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:
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.’
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!
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.
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.
|After (whiten teeth, remove wrinkles, instathin)
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.
Dodging is one of those ‘Premium’ features.
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