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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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Please Read This First

Terms of Use

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might not be suitable for everyone. The author obtained the information from sources believed to be reliable and

from his own personal experience, but he neither implies nor intends any

guarantee of accuracy.

The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting, medical or any other type of professional advice. The reader must always seek those services from competent professionals that can review their own particular

circumstances.

The author, publisher and distributors particularly disclaim any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals who directly or indirectly act on the information contained herein. All readers must accept full responsibility for their use of this material.

All pictures used in this book are for illustrative purposes only. The people in the pictures are not connected with the book, author or publisher and no link or endorsement between any of them and the topic or content is implied, nor should any be assumed. The pictures are only licensed for use in this book

and must not be used for any other purpose without prior written permission of the rights holder.

Some images © 2010 Jupiter Images Corporation, a Getty Images company.

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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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Contents

Please Read This First..................................................................................2

Terms of Use .......................................................................................................................2

Disclaimer.............................................................................................................................2

Contents............................................................................................................3

About the Author ...........................................................................................5

Introduction ....................................................................................................6

What is Scrapbooking?................................................................................8

Is Digital Scrapbooking Better?...............................................................9

What You Need.............................................................................................10

Scanning Your Pictures.....................................................................................................10

Printers and Supplies ........................................................................................................11

Paper ....................................................................................................................................11

Computer Programs ...........................................................................................................12

Start with what You already Have ...........................................................................12

Download a Trial of a Commercial Program.........................................................13

Start with What You Already Have ..........................................................................14

Download a Free Program from the Internet......................................................15

Benefits of Digital Scrapbooking ...........................................................16

Making Your Digital Scrapbook ..............................................................18

Creating a Page....................................................................................................................19

Editing Pages and Pictures ......................................................................23

Creating Scrapbook Elements ....................................................................................23

Choosing Your Image Editing Program..................................................................23

Features to Look for...........................................................................................................24

Quality of Output.............................................................................................................24

Layers...................................................................................................................................24

Accessories ........................................................................................................................25

Functions ............................................................................................................................25

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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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Support................................................................................................................................26

Upgrade Policy .................................................................................................................26

Editing and Enhancing Your Images....................................................27

How to Write Interesting Journal Entries ..........................................29

A Store with More........................................................................................31

How to Choose and Use Fonts ................................................................33

Topics for Your Scrapbooks .....................................................................35

Forums – Help and be Helped.................................................................36

Forums.............................................................................................................36

Asking Questions.............................................................................................................38

More Scrapbooking Tips............................................................................41

The Importance of Color Combinations .................................................................41

Be Creative to Maintain Reader’s Interest............................................................41

Resources .......................................................................................................42

Computer Programs ...........................................................................................................42

Scrapbooking Programs ...............................................................................................42

Free Office Suite!.............................................................................................................44

Powerful Plug-ins............................................................................................................44

Shareware and Freeware programs ........................................................................45

Pictures ...................................................................................................................................45

Textures ..............................................................................................................................46

This is the Beginning, not the End!.......................................................47

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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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About the Author

Ellen Wardle has been making scrapbooks for several years.

Ellen started using a computer in her work and bought her first computer just a couple of years ago.

She started using a desktop publishing program for letters and also

stationery for a community organization which she belonged to.

Then, she realized that this could also be a great help with producing her

scrapbooks as well.

Ellen says that she is not interested in the technical aspects of her computer.

She just wants to use her computer to make scrapbooking easier and to

improve the results she gets without spending very much money.

This is her first book and she hopes it will introduce many people to the

delightful art of scrapbooking and also help many hobbyists, who have some

experience with traditional methods, use their computers to improve the

results they get.

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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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Introduction

I wrote this ebook to help scrapbookers to get better results from the time and effort they put into their projects.

Scrapbooking is a very enjoyable hobby and useful for recording and sharing the most important and interesting events in our lives.

I will show you how you can use your computer to improve your scrapbook

projects while saving time and money.

If you have been making your pages and projects without using your

computer, I will show you how you can use your computer to improve your

scrapbook projects while saving time and money.

This book will explain that it is easy for almost anyone to use their computer for their scrapbooking even if you don’t know much about computers.

I’ll answer your questions without any technical language because I am not

an expert at all aspects of this hobby and especially not with computers.

I will tell you what works for me. This book gives you the short-cuts and

plain explanations based on my own experience and what I have learned

from other scrappers I have met face to face or through the Internet.

The results you get will depend, as they do with the traditional methods, on the quality of the materials you use and, above all, the thought and care

which you give to your pages.

I have focused on computer programs which work on the Windows operating

system because that is what I use.

I will give references for Macintosh users where I got information from people I believe are reliable.

Although most of the explanations are done with my favorite programs, I

have looked at several others which might better suit you.

Some are quite expensive but there are some which are very low-cost or

even free.

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You don’t need a very fast modern computer to produce great results. My PC

still has the XP operating system because I can do everything that I need to with it.

If you are using Vista, Windows 7 or a different operating system, you will have to adjust the instructions at times.

The different computer programs will often have similar features with

different names and the way that their menus and screens are arranged will

differ. This can be a nuisance, but I was told that companies can take legal action against other companies which may have copied the layout which they

developed.

I’ve included a range of resources which I either use or have had

recommended to me.

Comments about sites, programs and services are just my own opinions. I

never make any comments which are negative about the quality or other

aspects of any company or its products. I don’t mention those programs or

companies in the book.

If I don’t like the results I get, I take it up with them directly.

You can print out a copy of this book for your own reference.

I hope that it will help you to get the sort of satisfaction and enjoyment

which I do from digital scrapbooking.

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What is Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is a popular way to collect and preserve our family history and other memories. Scrapbooks are records of people and events but they

include relevant mementos to enhance and give background to the pictures

and words.

Scrapbooks may focus a family’s history, a person’s life or a special event (such as a journey or a wedding), hobby, pets or other personal interest.

Scrapbooks become family treasures to be shared with relatives and

heirlooms which are handed down through generations.

Scrapbooks grew in popularity from the time when it became possible to

make multiple copies of photographs and more advanced but cheaper and

easier to use cameras were developed.

Computers are becoming more popular with scrapbookers (often called

‘scrappers’) for preparing and organizing their projects.

One drawback has been that the papers and inks used with computers did

not have the durability of the archive grade paper used for traditional

scrapbooking.

Some printer companies, such as Epson, have enthusiastically supported

scrapbookers. They produce kits of acid-free, lignin-free matte and semi-

gloss papers and low-cost Guides to help scrapbookers use their products.

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Is Digital Scrapbooking Better?

Digital scrapbooking is a different way to produce parts of your scrapbook

projects more quickly and often more cheaply.

You can even use your computer to produce complete projects.

It hasn’t replaced traditional methods but it is a valuable addition to any scrapper’s tool chest.

Our computers also make it possible for people like myself, with limited

artistic ability and limited time, to produce scrapbooks which are much better than we ever could do without them!

Even people that are very good with the traditional methods can use their

computer to organize their raw materials, enhance their projects, and save

time and money.

Your computer will not remove your personality from a project. It gives you more options for expressing yourself and presenting the information.

Let’s get started.

Ellen Wardle 2010

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“Quick and Easy Computer Scrapbooking” by Ellen Wardle

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What You Need

You need very little that you probably haven’t already got, to get started with your first digital scrapbooking project.

You need:

A computer with an Internet connection. The computer which you used to

buy this ebook probably has all the power you need to organize and create

your projects.

Photos and other material to make your scrapbooks from.

A camera for taking photos which you will use in projects.

If you have a digital camera, you can easily transfer your new digital pictures into your computer with the cable and program which came with your

camera.

Scanning Your Pictures

If you want to use photos which were printed from a developed film and not

taken with a digital camera, you will need to either to pay someone to scan them and then save them on to a DVD for you to use or get a scanner and do

it yourself.

You might get a scanner or a printer combined with a scanner and perhaps a

fax (usually called a multi-function printer).

Your scanner should have the highest resolution and bit depth (check the

information provided on the box) which you can get.

You may not always use the maximum settings available because pictures

produced at those settings are likely to be much larger computer files but

buying a machine which has low values means that you will find yourself

restricted from doing more detailed work when you have a project which

needs it.

It is also useful if your scanner has the accessory which enables you to scan photo slides and film negatives if you are likely to want to use them in your projects.

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Printers and Supplies

If you are going to produce printed versions of your scrapbook projects to

the same standard and specifications as traditional scrapbooks, you will need a printer which can print on twelve inch square paper, the traditional size for scrapbook pages.

Many of the printers available cannot handle that width of paper, but you can produce nice scrapbooks with them. A lot of people produce smaller books,

including pocket-size “brag” books or others with pages that can be printed on their printers.

The inks supplied for most computers printers are dye inks in four colors

which can produce good results and they are getting better all the time. But, they are not likely to last or give the results which can be obtained with the more expensive pigment-based inks

You have to decide if that is worth the higher cost to you.

Paper

You also need to consider whether you will pay the higher cost of the special archive quality paper which is suitable for use with computer printers. Epson has been supplying packs of this type of paper but there may also be other

sources.

This paper is expected to be able to be stored for over 100 years where most paper produced for computer printers may only last about twenty years.

With regular computer paper supplies, you might use gloss finish paper

where you are producing bright highly-colored pages. Paper with a matt

finish is possibly better for softer images.

Some suppliers produce papers with different textures. You might check

these out where you are producing commemorative scrapbooks about a

particular event such as the first year of your child’s life etc.

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Computer Programs

There are specialized computer programs available just for producing

scrapbook pages. This is probably the easiest way to produce and fill your

pages with your content.

These programs vary in price and features. There are even some which are

free!

I’ll describe some which are currently available later in this ebook. I’ll try to give you some general guides which you can use to compare the features

and possible limitations of other programs which are currently available or which could be released after this book has been published.

But, you don’t have to get one of those dedicated programs.

Start with what You already Have

You can use a program which is designed for desktop publishing or general

picture editing (called “graphic editing”) to produce a scrapbook.

If you already have an image editing program of any kind on your computer,

I suggest that you use that first and see if it has all the features you need for your first few scrapbook projects.

After trying out the programs which you got for other purposes or which were supplied with your scanner, printer or digital camera, you can decide if you need a program with other features or which produces better quality results for your projects.

You will also have a better idea of what features you really need from any

program that you decide to buy.

The chapter, “Choosing Your Image Editor” explains some of the features you should look for in the program you use to create and edit your pages and

pictures.

The chapter, “Editing Pages and Pictures” has a demonstration where I make

a page and fill it with sample content of various kinds.

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Download a Trial of a Commercial Program

Most suppliers of commercial programs offer trial versions which will work for a set period, usually from ten to thirty days. You can download these trials from the suppliers’ web sites on the Internet.

This can be very helpful.

You can test a program which you are interested in without buying it first.

Returning a computer program to a store or a refund after you have opened

and perhaps installed it may not be as straight-forward as returning a

physical item such as a toaster.

One drawback to these free trials is that the files you have to download are often very large. They take time to download to your computer and use up

part of the bandwidth which your Internet Service Provider allows you before applying an extra charge. You need a good broadband connection to handle

them.

I only use trial versions where I have seen good, preferably independent,

reports about the program and am seriously considering buying it because

there are other factors which may limit their usefulness.

If you decide to buy that program, you may have to download a different

version which can be unlocked with the serial number which the supplier

sends to you after getting your payment. With some trial programs, you can

use that serial number to unlock the full features of the paid version and you don’t have to download the program twice.

Many trial versions have fewer features than the full packages. This lets you experiment and see whether the program is one you are comfortable using,

while encouraging you to invest in the full version.

Some trial programs limit your ability to print the pages you produce and

some put watermarks on pages which are printed from trial versions.

Otherwise some people would try to use the free trials to produce commercial products and sell them without paying anything to the provider of the

program.

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You can also get trial versions or even full, superceded versions of some

programs on the CDs or DVDs which are attached to computer magazines

which you buy.

You pay a few dollars for a program that was probably selling a few months

ago for maybe more than a hundred dollars. Another point is that the disc

will usually have a variety of programs on it.

You may also get a special offer to upgrade to the current version of the

program over the Internet for significantly less than the store price for the full boxed version.

Start with What You Already Have

If you have a digital camera, you may have got an image editing program on

the CD or DVD which came with it. That program may have enough features

to get you started with your first few projects or, at least allow you to

become familiar with how to manipulate your pictures so that you know how

to decide which more advanced program to get later on.

Or, you may already have an image editing program which you bought for

another purpose. You may have got one as part of the deal when you bought

your computer.

Give it a good try before buying a program or even downloading one from

the Internet. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Please be careful! Always scan any file which you download from the Internet or get from any other source. Even if you know the supplier, their files may have been infected without them knowing.

Use your anti-virus and anti-spy ware programs before you open the

program.

If you get an illegal copy of a commercial program, there is a good chance it will be corrupted or could corrupt your computer by installing viruses or

programs which could steal your personal information.

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Download a Free Program from the Internet

If you don’t want to buy any new programs, you can download and install

one or more free programs from the Internet.

I will include information about some good free programs and some

commercial programs in this book.

I am amazed by the quality and variety of image editing and other programs

which are available legally for free on the Internet.

You don’t get the pretty boxes and cannot expect personal help with any

problems that you have with the programs. But, you can save money over

the cost of buying equivalent commercial programs.

Some of the better programs are produced in their own time by highly paid

programmers or expert hobbyists who want to produce programs that are

different from those which they work on for their employers.

They sometimes share their personal projects without commercializing them.

Many free programs have Terms of Use which should always be followed.

Some may not be used for any commercial purpose.

Some may not be shared but you can tell your friends about the suppliers’

website where they can download the program like you did.

This may seem strange but there are two major reasons:

1) Because the programmer only permits downloading from their web

site, they get some recognition and maybe some donations for their

work.

2) If there is only one web site where the program may be downloaded, there is less chance of virus-infected versions being distributed.

I’ve listed some which I have used or had good reports about in the

resources section later in my book.

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Benefits of Digital Scrapbooking

While some people are firm believers in the superiority of either traditional or digital scrapbooking over the other, I do both.

I produce some traditional scrapbooks with real buttons, newspaper clippings and other materials for sharing with and handing on to other family

members.

I also produce some scrapbooks in digital form so that I can send them to

other family members and friends over the Internet.

This lets me share information and images much more widely than would be

possible if I only had the printed and bound scrapbooks. The people I send

the digital scrapbooks to can keep them and read them as many times as

they want to.

I don’t risk losing any original documents or the scrapbooks when I share

digital copies.

I also use my computer to organize the materials, notes, resources and

sources of information and supplies for my Scrapbooking. This saves me

hours of time and reduces the chance that I will buy some supplies but forget that I have them.

Re-using clippings, pictures and other items which have been glued into

paper scrapbooks is difficult and, of course, ruins the project I take them from. Digital images of those items can be copied and use for as many

projects as you want.

When you use real pages to assemble a project, you have to be careful not to damage any of the supplies – they can all only be used once. Most computer-based supplies can be used over and again.

Real pictures, clippings, tickets etc cannot always be fitted into a page

together because of their original size. When you prepare a digital version you can usually adjust the size of each item so they will fit.

When you use a memento in a paper scrapbook, you cannot use it for

anything else and you may forget where it is after a while.

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If you put an image of it in a digital scrapbook, you can store the original item away safely or give it to another family member who has a special

reason for wanting to have it.

Despite the reasons for making scrapbooks on your computer, you will find

that making traditional scrapbooks has unique appeal. You can read them

with other family members and discuss their contents and the people or

events which they are about more comfortably with other people than you

would if you had to both read the same computer screen.

There is something wonderful about handling and reading a lovingly prepared traditional scrapbook with original mementos that you don’t get from any

kind of computer simulation.

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Making Your Digital Scrapbook

What will you make your first scrapbook about?

This will depend on your current interests and the resources and equipment

which you have available.

Decide whether you will use an original layout or save time and effort by

getting either a free or a commercial layout from the Internet.

If you don’t want to use a prepared page template or if you want to make the pages for your scrapbook a different size to the usual twelve inches square, you can easily create a layout on your computer with a word processing or a graphic design program.

The actual instructions will depend on the program which you use to create

your pages and add your content.

I am using the Paint.Net program for this demonstration.

Many other programs have similar capabilities but the tools and effects may have different labels and the arrangement of the menus will probably be

different.

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Creating a Page

1. Set the size of the page you want in your program.

TIP: “Maintain aspect ratio” is important for preserving the look of pictures which you resize before using them in your projects. But, it is not important for creating a page from scratch as I am doing here so I have not ticked it.

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2. Add a color and, if desired, a pattern to the background.

This can be simple, like this example, or as elaborate as you can do with your editing program and the time you have available for it.

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3. Add picture frames where you want pictures on the page. Use the tools available in the program you are using to create frames for the pictures you intend to put on the page.

You can create pages with different frames on them at this stage by mixing

and matching the frames you set up on them.

3a. Save copies of these pages without any pictures so you can use the layouts with other projects in the future.

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4. Optional: Use the Paint Fill tool (looks like a bucket in most programs) to flood the background with color of your choice.

5. Add pictures to frames on the page you have made.

6. Then, add appropriate text to other frames.

Experiment with different colors or textures for backgrounds in the frames.

Add ornamental frames if you have them and they are appropriate for the

topic.

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Editing Pages and Pictures

I can give you general guidelines for editing your pages and pictures but

please remember that the exact steps will depend on the particular program

which you use.

First, you have to get pictures of the elements you want into your computer.

Creating Scrapbook Elements

These are the decorations and backgrounds etc., which often make a

scrapbook more interesting than the usual diary.

They should be relevant to the time, the people and the events described in the scrapbook.

You can take photographs of three-dimensional objects for use in your

projects or put them on your scanner and put a two-dimensional image into

your computer.

Careful lighting of the object when you photograph it can give some idea of its 3D appearance but the scanned image is likely to look flat.

Choosing Your Image Editing Program

I’ve mentioned that you may already have a computer program which you

can use to prepare your scrapbook pages and edit the content which you

include on them.

This chapter will explain some of the important factors you need to consider when deciding if you will use your current program, the features which you

could find very handy and how to use them.

If these features are not available in your current program, check that the programs you get, either by buying them or downloading them for free from

the Internet, have as many of them as possible.

Buying an expensive program is no guarantee that you will be able to

produce better scrapbooks than you could with less expensive or even free

programs.

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Most programs will require that you put some time into learning how to use

the features it provides. Programs like Adobe Photoshop are very powerful,

but learning to get good results from them can take considerable time,

especially if you have little experience and no formal training.

Features to Look for

Quality of Output

Whatever program you use has to be able to produce pictures and pages

which are of a standard which you are happy with.

You need to test the program with your computer, screen, scanner and

printer to ensure that you can get the results you expect.

You cannot just look at what other people produce with their equipment and

think that you will get similar results with your setup.

If you don’t get good results, it may not be the program which is causing the problem. You may need to upgrade your computer or other hardware or just

make adjustments to the settings for viewing graphics on your screen.

Your screen probably won’t show the colors of your images exactly the same

as your printer will produce them. When you are selecting colors for a

project, print small samples to check how the actual colors appear and how

well they work together.

Layers

Layers are like transparent sheets which are used to make manipulation of

separate parts of a picture easier.

Programs which have this feature allow you to create separate layers on

which you can put different parts of a picture.

Instead of having all the elements of a picture on the same layer as you

would if you create it in a program which does not offer layers or when you draw it on a sheet of paper, you could have separate layers for:

1) The background of the picture