How To Create And Distribute Multimedia Web Presentations And Stunning Visual Photo Albums: Scrapblog - Video Review
A new web-based service allowing powerful creation and easy online distribution of multimedia presentations and visual photo-albums is about to announce its official re-launch with a completely new feature-set, interface and components integration.
The all-new Scrapblog is in fact a Formula 1 racer when it comes to assembling, enriching and packaging visual presentations for online digital delivery. In a whole different ball-game than typical photo-sharing services, Scrapblog competes somehow with higher end presentation-delivery applications such as Splashcast, and with lower-end photo- and presentation-sharing sites like Bubbleshare, Slideshare, SPresent and several other ones.
Scrapblog goes beyond these presentation delivery services by offering both an authoring and a creative dimension to its toolset that is generally not available as a combination in the many other web-presentation and delivery tools that have appeared in the least 12 months.
Scrapblog takes photos and videos only as a starting point, and while it can beautifully aggregate and arrange them for presentation delivery, it gives you also innovative ways to play around and dress up your content with multimedia elements and graphics.
For those of you familiar with Mac apps, you'll find Scrapblog remarkably similar to iWeb in design, while drawing lots of inspiration from Keynote (PowerPoint for the Mac) and borrowing some from from iDVD as well.
In this step-by-step exclusive video review of the all-new Scrapblog I take you though the different elements that make this not only a great tool for sharing your photos and videos, but also an impressive presentation packaging and design tool breaking new ground on several fronts.
Scrapblog showcases an impressive range of features which could even challenge some desktop applications for their breadth and power, while sporting usability and ease of use beyond most web-based apps. The fact that some of the key people behind Scrapblog come from an interface and usability design background shows quite clearly.
Among the most interesting and innovative features packed into this next generation web application are:
A drag and drop interface that lets you rotate, resize, layer and adjust images, text and even video on the fly
Contextual menus that give you a broad range of features, including image transparency control, the addition of image reflections, cropping and layering, among many more
Easy importing of your photos from both your desktop or several of the more popular photo-sharing services
An impressive line-up of themes, design elements and backgrounds created by a group of international graphic designers
Easy sharing options, including the ability to embed your finished Scrapblog presentations into your blog or website
Coming to a browser near you any day now, Scrapblog packs a great many features into a simple interface, and manages to do so from a 100% online web application. To see how you can put together your own media rich photo and video presentations, and how easy it has just become to create great looking visual content, read on.
In this first video I introduce you to the all-new Scrapblog.
Scrapblog has been around for some time, and is an easy-to-use tool for creating media rich scrapbooks and presentations that you can share over the web. For the last two years, since its initial proof of concept edition, the Scrapblog team have been developing the rich web application that is featured in these exclusive behind-the-scenes videos.
This new edition of Scrapblog genuinely does push the boundaries of what I thought possible in a web application, taking another step forward from already impressive services like online presentation tool SPresent and online photo-editing applications such as Picnik.
Scrapblog makes it easy for people with little in the way of design skills to grab professionally designed graphic elements, customize them to their needs, and create impressive photo slide shows and presentations. Here's how:
The Scrapblog interface
The Scrapblog interface is incredibly simple to get used to, but still manages to pack in an impressive feature-set. From the word go, almost anything you can see on a page layout can be dragged, dropped, deleted, resized and rotated without ever having to lay eyes on a menu. In this way, using one of the many themes provided by Scrapblog you can move around an array of professionally designed prefabricated design elements, creating your own custom layouts.
If you do want more control however, contextual menus for every item on the canvas make it a straightforward task to change the opacity of an image, add or remove borders from photos, send images back and forward to create layers and any number of other useful features, depending on whether you are working with text, images or video.
Organizing your Scrapblog
In addition to having a well featured interface, Scrapblog makes it easy to arrange your presentations and customize their overall look. In the next video, I detail how you can:
Easily add, remove and duplicate pages to your Scrapblog, so that you create layouts from scratch, or else use the same layout several times to create variations on a theme
Sequence the pages in any order you like, and add impressive-looking transitions between each page
Add background music from a selection of royalty-free tracks
Here are the details:
Scrapblog and photos
Scrapblog does a great job of editing and adding slick presentation to your photos. Scrapblog makes this easy by allowing you to either upload images from your desktop, or else import complete sets of images from Flickr, Photobucket, Yahoo Photos and Webshots.
Among the features packed into Scrapblog, it offers the ability to:
Crop your photos using star-shaped, rectangular and ovoid cropping tools
Add reflections and drop-shadows to your images
Resize and rotate photos right from the main canvas
Layer your photos one on top of the other, with the ability to change the stacking order of images, creating a sense of three-dimensionality
See for yourself:
Stickers and backgrounds
If it were just a matter of editing photos Scrapblog would have a hard time carving out a niche for itself in what is becoming an increasingly crowded image-editing marketplace. However, key to the Scrapblog experience is the inclusion of great looking design elements and backgrounds that you can put to use in impressive presentations of your images and videos.
Each Scrapblog theme, of which there are several, has its own set of backgrounds and 'stickers' - discrete design elements that you can place around your canvas to create a desired effect. Think of stickers as designer clip art, as essentially that is what they are - the Scrapblog team drafted in graphic designers from around the world to create these themed elements.
As I demonstrate in the next video you are not limited to using the stickers and backgrounds from a single theme, but can actually draw on any combination from a vast library in creating your own customized mash-ups of these design elements. Here's how:
Text and shapes
The Scrapblog team have also made it a piece of cake to add text to your layouts. Whether using the fonts and styles provided, or by accessing your own font collection, which Scrapblog makes possible, you can add, rotate, resize and modify text to your heart's content, in addition to being able to use comic-book-like speech and thought-bubbles should the mood take you.
Then, should you want to take a hands-on approach to the design of your layouts, this is made possible through the range of shapes that you can stretch and change, selecting your own custom fills, gradients, level of opacity, drop-shadows and more besides. In this way you can create interesting designs to place around or in the midst of your photos and videos.
Here are the details:
Video and frames
Two new and welcome additions to Scrapblog are the ability to import YouTube videos, alongside the use of easy to implement frames that will wrap around your images, regardless of any resizing or rotation you might apply to them.
What is truly impressive about Scrapblog ability to edit YouTube videos is that you can resize them to any dimensions, with the same drag and drop ease as you can photos, and can even rotate the videos to create a skewed effect. This is the first time that I have seen this kind of real-time video morphing capability - as the video plays - outside of a high-end motion graphics application like Apple Motion.
See for yourself how it works:
Sharing your Scrapblog
Once you have finished your Scrapblog you have a good few options available to you as to how you want to share it. In addition to being able to view your Scrapblog from the Scrapblog website, and invite others to do so, you can also share it with the wider community of users, or embed it in your blog or webpage. Scrapblog makes it easy to do any of the above, right from the main presentation console.
Navigating your way through presentations can be as simple as pressing play, and watching the slide show unfold, complete with the transitions you added earlier. However, you can also manually skip from one page to the next, or else jump from slide to slide with the aid of contextual thumbnails that appear if you roll over the bottom of the player.
Check it out for yourself:
I was very impressed by Scrapblog, and I would be hard pressed to find any complaints to make about it. What it offers is both a very simple, and yet very feature-rich way to share your photos and videos in a much more interesting way than the standard photo-sharing services out there.
By combining and editing your photos and videos with professionally designed layouts, themes and graphic elements you can create impressive-looking slide-shows and presentations in a very short time.
Scrapblog also offers a well-rounded range of tools that push the envelope on what is possible for web applications. These include, but are not limited to:
Real-time drag-and-drop editing of photos, graphics and text, allowing you to rotate, resize and apply all manner of effects
The inclusion of a rich library of graphic design elements for you to mash up into new and unique combinations in the presentation of your videos and photos
Strong import features, with the ability to bring in photos from a range of popular photo-sharing services, and videos from the ubiquitous YouTube
Knock-out transitions between the pages of your Scrapblog that look every bit as good as those on professional presentation software
An eminently usable interface that has been very well thought through, making it a glitch-free pleasure to use
In short if you are looking to create beautiful slide shows, deal-winning presentations or just scrapbooks full of your memories, Scrapblog has the tools to make this not only very simple, but also very good-looking indeed.
Full video playlist
Should you wish to watch the full Scrapblog video review without interruption, you can do so with by watching the following YouTube playlist:
If you would like to learn more about Scrapblog you might like to check out the following links:
Thank you, Michael and Robin, our team is thrilled with your review. We also like the screencasts very much. We'll be taking off the bubble wrap shortly, as soon as we move everything over to the new version. If anyone would like to get in a bit earlier, though, please send me an email and I'll send you back an invite.
This sounds like a great tool. I'm going to try it out and maybe recommend it to my readers too.
I'll be sure to check out some of the possibilities of scrap-blog before recommending it to people myself. This seems like it could be great tool for sharing media and memories for those travelling or working away from home.
Great review keep up the good work!