After I wrote my last article on digital templates, which you can read here: Introduction to Digital Templates | Part I, I received a lot of questions about how to get started with digital scrapbooking – questions that require a more basic introduction than I had started with. So bear with me today and let’s go through the basics together before I continue on with the next template article. Here are some of the questions I’ve received and my answers to them.
Can you explain exactly what digital scrapbooking is?
Digital scrapbooking is the process of creating a scrapbook layout on a computer . You move your photos into your design program and create layouts with digital products that include digital papers, embellishments, alphabets and virtually every other type of scrapbooking element you can think of. Another way to think about digital scrapbooking is that you’re creating an electronic layout. Or think about it this way – you’re probably familiar with programs that allow you to create your own Christmas cards or birthday announcements by dropping your photos into a pre-made card on the computer and then having them printed and delivered by the card company. A digital layout is the exact same thing, just in a different size, and most digi scrappers choose to design their own page using digital products that they’ve purchased.
Are digital layouts completely flat? What about the embellishments?
Yes, digital layouts are completely flat. Just like the Christmas card that I can print out, the embellishments are all digital images, not physical embellishments, so the layout is flat. Here’s an example of a digital layout that I recently created.
As you can see, the layout has a lot of digital products, including papers, doilies, ripped notebook paper, an arrow, ribbons and stitching. And here is a side view of it as printed on 12 x 12 photo paper. It is the same thickness as any other photo would be printed on photo paper, which is to say that it’s pretty darn flat!
Here it is again on top of 24 other layouts. These 25 printed layouts have the same depth as a stack of 25 printed photos would have. It’s just wider and longer photo paper than you’re used to seeing. Instead of 4 inches by 6 inches, it’s 12 inches by 12 inches but otherwise, it’s identical.
Where do you print digital layouts? Is it possible to print them at home?
You can have layouts printed at many, many different companies – probably all of those same companies that you would think of to get Christmas cards printed. I personally prefer Persnickity Prints or Scrapping Simply but you can upload them to Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens or any other photo printing service. And just like any other photo, you can change the size of them. So I could have had my layouts printed in an 8″ x 8″ size or even 6″ x 6″. I just prefer to stick with the traditional 12″ x 12″ so that both my digital and traditional layouts can go into the same albums.
You can also print digital layouts at home as long as you have a standard photo printer. I print all of my 8.5″ x 11″ layouts at home on my Epson photo printer using photo paper. If I had a wide-format printer, I could also print all of my 12″ x 12″ layouts at home. But for me, it’s more cost-effective to have them printed by a printing company than it would be to invest in a wide-format printer and pay for all of that ink. Another alternative would be to resize them to 8″ x 8″ and print them at home if I wanted to but I already explained above why I like to use the larger size.
What do I need to start digital scrapbooking?
You will need four basic things to get started: your photos, a computer, a photo-editing program, and digital scrapbooking products.
The majority of digital scrapbookers use either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements as their photo-editing program. I personally use Photoshop Elements and highly recommend it. You can purchase it for under $70 usually and it is all you’ll ever need for most digital layouts. But there are plenty of other programs you could also use including Corel Paint Shop Pro, Microsoft Digital Image Suite, or LumaPix FotoFusion.
Choosing the digital scrapbooking products is the fun part! There are many, many digi stores that you can shop at and almost all of them have freebies to get you started. My personal favorite is Designer Digitals (I’ve been on the creative team there for the past six years) and their products are the highest quality products you’ll find. But I can also recommend Oscraps, Pixels and Company, The Lilypad, and Jessica Sprague, to name just a few.
So those are some of the basics of digital scrapbooking. I hope I answered all of the questions. And while I don’t profess to being a digital “expert,” I have been completely immersed in digi scrapbooking for over six years now so I’m happy to answer as many questions as you have! Please leave me comments with any other questions you have or anything else you want clarified about digital scrapbooking and I will do my best to answer them.