Sep 172012

luckyI’m Feeling Lucky is probably the most popular editing tool in Picasa.  With a single click, it will autocorrect your picture’s color balance and contrast.  Sometimes it makes a world of difference, turning a garbage picture into a masterpiece, and sometimes it finds nothing to correct at all. 

Original picture, before I’m Feeling Lucky
Basic: I'm Feeling Lucky
After one click with I’m Feeling Lucky
Basic: I'm Feeling Lucky

I always click on I’m Feeling Lucky with any picture just to see if I like what it does.  Usually I do.  In the rare occasion that I like a picture better without the I’m Feeling Lucky, I’ll just click on the Undo button to put the picture back to how it was before I clicked it.

Why You Should Crop First

If you are also going to Crop a picture, it’s important to do the crop before you click I’m Feeling Lucky.  Why? Because the autocorrect feature of I’m Feeling Lucky looks at the whole picture before deciding what to do.  If your picture includes sky as well as a a person’s face, the color balance of the sky has to be considered in addition to the face.  If you crop to just the face, then Picasa can concentrate on the color correction/contrast to make the face look better without having to consider the sky.

This was demonstrated dramatically on a picture we use for our hands-on Picasa Editing class.  We recently gave that class at the FMCA Convention in Indianapolis.and we had our students bring up this picture of an old wagon at sunset time.  Notice that the wagon is really to dark to see, but the sunset is exposed about right.

20041208 sunset wagon

Clicking on I’m Feeling Lucky doesn’t do much.  It brightens the whole picture a little, but not enough to see the wagon clearly.  That’s because the sky would be washed out if it lightened the picture enough to see the wagon.   

20041208 sunset wagon-001

We usually use this example picture to demonstrate Fill Light (add Fill Light and you’ll see the wagon clearly), but during the class, I overheard one of our teaching assistants, Connie Bradish, showing someone how you could crop to the wagon and THEN click I’m Feeling Lucky and see what a huge difference it makes!

20041208 sunset wagon-002

Great example, thanks Connie! 

Picasa’s Limitations

A logical next question might be, “Can I just apply the I’m Feeling Lucky to the wagon part of the picture and leave the sunset alone?” Nope.  Not with Picasa.  In order to keep things easy, Picasa needs to work with the entire image.  If you want to apply different effects to different parts of an image, you need more sophisticated software like PhotoShop.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website.  There are lots of tutorial videos on editing your pictures with Picasa’s tools.  The first 3 are free for all to view.  To see all of them, you need a Geeks On Tour membership.  It’s only $7/mo or $58/yearly.  Join Today!

  4 Responses to “Crop Before Feeling Lucky”

  1. Betty,
    I know of no way that Picasa ‘changes’ anything in your picture folders or picture names. My bet is that you’re just seeing them differently. Close Picasa and look at your pictures simply with Windows ‘My Pictures’ What do you see now? I think the baby pictures all in one ‘group’ are probably your Face Albums. What you need to pay attention to is your Folders. That is where your pictures are actually stored. Picasa gives you the ability to look at photos by name, place, date, face … lots of different ways to look at them, but they’re still stored in the folders where you put them.

  2. Great tip! Thanks!

  3. I am so upset. I had all my pictures in folders with each one named. With the last update,{which I did not want} it changed all my pictures to “dates” I have 5 children, with each ones baby pictures seperate, and named. Picassa threw all the baby pictures in one group, and also all other pictures in seperate groups. total mess, and I could just cry. No way will I ever be able to put them back like I had them, and I no longer even look at picassa. I had bought an earlier version of your book, but with updates, it is useless. I can’t afford to buy a new book for 3.9. I can’t afford your membership’ At 83 years of age, and on a very limited fixed income, what do I do????
    Sincerely, Betty Phillips,

    • Oh, I feel so sorry for Betty. I can’t address her Picasa problem, and this may be too late for her, but here’s a prime example for the reason, why everyone should have AT LEAST A WEEKLY BACK-UP OF IMPORTANT FILES, so there is a place to go back to.

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