DIY & Crafts

Digital scrapbooking

Author: Canadian Living

DIY & Crafts

Digital scrapbooking



Marg's first layout

Digital scrapbooking is a catch-all term for when your computer gets involved in producing a scrapbook--at any level. It can mean anything from the simple act of using your word processing program for caption writing through to going all out: using a digital camera to take pictures, software to edit your photos and design your pages and posting your virtual scrapbook on the web or sending it away to have a hardbound book produced. The latter example can be rather overwhelming and sometimes the pages are so complicated they look like the work of a full-time graphic artist, but there are increasingly useful tools for the average folk who just want to get pictures on a page efficiently.

Hardware
Computer
Any computer you use will undoubtedly be adequate for producing text, but if you choose to buy image editing or scrapbooking software, you need to make sure your system meets the requirements for that program. Also, the more memory you have, the easier it is to manage digital images.

Printer
If you want to do your own printing, the quality of printer you own will partially determine what kind of product you produce. A black laser printer will limit you to text (titles and journaling) and some clip art, but with a decent colour inkjet printer you can do it all. When you purchase a printer, take into consideration the cost of the cartridges, new or re-filled, so you don't have to limit your output. Also, consider a printer that can accommodate 12" X 12" layouts (the HP 9650 handles 13" X 19" and retails around $450.00)

Scanner
A scanner isn't necessary, but it is a very handy thing to own and costs as little as $99.00. The HP 4670 scanner is unique in that it is a clear screen in a vertical stand so you can see what you are scanning, and you can take the scanner off the stand and hold it over anything, which makes it easy to do multiple scans on a large object such as a quilt or a painting.

Software
The software that comes with a digital camera is ideal for editing and organizing photographs. More advanced image editing requires software such as Adobe Photoshop, or Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Digital Image Pro or Picture It!, Ulead PhotoImpact, or Jasc Paintshop Pro. And if the software (such as Adobe Photoshop Elements) has a "layers" function, you can use it to produce complete scrapbook pages without gluing.

Scrapbooking is made even easier with digital scrapbooking software such as HP Creative Scrapbooking Assistant. You can also use an inexpensive “card-making&" or crafts layout program, anything that incorporates your photos and their fonts and clip art into cards or brochures will work to get you started.

What this software can do for you
You can make your output look like traditional scrapbook pages, a web site, brochure or an advertisement -- your imagination is your only limitation. However, keeping it simple to start with will yield results faster. And, remember that owning a program does not make you a graphic designer -- look around at others' work, participate in forums and ask questions -- ideas are everywhere.

Whatever computer programme you have, there are many advantages to using a computer, including that it can be far less expensive as you can re-use your "supplies" over and over again and that it isn't as messy -- no glue, papers, and all of the bits and pieces covering your worktable.

How does it work? Without getting into the details of each program, generally, instead of starting with a piece of paper and adding photographs manually, on the computer you create you pages like so:

1. Start a new file (Set up page for 8 ½ X 11&" or 8 X 8&" or 6 X 6&" with the average printer or 12 X 12&" by stitching or tricks described here)

2. Design a background with as simple a tool as the “paint&" function or using a purchased digital layer of background paper.

3. Layer on the photos, re-sizing and re-positioning them until you are pleased with the effect (or you can switch 2 and 3 by putting down the photos first and then finding a paper to compliment them.)

4. Add elements such as mats and accent papers.

5. Add journalling text and titles.

6. Try the drop-shadowing tool to add a third dimension.

7. Embellish with do-dads like tags, fibres or stitching found on the Internet for sale (see next page) or scanned in or created by you.

More benefits of computer scrapbooking:

1. Editing your images -- enhancing, resizing, re-colouring, fixing red-eye -- is simple and very effective.

2. Titling and journalling is made very simple and looks great with any number of fancy fonts, many of which are free.

3. Embellishing is great fun. Using some of the fancy papers that are available electronically (see list of links below), you can add accents, frames and photo mats that you can also create by scanning or painting and then print them over and over.

4. Organizing and finding your pictures and all of your journal entries is made simpler with the power of your software.

5. Surfing the Internet you will find unbelievable online resources for scrapbookers, including:

E-tail (on-line retail)
Either downloadable or available on disc, you can shop online for a huge range of digital files of papers, elements, embellishments, fonts and layouts. Most of these sites have tutorials too so even if you don't buy anything you can learn a lot.

For an enormous list of Canadian e-tailers go to We Love Scrapbooking. Digital Scrapbooking Place is very comprehensive and a good source for getting your pages printed and hardbound. It has a particularly great tutorial area and a "university."

For loads of articles, tutorials, inspiration and shopping opportunities click here: Scrapper's Guide. Teaching Computer Skills for Scrapbooking, Scrapbook-Bytes, Escrappers,and Scrap Girls as well as Scrapbooks Elements, and Scrapjazz's Resources.

Layouts
You will want to start building a layout library. A nice way to start is with HP's freebies: HP Scrapbook Resources. To find that extra little line from a movie, the perfect quote, or a wise saying or slogan, here's a couple of sites to get you started (or just try “Googling&" a topic such as friends quotes):Quotes and Sayings, Think Exist, and Internet Movie Database.

Inspiration/Community
Canada Scrapbooks is an information hub for everything scrapbooking in Canada.

Two Peas in a Bucket is probably the best known and most widely read of the show-your-stuff gallery forums.
Creating Keepsakes has an active message board, a product showcase and a scrapper locator to help you find others in your neighbourhood looking for crops – and there are lots of crops in Canada!

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Digital scrapbooking

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