Friday, May 10, 2013

Using Picasa 3 To Edit Photographs


Picasa is a free program from Google that you can use to organize and edit your digital photographs. This article found on WikiHow will explain how to get started playing around with your digital photos to help improve the quality of your shop photos online. 

Hopefully you've found your way to this post after building a light box from our tutorial on Wednesday. If so, great! Now you're ready to edit those photos that you took while using the box. 

Step 1: Download the latest version of Picasa. You can obtain the latest version for free from http://picasa.google.com. It will recognize whether your operating system is PC, Mac, or Linux when you download.

Step 2: When you first open Picasa, you can choose to scan your entire hard drive, or just My Pictures, My Documents, and Desktop. It will then display your pictures it its Library view. You will find pictures you forgot you had because Picasa makes it so easy to view them. If you have pictures in folders other than My Pictures, My Documents, and Desktop you can add new folders manually by clicking on Tools / Folder Manager. The program will show photos in their respective folders.


Step 3: Double click on a photo to take you to the editing window.


Step 4: Learn what each button in the "Basic" editing box does. Here is a brief rundown to help you get started: 

The first button, "Crop", is pretty obvious. By clicking on it, you can cut out a part of your image. You can choose a manual size, or choose one of the preset ratios. Click "Apply" when you are finished cropping.

The second button, "Straighten", can fix a slanting horizon. Click on it, and use the grid and slider to rotate the photo until straight. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

The third button, "Red eye", is also pretty self-explanatory. If you click it, Picasa will automatically fix any red eyes on a photo and indicate them with a green square. If the program has missed any eyes, you can drag a box around them with your mouse and the program will fix them. If Picasa boxed anything that is not a red eye, you can click on the box for the program to ignore it. Click "Apply" when you are done!

The fourth button, "I'm Feeling Lucky" adjusts the lighting and color of your photo, to what the program thinks is a better shade. This button is handy for fixing hazy and dull photos.

The fifth button, "Auto Contrast" heightens the contrast of your photo to a better level.

The sixth button, "Auto Color" improves the color of your photo and works well on dull photos.

The seventh button, "Retouch" can remove dust spots on your photo, which helps a lot if you had dust on your camera lens. Click the "Retouch" button and then click on a blemish on the photo, then move the mouse around the spot until it is removed. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

The eighth button, "Text" can add text onto your photograph. Click the button and then click anywhere on the photo to start typing. Use the appearing text box on the left to alter the font, size, color and transparency of the text. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

The ninth and last button, "Fill Light", can lighten your photo if it is too dark. Move the slider up and down until your photo is perfectly lighted.

Step 5: Learn what each button in the "Tuning" tab does. The following explanations clarify the use of the tuning tool:

The "Fill Light" slider has the same purpose as the last button on the "Basic" editing box. Slide it up and down to lighten your photo. Useful for when you forget to switch on your flash.

The "Highlights" slider makes the light colors on your photograph lighter and more obvious. Use it when you want the light parts in your photo to stand out.

The "Shadows" slider serves the opposite purpose the "Highlights" one. Use it when you want to make the dark parts of your photo darker.

The "Color Temperature" slider changes the "warmth" of your photo. Blue is cold and red is warm. Move the slider to the left if you want to turn your photo bluer and move it right if you want to turn your photo redder.

The "Neutral Color Picker" removes color cast from photos. Click on the eye-dropper icon and then on a neutral black, grey or white area of the photo to adjust the color.

Step 6: Learn what each button in the "Effects" tab does.

"Sharpen" sharpens the edges in your photograph. Use this when your photo is slightly fuzzy and out of focus. Click on "Sharpen" and then move the "Amount" slider until you are happy with the changes. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Sephia" gives your photo an old-fashioned sepia tone.

"B&W" turns your photo into an old-fashioned black and white shot.

"Warmify" turns the 'colour temperature' (mentioned above) in your photo warmer.

"Film grain" gives your photo an old-fashioned film grain. This button combined with "Sepia" or "B&W" turns modern photographs into lovely old-looking shots.

"Tint" washes your photo in a color of your choice. Click on the button and pick a color with the eyedropper icon to wash your photo with. Then move the "Color Preservation" slider until you are happy with the results. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Saturation" heightens your photo's saturation. Click on it and then move the "Amount" slider to the desired effect. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Soft focus" softens the photo focus around a point of your choice. This tool is handy for making a single object in a photo stand out. Click it, and then move the "Size" and "Amount" sliders until you are happy with the effects. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Glow" makes your photo glow, especially the lighter colored areas. Click it, and then move the "Intensity" and "Radius" sliders until you are happy with the effects. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Filtered B&W" makes a photo look as though it was taken with a black and white camera and a color filter. Click it and then pick a color to use for the filter. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Focal B&W" turns your entire photo into black and white, except around a single point of your choice. Click it and move the pointer on the photo to the desired point. Then move the "Size" and "Sharpness" sliders until you are happy with the effect. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

"Graduated Tint" tints only the top part of your photo, which makes it useful for editing sky-photos. Click it and then pick a color to use for the tint. Then move the "Feather" and "Shade" sliders until you are happy with the effect. Click "Apply" to save your changes.

Step 7: Share your edited digital photographs. There are various methods provided for sharing your Picasa photos as explained next:



Click on "Upload" to upload your pictures to Picasa Web Albums. This only works if you have a Web Albums account (located at: http://picasaweb.google.com).

Click on "Email" to email your pictures to a friend. You can choose to use your default email program, which is more complicated to access from Picasa, or you can use your Gmail Account, which is simpler to access because it can simply open in a pop-up, if you have one.

Click on "Print" to send your selected pictures to your printer. You can choose your layout preferences first, before hitting "Print" (at the bottom right) again.

Click on "Export" to move your pictures to another folder on your computer's hard drive. This is handy if you want to copy them onto a USB drive or CD later.

Click on "Shop" to shop online for more products. From sites that will sell your photos, to professional printing services offered.

Click on "BlogThis" to upload your photos to your Google Blog, if you have one, along with a short blog entry.

Click on "Collage" to create a digital picture collage with your selected photos. You can choose your preferred grid options and the size of your collage. When you are finished designing it, save it and share it with friends!

Click on "Video" to create a video clip with your selected photographs. You can choose an audio track to use with it, choose your transition style and set the dimensions of your video. By clicking on "Slide" at the top, you can also add text to your video. When you're done, you can upload the video to YouTube, if you have a YouTube account.

Click on "Geotag" to geotag your pictures using Google Earth. You need to have Google Earth installed on your computer in order to do this. Wait for Google Earth to open, move the crosshair to the desired spot on the globe and click "Geotag" at the bottom right of your screen.
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