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Digital Image Tutorial:

There are several graphics programs available for digital scrapbooking.  Here we will be going over some digital scrapbook basics using Microsoft Digital Image. 

Microsoft Digital Image suite 2006

          This program offers so many great features that it is hard to cover them all, so we will cover scrapping basics.

          The main thing you need to understand when scrapping digitally is the concept of layers or stacks.  Every picture or element you place on a page is a separate layer or stack (Photoshop uses layers, Microsoft uses stacks).  The easiest way to understand this is to picture your page as a stack of page protectors or transparencies.  Each one has a different part of your page and arranging them one on top of another is the way you assemble your page.  Each one can be brought forward or sent backward independent of the others. 

          When starting a new page click on File>new.  This will open a blank page.  You will be asked to choose a size, which you will do in inches.  You can also resize your page by clicking Format>Resize Canvas.  Once you have a blank canvas you need to open the files you will be working with, i.e. pictures, backgrounds, etc. (NOTE:  Unless your computer has enough memory, you may not be able to have a lot of graphics open at once.) As you open individual elements, they will appear on the lower right of your screen as files (your canvas appears here also).  As you copy and paste elements and photos to your canvas, they will appear on the upper right as part of the stack.  The stack is shown in the order they are arranged on the canvas - the bottom stack is on the bottom of the stack list and the top is at the top (simple, right?).  You can change the order of  your stacks by right clicking either on the element on the canvas or in the stack list and choosing send backward or bring forward.  Once you have done this a few times you will get the hang of it!

          To conserve computer memory, after you have copied a element or picture to your canvas you can delete it from your file list.  NOTE:  If you have edited a file at all - cropped, etc.  You will be asked if you want to save it - ALWAYS SAY NO!!! This way you do not lose a full sheet of paper because you saved the heart you cut from it instead of the entire sheet

Adding Dimension:  As you view pages done by other digital scrappers, you will notice some have a slick, brochure look about them and others look as if you could touch the elements.  How you choose to show your style is individual choice, but we are going to cover dimension so that your pages can have a ‘paper scrapped’ look. 

          Shadows are a simple technique that will make your pages have the dimension of paper scrapping.  When you are adding shadows, think about where the light is coming from, what direction should the shadow go, does an element need a soft, all around shadow?  Learn to play with the shadow setting to get the right look for your page. 

          To add a shadow, click on the element you want to shadow on your canvas.  With the element selected, click on Effects>Shadow.  You will then get a new box on the left of your screen.  It will give you many shadow options: soft, left, right, etc.  Choose the one that suits you and look at the shadow placement, this is when you want to adjust it.  After you click ‘done’ you cannot edit your shadow.  (You can always click the undo button immediately to get rid of it.)   The default shadow in Digital Image is quite large, it gives the impression that the element is sitting several inches above the paper.  You can adjust the size by dragging the handles around the shadow.  To edit your shadow further, click on customize shadow - you will then be able to edit the transparency and edge softness. 

          Note:  When resizing elements and pictures, hold the control key down to keep the correct proportions. 

          Most page kits are created for 12 x 12 pages, to resize to fit a smaller page select the paper and then click Format>scale to fit.  

          Locking Stacks:  As you are working, your stacks are separate and move independent of each other, however you can lock stacks together so they move as one. 

          If you mat a photo, the photo & mat are each a separate stack. Each will move without the other.  Once you have added your shadows and adjusted everything the way you want it - you can lock the group together so if you want to move it around the page, it moves as a unit.  To do this, select all the items you want to lock by holding down the control key and clicking on the items with your mouse.  You can click on the items on your canvas or in the stack listing.  Once all the items are selected, click on the icon that looks like a puzzle piece at the bottom of the selected items (the icon is blue and yellow).  The items will now be locked together and will move as one.  If you decide you want to change something in the locked stack, just click the icon again to unlock the stack.

          Printing:  Click on the print icon.  This will bring up the print menu along the left side.  This is where you will change printer properties (set your printer to best quality), chose a size, etc.  When choosing a print size select ’custom’.  This will allow you to put in the exact size (8x8, etc.).  If you do not do this, the program will adjust for standard margins and your page will print smaller than you created it. 

          The print options with this program will also let you print photo packages. (Click on ’print multiple pictures at the bottom of the print menu). After you edit your photos you can print photo sheets with 5x7, wallets, etc. on the same page - just like J.C. Penney!  The only difference here is you can mix pictures on the same photo sheet - a 5x7 of all the kids and  wallets of each one individually.

          There is still so much that this program can do - the photo editing is great!  Restore old photos, adjust color, clone out distracting items, etc.  Spend some time playing with it and have fun!

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