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Serif Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 review

Seth Barton
21 Mar 2010
Serif Digital Scrapbook Artist 2
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
25
inc VAT

There's not a lot of clip-art, but the tools provided are of excellent quality - perfect for anyone that takes scrapbooking seriously

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Specifications

Serif is better known for its powerful but accessible design software, such as desktop publishing suite PagePlus X4. However it's not a huge leap from laying out pages for a publication to the more casual pastime of digital scrapbooking.

If that phrase makes little sense to you, then you're probably not American. Our friends across the pond are potty for scrapbooking in its non-virtual form, collecting photos, knick-knacks and memorabilia to stick together in books. Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 lets you scrapbook on your PC, combining digital images and clip art together to make attractive page designs. One key advantage of digital scrapbooks is that they can be shared online with others.

Accessibility is very important for this kind of software, so we were disappointed to find there's no automated wizard to help users drop a few photos into a pre-designed page. Thankfully, we soon found a menu with links to handy YouTube tutorials for all the main features, these are hidden under the Online tab in the right-hand toolbar. The best choice for a beginner though is to pick a pre-made theme, or Digikit, from those included on the disc.

The Digikits provided are beautifully put together, feeling both homely and craft-like without being naff or cheap. The only problem is there's only six provided with the software. More kits can be downloaded from a larger, but not huge, selection at Serif's DaisyTrail scrapbooking website. A handful of these are free, but most cost £3.49 each, pretty steep for what is little more than a fancy clip-art kit. You do get a £10 voucher in the box to get you started.

Of course, you could design your own bits and bobs to adorn your pages. There's a good basic set to of tools to hep with this. These are easy enough to use, and we particularly liked the roughen tool, to give things an olden appearance, and the scissors, so you can easily chop out bits of any object you import or draw freehand. There are also tools for craft-specific tasks like adding faux stitching and stencils.

Text options are good, for example you can run text along a curved path. There's also advanced features like blending, layers and masks. It won't trouble serious DTP or photo-editing software, but the tools here are derived from those in Serif's heavyweight products and so work far better than you'd expect.

We quickly made a basic photobook, and adding pictures is a breeze, it even keeps track of which pictures you've already added, so you don't use the same one twice. There's built-in photo-editing, so you can quickly add arty effects to photographs, or simply fix red eye issues. Pictures, picture frames, letters, backgrounds and other bits and bobs are stored in a bar on the left of the screen. This is divided up into categories, making it easy to find exactly what you need. The digikit browser lets you quickly sort through all the available scrap items and pick out just the items you need for this project, which then appear in the bar.

You can output your work to a printer, with great results thanks to all the included objects being 300dpi. You can also email the results to friends, or upload the page to DaisyTrail to share with others. File format output includes JPEG and PDF options.

Serif's Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 isn't as easy to get into as we'd hoped, and the selection of provided clip art, though of a high quality, is very limited. Thankfully, it's a well designed piece of software with good tools for making your own scrap. This means it's not ideal for kids, but it's a good choice for those who want to spend a little time making beautiful scrapbook pages (or invites, posters or greeting cards).

Details

Price£25
Detailswww.serif.com
Rating****

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