Goodbye, Glue. Hello, Digital - revealing my scrapbooking secrets
Using & Setting up Digi Kits with Photo Editing Software
This is a printer friendly page if you wish to print it !!
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) products are the exclusive property of DigScrB
and as such, protected by copyright laws. By purchasing a kit, elements, layouts, etc., you are purchasing a license to use these products for
, NON COMMERCIAL
use and agree to these terms. You may not share, loan or redistribute DigScrB
and/or art. DigScrB
products may not be used for the purpose of web design or templates, albums, eBay product pages or eBay about
me pages, cards or any type of art that will be used for the purpose of selling or generating income. However, you MAY submit your layouts using
designs to magazines and other publications that grant prizes (money or gifts) for selection as long as proper credit is given.
STEP 1 - Downloading Your Free Photo Editing Software :
Before you start, I think it's a good idea to decide what type of album you wish to create. This should help you determine what SIZE it should be, how you print your album pages and on what type of paper.
To get an idea on what you are going to be doing, have a look at the Digital Kit Assembly Instructions
STEP 2 - Creating a work folder : Use your Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder containing your
downloaded album. Create a new workfolder by right clicking your mouse and selecting New/Folder. Select the new folder created and rename it to the
theme of your album by right clicking and selecting Rename. Return to your previous folder by clicking on the up-arrow on the menu bar. From the
menu bar select Edit/Select All. Select the Copy to button from the menu bar and copy the selected files to your new work folder. While you are
at it, also create a '[theme name]print' (eg.jodyprint) folder to contain your resized album pages and paper cuts for smaller printers.
STEP 3 - Loading your digi page : Open your Photo Editing Software and select File/Open.
Navigate to your work folder created in Step 1 and select the album page that you wish to work with. Album pages has a file extension of '.png'
ie. 'pr210albumpage1.png' Once you have opened your PNG file you might wish to preserve this file and create a workfile to work with instead. Go to
the File and select Save as. Append work to the end of the name, before the '.png' extension
ie. 'pr210albumpage1_work.png'. Close the original file and open this work file instead.
fig 1a - Photoshop example
fig 1b - Paint.NET example
STEP 4 - Inserting your photos :
- Photoshop users : Select File/Open
and navigate to the folder containing your photos. TIP : Select Views/Thumbnails to view images to quickly identify which
photos you would like to use. Select your picture then click the Open button. From the toolbox on the left, select the marquee tool (fig 2a - 1)
and select the entire photo or a portion to be used. You will notice marching ants around your selection. Select the move tool (fig 2a - 2)
and drag your selection to the area on the album page where you wish to insert the picture.
- Paint.NET users : Select Layer/Import From File
from the menu bar and navigate to the folder containing your photos. TIP : Select Views/Thumbnails to view images to quickly identify which
photos you would like to use. Select your picture then click the Open button. The picture will appear in the left corner of your
album page. If not selected already, select the move tool (fig 2b - 2) from the toolbox on the left and drag the picture to the centre of the blank
area on the album page where you wish to insert the picture.
fig 2a - Photoshop example
fig 2b - Paint.NET example
Notice the resize box around the picture. When an image has a resize box around it, it means that the image can be moved around or resized. Place your
pointer on one of the corners of the resize box. Very Important, while holding down the
Shift Key, size your image greater-, or -smaller to fit the blank position where the picture must be inserted. By holding down
the 'Shift Key' you ensure that the proportional dimensions are maintained, otherwise your picture could be distorted. Photoshop
users only: If you move your pointer slightly off from the resize box, you'll notice a small double arrowed curved line. By moving
your pointer up-, or -down, will angle your picture. Paint.NET users must select Image/Rotate from the menu bar.
Ensure that your picture size is Slightly Larger than the frame or blank area. We'll deal with
STEP 5 - Positioning your layers :
"What is layers ?" Layers is the ability to draw onto different canvases superimposed onto one another. So, if all the
layers are laying on top of each other, how do we see the bottom layers if all the layers are the same size ? All layers have an opacity
feature that, by reducing the opacity, the previous layer starts to shine through. This feature is used mostly to tint or
colour pictures. When you dragged your picture onto your album page, Photoshop automatically created a new
layer for the picture versus you having to create the layer by hand in Paint.NET.
In scrapbooking we use layers very much like
glueing paper on top of other papers for decorative purposes. Like paper cuts, layers of varying sizes are simply stacked on top of
of each other. This enables us to move them around in placing them in just the right position. As you cut and glue by hand with paper scrapbooking,
so you cut and paste with digital scrapbooking. If you understand the principle of layers, you are halfway there in understanding digi
On the right of your window you'll see the layer window. Notice your main or background layer
with your picture on a different layer. So if you wish to alter or draw onto a particular canvas or layer, you must select it
first less you do your changes on the wrong layer and it seem to you that your changes are not taking effect at all. A very
common mistake. Selecting a layer to work on is achieved by simply clicking on it. Below the layer window are options to add or delete
layers. Explore these options. What we wish to achieve in this step is to simply move the picture behind the album page, so that
the album page acts like a mat. We will do this by changing the order of the layers.
- Photoshop users :
First check the layer window on the right that the picture layer is selected. From the top menu bar select Layer/Arrange
then choose the Send Backward option. This will move the picture layer behind the album page layer (fig 3a).
- Paint.NET users :
First check the layer window on the right that the picture layer is selected. Below the layer window are
options to change the order of the layer. Click on the down arrow to move your picture backward, behind your
main page (fig 3b).
fig 3a - Photoshop example
fig 3b - Paint.NET example
When you have to insert photos into multiple frames on an album page, the photos sometimes overlap and no matter
how much you play with your layer ordering, moving one photo behind the other, you just can't get that last
photo to not overlap. There is only one way left, and that is to cut your photo digitally. First
select the layer that the photo is on and bring it forward, right to the
top and out of the frame, by using the ordering methods described before.
You have one of two options. You can either
cut a piece out and discard it, or you can erase the overlapping part. Select the marquee tool (fig 2a(b) - 1) and mark
the section to be cut out. Select Edit from the top menu, then Cut. The piece is gone !! The
other method is to erase. From the tool menu on the left select the eraser tool. Photoshop users have more than one eraser
to choose from. If not selected as the default, right click and select the Eraser Tool only. Ignore the
Background or Magic Eraser tool.
Tip : For any tool that you select, the tool's brush statistics,
ie. size settings etc. are displayed on the top menu bar. This is also where you will change the eraser, pencil, brush etc.
brush size settings. The default brush settings are usually very small, so you won't be able to see what you are doing.
Set the eraser size to about 35 pixels and start erasing. You can even zoom the picture out for better control.
Once completed, reposition the picture using the ordering methods described
STEP 6 - Using Kit Elements : At this stage
you could be complete . . .or you might wish to use the kit elements to further embellish your pages or when making
additional pages. For this lesson we are going to use the kit's letterset to create a catching theme title.
Photoshop users enjoy the privilege of having the windows displayed side by side and the automatic layer creation when an image
is dragged onto the master or main layer. Paint.NET users must switch from one window to another and because the windows cannot be
displayed side-by-side, an interim step must be used to temporary place images on to the clipboard. HEY, this is a small price to
pay for FREE SOFTWARE !! Later on when you are really into the swing of things you can buy Photoshop. It is really the ROLLS-ROYCE
of packages with super fast processing and lots of extras that other packages don't have like angling of photos, a Magic Eraser
that automatically removes backgrounds etc.
- Photoshop users :
Since we are going to do work on the album page, select the album's page layer from the layers window on the right.
From the File menu, navigate to the kit's elements folder (should be in your working folder) and
open the letterset PNG file. From the toolbox on your left, select the lasso tool
and carefully mark the first letter that you wish to use. You'll see marching ants around the letter. Select the
move tool (fig 2a(b) - 2) and drag and position the letter onto the album page (fig 4a). Repeat until all
the letters for your title done. Close the letterset file. Unlike the letterset items that you have to mark and select
individually, other kit elements are contained individually. For these elements you can simply use the move tool
to drag the items into position.
fig 4a - Photoshop example
- Paint.NET users :
In fig 4b the numbers not only helps to identify your actions but they also simulates the steps needed to get
your image from a file onto your principle layer or album page. From the File menu, navigate to the kit's
elements folder (should be in your working folder) and open the letterset PNG file. Notice in the top righthand side
corner the images of the x2 files currently open (fig 4b - 1/5). You can swap between these two files by clicking the file image
you wish to go to. Select the Lasso tool (fig 4b -2) from the toolbox on your left. Carefully mark the first letter
that you wish to use. Your selected letter (fig 4b - 3) will be highlighted within the boundaries of marching ants around the letter.
Select Edit/Copy (fig 4b - 4) to copy the selected letter onto the clipboard. Return to the the album page
that you are currently working on by clicking on the album's page image (fig 4b - 5) in the top righthand side corner of the
main window. Your album page should again be visible in the foreground.
What have we achieved thus far ? Basically, we have
cut out and placed the letter that we want onto the clipboard. The following steps (steps 6 & 7) involves creating
a layer with our letter on it. We have two ways of doing this. We can add a new layer and paste our letter onto
this new layer by selecting Layer/Add New Layer (fig 4b - 6) and then Edit/Paste (fig 4b - 7)
from the menu bar, or we can let the program do it in one step (skipping step 6) by selecting Edit/Paste in to New
Layer (fig4b - 7) from the menu bar (step 7 only). In both instances a new layer will be created with
the letter on it. Select the move tool to position the letter to it's final position. Repeat this
procedure for the remainder of the letters required to make up your theme title. Start by selecting the letterset
file (fig4b - 1) for your next letter selection. Unlike the letterset items that you have to mark and select
individually, other kit elements are contained individually. For these elements you would omit steps 2 and 3 in favour
of the marquee tool (fig 2b - 1) to select your images, continuing from step 4.
fig 4b - Paint.NET example
STEP 7 - Journaling : What is journaling ?
Journaling is comments or anecdotes that you write to describe your photos or events that they represent. Journaling is great fun. Once
you have printed your album pages, see
Digital Kit Assembly Instructions,
you can further embellish your album pages by attaching handwritten notes to the pages, or you can hand write your notes or comments on the
journaling strips provided. Most pages have strips at the top of the page for your title and strips on either side and bottom of the pages for your
comments or notes. You can also digitally create your comments. This is what this lesson is all about, to show you how easy it is to write onto
your pages, similar to a word processor.
- Photoshop users :
Since we are going to do work on the album page, select the album's page layer from the layers window on the right. From the toolbox on your left,
select the big 'T' letter (fig 5a -2). Notice on the menu bar (fig 5a - 1) the font settings, similar to a word processor. It is here where you can
select your font, size, colours (to the right of the menu bar) and all sorts of nice goodies that you can play with enhancing your font that you are
going to use when typing. Click on the journaling strip, at the position that you wish to start typing at, and start typing !! Notice that a new layer
has been creating containing your text. When you are finished typing your text you can select the typing layer and the move tool to fine tune the
positioning of your text.
- Paint.NET users :
Since we are going to do work on the album page, select the album's page layer from the layers window on the right. Select Layer/Add NewLayer from
the menu bar to create a text layer. From the toolbox on your left, select the marquee tool and mark out the area that you are going to use for your text. When done select
the big letter 'A' (fig 5b). Notice on the menu bar the font settings, similar to a word processor. Select your font, size and style. I simply loooove the font window since
the fonts are displayed in real time !! On the right is a Colors window. Click in the colour spectrum chart to select your foreground colour. Place your
cursor in the area that you have marked for your text and start typing. When you are finished typing your text you can select the typing layer and the move tool to
fine tune the positioning of your text.
fig 5a - Photoshop example
fig 5b - Paint.NET example
STEP 8 - Saving Your Work :
I always save as I go along less I lose Digital hard work. Remember that we created a work- and print- folder in Step 1 ?
So I presume that you have all along been working from your work folder ? At this stage we have our
album page with plenty of layers. I suggest that you save your layered page as-is since you might wish to do changes
to it later on. Select File/Save As and use the default file extension. With Photoshop files, the file
extension is '.psd', and with Paint.NET the file extension is '.pdn'.
STEP 9 - Creating Printer Friendly Pages from PSD/PDN files :
If the album page (.psd or .pdn) is not loaded yet, load it now from your work folder (File/Open). The first thing that we
are going to do, is to flatten the image. When we flatten an image we are actually burning all the layers into one complete picture.
Photoshop users, from the top menu bar, select Layer/Flatten Image. Paint.NET users, the same by selecting Image/Flatten.
To compress the file to a reasonable size for printing we are going to convert this file to JPEG format and
save it to our print folder. Do this by again selecting File/Save As. From the
'format', or 'save as type' box, just below the file name box, select 'JPEG.' Make sure
to remove any filename-extension that the file may have from the filename before saving it. A good idea will be to add '_print'
to the end of the filename ie. 'pr210page1_print' to identify it. Navigate to your print folder and save the file.
Make sure that you do not save your original PSD or PDN file as a flattened image when
exiting or closing the file or program. You can always select Edit/Undo to restore your file back to normal !!
Note : If you had made paper cuts to accomodate a standard printer as described in : Digital Kit Assembly Instructions,
then follow the procedure above to save each cut section. If you decide to cut a JPEG print file directly, once you have saved the
file, reload it, zoom out and check if your resolution has not suffered. In Photoshop full enlargement on 12 x 12 is around 25%.
What is 'JPEG' ? JPEG is a standard image compression mechanism. JPEG compression is "lossy",
meaning that the compression scheme sacrifices some image quality in exchange for a reduction in the file's size. This is used
mostly for transmitting large files over the internet and networks.
Why are we concerned at this stage with JPEG files ? The reasons for converting to JPEG are two fold. Firstly the
files are simply too large for the printer and will take forever to load. Secondly, when we submit
to magazines and other publications that grant prizes, we have our pages already in the correct format for transmission.
Warning: Sometimes we may resize (next lesson) our pages to 6 x 6" or cut into sections
to print on to standard A4 etc., whatever the reason, always attempt to work with the original PSD or PDN files. Each time
you save a JPEG file your quality is degraded slightly. If your JPEG file has a very high resolution of 300ppi then it is OK to re-use a
JPEG file once or twice. The degradation will, at this high resolution, not be obvious to the naked eye.
Summarizing : All the files ready for printing will be contained in your printer folder in JPEG format. Use your
photo editing software's print function to print your pages.
STEP 10 - Resizing Your Pages :
If the album page (.psd or .pdn) is not loaded yet, load it now from your work folder (File/Open).
There are many reasons for resizing. Competition stipulations might dictate that your page sizes be 6 x 6", or you could prefer to work
with a certain size only. If you traditionally only work with 12 x 12" albums then don't resize down to 8 x 8" and later
resize up again to 12 x 12". You will compromise quality this way. It is easier to resize down than up. This is the reason for
supplying album pages in 12 x 12". Select Image/Image size for Photoshop users, and Image/Resize for
Paint.NET users. From the resize/size box change the width field. You'll notice that the height field will change automatically to preserve
the proportional dimensions. Select File/Save As to save this file into your working folder under a new name of your choosing.
If this file is intended to be printed then follow the steps described in step 9 to first flatten the image before saving it to your printer
folder in JPEG format.
STEP 11 - Creating New Pages :
From the menu bar select File/New. A new box will pop open allowing you to specify your image parameters. When creating scrapbook
pages, we always specify a pixel/inch resolution of 300 and a paper size of 12 x 12 inches. The paper size is entirely up to you. This could be
12 x 12 or 6 x 6 etc. Take note that a paper size of 6 x 6 can be resized to 12 x 12 but you'll pay the penalty of resolution since the image
will not be as crisp as the original 6 x 6. Some experts reckon that 200ppi will also suffice resulting in smaller file sizes.
What have we learned thus far ? We have learned . . . . . .
So - there you go - you have now learned enough to create your own album
pages using the kit elements with the examples provided. You have learned to create a new canvas for your album
page (Step 11). You have learned how to use kit elements. So - you would start an album by first creating a layer for your
background paper (Step 6) and inserting your paper. You will further use the supplied paper, picture frames, make paper cuts,
all of this to decorate and make stunning pages.
- to organize our digital workspace.
- to load and setup digital kit album pages.
- all about layers.
- how to insert photos into our album pages.
- how to resize images and position layers.
- how to use kit elements.
- all about journaling.
- how to save our work and using separate folders for different activities.
- how to create printer friendly pages.
- all about JPEG files.
- how to resize pages without compromizing our originals.
- how to set up to print on any type of printer.
- to create new album pages.