Some Smart Tips for Effective Digital Scrapbooking

The culture of scrapbooking using paper supplies is not new. With the advent of computers, hobbies like this got new momentum. And things got really better for enthusiasts, as digital scrapbooking became widely available.

People started creating creative album pages much faster and much more affordably. An amazing thing is that the whole spirit, enthusiasm and idea behind this hobby didn’t change, despite the fact that the world has moved towards digitalizing it. According to experts, these are the tips to get a smooth jumpstart in digital scrapbooking.

Tips to get started

If you’re eager to begin the work straight away, here are some useful start-up tips.

Handling Photo/Image Editing Software

There are numerous kinds of software solutions available out there which are excellent for your digital scrapbooking. A few of the commonly used software solutions are:

a. Adobe Photoshop
b. Adobe Photoshop Elements
c. Lumapix: FotoFusion
d. MS Picture It!
e. Paintshop
f. Paintshop Pro

Handling a printer

You’d want to make use of a top-notch photo quality inkjet printer. While most of the popular brands will do fine, make sure your printer has got resolution between 200 and 300 pixels per inch.

Printer Ink

Surely, ink for the printer is essential. When it comes to digital scrapbooking, you will need to use a great deal of it! The best way for you to save some bucks on your printer ink would be to buy the ink from any online store. In this way, you’ll be able to save much more by making use of a discount coupon offered by some of the ink selling sites.

Paper

For nearly every purpose, most digital scrapbook makers utilize ordinary white cardstock. But still, using ink jet 80lb cover paper is much better. Actually, both types of papers are widely available and affordable, compared to the papers that we see in art stores or craft stores. It also makes sense to print the pages onto transparencies, stickers or similar kinds of custom papers. In this way, you will produce unique and appealing effects onto the scrapbook pages using a home printer.

Once you have these few things, you can get started on your digital scrapbooking project!

Digital Images – Unsharp Mask – The LAST Thing To Do To Enhance Your Photographs

Are you one of the many who digitally resize their photographs only to be disappointed with the less than sharp, blurry looking results?

The main digital packages such as PaintShop Pro and Photoshop have a fantastic little function called an ‘unsharp mask’

Using the unsharp mask makes it possible for your digitally corrected or resized images to maintain a high quality appearance. If you regularly downsize your pictures (for faster loading on web pages for example) then you may notice that the usual Sharpness function creates a more unnatural
look in smaller sizes images. The unsharp mask, however, because of its adjustability, can produce much better results. It can even increase the sharpness of photos taken directly from your digital camera.

From personal experience, I make sure that I make all other adjustments to a picture before resizing. For example contrast adjustment, saturation adjustment and any noise reduction. I then resize in steps (VERY important), not all in one go, as I feel this retains more of the original picture quality. Only at the very end of the process, when I’m ready to print for example, do I adjust sharpness, and
ONLY with the unsharp mask tool, not the normal sharpness adjustment.

In PaintshopPro 10, use the unsharp mask as follows:

To apply low- and high-frequency sharpening

1. Choose Adjust > Sharpness > Unsharp > Mask.

The Unsharp Mask dialog box appears.

2. Set a value from 0.01 to 100.00 in the Radius control to specify the distance (radius) within which the command looks for dissimilar pixels to sharpen.

Higher Radius settings tend to be more suited for softer images, or those with a large subject; photos with lots of fine detail usually require lower Radius settings.

3. Type or set a value from 1 to 100 in the Strength control to specify the overall strength of the command.

4. Type or set a values from 1 to 100 in the Clipping control to specify lightness values that adjacent pixels must have before they are sharpened.

5. Click OK.

Some people have reported that using the unsharp mask before each resizing step can give superior results. Its not something that I have noticed in my own work, but feel free to try it out. But whatever you prefer, make sure its the LAST thing you do to your picture before you call in ‘finished.’

Photos on my eBay Auctions: How Do I Add Them?

On another forum I’m involved with, someone’s asked a great question: I want to
sell products on eBay, but I
want to include photographs with my items. How do I do that? What kind of camera
do I need, and what settings should I use?

The first step is to buy a digital camera. You can use a film camera, get the prints
developed and then scan them in, but you can now buy an entry-level digital camera
for the same price as a low-end scanner, and it’s a lot easier to use!

A few example cameras that have a good reputation, from Amazon: A very
inexpensive camera – on sale currently – is the Digital Concepts VGA Camera [http://www.amazon.com/%0D%0Aexec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002ZONQU/ref=nosim] (currently $49), and if you want to
get a known brand, as I’d recommend, then you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm FinePix 1400 (about $70), the Kodak DC215 (about $60), or the slightly more
expensive
Epson PhotoPC 750Z (about $100).

Getting good results from a digital camera isn’t trivial, however, particularly if you’re
trying to take a picture of a book, statue, CD cover or item of clothing. That’s where
it’s nice to be able to take fifty pictures, download them all to your computer, and
pick the best one of the lot. Unlike film photography, this won’t cost you a nickel.
Just time…

A general tip for taking good product shots is to have lots of light. If
you’re in a room with ceiling lights, turn ’em all on. If you have floor lamps, move
them over and point them directly on the item. In addition, use a neutral color
blanket or sheet as a background for the item: you don’t want to distract potential
buyers with your household clutter. Then hold your camera very, very steady
(consider having it on a chair or, ideally, a tripod) and slowly click the button to take
the shot. If your shots are blurry, try moving back a foot or so and taking another
photograph.

Once you’ve taken a product photograph you like (and don’t be discouraged if it
seems hard. There are professional photographers who specialize in product and
catalog photography and it’s quite an art!) then crop it tightly so that the
photograph is about the product and as little else as possible. If you’re using a
blanket as a background, for example, it should only be visible on the edges of the
photograph. Bidders will appreciate a product photo that reveals a lot of detail
about the product and nothing else.

Finally, within your photo editor (Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Graphic Converter,
iPhoto, whatever), make sure that the final image resolution is 75dpi, not 300dpi,
then resize the image down to a maximum width of 400 pixels and a maximum
height of 300 pixels: and do it with “keep image proportions” enabled so that you
don’t distort the photo. Save it as a JPEG, not a GIF, since it will keep the
nuances of color much better.

Great. Now you have a photo ready to upload to eBay with your next auction! When
you’re entering the auction information, you’ll get to a step where it offers you the
chance to add a photograph, and that’s what you want to do. Click on “upload
photo” and pick your saved image, then it’ll automatically be sent to the eBay
servers along with your other auction information, and you’ll be well on your way to
becoming a true Powerseller!

When I add photographs to my eBay auctions, I use a rather more expensive
(about $2000) camera setup, a Nikon D100 digital with studio lighting and similar
gear. You can see some of my photographic work at Colorado Portraits.