Ursula's Digital Mixed-Media
Intro to Scrapbooking 2- Basic Digital Scrapbook Page using Power Point

Once more in the vein of “Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be Difficult”, I decided to try an experiment. I wanted my 12 year old son to create a page for his yearbook on the computer. He could use whatever tool he wanted. His choice- Microsoft Power Point. I had my doubts- I am a Photoshop aficionado- but this was to be his project, and he has been creating projects for school for years using Power Point. So we sat down this morning, and he began to create. It was extremely fun to watch, and I must admit I learned a lot about what you can do with Power Point :)

In my previous post on creating a Basic Page using the more Traditional paper method, I commented that there were several things that I felt were must-haves on a page. As a review they are:

  • Name
  • Date
  • Place
  • Event description (also called journaling)
  • Photographs

For more information you can see the post here: http://www.easyscraps.com/blog/blogu.php/scrapbooking-basics-intro-to-scrapbooking-boy-yearbook-page

The format for the page was a non-traditional 11 by 8.5 inches, which was actually a perfect size for Power Point. I will not cover the Power Point instructions in this post- there is plenty of help in the tool itself for that. This will just give you an idea of the fun things you can do in Power Point to make a Scrapbook page, and how you can include the must-haves on your page. So here is what he did for his layout:

Background: He started out by adding a background. Power Point has patterns and images and gradients that can be used to create a cool background, beyond just a basic color. I would have opted for the cool wood or burlap looking backgrounds, but this was his project, not mine :) He used a bright yellow to red radial gradient. You can just start adding colors to the gradient and click the different types until you get what you like, or you can pick from several pre-defined gradients.

One more tip, if you are doing this rather than your child- using school colors in this case might have been a good idea. The colors represent more information about the event (in this case his school). But since I wanted my son to do this himself, I shut my mouth and let him choose!

Name: Next step was the Title. This was easy- insert Text Box. He typed his name and then selected the font and played around with fonts and colors and sizes until he got the look he wanted.

Note: Power Point may change your names to other words. Use the Ignore command in the text box so that it doesn’t change your names.

Here’s a tip. Try having your child write his name instead. This way you capture his handwriting, as well as his information. His handwriting could be scanned in, and used digitally, or if you are going to print the page out anyway, the writing could be done on the printed page.

Journaling: This was another text box. He typed in what he liked best about his elementary school. Of course, being a 12 year old boy, it was the field trips :) Again, he played a few seconds with fonts, colors, and sizing. Then he moved it around on the page until he liked the placement.

As an alternative, having the journaling done in his handwriting is a great idea.

Date and Place: OK- here is my confession- I did help my son in this one area :). I told him to put in the date and place. So he added two more text boxes. He chose to put them up in the corners on either side. Once more, there was a bit of playing with fonts, colors and sizes until he got it to the point he liked.

Photographs: I had already done a layout using pictures from his various years at school, and the pictures were already on the computer in .JPG format. See my side notes on this below. He used the Insert Picture command in Power Point, and browsed to the folder where the pictures were. He chose his 6th grade picture and placed in the center and sized it to fit the space under his journaling. He wanted this to be the biggest photo so that would be the one that “his friends would remember him as”. In design terms, this is called the focal point. I will touch a bit more on this later as well.

Then he repeated this process and added pictures from his other grades scattered around the edges of the layout. He sized them to be smaller than the main picture, and decided to turn them so they were not all sitting straight on the page. So far the page looked awesome!!

Window Dressing: My son then decided to play a bit with the pictures using some of the Power Point tools. He added Borders around each of the smaller pictures. He did the same for the larger photo, but made the border a bit bigger. He had used some other formatting in various school projects and applied a couple to some of the smaller photos. Here were the tools he used on his photos:

  • Borders– you can play with the color, size and whether it is dashed or not. Hint- look under the format tab if you have MS Power Point 2010.
  • Reflection– This was a cool effect that gave a mirror effect and  was applied using Reflection. If you choose the format tab/option in Power Point and go to reflection, you can customize the transparency, size and distance of the reflection of the picture.
  • Glow: This formatting effect gave the picture a halo. Once again, the size color and transparency can be customized.

And that was it! The whole process took about an hour and the page was great! And it will be even more special to me looking back at this page, because it was my son’s work and not mine!!

Here are some tips for design:

  • Matting: I talked about matting in my other post using the more traditional paper method. Mats behind (or in a computerized version, around) a photo can help “lift” the photo off the background. It gives the picture a bit more importance so that it doesn’t blend into what’s behind it.
  • Contrast: Usually, using a contrasting color for your text or your mats will help that item show up on a background or some other item that is behind it. Especially if the background is patterned or dark, an item that is also busy or a bit dark might not stand out enough. Adding a contrasting color can help. If the background is dark, use a light color as contrast. If the background is light then go dark for the mat or text.
  • Focal Point: There is usually one item on the page that you want your viewer to focus on. This is called a focal point and there are a number of different ways you can make it stand out, and indicate its importance. Try making it larger than the other items on a page. If you use borders around your pictures, then try making the border around your focal point, larger or a different color. If you are matting your photos, the focal picture could be matted with multiple colors, while the other photos are matted in a single color.
  • Face In: In most cases when placing pictures on a page, it is more pleasing to have them face in to the page. That doesn’t necessarily mean that having a picture focus out will ruin a page, and in some cases it can actually convey a feeling you might want to capture (looking to the future, for example). However, in general, it makes a viewer feel less uneasy to have the pictures turned or focused inward to the page.

Pictures for use with Power Point : if you are going to use photographs in your Power Point page, they need to be in a computerized format. If you have a digital camera, and you have uploaded your pictures to the computer where you are working in Power Point, then you are done. Just find the folder where the pictures are stored and use Insert Picture from within Power Point to browse to that folder.

If you have regular photos, then you can use a scanner, if you own one, to scan the photos to a digital format, like .JPG. Otherwise, any photo processing shop can also help you do this. Bring along a USB thumb drive, and they can copy the digital copies of your photos there. Some shops can burn CDs/DVDs with the digital copies of your photos. You can then access or copy those digital pictures to your computer and use them within Power Point.

Printing: If you want a hard copy of the page, you can print from Power Point. I would recommend using a good photo quality printer onto Photo Paper for the best results. If you print onto plain copy paper, it will not look that great. If you don’t own a quality printer, then try using one of the photo services, like Snapfish or Shutterfly to print your pages. If you have enough pages, you can make them into a book through some services.

So, as you can see, creating a scrapbook page in Power Point is really child’s play! Enjoy!!

School Yearbook Scrapbook Page

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