Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Overview of Scrapbooking for Genealogy Hobbiests

People have been creating scrapbook pages as long as they've had access to paper and pen. Even before photographs were invented people would buy books with blank pages and fill them with ticket stubs, silhouettes, dried flowers, theater programs, newspaper clippings and such in an effort to record their life experiences. They were extremely popular in the Victorian Era. Once photographs became available they naturally included those too. Often they would write a bit of story about their experience or compose a poem. These days this is known as "journaling" in a scrapbook.

Marielen Christensen of Spanish Forks, Utah is credited with giving birth to the commercial scrapbook industry that has become so popular today. Back in 1976 she began designing creative pages for her family's photo collection. Then she inserted the pages into sheet protectors and put those in 3-ring binders and, Voila! From there an entire industry was born.

As soon as computers allowed people to assemble photos and text on a page and print it out, digital scrapbooking began. Affordable home scanners allowed people to scan in family photos and ephemera and put together their own memory pages. When software like Adobe Photoshop started offering multiple layers as a feature, it allowed those with the artistic skills and software knowledge to take digital scrapbooking to another level.

Several years ago the digital scrapbooking (DS) industry took off when designers starting creating "kits" including color coordinated background papers, templates, ephemera elements, and matching alphabet letters. Font designers created handwriting or hand-lettering type fonts to make journaling look more personal. Then some designers put on their thinking caps and created "quick pages" for those who like the look of scrapbook pages but don't have the time to create them. Quick pages are already assembled and all you have to do is add your photographs and some journaling and you're done.

Scrapbook pages, both digital and traditional, are usually either 12"x12" or 8"x10". Digital scrapbook pages at 12"x12" are sometimes a challenge to print at home since most home printers won't print 12 inches wide. But in the last few years some leading brands of printer manufacturers have brought to market versions that will print wider than standard pages. Canon, Epson and HP have capitalized on this market and now have entire sections of their web sites offering free downloadable scrapbook papers to help promote their larger scale printers.

Along with the development of home printers for printing scrapbook pages there has been a plethora of software developed for digital scrapbooking as well. Adobe Photoshop Elements is without a doubt the leader in the industry but there are other software programs that are available as well. iRemember, Scrapbook Factory Deluxe, Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Designer, and Hallmark Scrapbook Studio to name a few. There is a very nice review of current digital scrapbooking software available, unfortunately they don't include Photoshop Elements. This is most likely because Photoshop Elements is really photo editing software that happens to also be extremely well designed for digital scrapbooking. It's a cut above the rest.

Most recently a couple of new sites have started offering digital scrapbooking as a web app. Lifehacker recently featured a post about Scrapblog.com. GotFamiliesOnline.com is another site that's available for assembling online scrapbooks. These sites create finished online products as opposed to printed ones.

Digital scrapbooking has truly become an art form unto itself. It's not just about putting pages together in album form anymore. Now many retail craft stores offer 12"x12" frames for your finished scrapbook pages so you can display them gallery style at home. Now you can take that old stoic photo of Uncle Stanley and give it new life with with color backgrounds, a theme to match his hobby or work, and journaling to explain what a character he was. It gives his picture visual interest and adds a whole new dimension to your family history!

The digital scrapbook page shown above is one I put together using Jen Reed's, "Butterfly Kisses". It includes photos of my mother as a young child.


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3 comments:

Miriam said...

Absolutely beautiful, Jasia! Congratulations on your new blog! It's made me interested in getting back into my pixel painting...but I may try my hand at digital scrapbooking. I have Paint Shop Pro 6 on my computers, and also have a copy of PSP X; however, I haven't wanted to have to learn the new version...it took me so long to learn to use 6! LOL!

Looking forward to all you'll offer and show on this blog!

Hummie said...

Oh, you are SO right!

Digital Scrapbooking and Genealogy go hand in hand!

Great layouts!

Jasia said...

Thank you Hummie, coming from you that is high praise indeed!

And thank you dear Miriam. I will strive to inspire you!