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Scrapbooking Made Easy

Visalia Direct: Virtual Valley
October 25, 2010 Deadline
December 2010 Issue

Scrapbooking Made Easy

Scrapbooking is a serious hobby for some people. Two of my cousins create beautiful works of art using special acid-free art papers, rubber stamps, decals and photos. Scrapbooking is an art form in the hands of serious “scrappers.”

Then, there are people like me. I can’t cut a decent trim using Fiskar scissors and don’t even allow me near glue. I’m more likely to glue the photos to myself than the pages. Yet, there is hope for those of us with scrapbook impairments.

Digital scrapping, also known as DigiScrappin or digiscrap, enables us to use computer software to create virtual scrapbooks that can also be printed.

There are several specialized software packages available for scrapbooking. These applications sell for less than $40. Broderbund and Nova also sell special editions of their scrapbooking applications for weddings. The wedding editions include clipart and fonts appropriate to your special day and honeymoon.

However, you should know that “scrapbook programs” tend to be nothing more than general purpose design applications packaged with a subset of the clipart, fonts and templates. If you only want to create a digital scrapbook of your wedding, that might be great, but most people end up wanting to scrapbook more than one event.

Scrapbook Boutique by Broderbund Software is based on the publisher’s ubiquitous The Print Shop for Windows and Mac. Likewise Nova Development’s Print Explosion features far more clipart and fonts than that publisher’s Scrapbook Factory. Personally, I consider the $10 to $15 extra for the full design applications a bargain.

A graphic artist might suggest using CorelDRAW, Adobe InDesign or another high-end application to create a digital scrapbook. Honestly, these applications lack the ease-of-use and fun features that are the hallmark of software like The Print Shop and Print Explosion.

For example, the applications known as “home publishing” software simplify adding borders and illustrated “frames” to photos. Doing the same with InDesign requires time and knowledge of the software’s complex approach to layers. Why not use software meant for home publishing? You’ll save time, effort and money.

Choosing between the programs for scrapbooking is a matter of personal preference. I like Print Explosion Deluxe for the Mac, but The Print Shop is also a good application. The main difference is the artwork included. The Print Shop includes more cartoon-style artwork, while Print Explosion includes what the software calls “fine art” illustrations resembling paintings and pastel sketches.

The Print Explosion Deluxe scrapbook templates cover everything from anniversaries to weddings. Every imaginable celebration of event has a scrapbook template in Print Explosion. Nova even includes templates like “Fishing” and “Pet Memorial” for scrapbooking. There’s no reason for me to consider Scrapbook Factory when Print Explosion does so much.

Print Explosion and Print Shop allow you to send pages as e-mail messages or to save a scrapbook as a Web site. I’ve sent the e-mail pages to my wife and they look great. You wouldn’t want to send an entire scrapbook via e-mail, but sending a single page can be a nice feature.

Most scrapbook software can create photo CDs or DVDs of your scrapbook. The CDs and DVDs made with scrapbook software will “play” in most DVD and Blu-ray players. This allows you to share the scrapbook with friends and family. Most newer computers can record CDs and many can also record DVDs. I purchased 50 blank DVDs for about $30 at an office supply store.

If you only want a basic photo album, Apple’s iPhoto, Kodak’s EasyShare and Hewlett-Packard’s Creative Studio allow you to upload photos via the Web and receive a printed keepsake book within two weeks. The prices vary based on the size of the book, the number of pages and any special options you order. These are photo books, not scrapbooks.

Serious “digiscrap” hobbyists buy high-end photo printers, such as the Epson R2880 or the Canon Pixma 9500 Mark II. These printers are pigment based and the pages will, in theory, last a century or more. These are each $800 printers and supplies are expensive. Some scrapbook stores and photo services have these printers and print pages for a small fee. Online sites, like Shutterfly, charge $6 to $8 per page for digital scrapbook printing.

You no longer have to be an artist to create a great scrapbook. Get out and create some memories. Be sure to take digital photos and buy the home publishing software of your choice. The results will impress your friends and family.



Scrapbooking Software

Scrapbook Boutique by Broderbund Software for Windows or Mac OS X, $29.99.
Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5.0 by Nova Development for Windows, $39.99.
My Memories Suite 2.0 Digital Scrapbooking Software by Storyrock, Inc. for Windows or Mac OS X, $39.99.

Home Publishing Software

The Print Shop by Broderbund Software for Windows or Mac OS X, the price varies with “Deluxe” and “Pro” versions including more clipart and fonts.
The Print Artist by Nova Development for Windows, $49.95.
Print Explosion Deluxe by Nova Development for Mac OS X, $49.95.

Small Office Publishing Software

Microsoft Publisher falls between professional design software and home publishing applications. Microsoft provides a great online library of templates and artwork, but Publisher’s extra power comes at the price of usability. There are some scrapbooking templates, tailored for special events. Publisher is $139.95 and it is included with many versions of the Microsoft Office suite.

Apple’s Pages software is also a small office option, but not ideal for scrapbooking. Pages is included with the iWork suite, which retails for $79. I find Pages easier and more flexible than Publisher, but Publisher has a better selection of templates for activities like scrapbooking.

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