Thứ Ba, 17 tháng 1, 2017

Traditional Scrapbooking vs Digital Scrapbooking and the Hybrid Scrapbooking Alternative

Traditional Scrapbooking vs. Digital Scrapbooking and the Hybrid Scrapbooking Alternative

Technology has revolutionized our use of paper.  In today’s world, we have more choices than ever to end our reliance on parchment and turn to electronic sources.  We’ve seen this competition in many ways.  Traditional newspapers verses electronic ones.  Postal mail verses e-mail.  Printed books verses e-books.  Some observers argue that paper will eventually be replaced by its electronic counterpart.  Others contend that there is still value to having tangible paper products.
Today, scrapbooking also comes in a digital form.  Which form of scrapbooking is preferred?  In this article, we will target some key questions to help scrapbookers decide between digital and traditional scrapbooking.

What is the difference between digital scrapbooking verses traditional scrapbooking?  What is hybrid scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking, in general, is the art of preserving photographic memories.  Unlike a photo album, a scrapbook album adds color, background, themes, journaling, and embellishments to the displayed photographs.  The goal is to create an artwork that reflects the experience behind the photo.

Traditional scrapbooking uses physical objects to meet this goal.  Taking their printed photos, traditional scrapbookers use adhesives to fasten down the picture and embellishments to a piece of patterned paper or cardstock.  Digital scrapbooking, also known as digi scrapbooking, starts on the computer.  The digi scrapbooker uses photo editing software to add clipart and templates to their digital photo.

Hybrid scrapbooking attempts to bridge the gap between traditional and digi scrapbooking by combining elements of both.  For instance, a hybrid scrapbooker might create their layout on the computer, then print it out and add traditional embellishments such as foam stickers and fibers.

How does a digital scrapbook album differ from a traditional album?
A traditional scrapbook is a physical book of pages, each one created by hand and then added to the album.  Digital scrapbooks come in two forms.  Some digital scrapbooks are simply the electronic images which must be viewed on a computer.  In other cases, the digital pages are printed out, usually by a printing company, in book form.

Which type of scrapbooking is more expensive?
The Short Answer:
As with any hobby, scrapbooking can be as expensive or inexpensive as you choose to make it.  I have often heard that digital scrapbooking is more affordable.  This depends on whether the digi scrapbooker intends to print the album.  If the album will be showcased online electronically, then digital scrapbooking is hands down cheaper.  Otherwise, my research shows that digital scrapbooking has a higher start-up cost and that the cost-per-album is comparable to a traditional scrapbook.  Thus, the myth that digi scrapbooking is cheaper is contradicted.

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The Long Answer:
Anyone can pick up traditional scrapbooking The start-up materials are basic: printed photos, scissors, paper, and adhesive.  Although most of these materials can be picked up in the office supply store, it is recommended that scrapbookers use acid-free and lignin-free materials.  These products are consider “photo safe” and can be bought at a higher expense from specialty craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  Exactly how expensive?  One digital scrapbooking consultant complained in her business ad that acid-free paper costs “two dollars a page.”  This price is highly exaggerated.  When paper and stickers are bought in bulk, rather than piece by piece, the price is quite reasonable.  For instance, the chart below shows the cost I usually spend on a 20 page 12x12 traditional album.  These estimates; however, do not include the price of gas for driving to the store.

Michael’s Songbird Stack Printed Cardstock
$ 36 pages / 27 cents per page
$10 (sale price)
Dollar General True Living Adhesive Mounting Squares
250 per box
2 boxes per album
Michael’s Recollections Album
10 pages and 10 page protectors
$10 (sale price)
Michael’s Recollection Refill Page Protectors
10 refill protectors pages
Hobby Lobby Glitter Alphabet Stickers
1 sheet / 103 letters
Hobby Lobby Additional Stickers
Variety of brands, etc.
CVS Photo Printing
50 4x6 photos
$6 (online coupon)

Total Cost = $40.50

Digital scrapbooking requires photo editing software.  These products vary in price from $30 to over $100.  Currently, the most sought-after digital scrapbooking software that allows the most flexibility is Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 which sells for $99.00 at Best Buy.  After this first purchase, the cost is minimal.  Digi scrapbookers can find premade templates online for free.  More sophisticated templates can be purchased for less than $2 an image.  It doesn’t require a trip to the store to purchase online and “delivery” via download or e-mail is free and instantaneous.  The most costly part of digital scrapbooking is if you decide to print the pages.  Using “photo safe” paper is a must.  The typical computer printer is not going to give a high-quality image and since most scrapbook pages are 12x12, it is not possible to print at home.  Shutterfly prints 12x12 albums with 20 pages for anywhere between $38 - $50. 

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Which type of scrapbooking is more time consuming? 
Unfortunately, there is no definite conclusion to this question.  The answer is highly dependent upon the individual scrapbooker.  There is a “learning curve” for both types of scrapbooking.
Computer savviness is certainly helpful for digi scrapbookers who will need to navigate photo editing software and decide how to display their photos online.  Although some software is very point-and-click, professional programs such as the aforementioned Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 is very complicated.  (Understanding how to use this product has taken me months!)  User-made tutorials can be found on websites such as YouTube.  A “basic” tutorial, teaching how to create a digital background that mimics real paper, took me 10 minutes to watch and 5 minutes to repeat the instructions.  If the digi scrapbooker is relying mostly on premade templates; however, the process is very quick.  Just drag and click! 
Creating a traditional scrapbook seems simpler and more intuitive at first.  After all, most people learn how to use scissors and tape during their childhood.  Nevertheless, some learning is required here too.  It can take a long time if the scrapbooker wants to incorporate scrapbooking techniques such as stamping, embossing, or paper layering.  The digital learning process comes with an “undo” button.  Unfortunately, learning how to scrapbook with your hands can sometimes lead to wasted materials.  Additionally, time is required when driving to the store to purchase scrapbooking materials. 

Which type of scrapbooking offers more flexibility?
If a person can master the technology skills required for it, digital scrapbooking offers more flexibility.  The internet is much wider than any craft store.  Therefore, the digi scrapbooker will have more opportunities to find unique backgrounds, fonts, and clipart to showcase their photos.

Which type of scrapbooking preserves photographs longer?
 With digital scrapbooking, it is easy for photos to disappear in the blink of an eye.  One little computer glitch, a power surge, or a computer virus can quickly wipe out photos forever.  That’s why it’s very important for digi scrapbookers to make numerous backups of their work.  Another concern for digital scrapbooking is the rate at which technology changes.  For instance, accessing information off of old floppy disks is no longer an option for me.  I would have to see a computer specialist to transfer that data to a readable format.  Will the future generation have the means to easily access the JPEG and PDF files that preserve digi scrapbookers’ memories?  Only time will tell.
Traditional scrapbook albums are threatened by the elements.  Despite our advancements in acid-free products, paper will deteriorate over time.  Paper is fragile and can be easily destroyed by flooding, fire, or a tornado.  Traditional scrapbookers must keep their albums in safe places and hope that they will continue to be unharmed and available to our children and childrens’ children.

Final Thoughts 
Both traditional and digital scrapbooking offer the means to preserve memories and make them last a lifetime.  Each process can create beautiful works of art which are unique and sentimental to the individual.  Although there seems to be extreme competition between the digital and traditional scrapbooking communities, a new group of paper hobbyists, hybrid scrapbookers, believe that both forms of scrapbooking are useful and can even be used in conjunction with one another. 
Although we can argue the advantages and disadvantages to each form, sometimes it just comes down to a matter of opinion.  There will be those who favor the flexibility of the digital print and those who love having something completely unique and handmade to hold.

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