Dec 092008
 

My computer is very entertaining. Especially when I’m not using it! It’s the photo screensaver. There’s not much that entertains me more than watching photos of our RV travels these last 5 years. Just sit back and watch. And I use two monitors, so I have double the fun. Here’s what it looks like:

How do you turn it on?
In Picasa, use the Tools menu and click on Configure Screensaver … From there, you should see the following screen, and you can select ‘Google Photos Screensaver’ from the drop-down list. If you ever want to turn it off, just go here and select ‘None.’

What options are there?
The first option is right on the first screen. How long do you want it to wait to start playing the slideshow? Mine is set to 10 minutes. This means that, if I don’t touch the computer for 10 minutes, the slideshow will start playing.

The rest of the options are on the Settings … button. The most important is that you can choose the pictures to show. I choose to show my Picasa Starred photos, but you can also use the special Screensaver album, or any combination of folders. Since it is Picasa doing the work, you get the edited version of the photo, not the original. You can also select the transition, and the timing.

Maybe it’s best to select a smaller number of photos so you won’t be tempted to just stare for hours!

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Dec 022008
 

The normal way that you see folders in Picasa is called ‘Flat Folder Structure.’   In the Flat view you won’t see that certain folders are within other folders.  If you want to see what folders are nested within other folders, you need to view the folder list in ‘Tree View.  To get there, just click the ‘Tree Structure’ button in the top toolbar.  It’s right under the word ‘Picture’ in the menu.

Take a look at the images below.  On the left is the Flat view, notice the Grand Canyon folder.  It’s listed in the Flat view along with every other folder in your Pictures.  On the right is the Tree View where you can see that the Grand Canyon folder is within October, and October is within 2004.

 

Geeks on Tour members can view a detailed tutorial video on this flat folders vs. tree view.

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.’