Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Amazing Picasa

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When asked which pictures to load, DO NOT choose “entire computer.” Choose picture and video files only or you will have a lot of stuff on Picasa that you probably don’t want there.
By default Picasa does not pick up .png files, yet all embellishments in digital scrapping are .png so that they will have transparent backgrounds. In order to set Picasa to pick these up go to the tools menu>options>file types and make sure the .png box is checked.

Picasa works just like Google and uses the following to find your pictures:
1. The name of the folder they are in
2. The name or number of a particular picture
3. Anything you have written in a caption
4. A key word or words you have given it (Ctrl+k)
5. Notes made in a folder (Double click on a folder and write a description. Does not have to be complete sentences.)

To see a picture full screen, hover over it with the mouse and press Ctrl+Alt.

Double click on a picture to access the caption and controls for zooming in on it, and getting the camera information. Get additional camera info by right clicking and choosing properties. There are many more things in the R-Click menu. Check them out.

Keep tract of your best pictures by marking them with a star. You’ll find it in the bottom tray. It toggles on and off. If you have marked stars in a folder, a sign appears under the folder’s title saying “select stared.” This will bring up all the pictures your have starred.

While a picture is double clicked you can also access the “fixing, tuning, and effects” areas as demonstrated in the presentation. I always go through a newly added set of pictures with the slideshow bar at the top of the picture and make simple adjustments. There are very few pictures that don’t need a little bit of help, even if it’s just a little extra light or some sharpening.

Make a virtual folder (not really on your hard drive, but only in Picasa) by selecting pictures and clicking the “Add to” button at the bottom of the page. Make a new folder or add to an existing one. I use this for my collection of scrapbook kit icons, for choosing paper for a new project, or collecting pictures from various places for a presentation such as this one.

Key Buttons I Use Most
(Slideshow) Great for on-the-go slide shows. Import your pictures, drag them around to rearrange, click slideshow. You can let it go automatically, or manually if you want to talk about each picture while showing. If you have taken the time to caption your pictures, you can choose to have the captions show, or not show. (Great for family reunions.) You can set the slideshow to repeat, and can even add music to it.)

(Email) You can set the size you want your pictures to be in the tools>options>email menu. Select the pictures you want to email. Click the email button and Outlook Express or Gmail will open (options are given the first time) and you just add names and send as usual.

(Web Album) The greatest thing ever for storing pictures on the web and sending them to others in a large size. You have to register the first time, and then a whole new world opens up to you. Try it.

(Order Prints) Choose your pictures, and then click on this button for a choice of places to print them. For example, upload them to Wall-Mart and go pick them up in an hour at your local store. Unfortunately, they do not do Costco.

I have only touched on the abilities of the amazing Picasa. The good news is that just by playing around with it you can figure it out and learn. I have been working with it for 4 or 5 years and still keep finding out new things. (Here’s a worthless, but fun, new thing I just learned. Press Ctrl+Shift+Y and a cute teddy bear will appear. Do it again and again for lots of bears in different sizes. Unfortunately you have to close Picasa to get rid of them. Those Google guys are just having too much fun!)

If you want to read about Picasa there is a book called “Organizing and Editing Your Photos with Picasa” available on for $10.39.

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