Resources

Resources

Important Resources

There are so many digital scrapbooking resources out there I couldn’t begin to list them all. But here are a few that I hope will be particularly useful for you. Just click on the product name to visit their site.

Disclaimer: I am in no way compensated for listing any of these products. These are merely my personal observations.

Software

Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE)

This is what I use to create my digital projects.  You can find this on sale at a price below the “normal” list price of around $99.00.  Generally, there are a few times when Adobe will drop the price…Black Friday (after Thanksgiving) is one.  But I’ll also try to make a point of letting people know with a blog post.

Adobe Photoshop (PS)

This is what I’ll just call the “full” version of Photoshop.  There are more features available in Photoshop than what you’ll find in PSE.  Unfortunately (at least in my opinion) PS is only available through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription program.  Currently the monthly rate for PS is $9.99.  I have yet to find anything that I can’t do in PSE that would make me want to switch to PS.  But I did want you to know that there is a more robust “Photoshop” if you’d like to explore that.

Affinity Designer

This is another highly rated option for creativity software.  They offer professional photo editing, page layout, graphic design and illustration – all available for Mac, Windows and iPad, subscription free.  They also offer Affinity exclusive brush packs, versatile textures, stunning overlays, helpful templates and more.  For most scrapbookers Affinity Photo is the best option and they offer free tutorials on their site.  I have no direct experience with them but they look like a good option.  Especially if you like to design on your iPad!

Canva

Canva is an Australian graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content.  Canva has a free-to-use option & includes various templates.  You can use Canva to do photo editing, design layout, and more, all within what is advertised as an easy-to-use platform.  From what I’ve read this could be used to create scrapbook pages.  One downside is that you can only use it when connected to the internet.  Another disadvantage is that Canva does not have local file storage.  This means if the website is down for some reason, you will need to wait to access your designs to make new changes.  Another drawback to the free version is that there are Fonts to use but you cannot upload your own.  If you’re looking for something fast and easy with built-in assets, Canva may be a good value.  If you want more robust options Canva Pro would be the way to go.  And once again, Canva Pro is available on a subscription only basis ($119.99 annually).  If you want to create professional images, edit out imperfections, or create works of art, Photoshop/PSE are probably the better value.  I have never used Canva so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of its capabilities.

DesignScape

DesignScape is the new go-to online design software for creative professionals and hobbyists. It’s versatile, user-friendly, and free with DesignBundles Plus Gold Membership.  DesignScape is an online only software so you will need an internet connection every time you use it.  But, it is touted to be an affordable Photoshop alternative to help you quickly achieve quality creative outcomes.  DesignScape empowers creative professionals and hobbyists to produce premium designs, anytime, from anywhere.  Access a host of innovative tools, even on the go: working with textures, shapes, and ABR brushes in DesignScape is a breeze.  Achieve the perfect text effect for your project: 3D text, retro typography, themed text effects, and more. And customize PAT files to add patterns and textures to your designs.

GIMP

For years now, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) has been one of the best free alternatives for commercial image editing suites like Photoshop or Corel Draw.  GNU, (Image Manipulation Program) is a free multi-platform (Windows or Mac) open-source tool that lets you perform practically the same actions as paid software.  You can use GIMP both to retouch images and to create new ones.  The app’s tools include a brush, pencil, clone pad, and airbrush.  GIMP’s features are virtually the same as those of any current image editor: layer system, alpha channels, operation history, selection and transformation tools, masks, gradients, and so on.  And there are quite a few great tutorial on their website and on YouTube.  I’ve played around with it a bit and would recommend it to anyone trying to find an acceptable alternative to Photoshop product.

My Memories

Preserve your memories with highly-rated digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite. This user-friendly software is great for creating scrapbook pages & photobooks using the many templates & digital scrapbooking kits available in their shop.  I have never used My Memories so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of its capabilities.

Microsoft Word

Normally, digital scrapbookers use some form of software to create their pages (like Photoshop Elements).  Believe it or not, you can actually create scrapbook pages using Microsoft (MS) Word.  Granted, you don’t have access to some of the more robust features offered by software like Photoshop Elements, but you’d be surprised what you can do using just MS Word.  If you’re a beginner and are trying to figure out if digital scrapbooking is for you, I’d suggest that you play around a little bit using MS Word before investing in something like Photoshop Elements.  You can do all the basics like starting with a background paper and add all the embellishments and photos that you can with other special software.  And here’s the best kept secret around.  Did you know you can use MS Office online for free?  That’s right…completely free.  All you have to do is create an account and you can use MS Office to create your scrapbook page (or document) for free.  There are tutorials available at YouTube that will tell you how to do that.  So, if you don’t already have MS Word (or other document creation software) you can use this.

Microsoft Publisher

This is another product that you could use to create scrapbook layouts.  I’ve only ever used Microsoft (MS) Publisher once or twice and it was a really long time ago.  From what I’ve read it can be used to design and craft homemade birthday cards, scrapbooks, flyers, newsletters, notebooks and social media graphics.  I can see how it might work for scrapbooking but I’ve not tried it.  One thing to note is that MS Publisher is available for PC only.  Another point to mention is that MS Publisher is slated to “go away” however when seems to in question.  If/when it does go away that means Microsoft would no longer support it.  And the most up-to-date version of MS Publisher is Publisher 2019 and is currently only available with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Adobe Lightroom

The full name for Lightroom is actually “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom”, which may sound confusing, because it contains the word “Photoshop”.  In a way, it makes sense, because Lightroom can be considered a subset of Photoshop with specific functionality that Photoshop does not and probably will never have.  While Lightroom and Photoshop are both digital photography editing programs with a lot of functional crossovers, they are designed to meet different needs and achieve different goals.  Unfortunately (again, in my opinion) Lightroom is only available through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription program.  I currently do most (if not all) of my photo editing within PSE so I can’t really say much about how robust this editing software is.  I have yet to run into a situation that has made me want to explore something more than what I do within PSE.  However, I did want to make you aware of this product if you’d like to explore more options.

Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge is a powerful creative asset manager that lets you preview, organize, edit, and publish multiple creative assets quickly and easily.  Edit metadata.  Add keywords, labels, and ratings to assets.  Organize assets using collections, and find assets using powerful filters and advanced metadata search features.  It is free to download.  I do not have firsthand experience with Adobe Bridge and I cannot tell you much of anything else about it or if you need to be using other Adobe products in order to realize the full capabilities of this software.  I currently use ACDSee (see below) for my asset management needs.  But I did want to make you aware of Adobe Bridge if you’d like to explore more asset management options.

ACDSee

Are your digital supplies (or photos) scattered all over your computer, in the Cloud, and/or in Dropbox?  Do you want to be able to find any specific supply (or photo) with ease, in seconds?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, then ACDSee is for you!  This is the digital asset management software I use to organize all my digital supplies.  And it does also provide the ability to do photo editing.  I wish I had known about this product when I first got started.  It is such a time saver.  Again, this is another resource that I would HIGHLY recommend.  I use ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate but for most scrapbookers, ACDSee Photo Studio Home would be sufficient.  ACDSee has superior file management capabilities.  Finding, sorting, moving, organizing, and sharing—everything you need for complete mastery over your supplies (or photo) workflow is right here, at your fingertips.  No uploading or importing your images.  You can add ratings, hierarchical keywords, tags, categories, location data and customizable color labels.  I know it sounds complicated at first but this tool is priceless in helping you keep track of, or more importantly FIND, the right element for your project.  I can’t emphasize enough how much time ACDSee has saved me since I started using it.

Font Sources

1001 Free Fonts

There are a lot more than 1001 free fonts here: they actually offer 10,000 free fonts!  The search feature is integrated into the site header, which reduces the time required to find what you need.  This font website also has a paid option available: for $19.95 you can download all of their fonts in a single package, saving you the need to download individual fonts and immediately increasing your font library by a rather hefty amount with little effort.  BUT, if you already have a lot of fonts…this may not be a good option for you!

Abstract Fonts

With a great minimalist design, AbstractFonts makes sure their users get what they came for. A simple header is about the only design here, with the rest of the site devoted entirely to free fonts. With over 13,000 free fonts available, you’ll assuredly find what you need here.

Creative Fabrica

Offering more than 114,000 fonts in 8+ categories and a wealth of other useful assets to beef up your designs, this site is fantastic from top to bottom.  All to download and use in design projects of all kinds for web and print.  These font sets feature hand-drawn, brush, and vector letterforms, along with extra character sets and embellishments for headers, display.  Hands-down it’s one of the best font and asset options on this list if you’re a commercial designer.  Generally, the fonts aren’t free but they do offer free options daily.

Creative Market

Offering more than 68,000 fonts in 20+ categories and a wealth of other useful assets to beef up your designs, this site is fantastic from top to bottom.  Generally, the fonts aren’t free but they do offer free options from time to time.

DaFont

If you’ve looked for free fonts before, you’ve undoubtedly been to (or at least seen) DaFont.  Their library of free fonts is over 70,000 strong and ranges from odd and esoteric options such as runic script to modern, clean sans-serif fonts for websites. There are very few visual distractions, and categories are visible at all times in the header section of this font website, which makes navigation an absolute breeze.  This is, by far my, favorite font site.

Fontasy

Fontasy is a free font archive featuring over 1100 selected fonts for PC and Mac, available for free download.  You can start to browse alphabetically, with A, or in categories.  Or you can view some random fonts.  This lesser-known font site has a nice and simple search feature that breaks things down by style, alphabetically, or by individual designer.  It can certainly provide you with some useful free fonts that could help improve your project.

FontBundles

While the focus of this site is on selling font bundles, they still offer a rather large variety of amazing free fonts.  There isn’t a single font on this list that doesn’t look professionally designed, and each and every one could help elevate your creative projects to the next level.

FontFreak

FontFreak offers 9,000 free fonts of various sorts that designers can take full advantage of.  They also offer over 125,000 fonts that can be purchased in addition to the free fonts offered.  It has a search feature—including alphabetized category search—to help locate what you need.

FontSpace

A well-travelled font website offering over 100,000 free fonts, FontSpace has a lot to offer.  You’ll never have trouble finding what you’re seeking on this font site.  The real star of the show, of course, are the free fonts themselves.  You’d be hard-pressed to not find some great ones waiting for you.  They have an especially nice collection of script-style fonts, so if that’s what you’re in the mood for, this is the place for you.

FontSpring

FontSpring is a premium fonts marketplace full of premium font families.  But, the site also allows you to download a couple of free fonts from these font families to use them with your various projects.  You can find detailed information about the font licenses in each font page.

FontSquirrel

One of the most well-known free font websites in the world, Font Squirrel is super-duper easy to use thanks to a very visible search feature on the right side of the page that breaks things down into various categories, styles, and languages to ensure you don’t get lost.  You’ll most definitely find free fonts here that you’ll love!  They also have a Font Identifier tool (Matcherator) where you can upload an image with type and they’ll identify the fonts that match.

Fontstruct

Perhaps the most unique free font website in this list.  Fontstruct doesn’t merely allow you to download free fonts—it actually lets you create them!  You’ll have access to a library of user-made fonts at the drop of a hat through their simple user interface, and, if you’re feeling creative, you can try your hand at making the font of your dreams! Why wait? Get inspired and create your own font!

FontZone

A library of over 50,000 free fonts waits for you at FontZone, an archive of freely downloadable fonts. Their search is simplistic, and will help streamline your search to the type of font you are most interested in downloading.

Kevin & Amanda Fonts For Peas

The cutest free handwriting fonts on the internet.  If you like handwriting fonts, you’ll love these scrapbooking fonts!  There are over 600 fun and funky handwriting fonts.  And if you’ve never been to this site before there’s even a button to download all of the fonts with the click of one button.  You have to scroll about halfway down the “Download All” page but it’s there on the right side.

UrbanFonts

With a large assortment of free fonts available in numerous categories, this is a good place to look for some new approaches to typeset. It has a bright and cheery design that is highly readable, and a simple and easy-to-understand search feature.

Educational Resources

The Photo Editing & DigiScrap Academy

This is where I learned how to use Photoshop Elements when I first got started.  The “Academy” is an online, membership-based training resource for people looking to develop their skills in Digital Scrapbooking and/or Photo Editing, centered mostly around using Photoshop Elements.  This is also the only resource of which I’m aware that offers BOTH Photo Editing classes AND Digital Scrapbook classes in one place.  While the Academy is not a free resource, they do offer some free classes.  The tutorials are easy to follow and very detailed.  The instructors are all professional designers and are very thorough. And it’s always in a format that makes it fun.  I seriously can’t say enough about the members of this Academy…they are so helpful and I just love them!  There are tons of free class out there on the internet.  But if you don’t mind paying for quality classes…this is the place I highly recommend.  And if you join, please let Michelle know how you heard about them.

Karen Schulz ACDSee Tutorial

Karen is amazing.  Not only is she a digital designer, she is an amazing instructor.  And her tutorial on using ACDSee is how I learned to use the product.  In Karen’s “Let’s Get Organized with ACDSee” tutorial you learn how to use ACDSee to tag and categorize your digi-kits and supplies.  In her “Photo Organization with ACDSee” the course focus is on organizing your photographs.  Karen will teach you everything from installing/setting up ACDSee, Creating Categories, Ratings, and Color Labels to how to Categorize your Images.  a self-paced video course, which you can access day or night, at YOUR convenience.  Again, this is not a free resource but it’s worth absolutely every penny if you want to harness all the organization capabilities available with ACDSee. And she’s also one of the instructors at the The Photo Editing & DigiScrap Academy!

Digital Scrapper

Digital Scrapper was developed in 2007 by Linda Sattgast and quickly became THE PLACE to learn Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Jen White, is now the owner. They have every kind of class you could possibly think of and they’re constantly adding more. These classes are extremely comprehensive and generally come with supplies in some fashion (depending on the class). Again, this is not a free resource but they do offer some free classes. I’ve taken a few classes here and found them easy to follow and very thorough. The only cautionary note I will give is they are very much “rule” oriented (the rule of thirds, the color wheel, mixing fonts correctly, etc.) So, if you’re not into all the technicalities followed by some…this may not be your best choice.

Printing Resources

Persnickety Prints

This is where I go to print the majority of the digital scrapbook layouts I create.  I have a wide-format printer of my own and can print a page if I need it quickly.  But using a print service is almost always more cost-effective than using my own printer/ink.  Persnickety Prints never disappoints.  They have a wide array of options with very competitive pricing.  I would recommend them over just about any “drug store” or office supply store for all your scrapbook printing needs.  And if you want to print an entire book, they offer soft cover photo books in 5”x5”, 6”x8” or 8”x8” formats.  I still print my pages individually and store them in albums with page protectors.  Mostly because I have a bunch of albums stockpiled from my traditional scrapbooking days.  Psssst…I find their formatting options more flexible than some other sites like Shutterfly or Mixbook.  But that’s just my opinion.

MPix

This is another option for all your printing needs. Mpix is a photo lab with a big heart for storytelling and creation. They offer high quality & fast shipping to get orders out the door within 24 hours. They have a wide assortment of printing options from photos, wall prints, to books. They also still process FILM! I have no direct experience with them but they look like a good option.

Blurb

If you want a bigger printed scrapbook, you can’t beat Blurb (in my opinion).  I used them back in 2007 to print a digitized version of the massive 12”x12” scrapbooks I made for my son’s 30th birthday.  I couldn’t have been any happier with the result.  They have a wide array of design & printing options.  If you want to print an entire scrapbook…this is the resource I would recommend.

Mixbook

Even though I previously mentioned them as a less flexible photo book printing site (in my opinion), this is a very highly rated photo book company outside the US.  With locations in Australia, Canada, the EU & the UK…this is a great option for people outside the US.  I have no direct experience with them but they look like a good option of anyone in or outside the US.  They do ship to the US.