motif book, which felt a bit more flexible, so it was easier to open a crack and do not have to press hard to make the pages lie flat. I was also disappointed with the paper cover for the Mimeo book, which I ordered with a black background. Across the edges, probably where the paper was trimmed, and in all cases on the paper cover, there is a visible white blasting pattern. Ugly.
Both companies gave a paper jersey to my bound books, which I could design in Photos. Mimeo let me add a picture on the inside of the dust jacket, which was a fun touch that Motif did not care about. (If you take off the dust jacket, you'll find the same pictures on the actual hardcovers of both books.)
What about calendars?
My family still makes a custom calendar each year based on pictures we took every month last year. (So my January 2019 calendar picture is from January 2018, and so on.) The good news is that this tradition will be able to live beyond the death to Apple's own built-in calendar tools. Both Mimeo Photos and Motif also offer calendar creation features that use layout tools customized to the same ones they use to build books.
Mimeo Photos has the edge of Motif on the calendar. It has more available template themes and offers the ability to customize individual dates in the calendar, with text or pictures, which is fun. (Unfortunately, it will not let you release images of overflow data from the previous or next month, which was always something I did with Apple's old calendar.)
I have not ordered calendars from both companies, so I can not speak to the print quality, but my guess is that it will be alike, just as it is with books. And both companies sell 12-month calendars for the same price, $ 20.
So while I prefer Motif for book building, I prefer Mimeo for calendars. But I think you can not go wrong with the option. If you are using images and are desperate at the moment, you need to build a book or calendar without Apple's tools, do not worry: Both of these apps will do a great job.
[ Take control of images much more about how to use the Photos app on macOS and iOS. ]
[ If you appreciate articles like this, we will help to make six colors (and get some fun benefits) of becoming a Six Colors subscriber. ]