Digital Scrapbooking - 7 Tips for Beginners

by : Patty Hone

So you have decided to enter the world of digital scrapbooking? There are several great programs for designing digital scrapbook pages. Some of the popular ones are Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro. There are also many other programs specifically for scrapbooking. If you have recently started digital scrapbooking you may feel completely overwhelmed when you load your program but don't worry with a little patience and practice you can learn how to digital scrapbook.

Here are seven tips for digital scrapbooking beginners.

1- Learn how to crop and resize proportionally. The biggest mistake I have seen with beginners is resizing pictures disproportionately. When you crop or resize your photos you don't want your photos to get distorted. Tip for Photoshop : Hold down the shift key as you resize and it will keep your photos proportional. Tip for Paint Shop Pro: Hold down the alt key as you drag the corner and it will keep your photo proportional.

2- Learn how to use the layer palette. Learning how to work with layers is the hardest part of learning how to digital scrapbook. Start with working on small projects with just a few layers. Practice moving each layer in front or in back to get the hang of things. If you are using Paint Shop Pro you can just click on the layer to select it. For some people Paint Shop Pro is an easier program to start off with because it is easier to select the layers and move them around. If you are using Photoshop, you will need to look at the layer palette to select the layer you want to move. Tip for working with layers: Name your layers. Go to Layer Properties and type in a name for your layer so you don't get confused. For example, if you have a green ribbon, name the layer green ribbon instead of Layer 3. Naming your layers really helps if you are working with a lot of layers.

3- Adjust your drop shadows. This is such an easy thing to do. If you use the default settings with Photoshop or Paintshop Pro you may end up with a very heavy drop shadow. This can make your page look overpowered or fuzzy. Adjust the opacity, angle and size of your drop shadow until you get a more natural setting.

4. Learn how to cut images or papers into shapes. One thing that is very fun to do with your scrapbook pages is cutting your pictures or papers into shapes. If you are using Paint Shop Pro use the custom shape tool to create your shape. Then place your photo on it's own layer. Use the magic wand tool to select the shape. Then look for your photo on your layer palette. Select the photo layer, select inverse and then delete. This will cut your photo into a shape. For Photoshop: Create your custom shape. Then copy and paste your photo. Place it on the layer just above the shape. Click Control G to group your two layers. Then Control E to merge them. That's it

5. Use Quick Kits. You may find different sites refer to quick kits by different names. Quick kits are easy to use templates. You don't have to have a lot of experience to use them. You just copy and paste your photos into the templates. They may come with custom shapes or predesigned curvy borders that are easy to use. You do need to understand how to work with layers as well as grouping and merging layers but quick kits have all the hard part done for you.

6-The key to a good page is a good photo. Don't just take boring photos. Try to think of creative poses or get a great shot of something interesting. Having a good photo to work with will make your page go from boring to outstanding. You want people to look at your page and notice the photos. Here are a few tips for enhancing your photos and making them "pop". Tip: Try adjusting the curves and the contrast to brighten up your pictures. In Paint Shop Pro to adjust the curves go to Adjust>> Brightness and Contrast>> Curves. To adjust the contrast go to Adjust>> Brightness and Contrast>> Brightness/Contrast. For Photoshop to adjust the curves go to Image>>Adjustments>>>>Curves. To adjust the contrast go to Image>> Adjustments>> Brightness/Contrast.

7- Save your work. Save your layered file. Every time you make a revision save it. If you think you might want to change something save two versions of your work, one with the change and one without it. Sometimes you make so many changes that you can't get your page back to how you had it. I will sometimes make seven versions of the same page. This way if I don't like something I can always go back to my original file.

I hope that you have found these tips helpful.