I spent this morning scouring the internet for something interesting to write about and stumbled across a site called CropMom. They advertised an online digital scrapbooking layout creation tool and I figured that I would give it a whirl as the rest of my family slept. I have never created a scrapbooking layout using software on my computer, so I was really hoping that the online tool that CropMom offered would be easy to figure out. I have to say that while my layout I created was completed in about 2 minutes and would not necessarily be something I would show my family, it did not turn out too bad and the site was easier to use than expected. I will revisit CropMom later and spend a little more time on a layout, but I wanted to get something completed to show you how the program works.
First, This is what CropMom’s about me page says about their site:
CropMom is an Internet-based service that allows its users to create one-of-a-kind digital scrapbook pages, cards and artwork that preserve cherished photos and memories for generations to come. Our mission is to reinvent scrapbooking, card making and storytelling by making it easier than ever to create designer-quality digital layouts that can be printed at home or professionally.
CropMom’s free online service allows members to upload their photos and embellish them with our top-of-the-line scrapbook graphics. The ability to create unique works of art is endless. The results are highly personalized and creative digital scrapbook pages, cards or artwork.
CropMom is free to use. Registered members may create and download Screen Quality digital layouts for personal use, such as on blogs, Web sites or in emails, at no charge. Registered members who want to print their photo layouts may purchase and download logo-free, Print Quality JPEG Files. These Print Quality digital layouts are suitable to print at home or have printed by a printing service. Layouts are for personal, non-commercial use only.
As mentioned by CropMom, you must be a registered member of the site to use their tool. This makes sense since you have to upload photos and you can save your layouts to go back and edit them at a later time. Registration was quick and easy and did not require going to your email to click a confirmation link. I just filled out the required information, chose a username and password and submitted the information and my account was ready to go.
While I will provide screenshots below, a lesson learned by me was that you should upload the photos and images that you want to use in your layout to the CropMom site ahead of time. I had already started to create my layout when I realized that I did not have any photos uploaded to add to the page. This meant that I had to save my work and go to another section of their site to upload photos, then go back and open my layout to edit it. There is a 5 megabyte limit per photo for uploading and a limit of 20 megabytes total storage for photos that are not used in a layout. Photos not used in layouts are deleted after 30 days. This did not become an issue for me since the only photos I uploaded were less than 5 megabytes each and I used them all in my layout immediately after uploading.
Now to the screenshots to help you better understand how this works.
Once you have registered for an account, you can login and see your layouts or start a new one. I chose the “create new layout” option.
The online tool is pretty simple and straightforward. You can choose photos (that you previously uploaded) to add to your layout, select graphics and a paper design that they offer and have separated into categories (I chose the “Deck the Halls” kit). The options on the left of the tool let you had text, remove anything you added that you no longer want on the layout, manipulate images and more,
You need to name your layout. This allows it to be saved so you can find it in your account later and also go back and edit, print or download if needed.
I saved my layout as “Christmas Tree” and then added a paper for the background from one of the many that they offered.
Oops, this is when I realized that I should have uploaded photos before starting.
The photo upload tool is easy to use. Just find the photos and upload them.
After uploading photos, I went back and opened the layout and started to add photos. I also added some text and some of the graphics they offered. Manipulating the images and text is just a matter of clicking on them and dragging them around the layout. You can move some photos to the front, others to the back, rotate the photos, graphics and more and resize everything to help build the perfect page.
This is not my “dream layout”, but it is my first digital layout and it was completed in just a few minutes with very little thought put into it other than “I need to get more screenshots for the article”. I really tried to online tool more to see how it worked so I could write about it, and less to see if I could design a page to send to family and friends
When you are done with the layout, you have the option to download a watermarked copy as shown above. You can also purchase a print quality version which I am guessing (hoping) will not have the watermark. If anyone knows for sure, please leave a comment so others will know.
Purchasing credits is not terribly expensive. As shown below, one credit is 1.99. To download a print quality version of the page I created, it would have cost me 1 credit. The more credits you buy at one time, the cheaper it is per credit.
For my first attempt at creating a digital scrapbooking layout, I am happy with what CropMom offered and was surprised at how easy it actually was. The best part was that it was free as long as you did not want a print quality version of your work. It was definitely easier than I thought and I will be going back to work on another layout that I will put more thought into. I would like to know if I can get some digi products from sites like ScrapGirls.com and see if they can be used on the layouts. If you have never created a digital scrapbooking layout because you are not proficient or comfortable with photo / image editing software, give CropMom a try. You may find that it is the right tool for you or you may even want to start looking more into learning more about using other programs on your own computer to go digital.