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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Magic of Picasa - 5 Reasons to try it!

This is a start of a series where I talk about picasa features/tricks that I know. I was introduced to picasa almost a year ago by a friend and ever since then, I've been a loyal user. Photoshop and other professional graphics editing software are usually not affordable for amateur photographers(people like me!). And that is precisely why google's Picasa has been a boon for amateur photographers.


Here are 5 sure-fire reasons why you should start using this award winning photo organizer/editor.

i)Sharing photos by Integration with Picasa Web-Albums and Blogger
Picasa not only helps you organize/edit photos on your desktop, it also lets you create albums online and share it with your friends. Picasa has made the process of creating/sharing albums so easy and is clearly the reason why it has become so popular. No wonder then that the word picasa is now synonymous with web-albums.

Picasa's wonderfully easy to use GUI has a single button called 'Web-album'. With this button, you can directly add folders to your web-album(its nothing but a web-page with all your photos organized). There are 3 predefined upload speeds(Optimized, Medium size and slowest upload). For most users, the 'Optimized' setting should do; if you are uploading a large number of photos, you could select Medium size. This is the fastest upload and consequently images uploaded to the web album are smaller.

You can also post photos into your blog if you use Blogger. there is a small button called 'Blog This'. I'm not going into details, but again you can choose image sizes, settings while making a blog entry from picasa.


ii)Control Visibility- This is important for some people. Now you may have some family albums and you also have some photos from your adventurous trip to Peru.. Now, you don't want to share your family albums, but you clearly want to show the world your exciting side with pictures from that cool Peru trip. Picasa lets you control the visibility of the album. You can choose the unlisted option(radio button) while uploading, only you can invite people to view the album. It will not be displayed as a part of your public web album.


iii)Photo Edits/Effects & Tricks
From making collages to creating gift-cds with slideshows, you can do so many things with this wonderful tool. From basic fixes like cropping, red-Eye reduction to effects like Sepia, picasa has plenty of features! There are many cool tricks you can pull off in picasa and I'm going to make separate posts about them in the days to come.

iv)Its FREE!
It is not only free, but it is available for windows(duh) and linux(alright!). For Mac afficionados, picasa isn't currently available, but you can still create web albums on picasa by installing Picasa Web Albums Exporter(plugin for Iphoto) and Picasa Web Albums Uploader(standalone application)

v)Automatically finds photos/albums on your computer
During the first use after installation, picasa does a systematic search on your computer and creates a library. It also automatically detects pictures(picasa media detector) from media like CD-ROMs, SD-Cards, external USB drives and adds them to the picasa library. Once you insert your digital camera's SD memory card into your card-reader slot, picasa immediately recognizes the photos and shows them in the library! Not only that, picasa is also smart enough to detect new photos that you add to existing folders.

Don't have Picasa?
What are you waiting for? Try it out! Its available at http://picasa.google.com/
All you need is a google account(gmail account). You will be asked to create one during installation if you don't have one already.

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