28 November 2006

Dabbling in Digital

If you're a digital scrapbooker, please don't laugh. This is my first attempt at making a digital scrapbook page. Yes, some would say I ventured over to the "dark side" of scrapbooking.

I assure you, I do not know what I am doing. Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 seems like a relatively complex program, at least for the novice. Some aspects of the process ("open file") were intuitive for me, but most ("unlock layers") were not. There were lots of new icons and lots of new words on the screen, most of which I ignored. I could not for the life of me figure out how to add the "drop shadows" that make a digital page look more realistic. I could not even figure out how to digitally "cut" the ribbon and the paper I used on the layout, so I just "squeezed" them until they fit. This distorted the pattern on the paper, but after looking everywhere in Adobe PSE for something that looked or functioned like scissors, I just wanted to get the darn thing done.

Why did I do this? Primarily because a lot of people ask me about digital scrapbooking and I have felt like I don't know enough about it to answer them. Digital scrapbooking is really catching on, and I thought I'd get my feet wet just to see what all the buzz is about. So I read a couple of articles, figured out how to download free digital kits, and signed up for the trial version of Adobe PSE 5.0. In the end, making this page worked out OK, but let me tell you, there were a few ugly moments along the way. Some observations from my limited experience:

* Adobe PSE 5.0 takes a huge amount of space and a very, very long time to download. It runs incredibly slowly on my computer, which I found pretty frustrating.

* It would work best if you actually know something about Adobe PSE before you jump in. (You know the saying: if all else fails, read the instructions.)

* I will admit that I love the creative options in digital kits. It's amazing how many beautiful kits are available for free on the internet. In fact, I used a free kit from 2Peas to create this layout. It came with "virtual" paper, ribbon, and a journaling block (that I couldn't figure out how to use) -- basically all the same kinds of things that I have in my real scrapbooking stash.

* Making this page reminded me how much I really love my cardstock and ribbon. I mean, the real stuff. While the digital thing may be kind of cool (I'm still reserving judgement on that), it still falls a bit flat to me (truly, no pun intended). Unless you print out the layout, there is nothing to touch or feel. And I would miss that. Definitely.
* I don't see myself ever becoming a digital scrapbooker. I spend enough time at my computer without doing all my scrapbooking there, too. I love my scrapbooking materials and tools too much to ever give those up. What I could see myself doing, however, is looking for ways to bring digital elements into paper scrapbooking. Digital photo overlays, for instance, can be applied to digital photos before printing and adding those photos to a traditional layout. That seems to be an area worth exploring.

So I'm not going to spend much time on this digital thing. I just wanted to have a basic understanding of what it's all about, how difficult it might be, and how it would feel to create a digital layout instead of a paper one. I've got 28 days left on my trial period to find answers to these questions. It's always good to learn something new, even if you choose not to use it. If nothing else, it's good for the brain cells.


Barbara Eastwick said...

I'm proud of you! It takes a strong woman to open up PSE! It's definitely worth the time to learn, but if you get too frustrated, there's always Scrapbook Factory and Scrapbook Studio - these are user friendly programs that allow digital scrapbookers ease and less anxiety. I only suggest it because I know so many people who have tried PSE and then gave up on digital scrapbooking - and it doesn't have to be all or nothing!

Your layout is great, and your sweet friends are now preserved in a layout.

Julie Ann said...

Please check out my blog at http://everydaydigitalscrapbooking.blogspot.com

We all shared our first digital page in last night's chat with the Garden Girls in the Digital Scrapping Forum at 2peas. You should take a look!!! Excellent effort. :)

Julie Ann

Lynn said...

You did a great job for the first time. I tried and didn't get anywhere. I basically gave up on the idea of digi scrapping. I couldn't even get the pse5 to open! so that was a complete waste of time and energy for me.

Heather said...

Very nice for your first layout. I use PSE4 and to help me along I got some books from the library. They were very helpful. I don't think there is on for version 5 yet but the ones for 4 and 3 could still be helpful. This is also a good website http://www.escrappers.com/psfaq.html It has basic as well as advanced information.

Fonda Darter said...

HI Janet.
Check out this site,
www.scrapbook-elements.com and the Tutorials link. They have a lot of good ones for PSE.