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Artifact Uprising Photo Book Review: Gorgeous Book, Poor Photo Quality

Artifact Uprising's photo books are expensive but gorgeous, with fabric covers, foil hand-embossed titles and heavy, archival-quality pages. Unfortunately, we found that the software hamstrings creativity, and photo reproduction was unsatisfactory.

Our Verdict

Artifact Uprising's photo books are expensive but gorgeous, with fabric covers, foil hand-embossed titles and heavy, archival-quality pages. Unfortunately, we found that the software hamstrings creativity, and photo reproduction was unsatisfactory.

For

  • Gorgeous fabric-covered book
  • Acid-free, archival-quality recycled paper
  • Simple, easy-to-use software

Against

  • Unsatisfactory photo quality
  • Restrictive software
  • No background choices or clip art
  • No or very limited interior text (depending on book style)
  • Expensive

Artifact Uprising's photo books are expensive but physically gorgeous, with fabric covers, heavy-weight archival paper and top-quality binding. Unfortunately, its software is very restrictive, with few user choices and no content, and the photo quality of our test book was unsatisfactory. We recommend you check out our page of the best photo books to choose a different service, such as Mixbook or AdoramaPix.

Creating Your Book: Easy-to-use but very restrictive software

We tested Artifact Uprising's photo book software using the least expensive style – Everyday Photo Book ($49.00 for a 7 x 7-inch book) – which also had the fewest options.

The Everyday template had a mere four layouts, all of which featured only one photo per page. The pictures couldn't be moved in any way on the page. Also, when we had a page selected and clicked on Add Photo, it placed the photo into the next empty page, which could be time-saving. But if we wanted control over picture placement, we had to click and drag to put a photo into a specific page.

The only photo-edit tools are crop and rotate (in 90-degree increments), or panning within a cropped image. When cropping the image, we couldn't adjust the aspect ratio unless we changed to another layout (such as a landscape versus a square placeholder).

When in the manage pages view, we easily clicked and dragged to rearrange pages. But unlike other vendors' offerings, it wasn't possible to double-click to open the selected page into the edit view.

We couldn't change the white page background, nor did the interface provide clip art, borders or any other content. What's more, it had no text options for the inside pages and no photos on the cover. Instead, Artifact Uprising specializes in fabric-covered books that feature (in some styles, including the Everyday) an impressive foil hand-embossed title on the cover and the spine. However, the embossed text was limited to only one font: Times New Roman. (We were surprised to receive a phone call from customer service, to inform us that the company didn't have the exclamation mark in their embossing stamps that we used in our title.)

The interface for other style books, such as the more expensive Hardcover book, had additional layouts, including some multiphoto layouts. A handful of page layouts even included text, depending on the size and style of the book. However, the photos and text placeholders were still fixed, with no content or background options. What's more, none of the book-building interfaces had an Undo.

The Printed Book: Fabulous physical book, disappointing photo quality

Physically, the Artifact Uprising book was gorgeous, with solid, clean binding. The only decoration on the lovely professional-quality cloth cover was a nicely hand-embossed title on the front and the spine. The interior pages (which lay flat) were printed on beautiful, heavy-weight matte, archival-quality recycled paper.

Unfortunately, the photo reproduction didn't live up to the physical book. Given the very high quality of the physical book, we were surprised enough to order another book. The second book had slightly better exposure in some pictures, but overall was quite similar to the first. Part of the problem appeared to be that the printer hadn't been properly calibrated for the print characteristics of matte paper.

Overall, the midtone to highlights of pictures were well-exposed, with good saturation and nice color. In addition, focus was good without any oversharpening. However, details were lost in the entire range from midtones to shadows, so that the images tended to be flat, and night images were too dark.

Price and Options

Artifact Uprising's books were the most expensive among the services we tested. Our 7 x 7-inch, 30-page Everyday Photo Book cost $49.00. That included a fabric cover (six different colors) and our title embossed on the cover and spine in gold, silver or bronze. We could have added 10 or 20 pages for a total of $69.00 or $89.00, respectively.

Other style books included the following: Softcover books starting at $15.00, which are available in a variety of sizes, from 5.5 x 5.5 inches to 11 x 8.25 inches; Hardcover books, starting at $69.00 for a 50-page, 8.5 x 8.5-inch book; and premium Layflat books, which started at $139.00 for a 20-page, 8.5 x 8.5-inch book.

Artifact Uprising books feature archival-quality, acid-free Mohawk recycled paper. All the book styles (except the Softcover) have a very attractive fabric cover. The foil hand embossing is available only on the Everyday and Layflat books, while the Hardcover books include a dust jacket.

Other Artifact Uprising products include cards, prints, attractive photo presentation boxes and quality photo frames. They also specialize in wedding products, including albums, guest books, cards and invitations.

Bottom Line

Artifact Uprising's Everyday book is the kind that you would display proudly and keep for a long time – as long as no one opened it. The very limited software restricts creativity, and the photo reproduction just didn't cut it. If you're willing to pay this kind of price, choose AdoramaPix instead for a beautiful, customizable, high-quality book with great pictures. Or, for far less money, go with Shutterfly, which delivered an attractive book, more options for creativity and lovely photos.

Specs

Import photos fromInstagram, Facebook, Dropbox, your device
Templates & layoutsLimited and uneditable
BackgroundsNone
Clip artNone
TextNone or limited, depending on the book style

Credit: Tom's Guide