Picasa Tip: When your pictures get “All Messed UP”

It does happen. I saw it just this past week while private tutoring someone on Picasa. I double-clicked on a thumbnail photo of a little girl, and what appeared was a photo of a boat! What the …. ?!#%*!

This can be a scary experience if you don’t know what’s going on. It appears that your pictures are missing or garbled. All that has actually happened is that Picasa’s listings of them have become corrupted. Your photos are fine. It’s like you’re trying to read a book with someone else’s eyeglasses. Nothing looks right, but the book is fine.

What I referred to above as Picasa’s ‘listings’ is actually a database, and it needs to be rebuilt. The built in method to accomplish this is to hold down the Alt, Ctrl, and Shift key as you launch Picasa. Make sure to launch Picasa from the start menu however, not from a desktop icon.

So, hold down Alt, Ctrl and Shift; Click Start and Picasa 3. Once you see the Picasa 3 logo, you can let go of Alt Ctrl Shift. It will take a minute, but you should eventually see:

Alt Ctrl Shift to open Picasa and rebuild database

Click Yes, and it will rebuild it’s internal database. When it’s done, your pictures should all be back to normal.

If you don’t want to trust this built in procedure and you’d rather do it yourself, let me tell you how. The database is actually a set of folders found within a folder called Picasa2. Yes, even in Picasa3, the database is found in a folder called Picasa2. That folder is located along with other program settings in your Windows user settings folder. Specifically, in Windows Vista it is:

C:UsersChrisAppDataLocalGooglePicasa2

In XP it is:

C:Documents and SettingsChrisLocal Settingsapplication datagooglePicasa2
Where it reads ‘Chris’ above, you would substitute your user name. (thanks to a comment below for reminding me to tell you that this is a *hidden* folder. You will only see it if you have your system set to view hidden folders – Tools, Folder Options, View, Show Hidden Folders) The easiest way to make Picasa rebuild it’s database is to remove the current one,then it has no choice but to build a new one the next time it opens. I like to just rename the Picasa2 folder to something like Picasa2-backup, just in case something goes wrong, I can always return to how it was. Then I open Picasa. It will come up with the same message it displayed when you first installed it … “Do you want me to scan your entire computer, or just My Documents / My Pictures?” I choose the ‘My Documents … ” option. When it’s done with it’s scan everything should be back to normal.
GOT Class Members can watch tutorial videos on:
First Time Using Picasa 3 – scan for photos
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Picasa Tip: Scanning Old Photos

Do you have a scanner and some old photos you want to scan? Have you started to read the manual and given up on figuring it out? I have good news for you! You don’t have to figure out the software that came with the scanner, because Picasa can handle it all for you, it’s just like importing from your camera but, instead of camera, you import from the scanner.

Using Picasa’s Import Command with Your Scanner

I was visiting my Mom’s and we started looking at old pictures. Between the two of us we could identify most of them and I wanted to preserve them. She has one of those all-in-one printer-copier-scanners. So, here’s what I did:

  1. Make sure everything is connected and turned on!
  2. Put the photo on the glass of the scanner – face down
  3. In Picasa, click ‘Import’
  4. Click the arrow for the drop down list of devices. You should see your scanner listed … select it
  5. Now you will see a screen that depends on your scanner. There should be an option to ‘Preview’. Click that.
  6. You should now see your picture, there may be some settings you want to change here, but if it looks OK then
  7. Click the button to Scan
  8. When it’s done scanning, you’re back at the standard Picasa Import screen. Click Import all.
  9. Select a folder to put it in. I made a folder called ‘Old Photos’ for the first one, then, for each subsequent scanned photo, I selected that existing folder from the drop-down list.

I scanned 53 old photos in this manner. It took me somewhat over an hour. Then I just took another few seconds to use Batch Edit and do an ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ and ‘Sharpen’ to all 53 at once. I think the results are great. What do you think?

This is a photo from circa 1962 – me at 10 years old in Alaska. It looks better than the original!

GOT Class Members can also view related videos:

Importing from Camera
Sharpen and Batch Edit
Basic Editing Features
Retouching

Picasa Tip: Use Albums

If you go to the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2008, do you put the pictures in a folder called Grand Canyon? Or a folder called Summer 2008?

How about when you return to the Canyon in 2009? Do you put them in with your other Grand Canyon photos, or make a new Summer 2009. If you make a Summer 2009 folder, how can you see a slide show of all your Grand Canyon photos? Whatever you do, DO NOT make copies of the pictures so they can be in a Grand Canyon folder and a Summer 2009 folder. That quickly becomes a mess.

You don’t need to organize your pictures into lots of different folders. Just keep it simple, all pictures into one folder for the year – or, if you take enough, put them into folders by month.

Picasa has this magical feature called Albums. An album is like a virtual folder. You can go thru all your pictures and find the photos of your dog, marking them for a ‘dog’ album. You haven’t moved the pictures, you haven’t copied them, you’ve just created a list of pointers to them so they are all grouped in one place. That place is called an Album.

Select the photos, then click the 'Add to Album' button
Select the photos, then click the ‘Add to Album’ button.

Once a group of photos has been marked in an album, you can now create a Gift CD with all the photos in the album, you can make a movie, or a slideshow, export them or upload them all at once.

So, don’t organize your photos into a lot of separate folders. And, definitely don’t make extra copies of them to put in different folders. Just make one simple folder structure – I put all photos into a folder for the month they were taken. This also makes it a simple matter to back up my photos. I do it every month and I just back up the folder for that month.

Then, you can create as many different Albums as you want. One picture of my dog, Odie, in June of 2008 will be stored in the folder 200806. But, it could show up in an Album called ‘Odie’, another album called ‘Minnesota’, and a third called ‘Dogs.’ The picture only exists once on my computer – in the folder. You can view it in that folder, as well as in all three Albums. The albums are magical creations – the photos don’t really exist there. I can delete a photo from an album but it still exists in the folder and whatever other albums I may have grouped it in. However, if I delete the photo from the folder … It’s gone.

Albums are wonderful creations, but you also need to understand that they are a creation of Picasa alone. If you ever need to use some other program to see your pictures, the albums won’t be there.

Geeks on Tour Members can also view the following tutorial videos to learn more:

Using Albums
Picasa 3: Folders
Picasa 3: Search for pictures
Picasa 3: Selecting Pictures
Picasa 3: Starrred Photos
Preparing photos for other programs with Export

Picasa tip: Your photos as Screensaver

My computer is very entertaining. Especially when I’m not using it! It’s the photo screensaver. There’s not much that entertains me more than watching photos of our RV travels these last 5 years. Just sit back and watch. And I use two monitors, so I have double the fun. Here’s what it looks like:


How do you turn it on?
In Picasa, use the Tools menu and click on Configure Screensaver … From there, you should see the following screen, and you can select ‘Google Photos Screensaver’ from the drop-down list. If you ever want to turn it off, just go here and select ‘None.’

What options are there?
The first option is right on the first screen. How long do you want it to wait to start playing the slideshow? Mine is set to 10 minutes. This means that, if I don’t touch the computer for 10 minutes, the slideshow will start playing.

The rest of the options are on the Settings … button. The most important is that you can choose the pictures to show. I choose to show my Picasa Starred photos, but you can also use the special Screensaver album, or any combination of folders. Since it is Picasa doing the work, you get the edited version of the photo, not the original. You can also select the transition, and the timing.

Maybe it’s best to select a smaller number of photos so you won’t be tempted to just stare for hours!

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GOT Class? Become a member of our Geeks On Tour online classroom and learn from our tutorial videos and members forum.

Picasa 3 and Video Files

picasavideoMany point and shoot digital cameras today have a video mode.  If your video files are stored in a supported format, Picasa will manage them right along with your photo files.  The supported formats are: .avi, .mpg, .asf, .wmv and .mov.  If any of those files exist on your camera card when you import, they will be imported as well.  You will see them in your picasa library.  They will look just like a photo, except you will see a movie icon in the lower left corner, like the image at right.  And, when you double-click on it, it will play.

Viewing Video files in Picasa 3

You may have several video files in your library right now and not even know it!  Picasa 3 gives you an easy way to find out.  Just click the filter, ‘Show Movies Only.’  You’ll find the filters at the top of the Picasa window in the middle.  Movies is the 4th filter, and it looks like a little piece of movie film.  Click that once and now the only items that will be showing in your library are video files.

Uploading Video Files to Web Albums

You can select video files just like you can select photos.  When you click once on it, it appears in the ‘picture tray’ or ‘selection area.’  Then, anything that is selected will get uploaded to your Picasa Web Album just by clicking the Upload button (in Picasa 2 this was the Web Album button.)  When your friends and family view your Picasa Web Album, they will be able to play your video as easily as as viewing your photos!

Uploading Video Files to Youtube

Picasa 3 has added a lot of new functionality for video files, including a single-click method to upload to Youtube. When you double-click on any video file, you will see the ‘Upload to Youtube’ button at the left.  Click on that, make sure you are logged in to your Youtube account, fill out the information fields, and click ‘Upload Video.’  Picasa 3 takes care of all the rest.  Just sit back and wait – this will take a while.  And, once it’s uploaded, then Youtube still takes more time to ‘process’ it.  It may even take a day, but then you can go to youtube.com, log in to your account, and view the video.  You can also send a link to anyone else so they can view it too.  OR  embed it in your blog.

Related Videos at www.GeeksonTour.com*:
Create a Web Album (instructions for Picasa 2, still relavant for Picasa 3)
Creating movies from photos with Picasa 3
Managing and sharing movie files with Picasa 3

*available to members of Geeks on Tour classroom