Monday, October 5, 2009

Digital is the New Traditional

I know, that title doesn't really make sense. Or does it?

I am deep, deep, deep into this digital scrapbooking right now. I just want to learn all about it, but I am still doing many of my family chronological pages the traditional (paper & rhinestones) way. When I mentioned to a friend the other day that I was planning to go digital by next April, and I recommended she do the same as she hasn't even started scrapbooking yet, she flinched at the thought.

"Well, you know how it is with technology. In a few years, you won't even be able to access all those pages you make!"

So, I am here to change her (and your) mind about digital scrapbooking. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both digital and traditional. Following are some that I can think of pertaining to my own life.

Advantages of Digital Scrapbooking
1. It is much faster
2. It is cheaper in the long run. Not only are digital supplies (papers, ribbons, rhinestones, frames, etc.) considerably cheaper, but they can be used over and over.
3. Obtaining materials is faster. If you need some new paper to go with a lay out, you can shop around on the web and download it instantly.
4. There are many ways to get free stuff. Some people have blogs that center around free templates & supplies. Others design and give stuff away! If you take online classes, often the instructors give stuff away throughout the class.
5. You can take online classes to help you stay motivated, to improve your writing, lay out, typography, etc. skills. I'll talk more about online courses in another post.
6. You can get your lay outs printed in 12x12, 8x8 or some other ratio of your choice. It is just like getting a photo printed except on larger paper and just paste the "photo" into your album.
7. You can create entire albums of your lay outs and then have it professionally printed and bound like a book. Simple, gorgeous and takes up less space on your shelves.
8. The skills you learn in digital scrapbooking can carry over to other areas of your life. Not that many people know their way around Photoshop, and you might get asked to do stuff for other people at work or privately.
9. No more huge stashes of unused papers and supplies sitting around your craft room! You can purge yourself of all that.
10. When you prepare to print a lay out, you first turn it in to a jpeg. Jpegs can be opened on any computer! I doubt they will go out of style any time soon, so as long as you have a jpeg version of your lay out, you can get have it printed.
11. Multiple copies can be printed, so if you are doing a lay out that involves two or three siblings, you can get enough copies made for each kid - perhaps for their own albums.
12. It is cheaper to have photos printed within the lay out. To have a 12x12 printed at, it costs $1.99. To have each photo developed individually and then use all the embellishments and papers, it is going to be more expensive.

To give a balanced view, I'll share some disadvantages as well.
1. You'll spend a lot of time on the computer. (Yusuke always complains until he sees the finished product.)
2. It is easy to lose track of all your digital supplies so you must be vigilant about organizing them. (I use Picasa to organize my supplies.)
3. If you are the creative type, your hands might get the urge to handle real paper and embellishments. (In that case, go to your scrapbooking desk and create a few pages with your bare hands. You can also do hybrid pages - a mixture of both.
4. Digital pages are not 3D (you can put shadows behind the embellishments to make them appear 3D though), and this might be a disadv to some people.
5. Can't always do your digital scrapbooking in places other than your own home, so it might be hard to attend scrapbooking events or Craft n Chats. This may lead to loneliness.
6. Perfectionists beware! If you are a true perfectionist, you might continue to tweak your lay out until you get it "just right" and it might never go to print!
7. In Japan, it's not easy to get anything printed as a 12x12, so you might have to send the files to the USA for printing. I do this once a month anyway for almost all photos and lay outs that I develop. It takes about 1 week to get the photos back.

Despite these disadvantages, why am I planning to go the digital route? With going back to work and having two kids under foot, I am thinking that I won't have much time to scrapbook or go to Craft n Chats for a while. However, I do want to keep going with my chrono album and other projects, so I figure this will be faster. At this point, I can do one page in about 45 minutes, and that is from start to finish. With traditional, I tend to do everything in steps, so I do the embellishing for 5 pages all in one sitting, then later I'll do the journaling for all five, then the titling, etc. It seems to take about 1 week do those 5 pages, and that is only if I take time to do it every day.

And, there is one more reason. Yusuke says that I have to give up my scrapbooking space in the future because the kids will be older and will need their own rooms. I'm just preparing for the inevitable.


Orchid64 said...

I think doing things digitally also encourages greater creativity. If you're wasting actual supplies, you're less likely to be experimental in your work for fear of wasting materials (and money). Digitally, nothing is lost.

I don't scrapbook, but I do know that when taking pictures (I'm not a photographer either, but I do take pictures) with a digital camera, I'm more likely to try multiple shots from different angles because I don't have to develop the film.

Anonymous said...

I haven't scrap booked before either but the digital realm allows us to make mistakes and have a "do over", have you used a flip book yet?

Debra said...

Thanks for the pros and cons for going Digital or Traditional! This was quite informative and will help me to make a decision, when I'm ready for scrapping. Right now, I need to finish my photography classes and then my photo editing classes and then maybe I can get into scrapbooking.

There's so much to learn isn't there? But I can only handle one thing at a time. After the Portrait Photography Class I still have to go back and finish my Good to Great Workflow Class.

Barbara said...

Hi ... I'm stopping by to visit from the website. We're having some fun in these classes, aren't we?!
I read your post about digi scrapping. I couldn't agree more. I was a paper scrapper for years and moved to digital a couple of years ago. I couldn't go back. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so actually I think digi works better for that "issue." Plus, you can do so much more w/ your pages than you could w/ paper. Hybrd mini books is always a good alternative!
For a long time I agreed that digi scrapping was more lonely ... but that was when I used a desktop computer. I switched to a laptop about 6 months ago and that's changed everything. If you use a laptop, then you can still get together w/ your paper scrapping friends (and they'll like you more b/c you take up less table space!) and you can get together w/ your local digi scrapping friends too. It's great!
Anyway ... I'm enjoying checking out your LOs from TW-2.
Barbara (GrantandLaurensMom)

Anonymous said...

I am late to read this and late to respond...

I agree with most of the pros for digi but I kind of feel that traditional scrapping has not really been represented, or only partly in the Disadvantage column.

I realize this is not a Digi vs. Trad posting, but it sort of sounds that way, esp. in the Comments.

Just off the top of my head, here are some pros to traditional which digi does not satisfy:

-Handwriting (I have students who treasure anything with their now deceased parents' handwriting on it) The power of something touched and created (by hand) by someone you love should not be underestimated. To see the pause of a pen, too much colour here or there, extra pen pressure on the comment that says "i love you", etc.

-Memorabilia (tickets, drawings, real notes, letters, etc.)

-Social activity (Sometimes students come for scrapbooking and chat more than scrap. Sometimes the opposite. Nonetheless, it is a social and supportive environment.)

-Brain activity (I am convinced that we use a wider variety of brain skills when using real objects, touchable textures, etc. as opposed to a screen.

-Movement (Hopefully your hands, eyes and butt move a little more with than they would sitting in front of a computer). I actually Love, Love my computer and would do more digi if I didn't already spend so many hours in front of my Mac. "mommy are you on the computer AGAIN?" makes me feel sad.

-Time (Trad. scrapping is therapeutic and can be a sort of meditation (if alone) and soothing, supportive (with others) It is not a bad thing that it takes a lot of time. People enjoy it so much they always wish they could do it longer. Enjoy the process, not the goal.

Really, it is not digi vs. trad. I find the 2 very different experiences, with different results. Why not do both?