Picasa Tip: Fancy Frames

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Picasa has many framing options including Vignette, Museum Matte, Border, and Polaroid.  But if you really want to get fancy with clipart frames, there is nothing built in to Picasa’s features.  This article will show you how to use a clipart border/frame, and use Picasa’s collage feature to put your picture into a fancy frame.

First you need to find the clipart.  There are many sources of free and pay-for clipart on the web.  You can google for free clipart, but free clipart sites have been known to be distributors of viruses and other malware, so be careful. If your browser gives you any warnings, or if the URL looks suspicious, do not download artwork from there. I downloaded the colorful border above from OpenClipArt.org.  I used the search box and entered “border.” There were hundreds of results. If you see something there you like, notice the Download section toward the bottom (do not click on any download button at the right – the right sidebar is all ads), click on Medium PNG and you’ll be seeing an enlargement of the image.  Now you can right-click, choose “Save Image As” (or “Save Picture As” depending on what browser you’re using) and save it in a folder in your My Pictures.

Now you should be able to view the border in Picasa’s LIbrary.  If not, check Tools->Options->File Types and be sure that the .png file type is checked.

Make the Collage

  1. Select both the frame image, and the photo you want in the frame
  2. Create menu->Picture Collage (or click the collage button at the bottom if you have one)
  3. Collage settings = Picture Pile
  4. Click on frame image and use orange handle to make it big enough, and make it straight
  5. Drag the photo into the frame area.  If it disappears underneath, right-click on it and Bring to Top
    2014-06-18_11-57-07
  6. If the width and height of the photo do not fit the frame, you need to crop the picture accordingly.  Click on the photo and then click the View and Edit tab at the bottom.  This will take you back to Picasa’s editing tools and you can choose Crop.  Make sure the dimension is set to manual.  If the picture was too wide for the frame, just crop the width.  To high, just crop the height.  When you’ve applied the crop, click the Collage tab at the top to return to your collage already in process.
  7. When you have the picture fitting properly in the frame, click the Create Collage button
  8. You should now be looking at the finished collage picture.  You will probably have some extra space around the frame left over from the collage process.  Use the crop tool to get rid of that.

Picasa’s Limitations

I find this technique quite simple to make pictures like that above, or these below, but notice that the framed areas are clean rectangles.

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Picasa does not support transparency, so you cannot make a framed picture like the oval frame below.

To do something like this, you need an image editor that can work with transparency.  I used Snagit for this, but PhotoShop and many others would do the trick.
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If you tried to use Picasa, here’s what you would get:
yuk!  not so good

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This is a relatively advanced use of the Collage feature in Picasa.  If you got lost after the first couple of steps, you need to go back and learn the basics of Collages.  For Geeks on Tour Members, we have a complete ‘short course’ on using the Collage tool. The Short Course includes 8 video lessons and a ‘cheat sheet.’

  1. A Basic Collage – Mosaic Style #289
  2. Basic Collage: Picture Pile style and options #290
  3. Where is the Collage Picture Stored? #291
  4. Using Collage to Create a Banner Picture: Setting Size and Adding Text #292
  5. People Collage #293
  6. Using a Picture as Collage Background #294
  7. Using a Collage as Facebook Cover Photo #295
  8. Multiple Exposures #296
  9. Printable ‘Collage-Quick-Reference Sheet’

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.

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Picasa’s Latest: Picnik for online Photo Editing

I had never heard of the website Picnik.com until I got the message that Google bought Picnik as part of the Picasa group.  Picnik has been around for a while as an online editing tool for photos that you upload from your computer, or that you link to on Picasa Web Albums and many other Photo Sharing Websites like Flickr, Facebook, and Photo Bucket.image

Why would you want to use Picnik?

If you don’t have Picasa or any other program on your computer for cropping, color-correcting, and retouching your photos, Picnik will do it for you completely web-based.  Even if you do have Picasa, Picnik has features that Picasa lacks, like the ability to add frames and round the corners, callouts, and special clipart images called ‘stickers.’  Here’s the results from my playing for just a few minutes with one of my photos:

Is Picnik Free?

Yes and No.  A lot of the editing tools, frames, and stickers are completely free.  You can start using Picnik for free.  Then, you may discover some more advanced tools, like Curves, Levels, and Cloning, that require a Premium Account.  For $24.95/year you get all the tools, plus Priority Help Support.

What Will Google Do?

Hopefully they’ll make it faster.  Picnik is very bandwidth intensive, if you have a slow connection, you better have a lot of patience!   I expect that Google will keep maintaining the Picasa software for your computer, but they are looking to the future when nothing is on your computer!  Your pictures will go directly online from the camera to Picasa Web Albums, and you’ll do your editing with Picnik. I’m certainly not ready for this yet .. but that’s what my crystal ball sees for 5-10 years from now.

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.

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