XP Toys

Picasa 2- A Google Wonder!

Posted on August 25, 2006. Filed under: Google Picasa, Google Toys, Image Editing, journalistic, Photo Editing, The Gimp, XP Toys | Tags: , , , |

For those of you looking to make your digital photography easier and less time consuming, I have some good news for you. There are easy to use and free programs out there! Personally, I never seemed to find the time to go through the myriad of images and re-size them so that I could send them to family and friends or put them up on the blog. Long has been my search for a free tool that would allow me to easily re-size multiple images at one time.

While looking for something to resize images I ran across Google’s free photo Organizer, Picasa. So, I thought, what the heck? It’s free and by Google, why not give it a try? I was impressed. Google has made it very easy to find and modify my pictures, although it does not have the capability to re-size multiple images at one time. Keep in mind that I am still exploring all of Picasa’s capabilities. Please see my upcoming post on XP Toys for more information on multiple image resizing.

Picasa Screenshot

First off, Picasa asks you if you would like it to scan your hardrive or a particular folder for any photos. After it’s done you will have access to these folders and photos every time you open Picasa and will not have to re-go the scanning process. It does however, update each time you open Picasa and adds any new pictures found on your hardrive.Then you can move, rename, and label your photos for easier identification and location. All of the features I mention can be done with ease and without extensive knowledge of the program.

One of my favorite functions of Picasa is it’s star rating system. When you are viewing your pictures and find one that you especially like, but may not have the time to edit, label, and organize it at the time, you can just click the star icon which is easily located within Picasa. This marks the image with a star within your folder for easy location of the pictures you would like to revisit, edit, share, or print. You can even search your folders, by stars, to located them quickly. It also has a hold button that places the held images in a picture tray for later editing. You can also email, print, export, make a collage, and it even has a Blog this! feature for those using Blogger (unfortunately I don’t). You can create webpages, slideshows, and much more.

While viewing individual photos it gives you all of the photo information at the bottom. The folder/file name, the date it was taken, and the pixel and file size. If you choose to email a photo, Picasa automatically re-sizes the image for you. The printing feature allows you to choose from many options and makes it easy to print multiple images on one page in standard sizes (3×5, wallets, 4×6,etc.)

Picasa’s editing tools are very easy to use. You have your basic fixes that most programs come with (crop, contrast, red eye, straighten, etc.). Then you have a tab for Tuning which allows you to control the fill light, highlights, shadows, and color temperature.

Lastly, you have the Effects tab. You can apply a soft focus to concentrate on an adorable face or object, without the background images distracting the viewer. You can add a glow or tint, sharpen the image, warmify it, or turn it in to a black & white or sepia. You can apply a color tint to the entire picture or you can just add a graduated tint. This feature I found wonderful for landscape photos. There is also a filtered b&w feature that creates neat possibilities.

Here is a demo web page I made using Picasa. It includes edited photo samples using the different techniques discussed above.

Collage Feature

All in all, I give Google a A+ for their effort put in to making a free and user friendly tool to manage your images.

Please also read my upcoming posts on XP Toys (simplifies multi-image resizing and slideshows) and The Gimp, which is for users looking for more in depth editing and image creation (similar to Photoshop). Both of which are FREE

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