Throwback Thursday: It’s All Digi

Once a month, we’re bringing you a few of your favorite posts from the past 8 years. This month I’m reflecting on digital scrapbooking and what that means. At The Daily Digi, we consider digital scrapbooking to be using technology to record your stories. That’s a broad definition by design! There’s no wrong way to digiscrap. And we truly believe there’s a method that will work for everyone! You just have to find the one that resonates with you. For some of us, that may be simply using our computers to crop and print photos or type up journaling. But most of us are probably incorporating a lot more technology into our memory-keeping process. Here are some ways that we’ve done digi over the years.

Photoshop Elements

The most popular digiscrapping application for digi scrappers has traditionally been Photoshop Elements. Elements added some awesome new features in version 15, making it so competitive with the more expensive full version of Photoshop. Melissa goes through a few of them for us below. Don’t forget the new Guided Frame effect that allows drag-and-drop templates for super easy layouts!

Five Fabulous New Features of Photoshop Elements 15 Scrapbookers will Love!

Workspace Remodel: Customising Photoshop Elements

6 Unique Photoshop Elements Features (That Photoshop CC Wishes It Had)

Photoshop CS/CC

And let’s not forget the workhorse, Photoshop Creative Cloud. Here are a few awesome posts full of helpful tips in case you missed them the first time.

Creative Cloud 2017

Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts for Scrapbookers in Photoshop

Two Useful Photoshop Selection Tips

Video Tutorial: Warping Ribbon Shadows

The Most Useful Keyboard Button

My Most Used Scrapping Trick

Power Scrapping

Katie introduced us to Power Scrapping, a method I love and now use for the bulk of my layouts. Need more power tips? Read about Power Shopping and Power Preferences.

Power Scrapping — Digi Style

Power Shopping — Digi Style

Unlock the Secret Power of Preferences

Lightroom

I’m still scrapping in Lightroom. Since I keep my photos in Lightroom, it makes sense to use Lightroom to export my photo collages. It’s so quick and easy! Then I can spend the bulk of my scrappy time decorating my pages, which is my favorite part. Here are a couple posts about my process.

How I Scrapped 65 Layouts In 1 Week

The Lightroom-Project Life App Showdown

Scrapping Faster With Lightroom

Project Life

Project Life entered the scrapbooking scene quietly, but quickly exploded, making paper scrapping more accessible to many who had given up paper scrapping or just couldn’t find the time it takes to make full size layouts. Here are a few articles about Project Life and pocket scrapbooking from over the years.

Is it Project Life or Pocket Scrapping?

Does Project Life Fit In With My Life?

Organize your Pocket Scrapping and Project Life Cards

Project Life App

Steph is a huge fan of iPhone scrapping with the Project Life App. She’s simplified her process and has been able to keep up with her stories by scrapping almost exclusively on her phone! Here are some posts about her process.

Tutorial: Using Project Life Live Brightly (from The Digi Files) in the Project Life App

Phonebooking 911 – I’m behind but not beyond rescue

Scrapbooking My Vacation On My Phone – Before I Get Home – iPhone and Android

My Super Simple Phone Photo Management System

Digi Scrapping in 2017

Digi Scrapping in 2017 looks a lot different than it did in 2009! Are you still scrapping with Photoshop or Elements? Have you moved to Project Life or pocket scrapping on your phone? Have you given up traditional or digital scrapbooking entirely and use something like DayOne, Chatbooks or Blurb on your phone or tablet? Whatever you are doing, keep taking your photos and recording your stories. There are so many options available to us now, that there is a way that fits your lifestyle. Only you can tell your story, so make sure you’re documenting it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this stroll through the archives. I’ll see you next month!

Avoiding Disaster: My Rainy Day Backup Plan

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

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.

1)
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.) and…

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.

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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
  7. Enter you password and click Sign In. Then click Okay to give Amazon permission to share your credentials with GoodSync.

  8. 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.

  9. Highlight the new job in the list on the left and click the options button up top.
  10. 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.

GENERAL:

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.

AUTO:

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!

FILTERS:

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.

LEFT/RIGHT:

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.

ADVANCED:

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.

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.

ShotBox

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: Shotbox.me.

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?

Searching For Slideshow Apps

Recently, I was asked to create a slideshow for a family memorial service. I sat down with my pile of scanned and digital photos and set to work. I started with Open Office’s version of Power Point, but I couldn’t figure out how to export the file in a format that would work on any system. Since I wasn’t super familiar with Power Point, I felt like I was spending more time teaching myself how to use it than actually creating the slide show. So I moved on.

My next stop was ScreenFlow, a video editing App. ScreenFlow works great and has tons of options, but I would have to manually place, position and time each photo and transition. That was clearly going to take more time than I had.

That brought me to Google’s doorstep. I found a few online options, but I didn’t really want to be uploading pictures sent to me from other people to a website I didn’t really know much about.

However, not all was lost as that search led me to Lightroom. Lightroom was a great option, but because many of photos I had were emailed from other people, or scanned, they weren’t really sorted or even imported into Lightroom. To use them effectively, I’d have to sort them into the right folders on my hard drive and then import them. Finally, I’d need to add them to a collection in order to work with them.

The slideshow interface itself seemed pretty easy to use, but it lacked the transitions I was looking for.

Finally, it occurred to me to try the new Photos App that appeared in the last Mac OS release. Since I hadn’t used it before, I had to import the photos and scans I wanted to use. That was easy enough. I exported all the digital photos I needed that were already in Lightroom to JPGs and stored the copy in the same folder as the scans and other photos that had been emailed to me, and got to work.

Here’s a brief overview on how I created the slideshow in Photos.

1) Launch the PHOTOS APP.

2) Click the PHOTOS TAB and choose one of the file import methods. I opted to simply drag and drop the JPGs onto the open app window. 100 photos imported in just a few seconds.

3) Select ALL IMPORTED PHOTOS by using the CMD+A keyboard command.

4) To start a new Slideshow, click FILE>CREATE SLIDESHOW and give it a name.

5) You’ll be moved over to the PROJECTS tab to begin the Slideshow. Your Title is automatically placed on the first slide. You can remove that title if you want. I ended up creating my own title page in Photoshop and imported it as a JPG to serve as the first slide. To remove the text, right+click the Text Thumbnail on the bottom and choose DELETE.

6) Before rearranging the photos, choose a THEME. Click the SLIDESHOW icon on the right of the screen to show the available choices. Some of the options look very similar until you press PLAY to preview the transitions. I love the Vintage Prints option which I chose for the memorial service. Magazine and Origami are fun choices as well.

7) Choose your MUSIC.You can select a built-in ditty or any song in your iTunes library. You can add multiple tracks if your song isn’t long enough for your pictures.

8) Click the CLOCK icon to set your music OPTIONS. You can opt to fit the slideshow transitions to the length of music or set an exact length of the slideshow.

9) Now it’s time to tweak the photos. Depending on your template, you may have several photos on one slide. You can drag the images around into a different order and the Photos app will automatically adjust the template it uses for each slide. This can get a little tricky. Sometimes, Photos insists on placing certain photos on the same slide and you cannot really control it. That was the only frustration I had with the app. I sometimes had to reorder images slightly differently in order to get the images I wanted on the same slide to stay together.

10) Preview your slideshow by pressing the PLAY button. If you’re happy, click EXPORT and choose from 3 different sizes (480p, 720p and 1280p). You can also choose to automatically send a copy of your movie to iTunes to sync to your devices if desired. Export can take a while if you have a long video and choose the highest quality.

Want to see a video I made about my trip to Italy last summer? This one took about 15 minutes to make and it’s about 2 minutes to watch.

(Enter the password below, then you may have to click the Title on the image to open the video in a new window.)

PASSWORD: ITALY


If you make a video, share it in the comments!

Bonus Tip:
To create multiple photo libraries, hold in the OPTION key while launching the Photos App. You’ll be prompted to choose an existing library, or create a new one.

Resolve to Back Up Your Files

Resolve To Back Up Your Files

With 2014 coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about 2015. I know that many of us are making plans and thinking about resolutions.

What are the most popular resolutions? To lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, spend more time with family and friends, or kick a bad habit? They’re all very worthy resolutions!

I have a suggestion for the digital scrapbooking part of your life:

Make this the year that you get your computer files fully backed-up.

Make this the year that you put in place a system where you have your files stored in three places:

  • One: The original version
  • Two: The local back-up copy (on a different drive than the original)
  • Three: The remote back-up copy

The more automated you can make this process the better. For example, I have an external hard drive (EHD) that automatically copies the contents of my computer. It works in the background so I don’t even have to do anything more than check it from time to time to make sure the copies are safely stored.

For a remote back-up, I use a remote back-up service. There are several available, with BackBlaze and CrashPlan seeming to be the most popular among digital scrapbookers. These are ideal because they work in the background and automatically upload the most current versions of files to the remote storage. You could also use a cloud storage system that you manually save files to, if you are able to do it on a consistent basis.

You can read more about backing up in these articles:

Having a back-up and recovery plan in place will be a great gift to your future self. Your files, especially your photos, are precious and irreplaceable.

In short: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!

Headswapping

It’s Christmas card season and I know many of you are hoping for just ONE photo with everyone looking at the camera. I’ve been there myself. Let me encourage you — keep trying.

However, if that one special photo never happens and you can’t get the kids (or dad!) all cooperating at the same time, head swapping is always an option. In this 11 minute video I give you a quick tutorial on how to do it. It’s pretty easy (with the right photo) and it can help get you your one Christmas wish — a great photo of everyone.

Custom Birthday Cupcake Toppers

My little man turned one back in March. It’s bittersweet to see your baby hit that big milestone. I love seeing him grow up and I can’t wait to see who he becomes, but his days as a snuggly little baby are over. Sad.

We were still living in Indonesia at the time and we had some friends coming to visit near his birthday. I wanted to find him a cute birthday shirt for them to bring, but I didn’t want the typical powder blue “birthday boy” shirt you see so much. I searched Etsy and a few other places and finally found this awesome shirt on Amazon. It was perfect! We call Zachary “Z-Man,” so a superhero inspired shirt was ideal! (Note, at the time of writing, this shirt is currently unavailable, but they do have it in ages 2-5. I might have to order more!)

Doesn’t Z-Man look so cute in it?

Although I don’t usually have much of a theme for birthdays, I decided to keep with the superhero thing for Z’s cupcakes. I looked in my digi stash for a superhero image, but couldn’t find one I liked. So I searched around a little online and found this.

Since my main man’s name starts with a Z and not an S, I had a little work to do.

First, I used my polygon lasso tool to trace around the outside shape. I then filled the selection with the yellow.

Next, I duplicated the yellow layer, enlarged it, and colored it red. I then looked for a font that would work and typed a Z. I cut off the edges where it would hit the border.

Next I added a black outer stroke to the red layer. And finally, a stroke to the Z layer.

Once these were done, I needed to find a t-shirt. Again, I looked through my digi stash and after trying to alter a few things that looked too girly, I decided to just outline my own. I added a darker blue border for some definition.

I then added my superhero emblem to the shirt.

I merged the layers together, reduced the size to what I wanted, and then duplicated the t-shirt a number of times so I could print them.

At this point, I could have printed them out and cut them, but pressed for time, I got out the directions to my long-neglected Silhouette machine and managed to get them cut out for me. I really should use that thing more!

Then I added toothpicks to the back and I was done!

I think he liked them!