4 Online Scrapbooks: Bonus Tips, How-To Instructions & Downloads

In the feature "4 Scrapbooks That Never Leave Your Computer" in the August 2008 issue, I discussed four ways people scrapbook digitally without realizing it: blogs, online galleries, videos and slideshows, and computer screensavers and wallpaper.

Following is bonus information and instruction to help you tap these resources as well.

Scrapper Chick by Night by Tiffany Tillman. Supplies Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Systems; Custom-made avatar: Gurlz by Dawn Stocstill; Elements: Buggiboo Kit by Mindy Terasawa, http://www.designerdigitals.com/.

Create Blog Headers. You can use your scrapbooking skills on your blog, too! Many scrappers create their blog headers using digital scrapbooking supplies, and CK Dream Team member Tiffany Tillman is no exception. Here are some of Tiffany’s tips on creating blog headers:

  1. Blog headers can be super simple or quite elaborate depending on your style. To set the tone of your blog, choose colors and digital products that match your mood, the season or an upcoming holiday. Save the layered format of your blog header to change it as often as you wish!
  2. There's no rule about featuring only the title of the blog in your header. Share a favorite word or memorable quote from a family member. Let your personality shine through!
  3. Use drop shadows on realistic-looking items for a dimensional effect. Digital buttons, stitches and metal elements will look distinguished using simple shadowing techniques.

 

Create Videos and Slideshows. Amy Hummel created this slideshow as a year-in-review of her family's 2007 activities. To sync the music perfectly with her photos, she used Windows Movie Maker. If you use a Mac computer, you can also use programs such as iMovie. With all of the great programs available, it's easy to create a video or slideshow!

Amy Hummel's Tips for Creating a Video in Windows Movie Maker

Preparing to create a video

  1. Create a new folder to hold everything you will use on your video.
  2. Decide what pictures you want to use before you start creating the video, and put copies of those photos in your new folder.
  3. Decide what song to use for the video. Depending on the length of your song, you may not have the right amount of pictures. You can fix this later by importing more pictures or deleting a few. 
    For my video, I used Windows Movie Maker. You can download it free from www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx.  Because I used this program, I saved my song as a WMA file. MP3s will work too, but for me they’ve skipped on occasion during the finished video. I avoided this problem by using the WMA file. (You may need special software to convert an MP3 to a WMA format. I used a program that came with my computer setup.)
  4. Many of the photographs in my video coincide with the lyrics of my chosen song. For these photos, I added text directly to the photographs in Adobe Photoshop Elements. I then resaved the photos to my new folder, using the lyrics as the file name. This made it easier to place the photos in the correct place later. Photographs that didn't fit with any specific lyric were simply titled "space filler" with a number afterward.
  5. Start Windows Movie Maker, create a name for your video and save it in the same folder as everything else.
  6. In the task bar to your right, click on "import audio or music" to bring your music into the program.
  7. Click "import pictures" from the same task bar, and import all pictures at once. This is where having everything in one folder comes in handy because you don't have to hunt all over your hard drive for the photographs.

You should now have everything ready to make your video.

1.First drag your music down onto the "show storyboard" section at the bottom of your screen. It will say "Audio/Music".

2. Add your pictures one by one. I always transition my pictures with the beat of the song (it adds a professional touch and makes the video easy to watch). This is where you may also want to experiment with the transitions to find which ones work for you. I suggest picking one or two transitions (if any) to use throughout your entire video. Using a different transition between each set of photographs can be distracting.
 
3. Decide ahead of time if you want a photograph displayed for 4 or 8 beats (depending on the song). A photograph in a really fast song would be better to hold for 8 beats, while a slow song would work better with 4 beats.

4. To make my transition smooth, I add the photograph and then click my mouse on that photograph to select it. After doing this, I press "play" on the left side of the screen. I then immediately press the same button (now labeled "pause") and hold it down while I count the beats.

When I count the last beat, I release the button. The video will stop playing, and you can split the scene using your play menu directly underneath the video. After splitting the photograph, delete the second half by right-clicking and selecting "cut" or "delete". Your photograph will then change to a new one exactly on the beat!
 
If your photograph is shorter than the duration of the beats, you can lengthen it by clicking on the right edge of the photo and dragging it out to your desired length.
 
5. Continue to add photographs one at a time, making sure to add any photographs with text at the proper time.

6. Save your video often! The program will occasionally auto save, but it will not do so with every change you make. As you add more and more pictures to the video, I've found that it's likely to freeze, especially after you get the hang of it and start moving fast, so save often! If you do not save, you may have to redo a lot of the video if/when the program freezes, but at least know that you will not have to start at the beginning.

7. When your video is finished, save it in a format compatible with your desires. While it is in Windows Movie Maker, it can only be played in that program on your computer. In your movie task bar, select "Save to my computer". You will then have several options. Select the one that best fits your needs.
 
* If you are planning to share your video online, it would be wise to select "best quality for playback on my computer".

* If you are burning your video to a DVD, you will need to experiment with which method of saving is best. Different programs work differently with different file types. I had purchased a new DVD burning program prior to making this video because I wanted to be able to design my own menus. I actually had to save my video in five different formats before I found a combination that worked well with the program. (Meaning I could get the video to play without skipping and going out of sync with the music.) What worked best with my program was to use a .wma music file and save the video as an .avi file.

* You can save your video as an .avi by selecting “other settings” in the save movie wizard and selecting DV-AVI (NTSC) from the drop-down menu.

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