A Fracture Review

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I recently signed up for the Fracture affiliate program after hearing about how awesome they were from some of my favorite podcast hosts. I did receive some product for free in exchange for my unbiased, honest review. (As an aside, I also photographed my Fractures in my ShotBox using the optional white and black backdrops. Although I’m a Shotbox affiliate as well, I purchased my Shotbox as a Christmas present to myself. Now that the fine print is over, on to my review!)

What’s A Fracture?

It’s your artwork printed directly onto glass. Now that I’ve received my very first Fractures, I can honestly say they are truly stunning! They come ready to hang, complete with hardware, or optionally, with a metal stand to display on a table or shelf.

The hardest part of my Fracture order was deciding what I wanted to have printed! I could have chosen a favorite family photo, but I couldn’t come up with a recent picture that was special enough. So, instead, I decided to make some artsy posters using my digital scrapbooking supplies. First I decided on my Fracture size so I knew what size to make my canvas in Photoshop. You can order fractures in either rectangle (4:3 aspect ratio) or square sizes, with a variety of size options. That makes it easy to size and resize your artwork! And, although Fracture’s website stated that bleed was not an issue, I found that my images were trimmed by about 1/16th” on each side. This isn’t a lot when it comes to bleed, but if you’re a picky artist like me, I prefer to plan for that trimming, as small as it may be. So, I recommend keeping your important items at least 1/16th inset from the outer edge.

Here are the pages I scrapped. I ordered a medium square fracture using one of my favorite Art Dolls from Studio Courtney. Here’s the image I uploaded:

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SUPPLIES: Validation and Artsy Blended Template 2 by Studio Courtney.

I also did a series of 3 motivational phrases with scripture verses in the medium rectangle size. I ordered these with the optional stand for just a few dollars more, with the intent of displaying them on a shelf instead of hanging.

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SUPPLIES: Inky Edges by Studio Vicki Robinson; Artful Whimsy Alpha, Inky Fingers, Ink Spray Love Overlays 03, Watercolor Brushes Vol 1, Open A New Door, In Lovers Eyes, Artful Everyday Cards Vol. 2 (inspired layout) by Crafty Button Designs; Hope Floats (dude) by Studio Rosey Posey; Wayfarer (gesso) by Maya deGroot; Font: Junko’s Typewriter.

Now that my artwork was ready, it was time to upload and order. For a complete tutorial on the ordering process, check out my blog.

My fractures arrived in just a few days. The box was well-packed and everything was in pristine condition. There was no damage at all to the glass. Quite impressive give the way that our boxes are usually tossed on the doorstep!

I cut open the box, revealing a stack of Fractures, each inset in a protective cardboard frame, with mounting screw, plus two small boxes containing the metal stands. The entire stack was secured with plastic “ribbon” to hold it all in place. Here’s what the Fracture box looked like.

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Each Fracture was in a separate cardboard sleeve, with a special screw inserted at the bottom.

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And, here’s a closeup of the mounting screw.

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Flipping one over revealed that the glass print was mounted on black protective foam board with the Fracture logo. There’s a small opening to slip the screw onto when wall mounting.

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The metal stands were packed in smaller boxes to protect the glass. They are sturdy metal and minimalist in profile.

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I carefully removed my Fractures from the cardboard sleeves. They are very well-crafted and don’t seem to be as fragile as you’d think.

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They captured an incredible amount of detail too. Here are some close-ups of the textures in my Fractures. They are sharp and bright. The bottom image shows how the stand looks when the fracture is on it. You just see s small sliver of black metal, which actually complements my design very well!

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The colors were slightly different than the original images on my screen. This is probably due to the differences between printing on glass, and viewing on a backlit monitor. It was not anything that would concern me, but given that there was a slight difference, I wanted to mention it. The Fractures are gorgeous and the slight difference does not detract from their beauty at all.

I mentioned earlier that my images were cropped slightly, trimming off the outer 1/16th inch on each side. Again, most people would never notice this, but if you are very picky on the edges of your images, you may want to allow for that. In my samples, I used thin edge effects specifically because I wanted to test how much of the image I’d lose in the printing process.

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This is my original image as uploaded.

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And this is the actual printed image.  You can see I lost most of the thick black line on the left and the top has been cropped down to the middle of the dotted border.

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And this is a sample of about how much of my other poster that was cropped off. If I had moved the black doodles inside the white area, it would not have been cropped off.

Finally, I did find it hard to envision the right size for the fractures. I ordered the medium rectangle for the 3 scripture verses. They would work nicely on a mantel or arranged on a wall together. But for sitting on a smaller bookshelf, or as part of a larger display of items, I’d probably go with the small size instead. The medium square was a little easier to imagine. At 11×11, they are almost the size of a full scrapbook layout. The website does have a handy soup can reference for each size which can help when you’re deciding on what size to choose.

So, would I order a Fracture again, even if I were not an affiliate? You bet! They make great gifts too. I’m excited to display my new Fractures, and plan on ordering some as Christmas gifts this year. What a great way to display our favorite scrapbook page, art journal layout, photo, bible verse or inspirational thought.

If you purchase a Fracture, I’d love to see it. Send me a picture and let me know what you think!

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A Fracture Tutorial

Ordering A Fracture

Please note that I am a Fracture affiliate. Affiliate links have been used in this post. I appreciate your support by using my links, but you can also visit the website directly if you prefer. Read to the end for a coupon!

Read the complete review on my Fracture purchase.

Ordering a Fracture is an incredibly simple and quick process, once you pick your image! Visit Fractureme.com and click the GET STARTED button. You’ll be prompted to upload your image.

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After you’re done uploading your image, you’ll be able to select your options.

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Choose your size from the drop-down menu. Then, select either wall-mount or stand. A stand is a few dollars extra, but it’s a sturdy metal stand and adds a nice flexibility when deciding how to display your fracture later. If you forget to add a stand to your cart and want to do so later, you still can. The stand page was tricky to find on the website.

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After choosing your options, you’ll be taken to the shopping cart. If you wish to order additional Fractures, you can repeat the process by clicking ADD ANOTHER FRACTURE. Once you’re done adding items to your cart, be sure to enter any coupon codes in the discount coupon box before clicking CHECKOUT.

From here, you’ll be taken to the payment page to complete your order. Be sure to enter any coupon code you might have on this page, and click APPLY before you checkout. Need a coupon? See the bottom of this post!

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Once you clicked CHECKOUT and completed the simple and secure payment process, Fracture will send you a confirmation email. You’ll also receive an email once your order ships. My order shipped in just a couple days and arrived at my doorstep faster than I expected. To learn more about my Fractures, check out my review on my blog!

 

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Here are two coupons you can use if you want to try a Fracture! Through August 18th, you can save 15% during the SUMMER sale. Enter SUMMER in the coupon box on the payment page. If you see this post after August 18th, you can still grab 10% off your order as a new customer.

Summer Sale: Save 15% Off your glass photo! Use Code SUMMER. Offer ends 8/19/16. Create your Fracture today!

Have your photos printed in vivid color, directly on glass. Save 10% Off your first order with code FRACTUREROCKS. Shop Fracture!

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Getting Started with Digi Scrapping?

I get this question a lot, so I thought I’d answer it here! What program should I use if I want to get started in Digital Scrapbooking?

Technically, you can use any program that can open a PNG and a JPG and can layer your objects. Some programs do this better than others. But if you really want to just dabble and see if you enjoy the process of creating a digital page, you could use Microsoft Word, or any number of programs that are already on your computer. As long as they can open JPG papers and PNG elements and allow you to layer them and arrange them onto the page, you can probably use it!

But, what if you’re ready to invest in software dedicated to digiscrapping? There are a few top contenders. Let’s take a look at a few details regarding each.

PSEAdobe Photoshop Elements (PSE): I highly recommend this program for beginners. It’s a relatively low price point at around $100 (though you can get it on sale for as low as $50 from time to time). Costco has a fabulous bundle with a special digital scrapbooking DVD included. There are lots of tutorials and classes available for PSE. And, since it’s made by Adobe, it’s an easier transition if you decide to upgrade to full Photoshop later. There are also a lot of proprietary products available for Adobe software like actions, templates, brushes and styles. This is a fantastic program for beginners, and will do 95% of what any digital scrapbooker might want to achieve.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 (PSCS): You have two options here. There is the box edition which can run $600 (or $220 for the Student-Teacher Edition). Or you can subscribe to the Creative Cloud for $30/month ($20 for Student-Teacher Edition) and get the entire suite of Adobe products. This program has lots of options and customized controls. In reality, this is probably beyond what most scrappers want or need. However, if you fall in love with the technical aspects of the hobby, it may be something you want to upgrade to later down the line. This is the preferred program for most digital scrapbooking designers. Photoshop CS will allow you to not only use things like actions and styles, but create and save them as well. (NOTE: Adobe announced that CS6 would be the last box release of Photoshop CS. For all future updates, you must subscribe to the Creative Cloud. The most recent version of Photoshop will now be referred to as PSCC.)

Paint Shop Pro (PSP): There is a small percentage of passionate scrappers who use Paint Shop Pro. At around $100, it offers more complex features than PSE, but it’s not as popular. So, although you will find a niche community dedicated to training and special products for it, it’s not as easy to come by as Adobe tutorials and products. But, some people love the ease of use. I’ve never used it personally, so I cannot really compare it for you. PSP can open layered templates if they are in PSD (photoshop) format, and it has it’s own version of automation called scripts, but it won’t open traditional brushes, styles and actions created in Photoshop.

Proprietary Softwares: There are a handful of softwares our there from places like Serif Digital Scrap Artist, Memory Mixer and Creative Memories’ Storybook Creator that are very easy to use and have a small following. They do have limitations when it comes to using things like templates, or exporting for print. (For example, some of the programs insist on exporting the page at 50″, with a resolution of 72ppi instead of 12″ with a resolution of 300ppi. These are both the same 3600 pixels that is standard for a digi page, but some printers have problems when they aren’t saved properly.) Some people do love these programs for their simplicity and ease of use, but it’s my honest opinion that it’s worth learning in Photoshop Elements if you think you are going to embrace and love the hobby.
Some other resources that may help…

The Daily Digi’s Getting Started Manual (look for the image on the right)

The Digital Scrapbook Teacher
Patty has a great book for sale on the hobby and getting started.

Learn It TV by Studio Wendy
I have a full series of short video classes on mastering digital scrapbooking techniques in Photoshop and Elements. New classes are released weekly.

One thing this hobby has taught me is that there isn’t one right way to do anything. You have to find what works best for you! So, pick a software and dive right in. You’ll learn as you go and refine your preferences and strengths. And, no matter what software you settle on, the important thing is that you’ll be recording your memories in a beautiful, meaningful way. Happy scrapping!

Important Information for CS6 Users

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NOTE: Adobe has fixed the following problem with the CS6 08/12 update.
CS6 Update for Vista/Windows 7 Users
I’ve had some recent reports from Vista/Windows 7 users who upgraded to CS6 that some of my actions are no longer working. I’ve been in touch with Adobe and it seems to be a bug with CS6. They are working on a fix. In the meantime, they suggest tweaking the view settings as follows:
Un-check “Enable Floating Windows Docking.”
Un-check “Open Documents in Tabs.”
Hopefully it will be fixed when they release the 13.0.1 upgrade. Again, this only seems to affect Vista/Windows 7 users who are running CS6. If anyone comes across any other tips for getting the actions to work, feel free to email me and I’ll pass the information on to Adobe!
CS Update for Alpha Cutter/Alpha Saver
I recently released a new updated version of my Alpha Cutter/Alpha Saver script set to make it compatible with CS6. I sent out a coupon to everyone who purchased previously for a discount on the upgrade. If you didn’t receive your coupon and would like it reissued, contact me. If you aren’t upgrading to CS6, you don’t need the upgraded scripts. There are no new features.