Monday, January 1, 2007

Resolution & DPI vs. PPI

What is resolution?
Image size/resolution describes the detail/fineness an image holds. The term applies equally to digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail. Resolution is measured in pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi).

DPI vs. PPI - what's the difference?
This is a confusing concept that is widely misunderstood.

Technically, DPI and PPI are two totally different things. DPI is "dots per inch" and is used for print material. PPI is "pixels per inch" and refers to how images are displayed on computer monitors. But in the digital scrapbooking world, the two terms are used interchangeably.

Most digi scrap elements and kits that you download are 300dpi. Because of this, creating your layouts at 300dpi is optimal - and more convenient.

The Basics
• The more ppi = the higher the resolution = the higher the image quality.
• Higher dpi = larger file size.

• The web and email standard for images is 72dpi. The printing standard for images is either 200 or 300dpi.

Still don't understand? Here is a great explanation from 2Ps: DPI vs. PPI - What?

Digi Scrapping A to Z

Like paper scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking utilizes using a combination of papers, alphas, stamps, ribbons, and a variety of other embellishments. Unlike paper scrapbooking, however, digital gives you the freedom to resize, recolor, and reuse any product in your supply stash. Best of all, there's no mess to put away when you're finished!

Kits- Digital Scrapbooking Kits are a collection of papers and embellishments all centered on a particular theme and color scheme. Kits are the best way to get started with a page since everything coordinates and is designed to work together to give your page a cohesive look.

Paper Packs - Digital Paper Packs are exactly that, packs of papers in digital format. You use these JPEG versions of 12x12" papers to create backgrounds, photo mattes, die-cuts, etc., just as you would use a traditional piece of paper. Of course, you're able to use these papers over and over again, no longer worrying about making the "wrong cut" and wasting your supply.

Overlays - Digital Overlays are comparable to traditional transparencies. They are also PNG files, so part of the image is transparent, allowing elements beneath it on a layout to show through.

Stamps and Brushes - These are perhaps the most versatile product in the world of digital scrapbooking. They are ABR files that must be loaded into your photo-editing program. Once loaded, they can be used as a rubber stamp, an eraser, a paint brush, a laser cutter, a distressing tool, and more. They can be re-sized, re-colored, rotated, duplicated to create patterns, the possibilities are truly endless. Downloads also include PNG versions of the brushes that can be used if your software does not support brushes.

Quick Pages - Digital Quick Pages are scrapbook pages that are already designed and ready for you to simply drop in your photos. These files are flattened PNG files, which mean the elements on the page can't be manipulated or changed in any way. You can, however, add additional embellishments and journaling to them.

Actions - Actions are files that can be loaded into Adobe Photoshop (not PSE) and used to perform a variety of multi-step tasks. There are actions for adding drop shadows, inked edges, sanded edges, and more. There are also photo actions that can automatically sharpen, soften, brighten, or convert your favorite photos to black and white, sepia, etc. Once you load an action, it's ready to use with the click of a button, giving you more time to spend on other aspects of your layout.

Layered Templates - Digital Layered Templates are similar to a paper layout "sketch," only better. These products are PSD files that include all the layers of a pre-designed layout. Unlike Quick Pages, these layers can be manipulated to suit your needs. You can remove, resize, or reposition any aspect of the layout. You use your own choice of papers and embellishments to compliment your photos and simply "clip" them to the placeholders in the file. Instructions for using these templates in PS and PSE are included in the download.

eBooks - Digital Scrapbooking eBooks are original design and idea books created in PDF format. They are packed with wonderful tips on creating layouts, using products, and getting the most out of your digital scrapbooking experience. They are completely hot-linked to the DesignerDigitals store, allowing you to locate inspirational layouts and must-have products quickly and easily. The eBooks are PDF files, and therefore require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing (available as a free download).

Lesson Packs - Digital Lesson Packs are scrapbooking tutorials packaged with everything you need to create the layout being taught. They include a full-color PDF with screen shots to walk you through every step of creating your layout. All papers and embellishments required to complete the project are included and can be used over and over again in any future layouts you create.

Fonts - Fonts are used to add journaling and titles to your layouts. There are custom fonts available in the DesignerDigitals store and at IdeaBooks4U.

Credits: some portions from

Why go digital?

The first question that people ask about digi scrapping is "why is it better than paper scrapping?" And my answer is: isn't not. It's not "better" than paper scrapping - it's just a different FORM of scrapping.

Some people prefer paper scrapping to digi scrapping, and vice versa. Other people do what is called "hybrid scrapbooking," which is a mix of paper scrapping and digital scrapping.

You need to choose the method of scrapping that best for you. Personally, I'm a digi scrapping girl all of the way. I do enjoy hybrid project every once in awhile, but for the most part, I'm all digital.

So, why go digital?

• Because it will be SO easy since you found this site to use as a guide. :)

• It's so much less mess. No glue, paint, glitter or paper scraps to pick up when you are finished.

• Scrap when you want, for as long as you want. Don't worry about dragging out the tote of paper, 40 pairs of decorative scissors, and 14 rolls of ribbon. Just sit down at your computer and start scrapping. When you are finished, save the project and walk away.

• Purchase digi scrap products, and use them forever. Literally. Purchase a digi scrap ribbon element, and you can use it in a million different. Recolor it, resize it, retexture it, rotate it, and use it over and over again.

• You have so many more options with your photos - recolor, resize, rotate, cut into a funky shape. You also don't have to have your photos printed before you start scrapping. You can shoot a photo with your digital camera one minute and incorporate it into a digi scrap page the next minute.

• The fonts. Don't ever worry about running out of the letter "S" again! Forget the piles of alphabet stickers, foam stamps, rubber stamps, and ink pads. There are hundreds of thousands of fonts out there waiting to be used on a scrapbook page.

• Print your pages as many times as you want - all at the same quality, and in a wide variety of sizes.

• Easy preservation. Everything can easily be preserved on a CD, external hard drive, or stored on a hosted server.

• Freebies. Walk into any scrapbook store, ask them to give you a stack of paper and some rubons to use for free, and see what they say. They will look at you like you're crazy! With digi scrapping, there are thousands of freebies out there, created by a very diverse group of designers. If you wanted to, you could digi scrap for the rest of your life using ONLY freebies.

• It's fast! Using premade pages and layered templates makes it possible to create a digital scrapbook page in minutes.

• There are SO many more options for sharing - online, via email, in your blog, on a CD, on a slideshow or montage video. There are a tons of options!

• And the big one... the UNDO BUTTON. Never ruin another photo or have to cover up a portion of your background paper because you dripped glue. If you do something that you aren't happy with, just undo.

Digital Piracy & Credits

Giving credit where credit is due

Crediting the artist whose elements you are using is very important. Not only will this help you keep track of who's elements you are using, but when you post your digi scrap layout online you MUST post credits along with it.

On many sites, NOT posting credits with your digi scrap layout is considered plagiarism. In the digi scrap world, it is assumed that when you do not credit an element, that element was created by you and is an original creation.

Credits are also helpful when you are viewing other people's pages b/c if you see an element you like, you can see whose element it is by looking in the credits.

As you are working on a layout, be sure to keep track of the designers whose work you are using. I keep a Word doc open, and keep track like this:

Papers: from "The coolest ever" kit by Designer's Name, @

Ribbon tie:
Stapled card:


Be sure to include at least the designer's name, name of the kit or element pack, and what website you purchased the item from. A link to the product is also helpful.

Before posting credits on an external website, always read the website's TOU. Some sites do not allow direct links to products.

What is piracy?

Piracy is the theft, reproduction, or redistribution of a copyrighted work without the permission or knowledge of the creator/copyright holder. (from

Check out: 10 Myths About Copyright, explained by Brad Templeton

But I can share freebies, right?
Sharing freebies is piracy! Just because a product is free, does NOT mean that you can do with it what you wish. Find out why here.

Get the scoop on digital piracy here:

File Formats & Saving

The Basics about formats

PSD: These are layered files. Although other photo-editing software programs can read these files, they are specifically created in Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. These files contain multiple layers that can be manipulated or removed from a layout. Layered Templates are this file type, as are the layouts you create yourself.

JPG: These are solid image files. Papers and photos are the most common JPG files you will use.

PNG: These are overlay files. The background of these images is transparent, allowing them to be layered on top of one another. The majority of digital scrapbooking elements and embellishments are PNG files (ribbons, frames, buttons, staples, etc.)

ABR: These are brush files. They must be loaded into Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. If your software does not support brushes, there are generally PNG versions of the images provided in the download folder.

PDF: These are Adobe Acrobat Reader files. They are often used when the designer provides instructions on how to use a downloaded file. They are also used for eBooks. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files, and it is available as a free download on the Adobe website.

Read Me: These are text files provided by the designer, often to provide the terms of use (TOU) and copyright information for their designs.

For those of you who are saying "Umm... I have no idea what you are talking about. I just need to know how to save my files!" this is for you...

Save Early, Save Often
Before I get into what format you need to save your file as, remember this rule: SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN. I'll say it again - save early, save often. The keyboard shortcut for saving is CTRL+S for PC, and APPLE+S for MAC. Get in the habit of saving every couple of minutes. Make it a HABIT. Enough preaching… now on to the nitty gritty…

Come up with a naming convention
First, you need to come up with a naming convention. Basically, decide how you want to name your digi scrap layouts - then stick with it. And remember that the underscore is your friend. Always use an underscore ( _ ) rather than a space.
You can name your files whatever you want to, just be consistant!

If your layout is about Grandma Helen's 90th Birthday that was on February 1st 2008, you might name the layout:


If you ever change a layout, always save the revised page with an indicator at the end, like:
GrandmaHelen_90thBirthday_01Feb2008_edited.psd OR


Save each file three times.
You need to save every layout three times.
• layered, 300 dpi PSD file – this is your source file
• high resolution 200 or 300dpi JPG - for printing
• low resolution 72dpi JPG - for web/email

When you save your layout in the three different formats, be sure to give indicators at the end of the file name about what that file is for. For example:
GrandmaHelen_90thBirthday_01Feb2008.psd - this is your source file

GrandmaHelen_90thBirthday_01Feb2008_PRINT.jpg - this is your file for printing
GrandmaHelen_90thBirthday_01Feb2008_WEB.psd - this is for web/email/blog

Yes, you need to keep the PSD file!
It is very important that you keep a PSD file saved for every digi scrap layout. A PSD file is considered the "source" file because it is layered, which means that you can go back and edit the file as needed. If you do not save the PSD file, you are left with a flattened JPG file – which means you can not edit the layout. I don’t care if you think that you will never need the source file again. You will. Save it!


I'm Deanna, a graphic designer by day and digital and hybrid scrapper by night. For the past couple of years I've been wanting a blog JUST for my scrap adventures, but somehow life always gets in the way (silly work!)

Well... I recently realized that our poor family blog has been overrun with digi scrap posts. So it's time to give them a home of their own! And so this blog was born!

I have many hopes and dreams for this blog... But for now I just want it to be a place where I can ramble about my latest scrapping obsessions, post pics of recent projects, and put up some info that might be helpful to someone out there - even if only a little.

So, let the scrapping madness begin!