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Digital Scrapbooking 101

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Digital scrapbooking, the hottest new trend in scrapbooking, moves creativity beyond the limits of paper crafting. Learn here how you can harness the power of Photoshop to crop, resize, and add effects to photographs. Then explore online resources to find everything from complete page layouts to complements for traditional pages, including backgrounds, 3D elements, fonts, and downloadable scrapbook art.
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Scrapbooking has been around for many years, but not in the form in which it is currently enjoyed. In the past, scrapbooks were simple photo albums with images fixed in place with photo corners. Today's scrapbook looks very different. The pages are more artistically decorated, and everything is designed to preserve memories, big and small.

Although most scrapbookers create pages by hand, many create elements for their pages on the computer—and others create all digital pages. I'll show you here how you can make Photoshop as valuable a crafting tool as a paper trimmer and adhesive.

What Scrapbooking Is All About

Today's lovingly crafted photo album is typically 12 by 12 inches in size and can be anything but plain. You can create each page's background using patterned paper or richly textured cardstock, and you can crop the photos and sometimes cut them into shapes before arranging them decoratively on the page.

On top of this you can place embellishments that look like they've been sourced from the sewing box or desk drawer. Scrapbookers use buckles, ribbons, fibers, zippers, brads, paper clips, staples, buttons, and just about anything that they can glue, wire, or tie to the page. Add to this a title and some personal journaling, and the result is an artistic expression that enhances the photographs to tell a story (see Figure 1).

Scrapbooking in this form has been around for years, but only recently have crafters begun to harness the power of graphics programs like Photoshop to help out. First steps into digital scrapbooking usually involve using programs like Word to create the journaling for the page and perhaps to create a page title, but this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of digital scrapbooking.

Figure 01Figure 1 A scrapbook page is made up of various elements in addition to the photos themselves, as shown in this page created using the HP Creative Scrapbook Assistant and art from Fotoscrapix.com.

True digital scrapbookers create most, if not all, of the scrapbook page in either specialist scrapbooking software like HP's Creative Scrapbook Assistant or Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Designer Deluxe, or in their regular graphics software, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

The attraction of these programs is, in part, the ability to use layers to arrange and stack elements on the page. For example, traditional scrapbooking techniques, such as placing a layer of semitransparent velum over a photograph, can be mimicked in Photoshop by placing a white rectangle over a photograph or other element and reducing the opacity so the photograph shows through underneath.

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