Picasa is a photo editing software which is easy to use and very fast, it is very popular among the general public. Picasa was first released in July 2004 and the latest release is from december 2011, the latest version is Picasa 3.9. With Picasa you can easily edit photos, print, upload or sent it by email. The user interface is user-friendly and easy to understand.
The installation doesn’t take much time and during the installation Picasa is asking to install Picasa Photo Viewer for viewing the images. After the installation is finished, Picasa starts right away with indexing the photos rapidly. Here you can identify a certain map or the entire disk. All the images will be displayed as thumbnails.
With a large amount of digital photos it’s always difficult to maintain and keep an overview. Start from the beginning to make a systematic archive. Make separate folders and give them a unique name, for example, use a date including the topic of the photo album. If you start with the year and month all the folders will be listed by year and date. However, it is difficult when a range of photos on a particular topic stretches over a longer time. To solve this problem you can make a sub folder in that topic and give them a date and name. Fortunately, a photo management program like Picasa offers a solution. With the Import button you can import photos, Picasa import the photos from folders and devices. In Tools –> Folder manager you can select which folders must be included.
With Picasa you can drag photos from one folder to another and as needed rename. The original photos wont be renamed without permission. Names of multiple photos you can rename at once by selecting Image –> Batch images –> Rename, and enter the new name for these files. You may include the date or image resolution in the filename.
Star and label
The folders are used as the basis for the classification of photo albums. A slideshow will be limited to one folder and that’s a big disadvantage. To use images from different folders you can indicate them with a star. In this way you can make a sideshow of images with a star. This is a nice tool for making a photo presentation. For making more than one collection its possible to label or tag them. Photos can have more than one label so you can view them in multiple categories at the same time.
To creating a new album select File –> New album. Add photos using the right-mouse button or use the stars and labels. To select multiple photos use the CTRL button and select the items you want to add, click the right mouse button and select Add to album.
Picasa has many features for photo editing such as cut, crop, color adjustment, contrast, sharpen and removing the red-eye. The basic functions are directly available after selecting the photo. After adjusting the photos they can be saved as a separate file, so the original photos will retain.
Uploading photo album
It is possible to share photos with family and friends on the internet. You can get 1 Gigabyte of free Picasa Web Albums space when you have a Google account. The first time some adjustment is needed to establish your Google Web Album account. After the setup you can upload photos in a few clicks. Select the photos you want to upload and press the Upload button. Picasa can also automatically post photos to your blog, website, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter accounts using the Picasa uploader application.
Making a screeensaver is also not difficult, just select the images and go to Create –> Add to screensaver.
Through Tools –> Geocoding, photos can be placed on Google Earth. This feature requires Google Earth installed on the computer.
Creating a movie is a nice addition to the features. To make a movie Click on the Create tab, Select Movie from the drop-down menu. Picasa has some choises for the movie settings, set the movie size and time delay between the pictures. If necessary, compress the video to Divx or Xvid so the video files are not too large and you can burn multiple videos on one DVD.
Burn on DVD
Picasa has also a feature to burn your photos and albums to CD or DVD. Just select Burn to DVD as the output format and click Burn to burn on DVD. Now you can watch your photos with a stand alone DVD player on tv.
Don’t compare Picasa with Photoshop, it has limited features so it is less suitable for professionals, but still there are many attractive things to do. This program is available for Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems and supports BMP, JPEG, PNG and GIF. Picasa is an open source software, which is made by everyone and can be used by everyone, a group of volunteers are working together to design the software, some other free photo editing are Gimp and Picnik. Compared to Gimp it has almost the same features, only some features are missing such as resizing and layers, it has also no plugin support. Other free photo editing software which are useful and at least to try are FastStone Image Viewer, IrfanView, Photoscape and XnView. Those programs has fewer features and is more useful for beginners, or for those who only need a few tools.