Blurring Someone’s Face

Blurring facesQ: I do therapy work with people and horses.  I love taking pictures while the people are with the horses, but I need to preserve their privacy before I show the pictures to anyone else.  When Picasa had the Creative Kit option, I would use the Focal Pixelate feature to make the faces unrecognizable.  Is there a way to do that now with Picasa?

Melinda

A: You’re in luck!  I have discovered a way to do this.  On the last tab of editing tools, you will see a Pixelate option.  That will pixelate the entire picture.  But … if you hold down the shift key, you will notice that “Pixelate” becomes “Focal Pixelate!”  Who knew?!  Then, there’s one last step.  “Focal Pixelate” will pixelate the entire picture except a circle around a focal point.  What we want is to pixelate only a circle around a focal point.  To do that, you click on the Reverse checkbox.

reverse

Now, you need to set the focal point to a face.  You should notice that your mouse is a green crosshairs and wherever you click will set the focal point to that spot.  Then adjust the sliders until the pixelation is strong enough to make the face unrecognizable – that’s the Impact slider.  The Radius slider controls the size of the circle.  Edge Hardness refers to the outline of the circle, it’s better to have it soften so as to blend with the rest of the picture.  When it looks how you want, click Apply.

You can repeat this process if you have multiple faces that need to be blurred.

This feature can also be used to blur some text, just realize that you are limited to a circular area.

Creative Kit is Picmonkey.com

You might also want to know that all the features you knew and loved in Creative Kit are available in the online photo-editing website called Picmonkey.  Teeth whitening, suntan, arrows, speech bubbles, hearts, mustaches, and so much more.  Picmonkey allows you to edit pictures from your computer, Dropbox, Facebook, or Flickr

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Bummer! Picasa’s Creative Kit is Gone

If you click on the button in Picasa to ‘Edit in Creative Kit’, today this is what you’ll see:

creative-kit

What was Creative Kit?

If you don’t know what Creative Kit was, here are some articles I wrote about the useful tools in Creative Kit that do not exist in Picasa3 proper.  Now they don’t exist for Picasa/Google+ users at all!

What is the Replacement?

If you have joined Google+, there is a new Edit button when you’re looking at a single photo.  When you click it you get several photo improvement tools.  Other than the ‘Selective Adjust’ which allows you to change exposure for selected areas of the picture, I don’t see anything that you can’t otherwise accomplish using Picasa3 on your computer.  And, you must be using the Chrome browser for this new edit tool to work.

google edit

Are there other Options?

The Creative Kit button began as a plugin to the Picnik photo editing website that Google bought a few years ago.  Some of the Picnik folks have gone on to create the websites PicMonkey.com, and Ribbet.com.  Check ‘em out!  The Ribbet.com website looks a lot like the old Picnik / Creative Kit with effects, stickers, text, and many more features.  The basic tools are free, then there is a Premium version for more.  The Premium version currently is free for a limited time.  Ribbet can connect directly to your Picasa Web Albums / Google+ Photos, so it is almost like having the Creative Kit back – only better!  The only drawback is that it’s not accessible with a button from within Picasa3 on your computer – like the old Creative Kit was.

Picmonkey.com has it’s own look and feel, but seems to include all the features you could possibly want for editing, enhancing, and embellishing your pictures.  I also notice that it is integrated with Dropbox!  Hmm, could this be a complete alternative to Picasa Web Albums / Google+ Photos.  I know a lot of people who would love to have all the capabilities of online photo storage and editing without the need to be a part of Google+!  If that is you, then PicMonkey and Dropbox are worth investigating.

Why did Google Make this Change?

We REALLY don’t know!  The new Editing button is completely different … not an upgrade of what was there.  The Google/Picasa folks don’t maintain any communication with us like they used to back in 2009 when they had us do a joint webinar with them.  I think the team is all new people, and we don’t have a clue what their plans are.  It’s been clear for quite a while that Google’s priority is bringing everything together under the umbrella of Google+.  In fact, Creative Kit was getting so good, I was almost ready to say they planned to do away with the Picasa3-on-your-computer program and insist that you do all your editing online.  But, the new online Editing doesn’t have anywhere near the features that Picasa3 has!  We’re at a loss.

All comments are welcome!

p.s. Thanks to Ribbet’s facebook page, I did find a little more information on this article: Google’s Bet On Native Client Brings Chrome And Google+ Photos Closer Together.  So now I understand that the change is because of a technology choice – my hope is that they will start enhancing these tools and add things like text and stickers and facepaint back in.

Picasa Tip: Adding Lipstick

note 9/15/2013: Creative Kit has been discontinued.

I was looking for a recent picture of myself to use as a profile picture and found this one taken just a few weeks ago in a wonderful natural setting.  One big problem though – I think I looked a bit sickly without any lipstick!

Chris at a fish hatchery.

So, I used the new ‘Edit in Creative Kit’ feature (the reincarnation of Picnik) to add a bit of color to my lips.  Then I did an I’m Feeling Lucky, and used Tuning to warm the color tones a bit.  (See member Tutorial Video: Tuning) Now I’m much happier with the picture.

Chris at a fish hatchery.

Ok, I confess, as long as I was in Creative Kit, I did a little teeth whitening, and cleared up the whites of my eyes a bit too.  Hope I didn’t overdo it?

creativeSo, how is this done?  First you open your picture in Picasa, just like any other time you want to edit a picture (see member tutorial Videos: Single Picture View, Basic Edits) Then, from the first tab of editing features, click on ‘Edit in Creative Kit.’  Creative Kit is all on the web, so you will need an internet connection for this to work.  When you click that button, it will copy your picture up to the web so it can be edited in Creative Kit.  When you’ve finished, you will have the option to save it in place on your computer, or to save a copy on your computer.  Once a photo has been edited with Creative Kit, and saved, you can’t Undo like when you edit in Picasa on your computer.  (See member Tutorial Video: How Picasa Handles Edits)

Once you’re in Creative Kit, you’ll find the ‘FacePaint’ option on the ‘Decorate’ tab.  To add the lipstick, click the red color, adjust your brush size so it’s small enough to not color outside the lines of your lips.  The key to making it look natural is to increase the Fade (transparency) – I made it about 60%.  Now just drag across your lips, you’ll see the red color be applied.  If you don’t like it, you can click Cancel and try again.  You probably also want to increase the magnification of the photo while you’re painting on it.  Just drag the zoom slider in the lower right corner of the screen.

facepaint

Then, I repeated the process with the white color on my teeth and eyes.  When you’re done, click ‘Save to Picasa’ in the upper right.

This is fun, but realize that it’s not full-featured.  The only colors available are the ones you see.  If you want more of what was available in the original Picnik – you will find that now at www.PicMonkey.com

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Is Picnik Really Dead?

Last month it was announced that Picnik – the online photo editing software that Google bought in 2010 – was closed.  No more could you enjoy the special tools it brought to the table like framing your pictures or adding ‘stickers’ (little clip art) or wrinkle removal, or shine-be-gone.  Picnik fans were very disappointed.

Picnik is now Creative Kit

But wait … reports of Picnik’s death may have been greatly exaggerated!  Have you noticed the extra 2 tabs of effects in Picasa 3.9?  Most of those features were taken from Picnik.  And, if you use Picasa Web Albums, or Google+ to share your photos online you have the online editing features called ‘Creative Kit.’  Creative Kit is Google’s reincarnation of Picnik – for Google photo products.  They’ve reorganized it, streamlined it, and made it faster.

creativekit

Picasa still includes ‘Edit in Picnik’

The surprising thing is that the Picasa desktop software still has an Edit in Picnik button – and it works!  It sure looks exactly like Creative Kit to me (the 3 stars is the logo for creative kit), but all the labels still read ‘Picnik.’  So, if you have resisted upgrading to Picasa 3.9 because you didn’t want your ‘Edit in Picnik’ button to go away – fear not!  It is still there, and it works better (faster) than ever.  (5/17/12 note: I just downloaded the latest update to Picasa and the button now correctly reads “Edit in Creative Kit” – that’s build 136.02)

picnik

It doesn’t have all the features that Picnik had. For example, I know a lot of people liked the special redeye removal for furry friends – I can’t find that feature anymore. But, other things, like ‘Wrinkle removal’ have just changed names … it’s ‘airbrush’ now. And, ‘Teeth whitener’ may be gone, but you can accomplish the same thing with ‘Face Paint’ using the white color and a high level of transparency.

Try it – you’ll like it!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.