Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is Digital Scrapbooking?

I've been waxing philosophical after listening to a few of the Paperclipping Digi Show podcasts (which by the way I highly recommend) I decided to start listening at the beginning. The topic for the show was "What is Digital Scrapbooking Anyway?" So I've been thinking, what is digital scrapbooking? I consider myself a digital scrapbooker but haven't really thought about the definition of it, why I do it, etc. (Oh and on a side note, while discussing definitions - its funny that my spell check doesn't recognize scrapbooking as a word :) )

To me, digital scrapbooking is just scrapbooking. It is my way to preserve my memories. To me the "how" is less important than the actual memory keeping. For clarity's sake though, and since we hear the term a lot, perhaps the does need to be a definition. Here's what I've come up with.

Traditional Scrapbooking - using printed photos and physically journaling (hand written, rub-ons, stickers) along with embellishments and memorabilia to create a memory album.

Hybrid - Using the computer to either create some elements/pages and printing that to layer on pages with other more traditional supplies.
page from a mini album. Used traditional paper, printed images and
elements. Typed out text and printed out.
Digital Scrapbooking - Using the computer throughout to create scrapbook pages including photo prossessing and using digital elements, fonts, pages, etc.
Double page spread created completely digital, from photo
processing to text to papers.

I mostly use a fully digital workflow when creating scrapbook pages but I know a lot of people like to mix it up. Now a days it seems to be getting harder to do anything with out using the computer at least as a tool (especially for photo processing) really everyone is at least a little digi! :)

There are other ways that technology can be used in scrapbooking. I use my personal blog to update family and friends about things we've done. Because I have such a bad memory I know that if I wait even a few weeks to scrapbook an event/moment I will probably forget some details. So my blog is like a journal which I can then pull from when creating pages. Plus, I can print a book copy of my blog to preserve the "in the moment" memories as well.

Why Digi?
For me Digi Scrapping provides me with the ultimate in control. I don't have to think too hard about what I'm going to do. I can try something, see what it looks like, and if I don't like it, get rid of it and start all over again.

When I used to scrapbook (pre-digi) my photos/spreads all looked the same...a standard size picture, or perhaps cropped a bit, with a mat, some embellishments and journaling. My pages were all big and bulky and would be quite expensive. Now that I'm Digital, my pictures can be edited/cropped/masked any way I want. I can use papers/elements over and over again (a cost savings) and the clean up is easy (save & close). I also love printing out professional looking photo books that look beautiful on my bookshelf and take up a lot less room.

Sizes of Printing
I create my layouts in 12"x12" but print photobooks that are 8.5"x8.5". I love using the large size because it gives me the greatest flexability - I can print in any square size. I'm toying with the idea of other aspect ratios but I really love the square look for my main (chronological) books. I'm also loving the idea of mixing and matching sizes (a la Ali Edwards) but that would have to be in a 3 ring binder with sheet protectors.

Ben's 2009 album printed in 4x4 size for a Mother's day gift to the Grandmas.
Tools of the Trade
Assuming* you are ready to go Digital (all or in part), your next question may be, "What do I need to get started?" (*By asking this questions I assume you have tool #1 - A willingness to learn. I'm also assuming you have a digital camera and a computer*)

  • Photoshop - at least Elements. This is the industry standard and you can find more tutorials about using this software than any other, which makes it easier to learn.
  • Photo/Digi-Supply Management - Figure out a plan from the beginning or this can get overwhelming. I use Adobe Bridge for my photos (stored chronologically) and Picasa (free from Google) for my digi-supplies (which are stored in folders, but are easier to view in Picasa).
  • Inkscape - optional. This is an open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator and is great for working with vector graphics. 
Beyond this, you could also get - hard drives, tablet, cricut (more for hybrid), and the list goes on. It all depends on what you're willing to invest $$$ and time into.


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