As an author or photographer do you ever get stuck in the middle of a project, and your technology stops you dead in your tracks? When my Photoshop Elements 10 program crashed and gave me an “I’m corrupted now.” message, I was in the middle of a blogging resurgence, trying to get my stats out of the single digit range again after being offline for six months. To solve the problem, I researched free editing programs, and several search referrals pointed to Picasa. I have Picasa with my Gmail account, but I couldn’t add a watermark or signature, crop, resize or make any of the changes I needed to make in order to blog to my satisfaction, so I was confused.
To solve my immediate need, I took an entire month to tryout and learn the newest version of Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. There were just enough similarities between the new Photoshop, my old Photoshop program online, and my old Elements program to lull me into thinking I knew what I was doing, then I would try to do something familiar like process a batch of photos, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I searched Google for the answers to several how to glitches I found, but sometimes those videos were out of date. I could grow to love both programs, but they cost between $9.99 and $49.99 every month because they are online and are constantly upgraded. When my trial ran out last night, I ordered a downloadable copy of Photoshop Elements 10 on Amazon, then checked out Picasa again.
First of all, don’t be fooled like I was thinking that if you have pictures stored online on Picasa through your Gmail account, that you have the editing program. You have to download Picasa 3. I did that, and the program immediately started scanning every photo I have in my computer ending up with a complete copy of all the photos I have in my pictures files, which I can download to my blog and the iPhotos files, which I can’t download. I’m not sure where all these pictures are stored, but you can upload them to your Google account. since I have so many, I didn’t do that.While it scanned my 9,000 photos or so, I experimented with the tools. Interestingly, it is simple to process so that you can publish quickly. Simply double-click on the photo and the tools appear on the left. I haven’t worked with it much, but you can even change the type of file. For example a screen shot is a tiff, which you can’t use in WP. In Picasa you can click “save as,” and get a jpeg copy, which WordPress recognizes. Below is a picture I processed. After I added the text, I found that I could even add a watermark easier. Because this photo was not for a professional blog, I just left both. I also still have the original photo.In the past year I have worked extensively with Google Docs, and I find it more user-friendly than either Word or Excel. I think Picasa may be the same for simple photo processing. For more artistic work, I will need a program like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. To work up a quick post, Picasa will work well, and is actually easier to learn than Photoshop.