I received a delightful surprise in my inbox a few weeks ago - an email asking if I would like to review a piece of digital scrapbooking software. I immediately said yes, not because I'm a big scrapbooker, but because I am hugely fond of digital art and thought it would be lots of fun to play with.
I was given a coupon code so I could download a free copy of the program, which was a super easy process. It wasn't long before I had the program downloaded and installed and was ready to start playing. And that was precisely what I did. I played. And it was fun. There was no steep learning curve. I didn't have to go consult some huge user guide to figure out how to do things. Everything is so simple and intuitive that absolutely anyone could use this program and create something awesome. And that's... well, pretty awesome.
Let's take a closer looks, shall we?
When you first start the program, this is what you'll see. Using the designer templates is the quickest and easiest option as they're already filled in with background papers and various decorative elements. All you need to do is add your photos and any additional decorations you may want, and voila! Instant album. Choosing "Design Your Own" will give you a boatload of basic layouts to choose from that suggest various positions for photos and other elements, but are totally blank - you have to fill in everything on your own. You can also browse for more content online - and you totally should! There are oodles of packages that you can purchase at perfectly reasonable prices, and there are a lot more goodies that are totally free.
For the purposes of our little tour, let's try out one of those designer templates...
Here you're presented with a list of available templates. Click on one and you get a thumbnail preview. Some of the templates include a link to the shop that will show you all of the templates available from that particular artist. It's getting to be that time of year, so I'm going to go with the "Funky Fall" template. When you click "next" you're given the option to rearrange the album's pages if you want. The default is fine by me, but it's nice to have the option. As you'll soon notice, even when using the premade templates, everything is really up to you. If you don't like something, chances are you can change it or get rid of it. There aren't many programs like this that offer that sort of flexibility.
Now, if you'rereallylazy in a hurry, you can choose the FastFill option in the next step, which will take the photos you choose and automatically insert them in the layout. How cool is that? You could literally create not just a page, but an entire scrapbook album in a matter of minutes. But I'm going to go with the Pick and Click option, cause I'm a control freak like that.
Finally, slap a name on that baby and choose where you want to save it, and bam! You've got your album all set up. Now you can take a coffee break or go tweet about your technological achievement or whatever you do when you've got a few minute to kill because it'll take a minute or two for everything to load, depending on how many pages are in your album and how complex it is.
Once it's loaded, this is what you'll see:
Lovely, no? You've got the page you're working on in the center, the other pages in the album down below, your resource gallery - which is where you'll find your photos, embelishments, backgrounds, etc. - on the left, and your control panel - which offers another way to add embelishments and backgrounds and such, as well as extras like video and music - on the right. It may look a complicated, but there's really just a few controls presented in a few different places, so you can work in whatever way seems best for you. Me, I mostly use the resource gallery.
To add your photos with the resource gallery, you just click on the little camera icon and you're presented with thumbnails from your "Pictures" folder. If that's where the photo you want to use is located, great. If not, you'll have to click on "Select Folder" and find it your own damn self. Once you've got the photo you want to use, it's a simple matter of dragging the thumbnail to whichever little grey box you want to put it in. The program automatically sizes it to fit - though of course, you can crop and resize manually, if you please. But it does a darn good job all by itself.
You can even add cool effects to your photos. Click on "Photos" in the control panel and you'll find a bunch of handy tools. Click on "Effect" and a nice little box will pop up where you can try different effects, pick the one you like, and fine tune it. I decided to brighten my photo just a bit.
Fill in the rest of those empty photo boxes, and...
Hey! That's a pretty nice looking page, huh? But let's dress it up a little more...
Adding embellishments works just like adding photos. Once you find one you like, just drag the thumbnail onto the page. Then you can reposition it, resize it, flip, rotate, even add a shadow to it if you want. And if you decide you don't like it, you can remove. Or if you liked it better before you rotated it, clicking "Edit" and "Undo" will reverse whatever you did last. Handy.
I decided to add this pretty little leaf, just to dress things up a bit more. And now, I'll add some text so I can remember where the heck I took these pictures.
To do so, I can click on "Word Art" if I want to add fancy, decorative text or "Text" (which you'll find in the control panel) if I just want plain ol' text. That's the route I'm going to take here, since there's already a lot going on with this page. When you click "add," you'll see a little grey box. Double click inside the box to type, then you can use the options under "Text" in the control panel to change the font, size, and various other aspects of your text. But you'll have to highlight what you want to change first, just like you would if you were typing in Word.
Once you're done with that, you can click and drag the text wherever you want it. And if you want to get really fiddly and precise about your placement, you can use the arrow keys to nudge and skootch to your heart's content. And there ya go!
Really, that couldn't have been easier. But that's certainly not all you can do. Even if you have absolutely no interest in scrapbooking, you could still make use of this program. In fact, my very first project didn't have any photos in at all. I used just the papers and embelishments that came with the program - and one extra free set that I downloaded - to make this calendar.
And this is all just the tip of the iceberg, really. This program is just oozing potential, and if you're as excited about seeing what it can do as I am, you're in luck. Because I have a free copy to give away. Aw, yeah. Here's what you need to do to enter:
Go visitMy Memories, peruse the packages and comment here with your fave. Don't forget to leave your contact info so I can get ahold of you if you win!
BONUS ENTRIES (one extra entry for each; make sure to leave a separate comment for each bonus task and a link to your Twitter/Facebook)
Write a blog post about the giveaway - leave a comment with a link to your post!
So there you have it - lots of chances to win. But if you're not feelin' lucky or you just don't wanna wait, you can get $10 off your purchase ofMy Memories Suite v2.0 AND a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com Store, which you can use to purchase additional packages, papers, and various goodies. How?
4. Finish the checkout. You should not be asked for any credit card information, and the total for the order should be FREE.
5. To download the software, go to http://www.mymemories.com/my_accounts/downloads and click on the link to download the software. Your product key will also be displayed on that page, which you'll need, so make sure you hang on to it.
And there ya go! Instant discount. Still not convinced? Waiting for payday? No worries. This offer doesn't expire! You can come back any time and snag the code from the sidebar.
The giveaway, however, is for a limited time. You've only got untilWednesday, Sept. 28to get your enter, so hop to it!