Favorite Picasa Tips

Geeks on Tour present Picasa SeminarsDid you know we have over 200 Picasa tips on this PicasaGeeks.com website? This is where all of our Picasa Tip of the Week articles are – you can sign up for email notification by entering your information in the sign up form in the right sidebar of this page. Every once in a while I browse thru them and read a couple. Whenever I do, I say to myself, Wow! That’s a really good tip! So, this week, rather than writing a new tip, I’m giving you a list of 20 of my favorite tips. Most all of these tips take you beyond the basics of Picasa. Read thru a few of them and you’ll start to understand some of the power that exists in this free program. In no particular order, here are 20 of my favorite Picasa Tips:

  1. Picasa Tip: Slideshows with Music
    Describes just how easy it is to play a slideshow of your pictures using Picasa. Also shows how to add music.
  2. Blue Skies with Graduated Tint
    You can see a dramatic difference in your sky using this feature.
  3. Blurring Someone’s Face
    Ever take a picture of someone who doesn’t want to be identified?
  4. Finding Pictures with Two People
    Amazingly fast way to find a picture with two named people using Picasa’s face recognition feature.
  5. Forget about Picasa and Learn Files and Folders
    An important reminder about the knowledge you need to successfully manage your photos.
  6. Making a Banner Picture
    An example of using Picasa’s collage feature that you may not have considered.
  7. Personal History in a Face Movie
    Probably THE coolest feature of Picasa!
  8. Picasa and a Cell Phone are Genealogist’s Tools
    Even if you’re not a genealogist, this tip will help you preserve old photos.
  9. Picasa Tip: 4 Clicks to Dramatically Improve your Photos
    Very simple techniques for much better pictures.
  10. Picasa Tip: Add a Watermark to your photos
    How to add a copyright message to your pictures on the Web.
  11. Picasa Tip: HDRish = Super Sharpen
    I use HDRish when a picture is too soft and needs some edges. Once you try it, you’ll find lots of uses.
  12. Picasa Tip: Make a Collage for your Facebook Cover Photo
    Another great use for the Collage feature! The article includes a step-by-step tutorial video.
  13. Picasa Tip: Pick Text Color from Picture
    Instructions on how to pick text color, or background color, directly from the picture itself.
  14. Picasa Tip: Screen Captures
    PIcasa makes it incredibly easy to take screenshots on your computer.
  15. Using Picasa for Maps
    An idea for using Picasa’s screen capture feature to capture maps.
  16. Picasa Tip: Using Search to Find your Pictures
    If you’re not using the Search feature, you’re missing the power of Picasa!
  17. Quiz: Picasa and Your Picture Files
    10 multiple choice questions to test your knowledge.
  18. Scan 4 Pictures in One Pass, then Separate with Export
    A good example of using crop and export to create multiple pictures from one original.
  19. Pictures at Your Fingertips with Google+ Photos
    How to see all your pictures using your smartphone or tablet in addition to your computer.
  20. Captions or Text on Pictures?
    I say a feature is “my favorite feature” a lot Smile but I think Captions really IS my favorite feature of Picasa!

There’s lots, lots more! Check out the page that lists ALL our Picasa tips in alphabetical order.

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Picasa Tip: Brighten a Selected Area of a Picture

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Have you ever wished you could use Picasa’s Fill Light tool on just a selected area of a picture?  Take the picture at right as an example, the Lincoln Memorial in the background is perfectly exposed, but the two faces in the foreground are too dark to see.  If you use Picasa’s Fill Light tool, you can make it so the faces are bright, but the whole picture is affected.  The Memorial will be way overexposed.

If you upload the picture, using the “Share with Google+” button, you will have more editing tools available to you, including the Selective tool.  Once the picture is showing on your Google+ Photo album, you can view it then click the Edit menu.  If you are using the Google Chrome browser, you will then see the four basic editing tools and several “Creative Adjustments.” We’re using the Basic editing tool of ‘selective.’  This is similar to ‘burning and dodging’ in darkroom terminology. This feature requires the Google Chrome browser, it won’t work with Internet Explorer, or Safari.

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Once you’ve chosen the ‘Selective’ tool, then you click on “Add Control Point.”  In this example, I did it twice, once for each face.  So

  1. Add Control Point, and click on one face
  2. Adjust size of selection to cover the face
  3. Increase brightness by clicking on B and dragging to right
  4. Increase contrast by clicking on C and dragging to right

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When you’re done, click “Done Editing.”  Now isn’t that better?!

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This edited picture only exists online, in your Google+ Photos Album.  If you want it on your computer, you’ll need to use the Download command.

Geeks on Tour members may want to review the videos about uploading pictures:

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, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Picasa Releases Version 3.8

A few days ago, Picasa version 3.8 was released.  You will be getting it automatically at some point.  One day, when you open Picasa, you’ll see a message about a new version being available.  If you want to get it before that day comes, you can re-download it from Picasa’s home page.  For more detail, you can watch a previous Geeks on Tour Tutorial Video on Updating Picasa.

There are quite a few new features introduced with this release, here is Google’s official list of new features in the Release Notes:

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Face Movie

If you like the Face Recognition feature of Picasa, you’re gonna *love* Face movies.  The hard work has already been done – recognizing and sorting faces.  If you have Face Albums in Picasa, it is now a single click to make a movie where all the pictures of one person are automatically shown in a slide show.  Just click on any face album, and you’ll see a new button for ‘Create Face Movie.’

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All you do is click on it and wait a minute, it will take all the pictures in that Face Album and create a movie.  There are a few options, just like a regular movie.  You can add music, adjust the amount of time allotted to each picture, and change the transition type.  But, you don’t have to do anything.  Just view it, save it if you want, and upload to YouTube if you want to share it.

What’s different between a Face Movie and a regular movie?  Picasa takes each whole picture and aligns it to the face.  So, as dozens of photos of a person play one after the other, you see their smile in the same spot on the screen.  It’s really quite beautiful.  I can see this becoming standard background slideshows for all personal special events: birthdays, graduations, weddings, and funerals.   Something that would have taken a professional film producer hours, days or weeks and thousands of dollars, is now a click of your mouse!

Edit in Picnik

I’ve written about Picnik before – it is a web-based photo editing program that was acquired by Google earlier this year.  With Picsa 3.8, they have made it accessible from within Picasa on the Basic Fixes tab.

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If you’ve ever wished you could do more retouching, or more fancying-up (clipart, frames etc.) Picnik is your answer.  In the images below, notice the whiter teeth on the right, and the lack of wrinkles.  That was done with Picnik.  BEWARE – this is a slow process unless you have a very high-speed Internet connection.  When you click on the button to ‘Edit in Picnik’, it first needs to upload your photo to the web, then you edit it there, then it copies it back down to your computer.

Before image After (whiten teeth, remove wrinkles, instathin)
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You also need to know that some of Picnik’s features are ‘premium.’ It costs $24.95 for a year of access to the premium features.  In the sample above– whiten teeth is a free feature, remove wrinkles is premium.

Here’s another example: ‘Dodging.’  So often, I have pictures where only one part of it is too dark.  If I use Picasa’s Fill Light feature it lightens everything, but with Picnik’s Dodging feature, I can just lighten the parts that need it, like the faces in the photo below.  I don’t want to wash out the Lincoln Memorial, just lighten the faces a bit.

Before ‘Dodging’
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After ‘Dodging’
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Dodging is one of those ‘Premium’ features.

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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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.