If you’re looking to tap into your digital creative side, download Serif CraftArtist Compact. This free program has all the tools you need to create everything from greetings cards and photo books to digital scrapbooks that you can share or print out. In this project you’ll learn how to get started – after that, the sky’s the limit.
Firstly, you’ll need to sign up for a free account with Daisytrail.com. Visit the site’s Free Stuff section and click the download link next to CraftArtist Compact. Follow the prompts to set up your free account, then check your email inbox for the instructions and product key you’ll need to download, install and use the program.
1. Install program and Digikits
Double-click the setup file and install the program following the prompts. You don’t need to install the ‘recommended’ toolbar , so untick this box before clicking Proceed. Ignore the prompt to reboot, but otherwise follow the steps to install CraftArtist Compact. Finish by rebooting your PC.
CraftArtist Compact uses Digikits to provide additional backgrounds, embellishments and other useful pages for your project. Return to the Free Stuff section to download and install any that take your fancy.
2. First steps
Launch CraftArtist Compact from the desktop or Start menu. Select Blank project from the Get started menu, then pick the Scrapbook pages category, choose A4 and click OK.
The Digikit Browser will appear with your installed Digikits, accessible from under the My Digikits section. Click one to view its contents – you can then add individual elements by clicking them, or click Add all Items to add everything of a particular type, such as embellishments or backgrounds. Alternatively, you can simply click Add Digikit, to add the entire Digikit.
3. Set background
Keep adding items from different Digikits until you’ve finished, then click Done. Now expand the Backgrounds section in the left-hand sidebar, then click and drag one of the background designs on to your blank canvas. You can always replace it with a different choice by dragging a new design onto the canvas.
4. Add photos
Next, select Photos and click Add, to select and import your own photos or images. Now you can drag a photo into place on the canvas – use its blue drag handles to position, resize or rotate the photo. Click Convert To Frame, followed by the Crop button underneath the photo to trim unwanted elements from it. When done, click Back.
5. Add a frame
You can enhance your photos by adding a frame from the Frames sidebar – pick one that matches the shape of your photo then drag it over the image. Alternatively, select your photo then switch to the Effects tab in the right-hand sidebar. Here, you can choose one of the Shadow effects to add a drop shadow instead of a frame.
6. Overlay images
If photos overlap each other, right-click one and choose Order Items: from here you can move it in front or behind other overlapping objects.
The Text tool makes it easy to add text – select it, click on the canvas and start typing. You can also add symbols and other characters using the Embellishments and Letters sections in the left-hand sidebar. Try experimenting with the other tools: if you don’t like the effects just select Edit > Undo.
7. Print or share
Save your project regularly via the File > Save menu. When you’ve finished, you can export your image for sharing by choosing File > Export > Export as Image, or Export as PDF. Or, Select File > Print, to print out the picture.
Suggested additions to the jargon buster:
Digikit: a collection of backgrounds, materials, letters, frames and layouts to use in Serif CraftArtist Compact projects based around a particular theme.
Drag handles: small boxes on the edge of object frames which, when clicked, allow the frame to be moved, resized, rotated or cropped.
Embellishments: icons and illustrations that can be used to provide background decoration for your scrapbook pages in Serif CraftArtist Compact. These can be resized and rotated like other page elements, including photos and text.