If you click on the button in Picasa to ‘Edit in Creative Kit’, today this is what you’ll see:
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!
- Picasa Tip: Speech Bubble on Your Pictures (put text into a speech bubble right on your picture – using Creative Kit)
- Picasa Tip: Merry Christmas Photo! (add clipart directly to your picture using Creative Kit)
- Picasa Tip: Adding Lipstick (using Creative Kit’s ‘FacePaint’ feature to add makeup)
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.
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.