What is Universal Content?

So, if you've looked at any digital content on my CM website recently, you may have noticed what seem to be duplicate packages that are listed as “Universal Content.”

So, what is Universal Content?

These packages are the same digital content packages that you can purchase for use in your Storybook Creator software, but in more universal file formats (like .jpg, .png, etc.)  that can be used in other non-CM software and on Macs.  Hence, the term “Universal” because you can use it in numerous platforms.

So, which should you purchase?  Storybook Creator content or Universal content?

If you're following this blog, chances are, you already use/own Storybook Creator Plus.  In that case, your best bet is to continue to purchase the Storybook Creator specific content.  These packages are marked with symbols indicating they work with Storybook Creator 3.0 and/or 4.0.  The reason that this would be your most valuable option is that the Storybook content is tagged with extras that will benefit you within the program.  CM now pre-tags all of your content so that it's easy to find within the program, doing a lot of extra tedious legwork for you.

However, if you're using another program, the Universal content option, which sports an icon showing an open lock, will give you the same artwork for use in your software of choice.

Hope that answers your questions on that … Until next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

A GREAT Keyword Enhancement in Storybook Creator Plus 4.0

I had some time to work with Storybook Creator Plus 4.0 the other day, and came across a great feature to the upgrade … the ability to easily delete keywords from an element.

If you ever used keywords in Storybook Creator Plus 3.0, you probably know that they are HUGELY useful for finding individual content pieces when working on a project.

You probably also ran into one annoying little issue.

If you originally created a keyword, let's say … “blue,” and then Creative Memories started keywording their content with a similar keyword, say “Blue,” combining these two keywords was not possible.  If you  wanted to delete your original keyword, you had to remove it from every individual item by first right-clicking on it in the Content Manager and then selecting remove.  If you couldn't find every individual item with that keyword, it was impossible to get rid of it.  This could make for a very long list of keywords to scroll through.

In SBC+4.0, adding and removing keywords from an item is much easier than it was before.  Try this, it's so much easier.

  1. Click on Manage content on the Welcome page.
  2. In the Content Manager, click on the Kit Preview icon.
  3. Pick a package from the carousel and click on one of the content items displayed to select it.
    Kit Preview for Keywords
  4. You'll notice on the right, there's a text box that will enable you to type in keywords to add to the selected item.  If it is a keyword that has already been established, it will automatically check the box for you.
    Keyword Entry
  5. Once you have keywords chosen for a content item, you'll notice them listed beneath the text box.  Next to each keyword is a small red X, making it easy to quickly delete an unnecessary keyword.
    Keyword RemovalGive it a try and see how it works for you.  Until next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

Should I Upgrade to Storybook Creator Plus 4.0?

I know that some of you have already purchased the upgrade from Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 to SBC+4.0.  Others of you may be meaning to get to it, or maybe you're hesitating because you're not totally comfortable with Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 yet.

There are a couple of things I would suggest that you take into consideration before making the jump.

First of all, rest assured, if you're still working with Storybook Creator Plus 3.0, you can still make Storybooks and order from CM.  All of the content that is currently being released is compatible with both 3.0 and 4.0.  Not a problem to continue using it.

Now, before jumping on board with the upgrade to 4.0, I would strongly suggest that you look at your computer's capabilities .  The Quickstart Guide for Storybook Creator Plus 4.0 recommends that you have these system requirements, at a minimum:

  • Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 2 (32-bit edition), Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit editions)
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz (2 GHz or higher recommended), 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • System Memory (RAM): 1 GB (2 GB recommended)
  • Monitor: 1024 x 768 resolution or greater with 32-bit color
  • Disk space: 2 GB free space on system drive for software installation; as needed on system drive or other drive for storage of projects and content.

The method for checking your system to verify whether you meet these requirements varies based on whether you are running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, but not by much.  In general, …

  • Click on the Start button and choose Control Panel.
  • Click the link on the upper left that says Switch to Classic View.
  • Double click on System.
  • Under the General tab, you should see information that includes what operating system you are using, how much RAM you have and what the processor speed is.

To find out how much free hard drive space you have, click again on the Start button and select My Computer.

  • Right click on the C: drive (or your main drive, if it isn't labeled C:) and select Properties.
  • This will show you how much free space your main hard drive has available.

Why is this really important?  Well, Storybook projects, big and small, take a lot of system resources.  Photo files are large, and the content graphics (the digital papers and embellishments) are also large files.  All of this together means that the software has to juggle quite a load, and that means that your system has to flex some muscles.  The minimum requirements are just that: the minimum.  I have tried running the software with the minimum, and it doesn't work well.

So, what does this mean for you?  If you're already running Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 and things are working well, great.  If you've got at least the minimum or more, try the free 30-day trial of Storybook Creator 4.0 and see how it works for you.  You don't have to uninstall 3.0 to do it, and I would recommend just leaving it in the background.  Then you can see how this version will work for you and make the decision.

If Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 runs a little slowly or your computer is older and is closer to the low end of the minimum requirements, you probably want to keep working with this version and wait a bit before moving on to 4.0.  It won't hurt you to do it, and you might have a little less frustration.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!  I am always here to help.

Until then, Enjoy!

~ Deb

 

More Tips For Working With Storybook Creator Plus 4.0

As promised, there's more!  In addition to the tips that Creative Memories has recently released to help you work with Storybook Creator 4.0 a  little more smoothly, I've been thinking up a few of my own tips that have served me well for the last two versions, too.

First of all, when you begin a Storybook project or any project with multiple pages, I always suggest creating the initial project with one of the simple themes/packages.  Look for one of the ones marked Basic, like Basic Black or Basic White.  Or, if you know that you like the Click n' Fill types of pages, start with one of those.  The simplicity of the backgrounds takes less memory than a package that builds a 20 page book full of elaborate papers and embellishments before the photos are even added.  You can go back in to any project and change the selected themes and papers as you work through it, but starting light helps keep things moving more quickly.

My second suggestion is what I would term Power Layouts for Storybook.  For any of you who have done traditional paper scrapbooking with Creative Memories over the years, you may be familiar with the concept of Power Layouts.  When I'm preparing a storybook, I always sort and lay out the photos first throughout the entire book before I worry about the papers and embellishments for the page.  Turning on the Two-page view in Storybook helps me to plan the book in two-page spreads.  I prefer to rely mostly on Click n' Fill pages, and then I delete or move any items that don't fit with what I want to show.

I have also found that when I work on a large Storybook project,  it's helpful to select only 25 to 35 pictures at a time to import into my project.  Once I work through the first batch of photos, I remove any remaining unused pictures from the Photo list and import the next batch.  This is SO much easier than bringing in 100 or more photos at one time.  The list is easier to wade through and work with than a large one.  Plus, not having extra photos included in the project keeps the whole file size down.

I hope these tips help.  Until next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

Tips For Working With Storybook Creator Plus 4.0

Have you started working with Storybook Creator Plus 4.0 yet?

It's a neat new way to work with your Storybook pages and projects.  But, as with any updated software, there are some tips that will make it … cooperate … with you a little better.   Here are a few of the tips that Creative Memories has published that may help you get things moving a little more smoothly.

Below are the tips as published by CM.  I'll indicate my comments in italics.

 

*****

If you are experiencing slowness with StoryBook Creator 4.0, or are seeing errors about memory issues, here are some tips to help improve performance:

· Restart your computer daily. This deletes temporary files that may be taking up unnecessary space and memory on your computer.
This is always a good idea.  You will notice an improvement in most all of your computer usage if you reboot regularly.  

· Close other unnecessary applications and services when running StoryBook Creator 4.0.
This, again, is a basic premise.  Other programs, even if you are not actively using them, are utilizing system resources in the background.  Give your computer a break and don't ask it to multi-task when you're using a heavy memory program. 

· If editing a project created in StoryBook Creator 3.0, use File > Save As to save the project in 4.0 format.  Pages will load considerably faster when saved in 4.0 format.
You can do this relatively simply.  The program will not allow you to save the 4.0 file in the same place as the 3.0 file if you do not change the name.  My recommendation would be to save your 4.0 projects in a separate file, such as the new default folder called Storybook Creator Projects that 4.0 inserts in the Documents folder when you upgrade.

· Check for system and software updates, and make sure everything on your computer (including but not limited to StoryBook Creator 4.0) is currently up to date.
This is, again, another basic aspect of computer usage.  It's a good rule of thumb to tuck into your pocket for future use, no matter what program you are running.

· Schedule your anti-virus scans and system/software updates to run at times you are not commonly using StoryBook Creator.
Depending on the anti-virus software you are running, a scan can suck all the juice you'll need to run your software.  Make sure you don't turn off the scanning features … you still want those to regularly check your system.  But schedule them for times when you aren't using SBC4.0.  You'll be much happier for it.

· For computers running 32-bit versions of Windows with 2 GB of RAM or less, we recommend turning on the aggressive memory management feature. The checkbox for aggressive memory management can be found under Help > Options > Page Editing. Enabling this feature may also help users with more RAM.  Some memory issues you experience may display a message suggesting you turn on this feature.

Aggressive memory management allows StoryBook Creator 4.0 to do some of the memory management itself, eliminating issues that may result from fragmented memory. Turning on aggressive memory management may or may not make the software noticeably slower, depending on what you are doing.  The impact on performance would normally occur when the software needs to compact memory to allocate more, so it won’t happen for everything you do.

· After you have completed the primary design of a page – especially finalizing the size of your elements and photos – opt to reduce memory usage on elements on the page.

To do this, right-click on an element on the page and choose Properties > Memory usage. Then choose Reduce memory usage for all elements on this page. Please note that if you enlarge an element by more than 120% after enabling this feature, the resolution of the element may be compromised. That’s why this feature should only be used after you have determined the final size of the element. However, on a page with many elements, using this feature can make a huge difference in the memory requirements.

*****

I have a few more tips of my own that I'll share next.  Until then, Enjoy!

 

Nice fixes on the most recent Storybook Creator 4.0 update

If you've spent any time with Storybook Creator Plus in the past, you know that there are occasional updates available to fix little things that CM hears about from you.  It's always a good idea to download and install the updates when they become available, because it can save you time, frustration and problems with ordering that project that you have been diligently working on.

If you open SBC+4.0 today, you'll see a message on the right hand side of the Welcome screen indicating that the current update, released on November 18th, fixes some bugs that created problems when ordering 8×8 Storybooks and 8×12 and 12×12 Calendars.  If you have recently created either of those projects, or you're in the process, please make sure you update your software as soon as possible, or you may have difficulty when trying to order your project.

To update your Storybook Creator 4.0 software:

1.  Open Storybook Creator 4.0.

2.  At the bottom of the Welcome screen, click on the link that says Click to check for software updates.  This will take you to the download page for the SBC+4 update.

3.  Close StoryBook Creator 4.0 start the download.

4.  Click on the link that says Click Here to start the download.

5.  Select Run/Open if you want to automatically install the update after download, or Save the update to install at a later time.  If you decide to Save, you must still install the downloaded file in order for the update to be applied.  In most cases, you can do this by simply double-clicking the file and following the prompts.  SBC+4 must be closed for the update to be installed.

Here is what CM says about the fixes and additions with this update:

StoryBook Creator 4.0 Software Update
StoryBook Creator 4.0 is occasionally updated to correct bugs and improve your user experience. At this time, we have made the following update:

  • BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! You can once again right-click on a photo in your project workspace and engage the crop tool.
  • FIXED! Errors when trying to save projects, especially projects started in StoryBook Creator 3.0.
  • FIXED! Issue with the software sometimes locking up when filling elements or group of elements with a paper.
  • FIXED! You can now drag and drop photos from Memory Manager 3.0 to the current page in StoryBook Creator 4.0.  This is awesome!
  • FIXED! Predesigned pages will now appear when creating a smaller project with the same aspect ratio as the predesigned pages.
  • FIXED! The order preview now displays warnings for the cover page of a project.
  • FIXED! The photos used/not used filter now works properly for projects converted from 3.0 to 4.0 format.  I use this all the time and really hope it works now.
  • FIXED! Order and names displayed for packages in the Kit Preview mode of Content Manager now appear correctly the first time the user enters Content Manager.

Hope this little bit helps.  Until next time … Enjoy!