Editor's Note: The manufacturer has notified us that they now offer 77 free kits and 8,969 additional kits. We will post the new test results and review when we next test Digital Scrapbooking Software.
FOREVER Artisan 5 lives up to its name by helping you create a digital scrapbook that has a handmade quality. This software allows for just the right balance between creative freedom and convenience. You do not want your pages to look like cookie cutter images, but if you are in the market for digital scrapbooking software, you are probably interested in the convenience of readymade templates. Artisan allows for both convenience and customization. The pre-designed layouts and embellishments are high quality, but the program also allows you to create original visuals in a hurry.
The photo editing tools are among Artisan's greatest strengths. This is the only product in our digital scrapbooking software review to get a perfect score for photo editing. It is the product least likely to force you to use a separate photo editing program, which is a great benefit. When you click on any photo you have inserted into the layout, you get the option to crop, rotate, repair red eye, sharpen, and change photos to sepia or black and white. You can change colors in a number of ways as well, adjusting even tiny areas of a photo to make it look its best.
There is a nice variety of publishing options with Artisan. You can share your finished scrapbook as a slideshow, on Flickr, Facebook or Picasa. You can also easily create a PDF that can be emailed, or you can use FOREVER Print Shop to make hard copies of your scrapbook if you want a tangible keepsake. You can print pages on your own equipment as well. There is not a specific tool for publishing to a CD or DVD, but the exporting tools have JPG and PDF options, which facilitate many different sharing methods.
This interface was not the most user-friendly we encountered. We found the scrapbooking tools we needed more easily with other software, but eventually we found our way around Artisan, and we like that it will automatically place your photos for you if you are in a hurry. If you have a different layout in mind, you can drag and drop photos into just the right place using rulers.
This scrapbook program lacks several multimedia options. It compares poorly to other scrapbooking software when it comes to adding links or audio and video clips. That is not a huge factor for everyone, but if you like to add those things to your electronic scrapbook, you may want to use something besides Artisan.
Artisan was not the easiest software we used, and it's missing a few multimedia tools, but it offers access to many classy designs and tools for personalizing them. You will love the layouts you can make with Artisan but you may want to look at other products if you want to make a video album with incorporated music or video.