Tech Talk

I have my eye on a few amazing tech products, hoping for some Black Friday deals next week. I thought some of you might be interested in checking them out too!

Wacom Bamboo Spark

This innovative new product from Wacom combines the power of paper and pen with digi. Using the special pen, you draw or take notes on the paper pad. The pen converts your drawing into vector art that you can either sync with a smart device, like iPhone or iPad, or save on the pen until you can connect and sync. Amazon reviews were mixed, but Wacom did address some of the issues people were having and already pushed out a fix. I’m a fan of Wacom tablets already, so this has my attention! Drawing on a digital tablet can be really tricky. But, drawing on paper and having it auto convert to digital…. anyone can do that, right?
Price: $150-$169, Versions; Pocket (pictured), Sleeve (for tablets), iPad Air 2 case; : Amazon, Wacom.



Ever wish you could take pictures of layouts or ephemera with great results? This new product developed by a scrapbooker and her husband was the result of a successful kickstarter campaign. It’s a collapsible box, fitted with LED lights for perfect illumination. It has a hole on the top for your phone or DSLR camera. Simply place your layout or ephemera in the box and take your picture! If you wish to take 3-dimensional photos or product shots, you need the SideShot kit. This box holds a 12×12 layout and stores away easily.
Price: $129-$179, Versions: Bundle, ShotBox, SideShot; Available at:

Fujitsu ScanSnap

I admit, I have fantasies of going paperless. As a digi girl, that’s not so shocking is it? The Fujitsu line of ScanSnap scanners is known for their excellent scanning and automation capabilities. They have a desktop and mobile version of their smart wireless scanners. You can learn more about going paperless from David Sparks’ book
Paperless ($9.99 in iBooks store). Price: $269-$409, Versions: iX100, iX500; Available at: Amazon, Fujitsu.

Edimax Travel Router


Ever stay in a hotel and fight with spotty internet when too many people are trying to access the wireless at the same time? This handy travel router allows you to create a private wireless connection to any wired router. You can also use this to access internet at family and friends’ homes if they don’t want to give our their wireless passwords. Just remember to take it with you when you leave!
Price: $19, Versions; BR-6258nL; Available at: Amazon.

What new tech have you discovered?

{Water}Coloring Printables

Jacqui E. Smith’s store was new to me this month, as it probably was to you. I’ve been subscribed to her newsletter to follow all her new plannery releases. When I saw these
awesome printable coloring pages, I immediately knew I wanted to break out my new Peerless watercolors.

First, I printed Jacqui’s design onto watercolor paper. I’m still experimenting with what works better… laser printer vs. inkjet printer. My paper was a little thick for my printer, so the design didn’t quite print centered. I decided that was okay, though, because it would give me a space to journal about some things I’m thankful for.

Next I gathered my supplies:

I wanted to paint a watercolor wash across the background of the page. Since this design had quite a few tiny spaces, I decided to use the masking fluid to mask out the design. I grabbed my medium brush and painted the masking fluid over all the areas I don’t want to wash in the background color. Let this dry super well. Depending on how thick you apply that masking fluid, it can take a while. Be careful not to pick up the paper while it’s still wet or that fluid can run. (Yes, this is the voice of experience talking!) The black ink edges did bleed a little, but that adds to the handmade look.

Once the masking fluid dried, I painted the background. I wanted my page to be in fall colors, so I started with a dark orange, blended to a burnt umber, then a reddish brown to a yellow brown.

Now it’s time to let everything dry again. This won’t take nearly as long as the masking fluid. Once it’s dry to the touch, it’s time to wick away the masking fluid. Using the Silhouette Hook, scrape up a corner of the dried masking fluid and peel it all off.

Now, with the design left white, I was ready to paint the rest of the page.

My final touch was to add a list of things I’m thankful for. Now I can hang up my painting as a daily reminder to give thanks in all things.

iPhoneography Upgrade

Apple recently announced the
iPhone 7 Plus, featuring two built in camera lenses. You get an upgraded 12 megapixel ƒ/1.8 wide-angle lens alongside the brand new ƒ/2.8 telephoto(ish) lens.

I didn’t plan to upgrade my phone this year, but when I saw the new and improved camera, I knew I had to have it. Thankfully, T Mobile offered a free phone with an iPhone trade-in, with other phone carriers following suit. So I found myself down at the store pre-ordering my iPhone 7 Plus. It’s still a week or two out from being delivered, so in the meantime, I’m reading all I can about the new camera.

This camera is bound to be a huge tool for iPhone scrappers. My biggest problems with scrapping on my phone are 1) the size of the screen. The Plus will hopefully help with that. and 2) the quality of the photos. Even though iPhones have improved so much over the years, the lack of a zoom lens impacted my ability to use my iPhone exclusively. But now, with the ability to have both a zoom and traditional lens in my phone, my DSLR will definitely be relegated to portrait sessions, special occasions and sporting events.

As I anticipate my package, I am soaking up all the info I can find. I thought I’d share some of it with you!

Here’s a fun comparison between the original iPhone and the new one

The Verge

Austin Mann takes the iPhone 7 Plus to Rwanda

International Photographer of the Year Brooks Kraft’s Review

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. iPhone 6S

A More Critical Look

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Camera Specs

Are you excited about the new dual camera iPhone 7 Plus? Have you pre-ordered one?

Video Tutorial: Warping Ribbon Shadows

Each month in the Playbook, we include a video tip based on one of the amazing team layouts that are featured. This month, we had so many awesome tips, that I couldn’t decide on which video to make. So I recorded an extra to share with you here on the blog! Click the button below to open the video in a new window. Or right+click to save it to your computer to watch later.


​How I Scrapped 65 Layouts In 1 Week

Last month, I finally sent out my 2014 books for printing. Getting them back in the mail and watching my kids look through them made me want to get started on 2015 right away. So I opened up Lightroom and got to work. The more I did, the more I was inspired to continue. I remembered how much I love this hobby and I just couldn’t stop. 7 days later, I had finished 65 layouts. Not all are my favorites, but as a whole, I love them. And even better, I’m thrilled that I’m ready to send 2015 out for printing!

65 layouts in 1 week? How is that even possible? Here’s how I did it…

1) Prepare My Photos

My photos are already sorted into Lightroom by year, month and event. So when I was ready to sit down and scrap, I could easily pull up my photos. I import both my DSLR and phone photos to Lightroom throughout the year so they are ready for my scrapping binges.

2) Make My Collages

I use Lightroom’s print module to create photo collages for each event, theme or story I want to scrap. I usually do this by selecting a folder of photos, then popping the Print module where I choose a template or two. I can easily drag and drop my photos into the collages. I export the pages to JPGs. This took me 1 1/2 nights.

3) Add Shadows

I opened each JPG in Photoshop and added the shadow overlays, text and titles from the corresponding templates I created. I was able to quickly do this in 1/2 a night. I made use of the Library feature in PS to store my templates for drag and drop access. (Select layers and drag into the Library Panel. Then hold in ALT/OPT and click and drag from the Library to the open layout, and transform to snap into place.)

4) Limit My Kits

I decided to grab my travel drive and work with whatever kits were on it. I chose not to look through my entire hard drive. This travel drive had kits I’ve downloaded in the past year. Many of them I had scrapped with before, but I decided I didn’t care. I’d use them again, hoping the pictures and stories would inspire a different layout than the last time I used those kits. This was a huge time saver because I could easily scroll through 100 kits instead of 1000! And many of the kits came from The Digi Files!

5) Smart Searches

I used journal cards to fill in photo blocks when I didn’t have enough images. To quickly locate cards when the kit didn’t come with them, I create smart folders on my mac to search on filename contains “card” and is an image and filename contains “jc” and is an image. This allowed me to scroll through all the cards on my drive at once.

6) Scrap Inspired

I started with the pages that most excited me—either I wanted to tell a specific story or work with a specific kit. Because I used my Lightroom collages, most pages ended up being a similar design, so I would choose a background patterned paper, and then a lighter mat paper which would also serve as the background for my journaling. Then I would quickly scroll through the elements, add a couple clusters, a few word strips and my favorite bits and pieces. If an alpha was included, I’d add a title. If not, I’d either set the title in text or leave it off.

7) Limit My Fonts

I chose one font that worked well for both journaling and titles. It was a typewriter font, which I love, so I knew I’d love it on all my pages. This made it easy to do my journaling when the time came because that choice was already made for me. I could just concentrate on the story. Most of my pages had just a few lines of journaling. I didn’t limit myself, but I didn’t pressure myself either. If I want to journal more, I’ll do a more traditional scrapbook page with more room later.

8) Check My Bleed

After scrapping each page, I did a quick look-over to ensure I had enough border for trimming and binding. If I make that adjustment while I have the layout open, I won’t have to spend time making adjustments later. I know I will print 10×10, so I left at least 1/2″ border, but most pages have at least an inch.

9) Shopped Some

As I cranked out my pages, it was hard to stop! It was so satisfying to finally get some layouts caught up. Eventually, however, I hit a wall. I’d gotten down to the last 20 or so pages. Most of these were events (birthdays, holidays, travel) or obscure topics. They were harder to find inspiration for. So, at this point, I allowed myself to go shopping. Since I was down to a handful of events, I could more easily limit my shopping to the exact kits I needed to finish up those pages. And, after having scrolled through the same 100 kits for the prior few days, it was fun to finally have something new to look at.

10) Remember the Why

I didn’t want to just plow through my pictures and stories for the purpose of getting it done. I wanted to enjoy the process, enjoy the pages and enjoy the stories. This process was a good reminder of why I enjoy scrapping. I love the creative outlet. I love that by making quick photo collages, I give myself the freedom to spend most of my scrapping time on the creative parts. And I love that my stories are finally getting recorded. The older I get, the harder it is to remember, so I really want to get to the point where I can scrap more in the moment. Here are a few of my pages!


Project Spinning

Bible Journaling was an amazing new world I discovered when The
ScrapGals interviewed Shanna Noel on their podcast. I was instantly intrigued by the combination of art journaling and my faith. Scrapping our faith is not a new concept. But the idea of intentionally creating art in my bible captured my attention.

Page by Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith

At first I wanted to jump right in, buy a Bible and some real markers and stamps and start bible journaling. But I soon realized that if it wasn’t a digital project, it wasn’t going to happen for me. So I decided to change it up and put my own spin on the project. In January, I commited to creating a monthly art journal card, using my own doodles drawn on my Bamboo Spark along with digiscrap supplies. I’m creating 4×6 cards that I will get printed into a bound mini book at the end of the year. I’m playing around with different styles. Most of the cards also have a back to them where I took a screen shot of the verse on my ipad dressed it up in Photoshop.

One of my favorite parts of this project is seeing how other digital artists are doing their own things too! Team member SharonS is doing a series of verses on 12×12 pages. These will make an amazing picture book when she’s done!

Julie is doing a gorgeous series of more traditional layout-style pages.

Jenn Maddocks’ signature art journaling style is showing through her pages.

Are you doing your own spin on bible journaling or some other project? I’d love to see what you’re creating!


Avoiding Disaster: My Rainy Day Backup Plan

CREDITS: I Like It When It Rains by Little Butterfly Wings; Font: WZ You Are Scribbled by Wendyzine Scraps.

If you’ve been around a while, you know that I’m obsessed with backups. Way back in the 90s, when we had our very first, 1 megapixel digital camera, we ended up losing our photos. As a memory keeper, it was a terrible loss. I like to think I learned a few things from that experience.

Backup everything. At least two copies, on two types of media, in at least two physical locations. (Three is even better. I’ve heard stories of people losing their original and their backup at the same time.) If you’re wanting a service to back your files up online, there are many services out there for example

2) Make sure your scrapbook pages are created in a way you can export to a
universal file format. (I still have my scrapbook pages from back then, but they are in a format I can no longer open.) But that’s a topic for another day. Back to #1. Backup!

My Crashplan subscription was expiring. I’ve been a big proponent of Crashplan in the past because it’s the only service I found that met all of my very picky criteria.

  1. Allows deleted files to be
    saved forever. Most services remove deleted files after 30 days. I can’t count the number of times I’ve deleted something by mistake, or on purpose, but needed it back. And of course, it’s always past 30 days by the time I discover it.
  2. Allows me to
    backup external hard drives that are constantly disconnected and reconnected. As a laptop user, I am often disconnected from my EHDs. And, since I have a small SSD (only 512gb), I cannot keep everything I need on my laptop directly. Crashplan was the only service that would not try to delete my backups if I wasn’t connected. Very important for laptop users!

Crashplan served me well for many years, but in the past year, they did away with their 4-year pre-paid family plan which was the most affordable option. And, if I was going to have spend $60 a year for my backup services, I decided to research other options.

That led me to
Amazon Cloud Drive and GoodSync. Amazon now offers an unlimited cloud storage solution at the same price point as Crashplan. The GoodSync software is an extra one-time expense ($30), but will allow me to control what gets backed up, and encrypt it. GoodSync can do either a backup (1-way process) or a Sync (2-way process where one location will match the other location). It can even do both side by side, if you want it to. It will backup to a variety of cloud services, networked drives and more. It’s robust, but a little confusing to get set up. So, I’ll walk you through it below. I’m only a couple days in, but so far so good. The only downside is the upload speed. I’m going to have to give it some time before I know if it’s a realistic approach. Once I get a good backup, it gets easy. I just need to make sure it keeps up with changes on my computer itself and that shouldn’t take too much time. The biggest problem is going to be getting my 3TB, 2TB and 1TB drives also backed up. But, once it’s in the cloud and encrypted, I’ll feel pretty safe about it all again. Some businesses don’t feel so sure how secure the encryption is and choose to hire external services to keep their data safe. If you are interested click here to visit The Final Step for free and do research for yourself.

And, the good news is that Amazon is not likely to go anywhere. Hopefully they don’t decide based on my uploads alone that unlimited isn’t a good idea!

So, if you’re interested in how to set up GoodSync and Amazon Cloud, read on. If not, you’re free to go scrap now. 🙂 I just ask that you, pretty please, put a backup solution in place! Losing your photos and scrapbook pages is a devastating loss. Don’t let it happen to you!

Setting Up Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon offers a free 3-month trial and it’s as easy as clicking sign-up, and entering your email address and password. Then your computer will download the computer app which allows you to manually copy files from your computer to the cloud. Just remember that files uploaded this way are not encrypted. So, it’s great for things like music, but not so much for for personal photos or documents. That’s where GoodSync comes up.

  1. Go to Amazon Cloud Drive.

  2. Click Start your 3-month trial under Unlimited Everything, and sign in with your Amazon account. You are giving it permission to charge you in 90 days. So if you are not sure about keeping it, add a calendar event to remind you to cancel it before you are charged.

  3. The app will download and install. Launch it.
  4. You will be prompted to do an initial backup. If you plan to use GoodSync, I recommend skipping this step.
  5. You’ll be brought the main window where you can see your uploads, your available downloads, create new folders and change your preferences. Amazon may have already created several folders for you. If you do want to upload manually, you can simply click a folder and choose upload.

  6. Now you’re ready to move on to GoodSync.

Setting Up GoodSync

GoodSync offers a free 14-day trial. Signing up is also easy, as is connecting your Amazon account. Setting up your backup jobs is a little trickier, but once you know how to do it, it’s not so bad! And, you can even duplicate a job, with it’s settings, and simply change the location. Perfect for customizing your backup jobs and prioritizing certain files over other. Let’s get started.

    1. Go to GoodSync, click download trial and install the app (the regular one, not the ToGo version).
    2. Launch the app and you’ll be prompted to set up your computer. Choose the “Connect my computers using GoodSync Connect” and uncheck the option underneath it. Press Next.

  1. You’ll be prompted to create a new job. Select that option.

  2. Give your job a name. I usually choose the name of the folder I’m backing up. I recommend setting up several smaller jobs instead of trying to backup your entire computer at once. For example, by creating a Photos job, a Layouts Job, a Documents Job, and a Music job, I can control the priority of those backups, as well as choose to encrypt some files and not others. (Encryption takes longer and my music is not super important. I can always re-rip my CDs or download songs again.) Since we are focusing on Backup, choose that option and click OK.

  3. You’ll now be taken to the main GoodSync window. This is the window you’ll normally see when you open the app. You can see here I forgot to name my job! No worries, I can right-click and rename it. The next step is to set my “Left” and “Right” locations. By default, left should be your computer and right should be your upload location, in this case, your amazon account. So, click “Please select folder” on the left side, Choose My Mac or equivalent and select the folder on your computer you want to backup. If I want to backup my photos, I’m going to select my Photos folder.

  4. Now, we need to set up the right side to copy to Amazon Cloud. Click “Please select folder” on the right side. Choose Amazon Cloud Drive on the left. Enter your email address in the User ID box. Click CONNECT.
  5. Enter you password and click Sign In. Then click Okay to give Amazon permission to share your credentials with GoodSync.

  6. Now you’ll be brought back to the last window and can see your Amazon Cloud folders. Click Make New Folder and create a place to store your backups. I called mine GoodSync so I know this is where my backups will go, and allow me to use my other folders for direct upload from the Amazon Cloud app if I ever decide I want to do that. Click Choose once you’ve created the new folder.

  7. Highlight the new job in the list on the left and click the options button up top.
  8. Now we need to set our preferences for this job. Preferences here go with the job, so you can set them differently for different jobs. Here’s what I chose.


Backup, Left to Right (meaning from my computer to Amazon Cloud)

Propogate deletions unchecked (this means that if I delete something on my computer, it will still remain on Amazon. To delete something from Amazon, I’ll have to go to Amazon Cloud services through the web browser and choose to delete it.).

Save deleted/replaced files, last version only or multiple versions: Your choice here. I elected to save multiple versions. Who knows if I’ll one day be able to recover a PSD I accidentally saved over as a JPG. (Don’t ask.)

I left the rest of the options as is.


This is where you can set how you want GoodSync to run. For my initial backup, I wanted to control when it uploads. After I get a good sync, I will set backups to run at a specific time. I left most of the options on the default, but I did make sure Conflict Resolution was set to rename files versus deleting them. Safety first, people!


Here is where you can specifically include or exclude files from backing up. For example, I don’t want my trash files backed up, so I added those words to the exclude list. I also chose to not backup system files or empty folders.


This is where we set encryption and it’s a little confusing, so let me explain. If you are doing backup instead of sync, you are only ever backing up going from Left to Right. You want only the files on the Right encrypted. You want the files on the left, on your computer, to be left alone. Otherwise you cannot access them easily. Also, if you choose to restore and copy files from the right (Amazon) back to the left (your computer), you want the files decrypted, not encrypted. So, we are going to leave LEFT alone. So click RIGHT, and check Encrypt File Bodies. Then enter a very strong Encryption Password (I recommend 1Password for generating and storing secure passwords). You’ll need this password to decrypt your files when you download them later. Why not also check Encrypt File Names? I learned this the hard way. If you do, your file names turn to gibberish, and you’ll never know what files you need to download. Less secure if you keep important things in your filenames, but way easier to see the files if you are trying to access them from Amazon Cloud directly later.

11. Whew! That was a lot of work. Now it’s time to Analyze and Save. Click Analyze. GoodSync will take a couple minutes and search for any applicable files (based on your filters) that it thinks it should backup.

You’ll see a list appear before your very eyes, along with lots of data and some weird icons. You can see what all the icons mean here on the
Goodsync site. But the important ones are the green arrows. They mean that they are scheduled to backup. The green equals means you successfully backed it up. You can also see the filesize and the date of the file. Great info! Now, to backup manually, just click the SYNC button. It’s really a BACKUP button even though it says Sync, because we choose Backup in the job options. Now, sit back and watch your job backup.


ANALYZE: I turned on detect files and folder moves and renames. This means the software doesn’t have to backup those files again and simply moves them. I also turned on disk space estimates. Although it shouldn’t matter for an unlimited upload, if you are backing up to another drive, this is good info to know.

SYNC: I went ahead and left the defaults on. If you wonder what any of these mean, you can hover over them with your mouse for the pop up explanations.

12. Now, go ahead and create more jobs for other folders you wish to backup. You can drag and drop them up or down to assign priority. If you want to use the same settings, right+click and choose “Clone” to make a copy. Then simply click the “Left” file location (where it previously said Select a folder” and choose a different file folder to upload. Then, click the “Right” file location and create a new folder to put the new files in. I create one folder for each backup job to live in that GoodSync folder we created. You can see here I have several “jobs” set up on the left. The Desktop is finished uploading, with a green check to the left and the Resources is still in progress, but only 53 files to go!

Now you’re up and going! And, you can always go back to your job options and edit the schedule so you can automate the backups. If you have other questions about GoodSync, check out their
FAQs. I learned a lot from it!

So, how do YOU backup? What do you think of this new Amazon option? I’m cautiously optimistic about it, but it will all depend on how quickly it can actually manage the backup.


Adobe Post and Adobe Voice

For most digiscrappers, Adobe usually means Photoshop or Elements. However, Adobe continues to make new and exciting apps for iOS that we can use in our memory keeping. I stumbled across Adobe Voice and Adobe Post recently and was surprised I hadn’t heard of them before. Here’s a quick overview of both. If you feel you could benefit from learning more about software like Adobe then the training offered by Visual Persuasion might be of use to you.

Adobe Post

Adobe Post is a quick and easy way to add graphic text and color effects to images. It’s so fun. Pick one of their templates and swap out your own text or images. Or, start your own recipe. The app can pull free stock photos or access your camera roll. If you are scrapping on your iPhone or iPad, you can easily use this to create images for your pockets.

1. Start your project by remixing “template” or creating your own new “Post.”

2. Replace the text.

3. Adjust your options like font, opacity and more. Drag text box to resize.

4. Change your photo using your photo library, camera, Lightroom Mobile (you have to set up and sync your photos first) or free stock photos.

5. Edit the colors. Tap multiple times on the color swatch to get variations.

6. Apply a different design layout with a tap.

6. Save to your camera roll, social media or Dropbox.

Here’s my final image.

Adobe Voice

Adobe Voice is a way to create stunning slide shows from your images or stock photos, complete with music and your own recorded voice over. I discovered this app when our school did a presentation full of Adobe Voice videos created by the students. Imagine letting your kids take some pictures of your every day life and adding their own voice commentary to it. Or, load in your scrapbook pages from Dropbox, and add your own voice journaling to the pages. It’s so easy to use!

1. Start your project with a title.

2. Choose a template.

3. Add photos.

4. Change up the design by choosing a different layout or theme.

5. Add more slides.

6. Add a music track (default options, or import from iTunes)

7. Record your own voice over for each slide by pressing and holding the record button.

8. Save to your camera roll (add to Dropbox later) or share to Social Media.


Reconsidering Color

Did you know that one of the amazing features in Photoshop is the ability to view images through the eyes of a colorblind person?

Colorblindness is a hereditary condition that affects 1 in 12 males and 1 in 200 females. With colorblindness, the eyes cannot distinguish certain wavelengths of color because they are too close together on the wavelength spectrum. There are several different types of colorblindness, but the most common type is red-green deficiency. With this type, red and green appear as shades of brown. Blue and yellow are the most dominant colors that can be seen.

One day, while I was scrapping a page full of reds, greens and browns, it occurred to me that a colorblind family member would not be able to differentiate the colors. Now, I scrap some pages using primarily blue and yellow. But when I’m looking to branch out and use other kits, it’s super easy to view the kit previews in Photoshop’s colorblindness preview mode so I can tell if the kit will be a good choice or not.

To turn on the special preview mode, go to VIEW>PROOF SETUP>PROTANOPIA or DEUTERANOPIA. This allows you to see the kit through the lens of a colorblind person. I can then make a smarter decision about which kits might work best.

Recently, when I was scrapping a cover for a photobook, I went in search of a compatible kit. Here are a few I looked at with a sample of the colorblind preview.

Eventually, I settled on Vinnie Pearce’s Meaningful and Meaningful 02 kits for their yellows, blues and neutrals. Here’s the layout in full color and in colorblind preview.

I don’t always scrap pages limiting myself to kits that don’t color shift dramatically, but I do pay attention to it for special pages. There are some really awesome discoveries in the field of colorblindness that are helping some people see more colors. If you want to see some videos of people seeing colors for the first time with special glasses that help separate light wavelengths, check out
EnChroma’s community videos.

Oh, and remember to set your preview back to sRGB for your regular scrapping! Scrap on…

CREDITS: Layout: Make It Meaningful and Make It Meaningful 02 by Vinnie Pearce; FONT: WZ You Are Scrappie by Wendyzine Scraps; Feature image: Key To My Heart (collab) by Studio Rosey Posey and Wendyzine Scraps, Make It Meaningful by Vinnie Pearce and FONT: WZ You Are Scrappie by Wendyzine Scraps; Featured Kits: Happy Mess by Studio Scrapyrus, UrbanScape by Studio Courtney, Dreamchaser by Studio Tracie Stroud.


The Lightroom-Project Life App Showdown

I spent this week scrapping an entire album in the Project Life App. I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. Plus, I’ve been wanting to scrap my trip to Europe for over a year now. So I set about making it happen. I found myself, the entire way through, comparing the experience to scrapping in Lightroom. (See my previous post “Scrapping Faster With Lightroom” for more details.)

First, let’s look at my Project Life App process.

1) I went through Lightroom and chose all my photos. I exported them to JPG and saved them to Dropbox, keeping each day of the trip in it’s own folder. I ended up with over 800mb of photos, even in JPG format. So after nursing the Dropbox upload, I unshared that folder with Selective Sync on my computer to save space.

2) I launched the Project Life App and purchased additional template packs. They are very reasonably priced. Then I shopped for card packs. My eyes aren’t the greatest, and even on the iPad, I had a hard time telling which packs were which. So I ended up with 2 workarounds.

First, I found a page on the Project Life website that details all the card kits and where they can be purchased. You can download a PDF showing exactly which cards are in each pack. Only Green Dot products are available in the app. If you want to purchase packs that are available only through the Digital Project Life store, you can upload those to Dropbox to access them. You can also upload cards you’ve purchased elsewhere. The downside of uploading cards is that you cannot journal on cards or photos that you import. You can only add text to cards you purchase through the Project Life app.

The second thing I did was edit my accessibility settings on my iPad, enabling a 3-finger tap zoom. This allowed me to read the tiny white type on the card pack thumbnail images.

3) Next, I scrapped my pages, pulling in my images and journal cards. The app includes a handy photo adjustment option for quick edits. I was able to add journaling to most of my cards, choosing one of the free included fonts. You can purchase additional fonts. The one issue I had was that there was no way for me to import one of my fonts into the app. And, I could not use the fonts in the app to add journaling to my cards from my mac. So, I ended up with two different fonts in the book. If I did another album, I would not add any journaling and just add it all from Photoshop later.

4) As I finished each page, I exported a JPG to Dropbox. I started exporting the proprietary file too as a backup, but I had so many pages to complete and that took extra time, so I ended up skipping the backup file and just relying on the Project Life App to save the originals. If I had to recreate a page, I certainly could pretty quickly.

5) Next, I pulled all the layouts into Photoshop where I used a clipping mask template I created to add deeper drop shadows to my pages. I also created an action to add bleed to my pages for printing in a photobook. The Project Life Templates do not leave nearly enough border and if I printed them as is, the borders and some of the images would get cut off. My action also allowed me to pull in a background paper behind my page, save a PSD and a JPG. During this step, I found several typos, so I had to return to the app, make type changes, export new JPGs and replace them in the files. It’s important to note that I also add drop shadows for Lightroom pages using actions so that step is fairly equivalent, even though they work just a little differently. Here’s one of the 28 pages I did in a week.

6) As I saved my pages, I numbered them in order so that I could easily assemble my book in my favorite photobook printer’s software.

How does my Lightroom process differ?

1) My photos are already in Lightroom so I can skip the time-consuming step of exporting them to JPG and uploading to Dropbox. Advantage: Lightroom

2) I can use my own Lightroom templates similar to the Project Life App style, but I cannot choose rounded corners. Advantage: Project Life App

3) In Lightroom, I can even create my own templates or adjust them on the fly if something doesn’t work quite the way I want it to. For example, there were several times I wished I could convert two side by side images into one larger one. I can’t do that in Project Life App, but I can in Lightroom. Advantage: Lightroom

4) Card packs and template packs for Lightroom are more expensive than packs available from within the Project Life App. But, there are many more packs to choose from than are available within the app, both at Digital Project Life and digi stores throughout the scrap-o-sphere. Advantage: Project Life App

5) Both Lightroom and Project Life don’t allow the depth of drop shadows that I prefer, so I do end up bringing both into Photoshop. Advantage: Draw

6) Any fonts I used in Lightroom would also be available in Photoshop, so my album can use one matching font throughout. Advantage: Lightroom

7) Lightroom requires you scrap on your computer (last I checked the print module was not available in Lightroom Mobile, but I’d have to confirm that to be sure). But, Project Life App pages can be created on the go with your iPad or iPhone. Advantage: Project Life App

So, after tallying the results, we have a draw! But, which is my favorite?

For me, personally, Lightroom has the edge. Both are respectably fast ways to scrap. But, because my photos are already in Lightroom, I save so much time scrapping there as my starting point. I also prefer to have access to my own handwriting font. I’m willing to use square edge images instead of rounded ones, and since I have a laptop, portability isn’t too much of a problem for me. That said, if I wanted to scrap phone photos only, I could see the Project Life App being my go-to choice for those. I’m so glad that my album is done, though, and scrapping 28 Project Life pages, along with a cover and 30 journaling pages in Photoshop, is a good enough reason as any to give the Project Life App a try. If you have scrapped with both Lightroom and Project Life App, I’d love to know which you prefer, and why in the comments.