Lessons 1 & 2 (Programs & Printing)
Welcome to the guided lessons for Course 1, Getting Started in Digital Scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements.
Lesson 1 - Programs (link to comment)
The first step to learning digital scrapbooking is to choose a program. Are you just getting started in digiscrapping? You cannot scrap without the appropriate program!
For my classes, I teach using Photoshop Elements and you will need to obtain that program. It was the best $70 I ever spent! A worthwhile investment compared to purchasing paper scrapbooking supplies.
In the digiscrapping world, you will see strange acronyms. You have already read one of them: “digiscrapping.” Do you feel like you are learning already?
PSE is Photoshop Elements (This is the scaled down version of PS and more affordable). (Creator is Adobe) You can find a 30 day trial for PSE here: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/
PS is Photoshop (Creator is Adobe) This is an expensive and more difficult program.
PSP stands for Paint Shop Pro. (Creator is Jasc)
There are other programs that are satisfactory, but the serious scrapper will most likely find them insufficient for their needs. They have templates, clipart and fonts, but not the tools required to create your own graphics. For example, they may not have the ability to place shadows.
Here is a video highlighting parts of this tutorial, as it was first written in 2005. Some of the other programs mentioned in the end are no longer available, and others have come on to the market. It is difficult to keep up with the technology in changing this tutorial, but the important thing is that PSE and PS have stood the test of time.
After completing Lesson 1, please post a comment about what you have learned and what program you will be using (i.e. PSE12). If you have not done so already, take the time today to install either a trial copy or a purchased copy of the program.
Lesson 2 - Printing (link to comment)
Questions regarding printing are one of the most asked questions for digital scrapbookers.
This tutorial is VERY intense with so much information. I recommend reading and listening to the video carefully. The video follows the first written tutorial in 2005, but contains much relevant information.
Do I have to print?
You do NOT have to print your layouts. Some people merely organize them on their hard drive and back them up. They can be shared through e-mails, put on disks, given as gifts (put them on DVD’s and view as a slideshow on the television set), used as screensavers, and shared on Facebook or other social networking sites. Not printing certainly fits everyone’s budget! (I rarely print my layouts now! I used to print at home letter size, but now that I am an empty nester and my sons are no longer here to see the printed versions, I have no need to print them.)
What size do I make my layouts for printing?
The 12" x 12" size is popular, but most home printers do not print that wide. Wide format printers are available for the home, but are costly, as well as the paper which is costly. You can take the image file to a local store (or send them online to a company) and pay a reasonable price to have them printed professionally (see below).
Many people will scrap there pages in 12 x 12 and then reduce them to 8 x 8 for printing on home computers. This seems to be the most popular option as this size is comfortable for viewing in your lap. However, there is wasted space on the paper. Some people fill this space in with elements to cut out to glue on their layouts to make them three dimensional (or use on paper scrapping layouts), or put other items in that space, such a bookmarks or photos. The 8 x 8 layouts seem to be the most popular.
The 8.5" x 11" (standard "letter sized" paper) is also much easier to print at home. However, printers may require some blank margin space. When purchasing a printer, be sure to look for the borderless printers. An asset over 8” x 8” is that you do not waste space when printing on expensive photo paper. Also, to be able to turn a page from vertical to horizontal makes for a nice variety. In printing this size at home, you must consider the cost of your paper and the cost of your ink. My ink cartridges cost approximately $50 (one color and one black) and I am able to print 50-60 pages before I have to replace cartridges (Hewlett Packard printer) (2005 prices). So, for me, my ink cost is approximately $1 per page. Add to that the cost of the paper (discussed below). In 2016, I began to utilize the "Instant Ink" option from HP which greatly reduces my cost of printing. Other brands may offer the same option.
Some people do 8” x 10” also and simply trim the borders with traditional scrapbooking supplies or scissors.
What paper do I print on?
Some people are adamant that you should always use professional services for printing because they will last longer. I personally have made the choice to print at home, but that is a decision you will have to make for yourself. For generations, this was true. However, in my opinion, with technology advancements, I feel safe in printing at home.
You can find a wide variety of photo paper at various costs. However, I have found because of the fade resistance factor in papers, it is actually more cost effective to choose the best photo paper. Without the best papers, your layouts will become lighter quickly (possibly within a few weeks). For instance, the best HP photo paper costs more per sheet of paper; however, it will last up to at least 75 years, as opposed to 15 years on lower quality papers. Who wants to spend the time and ink money printing out photos again in 15 years?
Read carefully the back of your box of photo paper. My HP papers which I purchase have a chart on the back. Pay careful attention to the “fade resistance” column. Purchase the papers with the best fade resistance. Also, the term “fast drying” also is an indication that the paper will not be efficient enough. [Interesting on HP boxes, there is a grey bar on the chart which indicates store processed photos are not as good.]
For printing 12 x 12 size, you would need to purchase a large format printers.
It is always best to print on paper made by the same manufacturer as your printer. They are scientifically created to work together.
What about places that print professionally?
Some people do not want to take the risk of home printers and their layout life expectancy and, therefore, choose to have them printed professionally.
Check your local stores for prices. Compare places such as Office Max, Staples, Mailboxes, Office Depo, Sam’s Club, etc.
Costco seems to be a popular choice. Costco prints photographs in the 12 X 18 inch size, you can place a 12 X 12 inch page and two 6 X 6 inch pages along the side for approximately $3.
Kinkos, another popular choice, prints on glossy 11 x 11 paper for around $2.
Sam’s Club will print an 8 x 10 for approximately $2.60, but I believe Wal-mart is over $4.
(Note: 2005 prices; yes, I've been teaching this class a long time!)
What about places on the internet to order prints?
There are many places online where digiscrappers order prints of their layouts.
Here is a resource list of places to print. However, places close and new places open, so sometimes it is a great idea to ask in a digital scrapbooking forum or Facebook group a question to learn the newest and best places.
I have had many questions about the Spyder I refer to in the video. I wrote the below blog post in answer to the questions. However, with technology advancing, I can tell you that in about 2013 I discontinued using my Spyder. Prior to this blog article, I used Adobe Gamma, but as you will read below, that was discontinued by 2008. These calibration tools are still a great tool, especially for professional photographers, but it takes knowledge to use them properly. You can watch me use the Spyder in this video.
Turning my Blue Skies Grey....
Ooops...isn't the song supposed to be "turning my grey skies blue?" I got my new toy in the mail today (January 7, 2008)! I have been so frustrated ever since I changed my forum header and colors because different computer screens that I've seen have different colors! Some of them were this beautiful light blue. For instance, my laptop which I created the header on is this color. My work screen was the same color, but my home desktop was this ugly grey. Of five screens I viewed, 3 were the beautiful blue and two were grey, so surely the beautiful blue screens were calibrated correctly, right? Wrong! Oh was I surprised. Ever since I got my laptop (LCD screen) and new desktop screen (LCD screen), I've not been able to get Adobe Gamma to work right.
I learned that there were gadgets and software better suited for calibrating LCD screens From what I understand, the Huey is more popular (does a better job) than the Spyder. However, in my analyzing on the internet, I realized the Huey was only applicable for one computer screen. If you want to use it on another computer, you have to pay for that license. Being the poor person I am, I decided to go with the less expensive gadget which would work on more than one computer screen. I ran out on a cold night to the local stores to purchase one, but found neither available anywhere in town. So, I purchased the Spyder from Bestbuy.com and it arrived today!
I have been spending all evening playing with my new toy! I found it fairly easy to use, just a few road bumps. The directions were a bit cloudy with regard to the room lighting and I first ran the Spyder in a dark room, only to later read the directions again. After several tests, I finally realized normal room lighting works best for calibrating. The Spyder sets on the screen. For my desktop, I found I had to put a book underneath the front part of the screen so it would tilt backwards a bit so the Spyder would rest on it. As the software runs, it changes the box various colors as the Spyder reads it.
To my surprise, my beautiful blue screens turned grey! Now I am wondering about the things I have designed to share and the layouts I have created over the last year.
Please post a comment about what size layouts you have decided to create. Yes, you may change your mind later, but it is a must-do to decide what size layout you will be creating before making your first layout.
Please share how you intend on printing. This is also a question you need to answer for yourself as it may effect what size layout you create. For instance, home printers may be limited in size or the cost of certain sizes when printing professionally may influence your choice.
If you need help deciding, please do not hesitate to ask questions.