Serif – Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 review

create graphically rich digital scrapbooks to print and share online
Photo of Serif – Digital Scrapbook Artist 2
£29.99

Nothing escapes the digital makeover, even the traditional hobby of scrapping (otherwise known as scrapbooking and here recast as ‘social scrapbooking’) which takes old photos, scissors, old ticket stubs, bits of cloth and other scruffy memorabilia and drops them into an inexpensive Windows program that arranges everything with the kind of precision that folk in the real world can only dream of. Interestingly, the results are inspiring rather than sterile, which makes Digital Scrapbook a product that’s well worth exploring.

Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 lets you create scrapbooks, cards, invitations, photo albums, postcards – indeed pages of any kind – and provides you with a range of digital tools that mimic their real-life equivalents.

Thus, as well as mixing and matching photos, text and other graphics, you get fabric backgrounds, stencils, brushes and stitching, edge effects, layers, blending and transparency as well as all sorts of natty embellishments like scissors, hairgrips, flowers and frames.

You can create a scrapbook from scratch, but the easiest way to learn what goes where is to try one of the 11 included DigiKits: templates designed around common themes like ‘doll house’, ‘new baby’, ‘playground’, ‘fishing’, and so on. One of the features we liked best about Digital Scrapbook was the ability to re-use any of the graphical items included with the DigiKits in your own projects: it’s like having the world’s best box of scrapping stuff without having to bother with the box.

As is common with Serif programs, the interface is a bit overcrowded with toolbars, tabs, palettes, panels, call-outs and button bars all over the place, and we didn’t care for the way that the DigiKit browser lists both the kits that are included and those that you have to buy separately ($4.99 each) in the same view.

More significantly, some Serif users have reported lots of crashes with early releases, so it’s worth making sure that you have the latest version (2.0.1 or later) which looks to make things more stable. Despite the busy interface, however, the included kits are so well put together that it’s relatively easy to discover how most of the program’s features work; and when you can’t, the included PDF user guide is engaging and well organised.

Digital Scrapbook is a product with a point to prove. Digital photography is more flexible – and a lot cheaper – than the real thing, but all those photos tend to sit around on the hard disk, doing nothing. A program like this allows you to create something that has all the hallmarks of a traditional scrapbook but which requires almost zero skills, and looks great, whether printed out or shared online.

Company: Serif

Contact: 0800 376 7070


Verdict
It's hard to imagine a time when digital scrapping will ever be cool, but there's no doubt that if it's your thing, then Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 is the product to buy. By providing enough templates to get you started quickly and then offering a wide range of detailed editing features, Serif has created a must-have program for those who prefer to hold their history in their hands.