Friday, July 6, 2012

Scrapbooking Software Giveaway!

Before I went on vacation to Europe, I was asked to review some digital scrapbooking software! This software, MyMemories suite, is actually the highest rated digital scrapbooking software. I was very excited, because I've been considering doing digital scrapping. It's become clear to me that I'm not going to physically scrap, since the one scrapbook I own has been sitting in the garage for about 10 years!

But what the heck do I know about digital scrapbooking? Clearly, nothing. So, I enlisted the help of Erin, who usually blogs at Erin Expounds. I asked her some questions about how she scraps and what she'd look for in digital scrapbooking software. It turns out that a lot of people just use Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. This left me wondering...why buy dedicated scrapping software if you can just use a graphics program?

My conclusion: This software makes it a lot easier to manage albums, and view your digital assets in categories, than a regular graphics program would. Plus, it lets you create a slideshow (and even add music!) or export your album easily to a format for your iPod or Apple tablet.

A "quickpage"...just drop in the photo and you're done.

I spent several hours playing around with the software, trying to figure things out and try to check off all the features Erin told me digital scrapping software should have. Those features were layers, text paths, photo editing, clipping masks, and shadows, as well as the ability to use assets from other online stores. MyMemories passed on all of them except clipping masks (and text paths, with a caveat that you may still be able to do what you want with their Word Art and Text Shapes...text paths seem to be a Photoshop thing). If you're interested in my specific findings, feel free to email me (heather at lottloft dot com), because if I gave you the complete rundown, this post would be extra-extra long (instead of just extra long =). Instead, I'm just going to give you some quick highlights.

When you fire up the software for the first time, this dialog greets you
Once you've created some albums, they'll show up at the bottom and you can select them to start.

At first, I chose the Designer Template option, but later I just designed my own. To pick the template, you view a thumbnail of one of the pages.
Once you hit next, you can select which pages you want in the album (notice this window shows you how many pages are in each one...that's the number of layouts, not the number of pages you can have).

After selecting your pages, you can even opt to fill them in automatically from a folder!
This was so crazy to me, I had to try it (while typing minor annoyance was MyMemories kept wanting to pop into the foreground...argh!). I was pleasantly surprised by the next step:
Oh, OK...that's not SO crazy. I can actually add/remove and rotate photos, so I don't have to get the whole thing together before I go into MyMemories (although, notice you can only sort them by name or date). Cool! I used our "favorites" from the Salzburg leg of our Europe trip, which was about 35 photos. It only took 3 minutes for the album to generate! And it actually did a pretty good job grouping the photos together. If I'd actually taken the time to put them in order, it would have been even better! Once the album is there, you can switch out photos. So despite my extreme skepticism, I think this would work really well if you know you're going to use one layout for a whole album!

I'll show you a couple other pages I did. This first one, I literally grabbed the first picture I took on vacation, which is the new international terminal at the ATL airport. (Sidenote: those transparent circles are smart glass, which turns opaque when a current is applied to it. I took a video which I'll post at some point. ;) This page was my proof-of-concept for using another vendor's assets with MyMemories (the alphabet), plus for me figuring out what the heck the difference was in an embellishment and an imprint (imprints are like stamps; you can color them).
It's pretty rudimentary...I'm no great designer. =) But it only took me about 10 minutes, and I was learning a lot during that time! I used a background, swirl embellishment, shadowing, an imprint and the alphabet.

Here's one where I started out with a photo layout. This is me and the girls having lunch at the Swan Coach House.
Everything here (layout, background, embellishments, mats and Word Art) are available out-of-the-box with MyMemories! I like a lot of the embellishments that come with the software, although some categories (the standard buttons, bows, and ribbons--which look kind of flat) leave something to be desired. But the backgrounds are a lot of fun and come with a lot of options. I wish you could choose your own colors for backgrounds like this one. Oh! That reminds me...the "color picker" tool is excellent. It zooms in to your page on the dialog box so you don't have to zoom in just to pick a color.

So I learned lots of good tidbits just by playing with the software (for instance, to get a shaped picture, it works better to add your picture and resize it, then apply the shape, rather than adding a shape and putting a picture in it, because you have no control over how it will be cropped/resized). All of the MyMemories documentation is online...the help as well as the user manual. However, the manual is a PDF, so you could download it to your computer if you wanted to read it and work offline. You can find MyMemories on Facebook, Twitter @mymemoriessuite, or their Blog, which is jam-packed with helpful content. Liz J., who hosts the blog, even has a bunch of video tutorials. What I really love, though, is that she has made PDF tutorial sheets for most of them...because, you know, sometimes I don't want to listen for 10 minutes when I can find the answer myself in 10 seconds. =) (That's how I figured out that a "quickpage" is just an "embellishment"!) She also highlights sale elements, designers, and has weekly challenges which can not only motivate you to get some scrapping done, but also let you win more free stuff!

So to sum up...
-Each kit you buy shows up as an installed program in Windows (Control Panel->Programs and Features). That could get cluttered if you have a bunch.
-If you buy/download a kit from another site, you have to either navigate to use the elements, or...if you're little techno-savvy, you can figure out how to get them in the regular list. (I'll post about that later if there's enough interest! =)
-No integrated help
-No text paths, although you can create circular text and curves with Word Art, and some shapes with the Text tool
-No clipping masks

-The same price or less than getting a good graphics program, with many additional helpful scrapping features
-Lets you easily navigate your scrapping assets (there's a "search" box on the embellishments dialog!)
-Easy to build/export albums, calendars, Facebook/blog headers, iPod format or even slide shows and DVDs!
-Great customer support
-Lots of freebies!
-Includes basic photo editing features (crop, red eye, filters)

So here's the exciting part: You can win a copy of the software!! Just visit the MyMemories store, then come back here and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite new kit is. You might also want to take a look at all the free kits they have! I'll pick a winner on July 29th. And if you feel like you can't wait to get your hands on a copy of the software, you can use the code below to get $10 off the price, plus a $10 credit in the store! Here's the code (copy and paste it on the "Shopping Cart" page):

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this digital scrapbooking software for review purposes, along with a $10 credit to their store, as well as the discount code for you guys. I do get some proceeds if you use my discount code to buy the software! But I think you guys know I'm fairly brutally honest. =)


Susan @ Real Girl Designs said...

I'm so slack! They approached me to write a review, but I haven't gotten around to it - it was the first time I've ever been approached to review a product on my blog :)

Have a great weekend, Heather!

Jean in Georgia said...

Little scary to see my picture attached to anything labled "lady".... but you make it look good!

CalamityJr said...

Monochrome Blossom Photobook is my favorite new design. I tried for a couple days after you posted this giveaway and had a of of trouble with their website. Thanks for the Demi see, because this is something I think I'd really enjoy.

CalamityJr said...

I really don't know how "reminder" became Demi see, lol, but thanks for the reminder - again.

Ziggyeor said...

Awesome, I haven't done much in the way of organizing my paper stuff. Been contemplating digi again but didn't know if I wanted hubs to get me the Adobe Photoshop or not. You can make some things more dimensional but man it was a headache for me.

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