Sunday, September 4, 2005

Adding Elements

Now the way you start to put your page together will become your personal preference. Some like to add the photos and work around them, others like to design the page and add the photos last. It is truly up to you and your design style. For this demonstration I will first show you how to add elements first.

Go to FILE/OPEN and go to your folder you have your elements in. Pick out an element you like. I chose the frame.
 You will now have the element window open in your program. Grab and drop onto your paper the same way you added the paper to your document. Again, Photoshop has the drag and drop option, your program may or may not be the same. Whichever way you need to get your frame onto your paper, do it now.
To add other elements, you do the same thing and you can arrange them any way that is pleasing to you.

I downloaded a kit, now what?

Congratulations! You are now well on your way to creating a fabulous scrap page that your family can treasure for a life time!

So you found a kit that you like, you downloaded it, so now how do you start using them?

Most kits will be in a .zip file. (it will look like a yellow folder with a zipper on it(PC users, I am unsure about MAC users)) A zip file format is a data compression and archive format and contains one or more files that have been compressed to reduce file size, or stored as-is.

To open a zip file, you will need some way to unzip your file, such as Winzip which that basic version is free that you can download. GET IT HERE Some Operating Systems have it already and all you have to do is right click on your file and "extract" it to a certain location. Either way, that is what you need to do to get access to your kits!

I recommend having a folder for all your scrapbooking kits to be extracted to. That way you have everything you need in one area. I also recommend keeping your kits together (as in, don't separate ALL papers from several kits in one folder and all elements from multiple kits in others) as many designers have a TOU (terms of use) document for their kit. You are bound to the limitations of use by the designers of that kit, and keeping the kits together, ensures you abide by the designers TOU).

So theoretically, all your kits should now be unzipped and placed in a specific area you can easily access.

What are kits and where do I get them?

Digital kits, also know as digital embellishments, elements and papers, are what is used for digital scrapping. Much like its paper counterpart, they are what you will use to make your scrap pages your own.

You can buy kits from several stores/blogs or even find free kits by searching online. Whatever your taste or style, you will be able to find what you are looking for.

Most digital kits, unless labeled "Tagger sized" are full 12x12 sized papers with the resolution of 300dpi. The embellishment/elements will be of various sizes, though they can be sized to your project needs.

A popular "freebie" kit search engine is
You can also find free kits here at Shabby Princess
and of course you can download my freebies and purchase my kits I have on my blog.

Getting the right size

Before we start, the screen shots below are from the program Adobe Photoshop CS3. Your program, if not CS3, will vary, but the concept will be the same. For this tutorial, I will be using the kit Festival by Shabby Princess, go there to download their FREE kit if you would like.

Ok, getting started, how to create a specific size page. You can create your page to be whatever size you would like. Most digital kits (unless labeled "tagger") will usually be 12x12 sized and at 300dpi for optimal printing. The great thing about digital is you can size the paper and elements to your desired size. Rule of thumb though, its ok to size down to keep resolution high for printing, sizing bigger may result in undesirable printing results.

Ok! So first you want to open up your work space, you will make this the size you want your page. Popular choices are 12x12, 10x10 and 8x8 for traditional scrapbook pages, though you can make any size you would like. For my tutorial, I will be opening up a 12x12 page.

Depending on your program, you will go up top to your menus under FILE, choose NEW.

Now.....some will say you can just open up your digital paper and use that, but I always like to make a separate page as not to accidentally save over the original paper file. But you can also just use your paper template. In this case, you'd just go to FILE/OPEN and then find where your digital paper is located.
Now that you have your workstation open, choose the paper you would like to be your BACKGROUND. 
FILE/OPEN/(your kit folder)

So now you should have 2 documents open. The first is your document you made, and the second is the paper. I sized the windows small and side by side for viewing purposes.

Move the paper you opened to your document you created in the beginning, then CLOSE out the kit paper file (not your working document which will now have the paper on it).

So now you should have ONE document open, your document you made with the paper now fitted on it perfectly. You will now notice your paper in your layer pallet.


1. The cost! Paper scrapbooks are very pleasing to look at and creative fun, but as you all know, it is not a cheap hobby. You buy items and you get to use them one time....this is not the case with digital. When you buy a kit (or often times find free ones) you can use them as many times as you want all for one price!

2.  The freedom of changing things if you change your mind or "mess up". You can move elements, change paper, pictures anything you want as often as you want before you print. Nothing gets ruined in the process, just click undo.

3.  No cutting of irreplaceable pictures. Ever want to scrap old photographs from your great grandparents but afraid of cutting them or accidentally ruining them? With digital, you can use a scanned copy and your picture stays in its original shape.

4.  Complete creative freedom. Have you ever looked for a specific color embellishment or paper and just couldn't find it? Or you found a paper that would be perfect, but it wasn't the right color? With digital scrapbooking, you can color, resize and customize you elements/papers JUST the way you need them. Best part, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can have on your pages!

5.  Font selection. Is your handwriting not the best? (like mine), you can download fonts (most free) from various sites that look like it was handwritten for journaling. You can type, delete, retype as much as you need and see it on your page before committing and can easily be changed later without having to redo the entire page!

6.  Multiple pages. Ever made a page that you would like to put in more than one book? Or would like to give a page away as a present? Well, instead of doing the same page all over again, you can print multiple pages!

There of course is nothing wrong with paper...some people will prefer paper over digital or digital over paper. The choice is yours...but if you are looking for help going digital, I made up some tutorials for you to get started!

What is digital scrapbooking?

Digital scrapbooking, also referred to as digi-scrapping, is essentially using computer software to create your layouts versus manually with physical objects.

Digital scrapbooking allows you to create your memory pages by using digital graphics instead of paper products. You can find digital kits all around the internet, or you can create your own embellishments for a truly unique page!

What software do I need?

Most digital kits use .PNG files and JPEG files, so you should choose a program that will support those two file types. Essentially, you can use any software that allows you to work with layered objects, and supports the PNG file format.

You  need to work in "layers" when making your scrap pages, so ensure the program you use supports layers.

Here are a couple programs you can use for digital scrapbooking.

Adobe Photoshop-A popular but expensive editing software

Adobe Elements-A cheaper software that does a lot of what Photoshop does. In fact, for digital scrapbooking, this is all you need.

Paint Shop Pro-This program focuses on digital design more than editing photos. Will also allow you to create beautiful pages.

GIMP-A photo editing software that has been compared to Photoshop and the best part? It's FREE. This program supports layers and can open PNG and JPEG files.

This of course does not complete the list of programs you can use, but it will help to get you started. The programs I listed offer a 30 day trial so you can see if the program is right for you before buying.