The question about what the best software is for Digital Scrapbooking is one that comes up often, especially when you are just starting out. The crucial requirement is that the software supports layers enabling the various papers and elements to be layered, aka stacked, within the layout being created. But, today there are numerous options for choice of software, so where do you start? In this post we take a brief look at a number of the options to help you choose which is best for you, ranging from closed system through to multi-versatile.
|For the folks who prefer listening to podcasts rather than reading blog posts I have included the sound byte here for you too, just scroll to the bottom of the page to listen in.|
Typically Adobe® Photoshop® Elements (PSE) imaging software is the most commonly used to create layouts by seasoned digiscrappers.
However, there are also many die-hard digiscrappers who use other software options, for instance Corel® PaintShop Pro® 2021 (PSP) or Corel® PaintShop Pro® Ultimate 2021 (PSP Ultimate) or GIMP free open source or iPhoto® for Apple Mac®, to create their pages. Recently there has been an explosion of apps hitting the stores that are capable of supporting layers so many digiscrappers are now able to scrap on the go.
Whilst I have not used GIMP or iPhoto® myself, I have heard good things about them. Also PSP, with many staunch PSP digiscrappers swearing by it above all comers.
Less often pages are created in word processing or desktop publishing software, for instance Microsoft® Word or Publisher. However, flexibility and the ability to modify images as desired is not generally available with this option. That’s not to say that the pages created using word processing software are substandard, just that it provides the digiscrapper with a more tightly focussed challenge on writing beautiful, compelling journaling.
Journaling, aka the feelings, the memories and the who, what, when, where, how, why of the page’s focus, is generally written within the imaging software to accompany the selected photographs and images. However, I have heard of some digiscrappers creating their journaling in a word processor and then adding it as a screenshot image to the page.
Personal Layout: Iggle Piggle
My younger son Taran was obsessed with Iggle Piggle from the kids’ television show In The Night Garden when he was little!
I wanted to bring the object of my son’s affections to life on this page: Taran had memorised the storybook that his Dad and I would read to him at night and could read it back to us at age 3, he had a HUGE Iggle Piggle teddy bear on his bed, he had a bath-washer version of Iggle Piggle, as well as could talk along with the narrator in the DVD he had.
In creating this page I decided to go for a fun little exercise in using a shape as the anchor for my journaling using a text path in Photoshop. I was going for something simple that would be a frame around the central action of the page, which was the television in the photograph.
Interestingly I learned that photographing an older model television screen was pretty darned hard, the image was a blur of lines in the original photograph. Manipulating images is a speciality of mine though, so I melded a computer screenshot that I blurred to match the depth of field in the image and placed it over the television screen to rectify the image. Also, I custom created a charm of Iggle Piggle from another photo to pop on top of the television set charm on the page.
A nice finish all up, really.
Price Point Comparison
In terms of price point to get up and running with digiscrapping … there are various pay-for programs available ranging from $29 upwards to well in excess of $800 per year at the very top end of the range.
Personally I used Adobe® Photoshop® Elements (PSE) when I was first getting started as it fitted my digiscrapping needs perfectly. It was only once I started getting full swing into designing commercially that I upgraded to the full Adobe® Photoshop® Creative Suite (PSCS). Nonetheless, I highly recommend and can say from personal experience that Photoshop® Elements is definitely worth investing in.
One of the things I loved most about Photoshop® Elements when I was first starting is the ease of using editable layer masks that enable cropping that can be changed if needed. That is a big bonus for getting layouts just right and for fixing mistakes without having to redo everything. Elements also has some pretty cool built in styles to create different effects on various page elements and can be extended with Actions that have been designed in the full version of Photoshop and then customised to work in PSE.
Dedicated Software for Digital Scrapbooking
On another note, if you are just starting out, a dedicated, albeit limited, scrapbooking program might be a good choice for you. Sometimes these packages also come with a few kits built-in to get started:
- Cyberlink PhotoDirector® via Amazon
- Digital Scrapbook Artist® via Amazon
- My Memories® Suite 9 via Amazon
- Hallmark® Scrapbook Studio® via Amazon
Online Options for Digital Scrapbooking
Also, there are a number online options that include starter kits. These sites are often for the purpose of creating photobooks and other printed items, for example custom designed photo Christmas cards:
- Smilebox® - Smilebox.com
- Shutterfly® - Shutterfly.com
- Picaboo® - Picaboo.com
- Mixbook Photo Co.® - Mixbook.com
Having said that, if you would prefer to retain flexibility over the creation of your layouts and maintain the ability to use kits from a variety of designers and sources, then photo imaging software that supports layers is the way to go.
- Adobe® Photoshop® Elements (PSE)
- Adobe® Photoshop® Creative Suite (PSCS)
- Corel® PaintShop Pro® 2021 (PSP)
- Corel® PaintShop Pro® Ultimate 2021 (PSP Ultimate)
- iPhoto – via the Mac App Store
- GIMP – GIMP.org
Imaging software, of course, has the added advantage of giving you greater control over your photo editing options.
Digital Scrapbooking on the Go
Digiscrapping on the go is also a thing now-a-days with both web-based and mobile applications for smart phones and tablets available:
- Photoshop® Express - Apple Store and Google Play
- Photoshop® Fix - Apple Store and Google Play
- Photoshop® Mix - Apple Store and Google Play
- Photoshop® for iPad - Apple Store
- Pixlr - Pixlr.com
- PicCollage - pic-collage.com
Some of the options above have a steep learning curve that puts a few people off. So if you are worried about spending a bucket of cash and then not being able to use your program, just make sure that you select the free trial first!
Most software providers have some type of a try before you buy service to let you get your feet wet before you plunge in by committing to a purchase.
If you were to ask me which software I would choose if I were starting out in digital scrapbooking for the first time, my answer would be Adobe® Photoshop® Elements (PSE), every time.
Whichever option you decide to go with remember this … you can always make a change or upgrade to something else!
As a little thank you for reading this page please be sure to grab your copy of this set of decorated text on a path hearts that are suitable for use in both Photoshop® Creative Cloud as well as in Photoshop® Elements with my compliments.
Anita Richards Designs | textPATHS | 001 Hearts'n'Roses
Send download link to:
So there we have it: a brief explanation of some of the imaging software options for Digital Scrapbooking. Which program are you leaning towards? Have you already chosen / purchased / downloaded your software? What program is it and what made you choose that one instead of one of the alternatives? Post a comment below or drop me a line through the Contact page.
This post is part of our Digital Scrapbooking FAQ Series, the complete index for which can be found on the Start Here: Frequently Asked Questions page.