Jan 132009

I took a photo this weekend that I really liked. My Mom came with us on a short RV trip and she was enjoying our cozy cab-over bunk and the view out the front window. It was kind of dark and I didn’t want to use a flash, so I hand held a timed exposure to get the shot. Not surprisingly, it came out a little blurry.

I almost deleted it, then I decided to embrace the out-of-focus quality of the picture instead! I used the Soft-Focus effect to make the edges even more out of focus. Then I used the ‘Glow’ effect to lighten it up a bit and give it even more of a dreamy look.

Using Picasa's Soft-Focus effect

When you click on Soft-Focus, you will see your photo get out of focus, all except for a circular area in the middle, around the crosshairs.

Picasa's Soft Focus options

You will also see options for size and amount. Size refers to the size of the circular area to keep in focus. Amount refers to just how out-of-focus you want the rest to be. Just drag them one way or the other and watch your picture. You can also drag the crosshairs around in the picture itself to move the focused part around. When you like the look, click Apply.

For my picture I also clicked on the Glow option which softly brightens up all edges, making it look somewhat dreamy. You also have some sliders to adjust the amount of glow. Click Apply for this effect to take place as well.

Here’s my finished photo:

Using soft focus and glow makes the photo look dreamy!

You may have pictures where these effects create a more dramatic result, but for me, this just makes it look like I intended it to be out of focus!

Geeks on Tour Members can view a video that explains all 12 of Picasa’s special Effects.

Nov 112008


Just because you want to share your photos on the web, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you want people to take them without giving you any credit.  Yet, that’s exactly what can happen, oh so easily.  Any picture you see on the web can be ‘grabbed.’  Then it can be used by others who may even claim that the picture belongs to them.

Although there are some techniques for preventing copying of your photos, the best you can usually do is to add a ‘watermark’ to the photo itself.  The watermark is text which lays on top of your photo and at least identifies it’s source.  Picasa 3 now offers the ability to add a watermark to every photo uploaded to your web albums.

Don’t know about uploading pictures to Picasa Web Albums?  Here’s a member Tutorial Video Intro to Picasa Web Albums.

Here’s what you do:
Tools / Options / Web Albums (or Google+ Photos)
Check the box for ‘Add a Watermark for all Photo Uploads’ and Type what you want to be typed on the photo

After completing this setting, every photo you upload to Picasa Web Albums will include the Watermark you specify.  This is a great feature, but it’s not perfect.  The watermark is small and printed in the lower right corner.  So, if someone wanted to steal your photo, it’s still an easy matter to crop off that bottom line.

If your goal is primarily to include a notice with your identification.  This is a wonderful new feature.  Just turn it on once, and you’re done.  The watermark feature is also available anytime you Export pictures – just check the ‘Add a Watermark’ box and write whatever you want.

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Jul 232007

originalsharpenedCan you see the difference between the photo on the left, and the one on the right? The one on the left is the original. The one on the right has been ‘sharpened’ by Picasa. In Picasa, you double-click on the photo you want, then, in the left column of Editing commands, click on ‘effects’. Sharpen is the first one. Each time you click it, it gets ‘sharper.’ Once is usually enough – I clicked this one twice to be sure you can see the difference.

The first picture is not out of focus. I took it with my Canon Digital SLR camera. It’s a very good camera, with a very good lens. It’s a fact of digital photography that, where two different colors come together, it blends them slightly, giving it a soft look. The ‘sharpen’ command finds those ‘edges’ and increases the contrast. I find that every photo can benefit from one click of the sharpen effect, so here’s the real kicker: in Picasa, if you click on the Picture menu and then ‘Batch Edit’, you can sharpen all selected photos at once! If you decide you don’t like this effect on any given picture, you can always ‘undo’ it!

For a video that shows how to do this, go to the Picasa tutorial page and click on ‘Improving Photos.’