Review: Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3.0
Iain Laskey looks at the latest version of this popular scrapbook maker.
|Product||Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3.0|
|Web||Save $10 on Scrapbook Factory Deluxe|
|We like||More photo realistic elements, PDF output, friendly interface.|
|We don't like||More photo realistic elements, PDF output, friendly interface.|
Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3.0 provides a large range of options for creating scrapbooks, paper crafts and other projects. The program comes bundled with a vast amount of clip art, fonts, designs and other embellishments providing an all in one solution for anyone who wants to make creative and attractive pages from their photos.
The box contains a 150 page plus printed user manual (we like printed manuals) and a chunky container for the CDs. Installation is straightforward although we felt a bit concerned over the idea of installing 1000 new fonts on to a system. Too many fonts can impact performance but to be fair, there is a minimal install option that only installs the essentials.
You can read our thoughts on the previous version here so in this review we'll concentrate on what's new and our findings with this particular release.
The new features over version 2 aren't too numerous and are mainly grouped in to three areas. Firstly, lots more fiddly stuff to play with. This release sees some 500 new fonts, 20,000 new graphic elements, 2,500 new projects but more usefully in our opinion, a large number of photo realistic 'embellishments'. These include all the bits and pieces that can be added to photos to make the finished product look attractive such as background papers, ribbons, complete words, buttons and charms, photo corners and so on. Also new is the ability to output your work as PDF documents which aids sharing and makes it much easier to email your creations to friends and family. Finally, Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3 can now create all manner of calendar type projects.
Straight away, it is obvious this program is aimed at creating good results quickly. You can actually have something completed and ready to print in as few as 3 or 4 clicks. On the other hand, there is also the flexibility to let your artistic urges go mad with more than enough options and variations to keep even the most jaded scrapbooker happy. You can go with the defaults or do your own thing.
We did feel it was possible to become overwhelmed by the choices and number of templates and a better method of browsing and filtering would be welcome. Something for version 4 perhaps?
One thing that is immediately obvious to people of the non American persuasion is that there is precious little if any attempt made at making the product more suitable for the UK market. Many of the templates appear rather too twee and sugary and would need toning down a bit if they were to be used here.
However, there is still more than enough to keep you busy. The sort of creations Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3 can create include photo album layouts (or scrapbooks), journals, t-shirts, photo frames, crafts such as gift boxes and of course, various special occasions.
Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow
Generally, we had no problem using Scrapbook Factory although we did find some options took far longer to complete that we would have expected. I'm sure some optimisation could still be carried out on resizing images and other key areas. We also had one or two crashes which was a slight concern so regular saving is to be advised but the vast majority of the time, it worked fine even on quite large projects.
The bottom line of course is the printed results and here the new photorealistic embellishments pay dividends. Whilst its easy to overuse these sort of things, used sparingly they add a real element of pizzazz to the printed pages. The standard clip-art is still a bit average though. The new PDF output option is also much appreciated making it easy to send great looking photo albums or just single pages to friends and family.
Whilst Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 3 doesn't seem to offer a vast amount of new features compared to version 2, what is does add makes a very real difference to the finished product. If you like messing around with your photos and have a creative side or even need help bringing out your artistic abilities, you'll find Scrapbook Factory Deluxe great fun to play with. Existing users should also find the improvements worth upgrading for and at under £30, it isn't going to break the bank either.