Digital Scrapbooking in Photoshop

Digital scrapbooking is a great, cheap, and fun way to scrapbook all of your pictures, especially those digital ones that you just don’t know what to do with. You can create so many different and interesting digital scrapbook pages that I know once you start, you’ll be addicted. Here’s a guide to getting started with digital scrapbooking and a step by step process of creating an easy layout in Adobe Photoshop CS to give you practice.

Now, before you start going digital scrapbook crazy there are a couple of things you’ll need. First, you’ll need a picture or design program. I personally prefer Adobe Photoshop, but any picture/design program will work. You also may want to go to some of the various digital scrapbooking sites where you can find free digital elements and paper that others have created. There are a lot of free resources if you just take a look around.

Now on to the fun part! Let’s create your first digital scrapbook page!

A Little about Photoshop:
When you open Photoshop you will see several things. First, on the left you will see your tools. This is where you’ll find all of the instruments you’ll need to do your design. On the right you should have two menus, one is the history, which keeps track of everything you do on your page and works really well for correcting lots of mistakes. If you click back on the history, you’ll go back to that point in your project. The second menu is the layer menu. Layers are the different elements of your project. Each new layer you add is a different element on your page. This allows you to work with one section without disturbing others. On the top are also several menus that you can use to edit your project. Now let’s get started.

Step 1: Getting started.
Select File on the top bar and then select New. You’ll get a box with different options. This is where you set the size of your document and the amount of pixels you want to use. The more pixels, the clearer, but bigger, your file. For this project we’ll use 300 pixels/inch and use the size 6×6 (the size can always be changed later) and press ok.

Step 2: Background.
You should now have a blank square in front of you. This is the canvas we will work with. If you notice on the layer menu, you now have a background. This is where we will set our background color for our page. First we want to set the color. There should be a set of boxes on the bottom left of the tool menu. Click on the top box and it will give you the chance to choose your color from the color menu. After you have chosen it, you will see it in that box. Next choose the rectangle tool on the tool menu. If you see a circle, polygon, line, etc tool instead, just right click and choose the rectangle shape. After choosing this tool your cursor will look like a little cross. Go to the top corner of your background and click and hold down your left mouse button. Move your mouse to the opposite corner until the square you are creating covers the whole background and let go. You’ve just created your background color.

Step 3: Layers.
Now we get to use our layers. On the top menu bar you will see an option for “Layer” go to that menu and select New then layer. This will get you ready to start the next element. This is where you add your picture. Go to File – open – and select your picture from the files listed. This will open your picture in a separate document. To change the size of your picture to fit on your page go to Image – image size – and then change it to fit. Change the pixels to 300 and for the purposes of this layout change the top size to 3 x 2.25. Then drag your picture into your page. Place the picture where you want it on the page. To get the black border on your picture go to the layer menu. Make sure your layer is selected and go to the bottom of that menu where you will see a little circle with an f in it. Click on it and it will bring up several options to change your picture. Go to stroke. Here you will see the color is set to red. Just click on it and change it to black. Also, you’ll want to change the size. Change it to 10 and click ok. Your picture now has a border.

Step 4: The Ribbons.
The ribbons are very easy to add. Create a new layer, and using your rectangle tool make two black rectangles on the page, one on top and one on the bottom. To create a two toned ribbon, just create a white rectangle on top of each. To get the shadow effects that make the ribbon look a bit more realistic, go to that f with the circle around it again and this time choose drop shadow, this will make your ribbons look more 3-D. To get the polka dots on the end choose the brush tool from the tool menu. Choose a brush with hard edges and change the size at the top to 100. Now just click where you want the polka dots and it will create them for you. Remember, if you mess up you can always go to the history menu and backtrack.

Step 5: The Text.
The text is very easy to do. Choose the T or text tool from the tool menu. Click where you want your text. The system automatically centers it on the cursor, so you may have to play with the text a little to get it exactly how you want it. To change the font and size use the menus at the top. For this page I used Curlz MT at a size of 18 for the quote on the main page. Note that each time you use the text tool in a different spot it creates a new layer for you, but you can also create one beforehand as well. The text on the ribbon is the same font in a bigger size. Notice, however, that the text has a smooth texture and looks as though it is embossed. Go back to your handy dandy effects tool, the f with a circle around it, and here you will check on Drop Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, and Satin. Just click ok at the size. Now your text looks a bit more dramatic.

Step 6:Save.
Save your page as a .psd file. This will allow you to go back and make changes to it. If you wish to print it, publish it, or sent it in an email, I would suggest making a separate .jpg version which you do by just selecting the drop box in the save menu and changing to .jpg. There will be a menu that asks you what quality you wish to save it as. I would choose 10 or above to make sure it remains high quality. When you change it to a .jpg, the program will no longer allow you to make changes to it, so you should definitely save a .psd version as well.

Step 7: Now what?
You’ve got this great page and it’s on your computer, what now? If you place your pages on a cd or disc and take it to a print shop they can print it out for you in any size you wish. I would recommend using photo paper because you’ll get the best quality page. You can print the pages out and place them in a scrapbook, or you can just keep them on your computer and have a purely digital scrapbook.

Digital scrapbooking is a great, cheap way to make scrapbook pages. You can buy materials online, but most pages will also have freebies that you can download to try out. You can also just create your own, as you did here. Digital scrapbooking is a great way to take care of all of those digital pictures that you have lying around on your computer. You can use digital scrapbooking to create pictures for framing, calendars, birthday cards, invitations, or whatever you can think of. Be creative and have fun with it, but again, I’ll warn you, it can be addicting. Happy digital scrapbooking!

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