New to Digital scrapbooking? This list may help answer some of your questions. Need an answer to a different question? Send me your question using the contact us form and I will post an answer asap. Thanks!
Q: What is digital scrapbooking?
A: Digital scrapbooking is scrapbooking created on a computer using graphics software such as Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, or any other program that supports the use of layers. (Layer tutorial coming soon!)
Q: What is hybrid scrapbooking?
A: Hybrid scrapbooking is when the artist combines elements of both traditional paper scrapbooking with digital scrapbooking. For example an artist might use her software to create her page’s main elements: papers, pictures, and journaling. But then she adds physical elements such as ribbons and buttons for added depth and dimension. Many people also create hybrid projects like cards, boxes, and gifts using digital papers and elements.
Q: Are there different styles of digital scrapbooking?
A: Yes! There are at least three distinct styles of digital scrapbooking. The first, most popular style is paper inspired. These layouts typically look like traditional paper scrapbook pages. In fact, when shadows and elements are placed correctly, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between a digital vs. traditional page when posted in an online gallery. Clean and cool describes the next style, graphic scrapping. These layouts tend to take advantage of the power of the user’s software and often showcase the use of brushes, blending, frame masks, and shadowing for a more graphic – advertisement-like look. Another popular style in the digital scrapbooking world is fantasy/whimsical. In these designs, the artist creates a magical and sometimes whimsical take on scrapbooking. While some scrappers stay primarily in one style, many combine any combination of styles. Since digital scrapbooking is for you, there is no wrong or right way to create – just your way!
Q: Why should I digital scrapbook?
A: There are many reasons people choose to digitally scrapbook. First, it’s a natural transition from editing pictures to creating layouts. Second, convenience – there is no clutter, no items to get out and put away, so it’s easy to make the most of those few minutes you have for yourself. Even if you only have ten minutes, it’s enough time to get some photos edited, work on your journaling, or begin placing your elements/papers on your page. When the ten minutes is up, you simply save and you’re immediately ready to go the next time you have a moment. Third, scrapping digitally saves money. Yes, there are some upfront costs like your software program, but once you make the commitment you will save money in the long run. Fourth, it’s easy to scrap and share when you digital scrapbook. You may email your layouts, post your layouts online, or print multiple copies to share with your family and friends!
Q: What do you do with your layouts once you make them?
A: The beauty of digital scrapbooking is that your layouts are no longer confined to just one album. When you digitally scrapbook, you may use your completed layouts as screen savers, email them to friends and family, share them easily on your blog or in an online community, print and add to an album, or upload an album’s worth of layouts and have them printed and bound into a book using an online service like Shutterfly or Persnickety Prints.
Q: What programs and supplies do you need to scrapbook digitally?
A: The most popular programs for digital scrapbooking are Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro. Because these programs are the most popular, it is easy to find tutorials to make learning your software much easier. However, any graphics program that supports layers may be used for digital scrapbooking. In addition to software, you may also need a scanner to scan older photographs and ephemera (ticket stubs, a child’s artwork) for scrapping. A printer is a must for home printing: either a large format (able to print 12×12″) or a standard printer will work. Many digital scrapbookers prefer creating 8×8″ albums so a large format printer is unnecessary. Once you become more familiar with your program, you may want to purchase a tablet for drawing/writing directly on your layouts.
Once you have your pictures and software ready to go, you will need to get your scrapping supplies! A great way to build up your digital stash when beginning digital scrapbooking is to download “freebies” or gifts from digital designers. Most designers have a blog or website where you may find samples of their work. If fact, MDS has a number of freebies found here. Enjoy! Besides the freebies there are many digital scrapbooking stores online to meet your digital scrapping needs.
Q: What is a digital scrapbooking kit?
A: A digital scrapbooking kit is a collection of individual pieces packaged together to make the creation of your pages easier. Most kits come with a collection of 12×12 papers in color coordinating patterns and solids. Each paper is an individual .jpeg/.jpg file. You will also find elements in your kit download. The elements are also, for the most part, in individual .png files (a .png file retains transparancy around the elements instead of having a colored background). Finally, most kits also include an alphabet for title and journaling work. Alphabets may be packaged as individual .png files (each letter is a separate file) or as a sheet. If the alphabet is in a sheet you will need to cut out the letters needed for your layout.
Q: How do you pay for digital scrapbooking items?
A: The most popular payment module for digital scrapbooking is Paypal. Paypal is an online service you may connect to your bank account or credit card to make your digital scrapbooking purchases. Even if you don’t want to create an account, don’t worry. Paypal allows credit card users to make purchases without creating an account.
Q: How do you download your purchases?
A: Once your payment has cleared, this may take a few days if you pay with an e-check, you will be given download links for your purchases. Simply click the download link, browse to your desired saving location, and save the file to your computer. Typically everything will go well and your download will work. If your download doesn’t work because it is corrupted, delete the file from your computer, login to your account at the store, and download your files again (most stores allow you to attempt downloading 5 times before closing the download link). If the download still won’t work, contact the store for help.
Q: What is a zip file?
A: Your download will be saved to your computer as a zip file. A zip file is a set of files compressed into the smallest possible form for downloading. To open your file, you will need to unzip the file. To unzip, simply double click. If double clicking doesn’t work, you may need to download a program like WinZip.
Q: May I share my purchases with friends?
A: No. Sharing files you have purchased with others is digital piracy and is illegal. Most digital scrapbooking designers are stay-at-home-moms who depend on income from their designs to support their families, so sharing files hurts families.
Q: If I can’t share my purchases, may I share my layouts?
A: Yes, as long as the layout you share with family and friends is a flattened .jpg version of the file.
Q: How do I keep all of my supplies and pictures safe?
A: Computers fail; hard drives crash; external hard drives go kaput. There are many backup options, but I chose to backup all of my home files with Mozy online back-up. Why? Well, it’s pretty inexpensive, only $4.95 a month, and with Mozy, my computer does all the work for me while I sleep. Plus, my files are stored remotely, so if our house suffered a catastrophic even, like a fire, all of my computer files will be safe. I won’t lose a single picture or layout! Seriously, I can’t say enough great things about Mozy! 🙂
Q: I’d love to start digital scrapbooking but I don’t want that ugly, fake look to my pages. What can I do?
A: In order to create a realistic looking digital scrapbooking layout, you will need to use shadows properly. Shadows are a digital scrappers best friend and worst enemy. When executed poorly, bad shadows can ruin your layout. However when applied with skill, shadows help you create gorgeous three-dimensional layouts. There are many tutorials on adding shadows to your layouts. We have one here for Paint Shop Pro and a future tutorial planned for PS and PSE.