When I decided to try my hand at designing digital kits I did not even know where to begin. I did an Internet search for digital scrapbook designing and found a lot of help. My goal is to share with you any the information I find. The more you learn the easier and quicker it is to make your own layouts and kits.
The best advice I have is…once you decide to create/design your own work, join different Blog Trains on various digital scrapbooking sites. Another good way to “get your feet wet” is to join challenges. I have learned a lot of techniques and shortcuts by joining Blog Trains, and challenges.
I also quality checked kits for a website before designing and this helped me a lot because I knew what errors to look for.
The first thing I created was an alphabet. Some say this is a difficult item to start with but after watching a video I was able to create the alphabet. The process was very time-consuming. Then I found someone else whom had instructions for making an alphabet that were so much easier. So this said, keep checking for instructions, and videos from numerous people. The quicker you can make a design the better.
One thing I have discovered in the digital scrapbooking “world” is that everyone is very helpful, and willing to share their knowledge with others. Since this was very helpful for me, I want to do the same.
Getting to Know the “Lingo”
When I first started viewing sites I did not understand some of the terms. Here are a few that get you started.
Digital Scrapbook Programs – There are several out there. Here are just a few that you can buy; Adobe Photoshop(PS), Adobe Photoshop Elements(PSE), Coral Paintshop Pro, and MyMemories Suite. There are some free programs as well such as Daisytrail.com, Smilebox.com, Scrapbookflair.com, and Zoggin.com. Although they are free, they are usually limited in their functions. I have not used some of these so I cannot tell you how good or poor they are. I use Adobe Photoshop CS, and MyMemories Suite.
DPI – Dots per Inch refers to how many ‘dots per inch’ a printer is capable of printing. The higher the DPI, the more detail and refined the text or image will appear, and more ink when printing. The industry has set its standard at 300px. So when creating and making your elements and papers, use 300px.
PX – Pixels (Sometimes the term 300px is used for the resolution size instead of dpi)
Elements/Ellies/Embellishmets – Individual objects that are found in a kit. An example of an element would be a flower, button, banner, etc. These objects vary in size but should always be at 300px for the resolution. (Once saved the resolution turns to 299.99px which is okay.)
Papers/Backgrounds – These are papers created for the background of a layout. They are usually 3600 pixels X 3600 pixels (12″ x 12″) and always 300px.
Hybrid – A combination of paper scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking. You can customize and print digital items and then print them out and embellish them with physical scrapbooking items. More than just layouts, this can be items like party decorations, holiday gifts, goodie bags, greeting cards etc.
PU – Personal Use. You can use the product for your own personal layouts.
S4H – Scrap for Hire. You can use the items to create a flattened layout for other people and they pay you for the service of creating the layout.
S4O – Scrap for Others. Same as above except you don’t get paid for your work.
Flattened – Means that the page is one unit consisting of one layer. This way the layout cannot be changed.
CU – Commercial Use. Products labeled as CU or ‘Commercial Use’ can be used for commercial projects. With the items provided in a kit, you can create items or papers and resell them. Once again, be sure to read the TOU in the kit on exactly what can or cannot be done to the elements, and how the items can be sold. If a kit is appropriate for commercial use it can also be used for PU/ S4H or S4O.
License Agreement – A license agreement would entitle you to the “use” of the item that is purchased. This agreement doesn’t give you complete rights of the image in question, but only the right to use it, according to the designers terms.
CU License – Some designers allow you to use their creations in a kit that you re-sell without purchasing a CU License as long as you give them credit in the kit and/or place a link on your website to their website. Some designers require you to purchase a CU License from them before using their creations in a kit you sell. Licenses can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $100.00. Again, this information can be found in the kit’s TOU. It is best to always give credit to designers even if they don’t require it. It’s just the courteous thing to do.
Blog Train – a group of designers who make individual small kits centered around a theme and/or color palette. They post these kits for free so when others go to the sites of each designer and download their kit, they end up with one large kit. You can be a designer for the blog train, a person who downloads the parts of the train, or both. Most blog trains require you to ask to join their train before supplying a kit. There isn’t a fee to do this.
CT – Creative Team. Some designers have people make layouts from their kits to post on their website. These people are the Creative Team for that designer.
Layers – Just like working with paper, you are able to shift files above and below each other. In PS/PSE you’ll have a layer tool box that will allow you to quickly change the order of your layers.
Templates – Templates are usually layered files that you can use as a starting place to create a layout. You’ll need photos, digital papers, and digital elements to customize your layout. Most templates will allow you to move things around as much as you like for complete customization. Elements can also come in template form to allow you to customized them for your work.
Quick Pages/Quick Albums/Brag Books – (QP, QA, BB) These are pages that are completely pre-designed and flattened. You only need to add your photos and then share or print.
.PNG – Digital Elements that need to have transparent area are PNG files. This can be stamps, stickers, or any type of element. Quick pages are also in png format where the photo slot needs to be clear so you can place your photo behind it.
.JPG – Digital backgrounds do not need any transparent area so they are saved as jpgs. If you are creating hybrid cards they can also be saved as jpgs.
Canvas – The area of your page in PS/PSE. where you build your layout.
LO – (Layout) A layout is your finish scrapbook page.
Word Art – Words or phrases customized by a designer.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are just a few links to tutorials from various sites. There are many out there and all you need to do is google “digital scrapbooking tutorials” to find them. These are the ones I have bookmarked. I have not used all of the tutorials from the sites below but I have used some of them. When you check out these sites make sure you also click on their FAQ tab as you will find a lot of information from other people’s questions.
Pixel Scrapper – I have used several of their tutorials and like them because they are short and to the point. Some are written instructions with pictures and others are videos.
Gotta Pixel– I like when there are photos to illustrate the steps in the tutorial. Many sites use photos, and the photos on this site are clear and large.
MyMemories– These are YouTube videos. When I watch a video I will write down the steps. I pause the video if need be or will replay it to make sure I have the steps right. This way I can read the steps as I try the technique.
Scrap Orchard– This site has Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced tutorial categories which makes it nice depending on where you are in your designing.
The Lilypad– While I have not used any of The Lilypad tutorials as yet, they have nice large pictures with the instructions.
Love 2 Know– This site covers a lot of different areas for digital scrapbooking. If you are a beginner this might be a good place to start.
Brush King-This site seems to be for the more advanced designer but you just may find something here that helps.
Scrap Girls– This site has tutorials about what scarpbooking is, which software/programs to use, and much more.
Digital Scrapbooking Studio (AKA theStudio)– These tutorials are in a forum so others can comment or ask questions. You may need to scroll through the different remarks to find the tutorial.
Since designers are willing to help other designers, and share their knowledge don’t be afraid to ask questions.