Which one to use? It takes some “soul searching” to find the right digital scrapbooking software that suits you. Just kidding.
But if you’re all confused about the many digital scrapbooking programs, or you just want some suggestions on some programs, I’ll share my experiences with you.
From the moment I started digital scrapping in mid-2007, I quickly realized that Photoshop and Photoshop Elements by Adobe.com got mentioned a lot by many digital scrapbookers and they are hugely popular.
But they have a much steeper learning curve to get over. And these aren’t what I’m personally using. To find out what I’m using, you’ll have to read the rest of this article to find out. ;)
Digital scrapping should be fun and I don’t want you to get all stressed up about choosing the perfect program. It’s my hope that by sharing my experiences with you, you’ll find a software that suits your needs and budget.
I probably have to tell you that I’m a simple digi-scrapper. I’m not big on effects and I’m not a fanciful technique person. Somehow, after 50 digital layouts, I still see myself as an amateur digital scrapper!
So what I’m going for when choosing my digital scrapbooking software is that it must be easy to use, serve my needs and fits into my budget.
Updates – Please scroll to the bottom of this page if you want to read my most recent update about using Photoshop Elements!
OK, these two digital scrapbooking softwares are probably “THE digital scrapbooking software” used by most digital scrapbookers worldwide. There’s so many online digital scrapbooking tutorials written especially for these two programs. I have to mention them even though I’m not using them.
The learning curves for these programs are much steeper but they offer much more flexibility and endless design possibilities. If you get really good at this, you can even learn how to create your own digital scrapbooking papers and elements! Isn’t that amazing?
So yes, if you’re serious about digital scrapping, you can consider investing time and money on Photoshop Elements, or the very pricey Photoshop.
I’ve used Photoshop on my friend’s computer before and there’s really lots of functions and I love the idea of being able to create my digital elements. Hang on, that’s just daydreaming on my part! Right now, I’m just happy if I can find time to digi-scrap. ;-)
Photoshop is the enterprise version and costs a lot more than Photoshop Elements which is a lower-end consumer version. So I think for a beginner digital scrapbooker, Photoshop Elements is more than good enough.
If you’re wondering what I’m using to create my digital layouts, I’m using the free Paint.NET. It’s a free image and photo editing software. It runs on Windows.
I first chose to use this because it’s free, supports layers, has unlimited undo, has been compared to Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and the hard to navigate GIMP. I like the good reviews from various sources.
Featuring an intuitive user interface, it’s relatively easy to pick up. With an active and online Paint.NET community, I’m able to look for tutorials and plug-ins to make my user experience better. This program is uncomplicated and after some getting used to, I find its simplicity refreshing.
Some caveats though. So far I’ve not seen this software recommended on digital scrapbooking sites. I’ve not come across digital scrapbooking sites providing tutorials for Paint.NET also. These reasons almost stopped me from talking about this great program here. Oh, I also wish that it allows editing of text after confirmation.
Otherwise, I’m happy with using Paint.NET. I did try downloading the free GIMP which has been recommended by other digital scrapbookers. But I gave up almost immediately as the user interface looks much more complicated. Well, maybe I should have given GIMP another go but that’s for another time.
Updates – My Photoshop Elements Experience
Nov 2012- Yay I recently bought Photoshop Elements (PSE)! I’m still learning to use this wonderful program to create my digital layouts. I admit, when I first opened up the program I had no idea how to proceed!
What I did was I attempted Jessica Sprague’s FREE Quick Start Class. I would recommend you try out this 15-minute class. Open up your PSE and follow along with Jessica’s instructions to creating your first digital layout. That’s what I did.
Once I had my first layout done, I’ve gained some very basic knowledge of using this program to creating layouts.Below is the layout I’ve created using Jessica’s template and following her Quick Start class.
There’s many tutorials you can find online to help you learn digital scrapping using PSE. I used to use Paint.NET and once I started using PSE, I could immediately see the benefits of using PSE.
For one, I can finally edit my title and journaling whenever I want to and not have to redo everything from scratch.
Then I can easily create drop shadows to my photos or elements for that lifted effect as if that item is laying on top of the layer underneath, giving it more dimension.
I can set the size I want to crop from a photo and get that desired size easily.
There’s more and basically once I’ve learned the basics, I realized how much more I can achieve using PSE while previously there were limitations I faced when using Paint.NET.
And oh I’ve just found this Free Digital Scrapbooking Manual by The Daily Digi. I’ve not read it through thoroughly but I ran through it briefly, and feel that it’s great for beginners so I thought of sharing it with you here. It contains enough of useful information for a beginner scrapbooker. Check it out to have a good start on digital scrapping.
Well, I’ve just started using PSE and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Though I hardly have time to digi scrap these days, but I would continue to use PSE if I’m to create new digital layouts. Gotta utilize this image editing software since I’ve paid for it. ;-) Actually, it’s more of the fact that PSE is offering me wider design possibilities than ever before.
I hope my experiences on digital scrapbooking software has helped out in some ways.
For more online tutorials on digital scrapbooking, check out my article on digtial scrapbooking guide.
Happy digi scrapping!