Monday, 6 June 2011

Tutorial: Organising Your Digital Stash

Hello Peeps! Katharyn here, from Brine Design. Today I'm going to tell you a bit about organising your digital stash, and I bet I get tons of feedback from people who do it differently!! LOL! There are thousands of different methods and I've only got limited space to present them to you, so I've chosen just a few that might help you out. You'd better go grab your coffee now, because this is a bit lengthy!

Time to Get This Stuff Sorted
By Katharyn Brine
Credits: Papers – Brine Design; Elements - Katie Pertiet (file system & library cards, safety pin tag, chrome button alpha, stacked frames), Brine Design (notecard, ribbon, paisley chipboard heart), Connie Prince (concertina floret, string, pointer sticker), Vinnie Pearce (silk flower recoloured),  Cinzia Loosemore (paper clipper), Mindy Terasawa (paint splat), Michelle Underwood (ticket), Carrie Stevens (glass dots), Shabby Princess (string flower), Pattie Knox (staple). Font – Teacher’s Pet. Software – Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and ACDSee Photo Manager 2009.

Just like traditional paper scrapping, it’s important to organise your digital scrapbook supplies so you know: 1. what you’ve got; and 2. where to find them. You can feel pretty silly going about your downloads only to find you’ve re-purchased something you’ve already got! It’s worse still to be deep within your creative zone busily making a page, when you discover you can’t find that awesome element you wanted to use, because it’s lost amongst copious amounts of digital folders somewhere on your computer drive. It can turn a 30-minute layout into a 3-hour layout that never gets finished. To speed up your productivity during your valuable, precious scrapping time, there are benefits to keeping everything consistently organised.
There are a few different ways to go about this, depending on your scrapping method, time and budget. There is no right or wrong way to do this – and you will probably try a few systems before you find one that works for you. But the first thing I’d do is sort out where you are going to save your scrap supplies, ie. a specific external hard drive, separate/with your photos, and what program you are going to use to “sort” them, if any.

Method One: Manually finding the files exactly where you saved them in the folder you downloaded them in. If you are a visual person and inspired by more than just the name of the kit, you will need to view them as thumbnails (View > Thumbnail). Not all files will be visible (they will just show a “PSD” icon, for example) from outside Photoshop. Not all designers place their kits into folders before zipping, so you may need to create folders yourself, if you don’t want loose files all over the place. I do not recommend this method because you will be a lot slower at finding stuff than your computer is. Especially when your stash reaches a healthy 500GB! Yes, errr... it happens.

Method Two: Building an ongoing catalogue of the items you’ve downloaded, sorting and “tagging” into categories that are appropriate for your style of scrapping. To do this, you will need to become really familiar with your particular photo browser, or go out and purchase yourself a software program specifically designed with digital scrapbookers in mind. I’m talking about ACDSee, iPhoto, Adobe Bridge, Picasa, or Shoebox. I currently use ACDSee. This type of program allows you to search by keywords, file size, file type, designer, last time used, chronological order, and more. Sorting by file size means it automatically puts previews up the top, papers in the middle and elements at the bottom. Very convenient. You can adjust the size of your preview thumbnail. You can change the background colour of your thumbnails so white items show up better on screen when you’re browsing through your stash. These programs can also extract a multitude of zip files at once.
If you decide to use Photoshop Elements, be aware that you’ll be tagging both your photos and kits, and both will be mixed in together in your organiser/browser. Most scrappers tend to use different programs for photoand digital supplies.

If you simply scrap with one kit at a time, the only thing you are going to need to tag is the preview image. You might also want to keep a few odds and ends that you use every time you scrap, for instance, stitching, in a favourites folder too. You might also like to organise the kits into themes or colour combinations.

If you like to use bits and pieces of everything you’ve got, you are going to need to tag each item in your kit. Sounds time consuming at first, but when you get into the habit of tagging a kit straight after downloading it, then it just becomes part of your system. If you already have a huge stash that needs taming, consider a tutorial on “batch-processing” – where you can sort and tag a multitude of files simultaneously.
Good categories to start with are:
  • Alphas (if no preview is provided, just tag letters A,B,C)
  • Actions
  • Borders
  • Brushes
  • Colour (red, blue, yellow, metallic, etc)
  • Doodles
  • Embellishments : flowers, stars, charms, flourishes, bubbles, butterflies & birds, food, hearts, jewels, shapes, teddies, trees, etc.
  • Fasteners: staples, prongs, brads, buttons, clips, tape.
  • Favourites
  • Fonts: calligraphic, handwritten, serif, sans serif.
  • Frames: single, clustered, stacked, 3D, storyboard
  • Haberdashery: stitching, ribbon, beads, fibres, string
  • Journalling: labels, tabs, tags
  • Kits
  • Masks
  • Overlays
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Quick Pages
  • Subjects: Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, Holidays, etc.
  • Stamps
  • Stickers
  • Templates: 1 photo, 2 photo, 3 photo, multi-photo, etc.
  • Tutorials
  • Word Art
Of course these categories will vary depending on your scrapping style. No point tagging alphas if you only ever use text fonts. Another pointer here: don’t bother tagging something you hate – you are never going to use it, you cringe each time you see it – just delete it!
This method is great for those who download about five kits per week. It may be too time-consuming for more extravagant shoppers. It requires discipline.
Yet another tip – don’t make a miscellaneous folder – you’ll end up dumping everything in there. Pick a category, or tag it into two or three categories, based on what you’d be likely using it with.
Remember that tagging an item is not copying it, it’s just providing a handy shortcut, so your computer goes looking for the file instead of you having to do it manually. So don’t go deleting your file folders from your hard drive just because you’ve “tagged” them in your catalogue!

Method Three: Sorting and/or tagging by designer or shop. This is especially handy if you like to participate in online challenges which require their own store product. Also handy if you submit your layout to Scrapbooking Memories and need to provide a list of suppliers!  This method is for scrappers who download about 10-20+ kits per week.

Whichever method you choose, please remember to back up your catalogue as well as your file folders. You do not want to be left re-tagging everything all over again if something goes wrong!
If you've found this at all helpful, please leave me a comment and say so! Or if you've found a better method, post us a link and share :)

Helpful sites:


Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Jun 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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