Tag Archives: tip

Top 5 Tips to Achieve Perfect Cluster Groups

Cluster groups are a scrapbook technique that baffles many scrappers.  Cluster groups are a great way to use some of the gorgeous embellishments included in kits and collections while improving the look of a scrapbook page layout.

Here are five key components to consider to achieve beautiful cluster groups.

  1. Repeat elements:  embellishments, papers, shapes, and colors.
  2. Odd numbers work best.  Three or five items always look better than two or four.
  3. Triangular arrangements work great in cluster groups and layout design.
  4. Place elements under, between and above photos and papers.
  5. Use clusters to move your eye around the page.

If you find it difficult to arrange clusters, try finding layouts or pre-made clusters that you like and study how the key components are applied.  Practice replicating the look in your own layouts.

First add several elements to use on a layout.  Then try multiplying, resizing, rearranging, and relayering to get the desired effect.  After all that if something just doesn’t seem to work, delete it.  As with anything new, it takes practice.  Since everything is digital it makes it super easy to practice.

Let’s explore a pre-made cluster.  A member of KimericKreations CT made this cluster using Kim’s Rustic Autumn kit.

cluster example

  1. The triangular shape is still apparent even in a more vertical design.
  2. Flower clusters-3 blue, 3 gold & 3 maroon flowers grouped and repeated 3 times.
  3. Blue leaves repeated 3 times.
  4. Banner flags-3 maroon flags, 3 plaid flags, 3 grey flags.
  5. Gold color repeated in heart & paint splatters at the top and middle, word art in the middle & circles at the bottom which also repeats the circular shape at the top and the clock in the middle.

When planning a cluster group it helps to copy/paste a minimum of three of each of the main items you plan to include.  Place them over to the side to start.  Then rotate and group some of them and place them in the general areas to make a triangle.  Some items, such as a single flair & single clock, work because the circular shape is repeated.

Now let’s look at a layout.  Instead of one cluster group, three groups create flow.

Slim vertical photo layout

Notice the general layout is triangular.  The cluster group on the top left, the butterfly on the top right and the clustering at the bottom use the five key components to move the eye around the layout.  Each cluster has an odd number of elements, three on the left, one on the right and five at the bottom.  The blue ribbon on each side of the photo ties in the blue umbrella.

If you are having trouble achieving beautiful cluster groups, try these five tips and see if they help.

Setting Preferences

Setting preferences is a time saving feature available in both My Memories Suite and Memory Mixer scrapbooking software.  Do you find yourself using the same fonts, shadows or other features time and time again?  Did you know you can set your preferences to apply throughout an entire album?  Setting preferences will save you time and still give you freedom to tweak things when you want. To set preferences choose Edit> Preferences.

Edit PreferencesYou can set your preferred font for the album you are working on and each album can have the same or different preferences.  As you can see below, you can set the preferred font type & size, bold, italics, underline, alignment and color.

Font PreferencesYou can also change the shadows for each element so your photos, shapes, embellishments and text shadows are all uniform.  Although I set a default for my embellishments I tweak them based on their “thickness”.  Remember with digital scrapping you need to consider how thick an item would be if you were paper scrapping.  If I’m using an embellishment, such as a thick flower, that would stand off the paper more than other embellies I will decrease the opacity and increase the blur.  Thinner items would have a darker, sharper shadow (higher opacity with less blur).  I don’t add a shadow to text that would appear hand written so I wouldn’t set a shadow for text.  If I’m using text as a title that would traditionally be raised, I’ll add a shadow to it.

Shadow PreferenceIf you use the grid or snap to grid feature you can also set these preferences as well.  You can display the grid based on pixels, inches or millimeters.

Grid PreferencesIn addition, you can set the following items as desired.  Captions, if checked, will enable auto caption which will display the name of the photo file below the photo.  Photo Cache uses caching technology to store thumbnails and make loading quicker.  You can also show or hide warning messages.  These messages differ in each program.

I think setting your preferences is definitely worth the effort and will make your album uniform while allowing you to tweak the settings as desired.