Don't be intimidated from using your computer to assist you in the creation
of your scrapbook pages. A computer can be used to manipulate photographs, and
can perhaps save a photo that you wouldn't otherwise be able to use because it's
blurry, or too dark or light in appearance. Journaling and page titles also gets
an impressive, professional appearance when you create them using word
processing or graphical software programs. Once you mastered these techniques,
you could even try to create full-page, computer generated scrapbook pages-
called Digital Scrapbooking. Believe it or not, there are some people who make
all of their scrapbooks digitally!
So how do you get started making your computer work for you as one of your scrapbooking supplies? If you're looking to alter and manipulate photographs, whether it's to improve their appearance or make them more artistically pleasing by adding effects or changing their shape, you'll want to invest in a photo-editing program. There are several available on the market, with prices ranging from about $30 to several hundred dollars, but download trial versions from their web sites before buying any so you can decide if you like the program or not. An easy to use program for fixing photographs and adding simple effects, is Microsoft Picture It! Photo.
Once you've installed the program of your choice, find the online tutorial and help documents that will walk you through processes like changing color photos to black and white, and removing red eye, step by step. Learning the basics first is the best way to use a photo-editing program, and as you get more familiar with the program you can expand and start using it to completely alter your photos or add fantastic special effects to add another element of uniqueness to your scrapbooking layouts.
If you want to create computer generated page titles, and journaling, chances are you have everything you need on your computer already! You can use any word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or Word Perfect to create beautiful text in the size you need (use their built in rulers!) and print on the paper of your choice. You can get creative and learn how to use textboxes to position letters exactly where you want them, and use different fonts within the same word. Try printing directly on cardstock, or change the settings of your print options to transparency, and print on vellum or transparencies to layer your journaling and titles over your background paper, or even over photographs!
When you're fully comfortable with photo-editing and creating journaling and page titles on your computer, you may decide to try making a digital layout- where everything from the background paper to the photographs are created, altered, and printed right from your computer. You'll want to have a high quality graphics program, such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10. Take some time to go through the programs tutorials to get a feel for how the program works if you have never used it before, and most programs allow you to select what you want to learn in the tutorials. Then, for your first few digital layouts, consider downloading "page kits" from a web site, such as www.scrapbook-bytes.com that specialize in digital scrapbooking. The page kits offer ready-made templates that you just add your photos and journaling to, or they are the individual elements like background paper, and paper made to look like vellum, that you can arrange and layer on your digital layout to create the look you want. Once you've learned the basics of digital scrapbooking with help from templates and pre-made pieces, you'll be able to apply your own creative techniques and create your own page elements on your own pages!
Traditional scrapbooking is limited to the products you can buy or make yourself, using paper and other supplies that can be adhered to your pages. When you add your computer and printer into your list of supplies for scrapbooking, you are inviting unlimited creativity to grace the pages of your layouts!