Feb 282014
 

Blurring facesQ: I do therapy work with people and horses.  I love taking pictures while the people are with the horses, but I need to preserve their privacy before I show the pictures to anyone else.  When Picasa had the Creative Kit option, I would use the Focal Pixelate feature to make the faces unrecognizable.  Is there a way to do that now with Picasa?

Melinda

A: You’re in luck!  I have discovered a way to do this.  On the last tab of editing tools, you will see a Pixelate option.  That will pixelate the entire picture.  But … if you hold down the shift key, you will notice that “Pixelate” becomes “Focal Pixelate!”  Who knew?!  Then, there’s one last step.  “Focal Pixelate” will pixelate the entire picture except a circle around a focal point.  What we want is to pixelate only a circle around a focal point.  To do that, you click on the Reverse checkbox.

reverse

Now, you need to set the focal point to a face.  You should notice that your mouse is a green crosshairs and wherever you click will set the focal point to that spot.  Then adjust the sliders until the pixelation is strong enough to make the face unrecognizable – that’s the Impact slider.  The Radius slider controls the size of the circle.  Edge Hardness refers to the outline of the circle, it’s better to have it soften so as to blend with the rest of the picture.  When it looks how you want, click Apply.

You can repeat this process if you have multiple faces that need to be blurred.

This feature can also be used to blur some text, just realize that you are limited to a circular area.

Creative Kit is Picmonkey.com

You might also want to know that all the features you knew and loved in Creative Kit are available in the online photo-editing website called Picmonkey.  Teeth whitening, suntan, arrows, speech bubbles, hearts, mustaches, and so much more.  Picmonkey allows you to edit pictures from your computer, Dropbox, Facebook, or Flickr

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Feb 062014
 

toolsHave you ever played with the tools on Picasa’s last tab?  There are a lot of fun effects here.  The first one is called Boost.  Just a single click will make your picture pop!  Actually, it may pop so much it hurts your eyes!  So, we recommend toning it down a bit by using the slider.   When you first click on Boost, it increases color and contrast to the 50% mark on the slider.  If you drag it back to 15 or 20% we think you’ll get a much more reasonable effect.

 

Too Much Color and Contrast

Take a look at this picture, it’s a bit overdone don’t you think?  This is what you get with just one click of the Boost button.  Notice the image of the slider, the strength is set right in the middle.

boost1

 

Too little Color and Contrast

This is the Original:

The Bay Side

 

Just Right Color and Contrast

Now, here’s what it looks like if you click on Boost, but just back off on the Strength Slider a bit.  I think this picture is just right.  The grass is a luscious green, the sky is a sun-drenched blue and the shadows of the palms are more distinct.  It makes the original look a little muddy by comparison, yet it doesn’t look too unreal.  Just click Apply, and you’re done!

boost2

 

There are lots more fun and easy editing tools.  If you are a Geeks on Tour Member, you can watch these videos that will demonstrate all of the editing tools:

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Jan 242014
 

picasa-appsimage

Picasa is a very popular, free program from Google.  You download the software to your Windows or Macintosh computer from Picasa.Google.com and it helps you browse, organize, edit, and share the pictures on your computer. The current version of Picasa is 3.9 and it is generally referred to as Picasa3, to distinguish it from the companion photo-sharing website known as Picasa Web Albums.

”I want to put all my pictures on my iPad and use Picasa there”

Sorry, it can’t be done.  First of all, your iPad is not intended to store thousands of pictures.  It only has 16, 32, or 64 Gigabytes of storage, depending on your model.  I have 120GB of pictures on my computer (and external hard drive) and I know many people with much more. Secondly, mobile devices like iPads and Android tablets work differently from Windows and Macintosh computers in that each App is supposed to store its own data, unlike Picasa that manages pictures stored in the computer’s folders. 

  • Is Picasa3 available as an App for iPhone or iPad?  No
  • Is Picasa3 available as an App for my Android phone or tablet?  No
  • Is Picasa3 available as an App for my Windows phone or RT tablet?  No
  • Is Picasa3 available as an App (from the “Store”) for my Windows 8 Tablet or Computer?  No
  • Is Picasa3 available as Desktop Software for my Windows 8 Tablet or Computer?  Yes (download from www.picasa.google.com)

All those “Picasa” Apps ARE NOT Picasa3

In the image at the beginning of this article, you see a screenshot from both the Android Play Store and the Apple App store.  They both show multiple Apps that include the word “Picasa.”  None of these are actually Picasa.   Picasa is by Google.  Take a close look at all of these Apps and you’ll see the publisher is Colifer Lab, Conker Mobile, PicsArt, iPont Software, AppStar, and more.  None of these Apps are by Google, therefore, none of them are the real Picasa.  These apps are meant to interact with your Picasa Web Albums, pictures that are stored in the Cloud.  I haven’t used these Apps, they may have some very nice features for viewing and managing your pictures on Picasa Web Albums (now also known as Google+ Photos.)  I just want to point out that this is NOT Picasa as we know it on our Windows and Macintosh desktop computers and laptops.  It’s a new world out there with cloud storage, iOS, Android, Windows 8RT, smartphones and tablets.  Picasa is from the old world of computers.

Windows 8 is even more confusing

Windows 8 comes in two flavors: RT and full-blown Windows 8.  If you are using a computer with Windows 8 (not RT), you have a Windows computer.  You can use any web browser and go to www.picasa.google.com and download the Picasa3 software to manage the pictures on your computer.  But, don’t expect to find it in the “Store.”  The store contains the new world Apps that work on tablets as well as computers.  If you open the Store and search for “Picasa” – you will find lots of matching apps.  But, once again, none of these are Picasa3 by Google, so none of them are the real Picasa.

1-Screenshot 2014-01-025

Will Google make a Picasa App for our Mobile Devices?

I wish I knew!  It’s possible, but it certainly doesn’t exist right now.  So don’t download something called Picasa and expect it to work like Google’s Picasa3 on our computers.  Read the name of the author of the App, and read the description of what it is designed to do.  Most of these Apps are intended to work with the photos you’ve already uploaded to Picasa Web Albums / Google+ Photos.  It’s up to you to know where your pictures are … on your computer, in the cloud, or on your mobile device (or all 3!)  Watch the video below for our advice on where to store your pictures.

It’s 2014 Do you know where your Pictures are?

Here is a short video about managing pictures from your multiple devices.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Nov 302013
 

Picasa's Email button

I’ve heard of people going to great lengths to prepare and email a picture.  First they (1) edit it and save the changes, then they (2)export it to get a smaller size, then they (3) open their email program and use the attach feature, having to (4) hunt thru their folders to find the exported picture(s) to attach.  Finally, they write their email, address it and send it.

NO, NO, NO

Picasa has an Email Button!

One click of the email button takes care of all 4 steps mentioned above.  Take a look down at the bottom of PIcasa’s screen and you’ll see the Email button.  All you have to do is select the picture(s) you want to email, click the email button, then compose your email and send it.  In the image above, you should see 4 pictures in the selection tray.  When you click the Email button all 4 images will be sent in their edited form and resized according to your settings.  What settings?  The ones you’ll find at Tools->Options->Email (Windows) and Picasa->Preferences->Email (Mac.)

Picasa Email preferences

 

Picasa is not an Email Program

When you use Picasa’s email button, it opens the email program you specify.  Either the default email program that is installed on your computer, or Gmail.  We recommend Gmail, since both Picasa and Gmail are Google products, they work together very well.  If you prefer not to use an @gmail.com address, you can set Gmail to ‘Send mail as’ another address.  If you want to use your computer’s email program and it’s not coming up automatically, here’s the Official Picasa Help on setting up your default email program.

Don’t Email … Share

Last, but not least, we recommend that you not email pictures at all!  If you send me 20 pictures of your latest vacation via email, what am I supposed to do with them?  I’d rather you sent me a link to where I can view them online any time I want without them filling up my Inbox.  So, use the Share button to upload to Picasa Web Albums or Google+, or Export to your Dropbox/Photos if you have a Dropbox account.

For our Geeks on Tour members, we have some videos you should watch:

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as using your smartphone, managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Sep 032013
 

make-movieOne of the most often-asked and troublesome questions we get is “How do I keep my pictures in the order I want?”  You see, although you can drag pictures around into any order you please, it only takes one click on ‘Sort By Date’ or ‘Sort By Name’ to lose all that manual sorting work you just did.  And, if you use the Gift CD feature, the pictures will be shown in filename order on the Gift CD, not your manual order. In a previous article, we wrote instructions on how to rename your photos while they are in the order you want.  Then, any time they are sorted by name, everything is cool.  But, what if you don’t want to rename them?

We’ve written several articles on the topic of sorting and slideshows:

Why not Make a Movie?!

Your first step needs to be selecting the group of pictures you want to show.  Once the group has been identified, and shown as an album, then you can play a slide show, or use the command Create->Gift CD.  But, there is another choice.  Right below Gift CD is Movie.  You can create a movie from a selection of pictures – they don’t even need to be in an Album.  Once you click Movie, you’ll see a screen like the picture above.  Notice all the pictures are on a timeline at the bottom.  You can drag pictures into any order your heart desires.  When the movie is rendered you will have one file, a .wmv file (windows) or .mov (Mac) that will play on anyone’s computer and the pictures order cannot be changed.  For more information on Picasa’s Movie Making function, see this past article: Picasa Tip: Make a Movie

Putting your Movie on a DVD

Once you have a completed movie file, you can use DVDMaker on windows to burn the movie onto a DVD that can be played on any DVD player.  See this past article on DVD of Pictures that plays on your TV. On Macintosh, iDVD used to be the free, included app akin to DVDMaker.  It is no longer available.  If you have it already, it still works fine.  Here’s what MacMost (a Macintosh resource I trust) has to say about alternatives to iDVD.

Geeks on Tour Member Videos

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Aug 202013
 

This week’s Picasa tip takes us back to some basics of making pictures look better.  Almost every picture can be improved with a crop.  Crop can substitute for zoom.  If you have a good optical zoom lens on your camera, you can bring your subject closer when you take the picture.  If you don’t have that lens, you can crop the picture later to get closer.

Before Cropping After Cropping
RV in Oregon RV in Oregon
Kayak on Netarts Bay Kayak on Netarts Bay
IMG_7616 IMG_7616-001
2013-08-19 15.44.30 2013-08-020

When you use the crop tool, you have the choice of ‘Manual’ so you can make it exactly as wide and high as you’d like, or you can choose a width/height proportion like 4X6, or Square, or 16X10 for HDTV displays etc.  What you choose depends on the final destination for the picture.  I chose 4X6 for all of the pictures above just so they’d be the same.  Then you just drag a rectangle around the picture you want to keep and click Apply. 

Fullscreen capture 8202013 32929 PM

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch several videos that show different aspects of cropping as well as some other basic editing tools:

Jul 092013
 

imageQuick!  Can you use your computer to pull up a slide show of a trip you took 10 years ago?  If you were using digital photography then, you should be able to see them now.  I keep all my past pictures on an external  hard drive.  Picasa can span both the USB hard drive and my computer’s internal C drive to display all the pictures I see in the Library.  When I use Tree View in Picasa and look at my Folders collection, it reports that there are 48,612 pictures total on my computer.  11,460 of those are in the My Pictures folder on my C drive and 35, 291 of those are on S:, which is my external USB hard drive .

image

The other day we were chatting with our new friends, Don and Kim from Harvest Hosts.  We love talking about travel with them because we have never met anyone who travels more than they do.  They’ve even traveled by RV in Africa and Asia!  So, when they mentioned river barging in France, we were excited to say, “We did that too!”  To prove it, I sat down at the computer, opened Picasa, and searched for France.  Within seconds the computer was playing a slide show of all our pictures of a River Barge trip to France in 2001.  Kim was impressed, but she asked, “Where’s a picture of the boat in fog with a swan swimming by?  That’s what I remember about barging in France.”  I told her to wait, and after a few more pictures … there was the swan in the fog!

Picture Filing Procedure

Here’s the procedure I follow:

  1. File by Month: After taking pictures with a digital camera, I import them all to my computer, in the My Pictures folder, and a sub-folder by month.
  2. Backup to CD/DVD: Each month or so – lately I’ve been backing up by quarter – I use Picasa’s backup tool to burn DVDs of all pictures taken since the last time I backed up.
  3. Move to USB Drive: After a folder is backed up to disc, it is fair game to be moved from my C drive to the external hard drive.  I do this using Picasa, so it retains the location information in its database.  It’s easy, just right click each folder and choose “Move Folder” – then specify the drive letter and folder location you want, e.g. S:\Old Pictures\.  I usually leave a year or two on my internal hard drive, just because I don’t always have the USB drive plugged in.  But, when it is plugged in, Picasa is working with a library of all 48,000 pictures.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch tutorial videos of all of these processes:

  1. Tree Folder Structure
  2. Move Folders of Pictures to an External Drive
  3. Backup Monthly to Disk (CD or DVD)
  4. Searching for Pictures
  5. Picasa Short Course on Organizing your Pictures – 8 Videos

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Apr 132013
 

I don’t print.  We live in an RV – there’s no place to put printed photo albums!  I love being able to share my pictures by uploading them to Picasa Web Albums / Google+.  (see Member Tutorial Video: Intro to Web Albums)  But that’s me.  I know that some people still like to have prints.  And, I have been known to print some pictures for my Mom to have.   

Printing to Your Own Printer

Just select the picture (or pictures) you want to print and click the Print button at the bottom of Picasa’s screen (see Member Tutorial Video Printing).  You will have options for print size, Shrink to Fit, printing captions on borders, printer setup options, and number of copies.  For a quick way to get something printed, this works great, but keep reading and I’ll tell you a much better way to print your pictures.

Let the Pros do the Printing

You will get much better results if you use commercially available photo-printing services like Walgreens, Walmart, Shutterfly, or CVS.  Many people know that already and they export their photos to a USB thumb drive and take them to the store for processing.  Oh no!  It’s so much easier than that!  Picasa will upload your pictures (the edited version) directly to Walgreens, Walmart, Shutterfly, and more.  Then you can go pick up the finished prints in an hour!  Or you can have them mailed to you – or whoever you want to get them.

Here’s how:  Just select the pictures you want to print and click the ‘Shop’ button at the bottom. 

What’s that you say?  You don’t see a Shop button?  The same command is available on the File menu, Order Prints …

order-prints

Choose the provider you want to use – e.g. Walgreens, then you will need to log in or create an account at that provider.  It’s free to create the account.  Once you’ve logged in Picasa will upload the full size picture to Walgreen’s in your account.  When the upload is finished you will be taken to Walgreens website and you’ll see the pictures in your account.  Now you need to learn to navigate their website.  You should see buttons to order prints and select the size you want.  Often the price is less than 10 cents per print!  I’ll bet your printer’s ink would cost you more than that!  And you get professional photo paper and process. 

You will need to pay for whatever you ordered using a credit card, then select whether you will pick them up or enter a mailing address for the prints to be sent.  I have done this several times ordering prints for my Mom to see and having them mailed directly to her.  I’ve even ordered framed photos, coffee mugs, mouse pads and tshirts using Picasa’s ‘Shop’ feature. 

Have Fun!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Mar 272013
 

A recent Picasa update (3.9 build 136.18) broke some of the functionality of the Import feature.  Some people couldn’t import pictures from their camera at all.  I found that I had to click the dropdown arrow to select my camera – when I hadn’t had to do that before.  They have since issued the next ‘build’ 136.19 and that problem has gone away. 

What Version Do You Have?

To check what version of Picasa you have, click on the Help menu, then About Picasa.  You will see a screen that looks like the following image.  Notice the numbers that are highlighted in yellow – that’s your version and build.

about

How Do You Upgrade?

If you have Automatic Updates turned on, you should get notices automatically when there is a new version and you will be prompted to install it.  To see if you have Automatic Updates turned on, click on Tools->Options->General.  Towards the bottom of the dialog box, you should see Automatic Updates and your choices are: Update Automatically, Ask Before Downloading Updates, Don’t Check for Updates.  Update Automatically is usually the right choice. 

If you want to manually check for updates, you can click on Help->Check for Updates.  If there is an update available, it will start downloading and it will update when you click OK.  If it reports that “the application is up to date” and you know that is not true, you can always go to www.picasa.google.com and click on Download Picasa.  Once it is downloaded, you need to open and run the picasa39-setup.exe to install it.  Don’t worry, you won’t end up with two copies, it will just overwrite your existing software.  It doesn’t touch your photos, everything will be just the same, you’ll just have the latest version of the program.

download