About a year ago, I told you about some exciting new features in Picasa 3. Well, they’ve done it again! They’ve added a new feature in version 3.5 called “name tags” that uses face recognition software to distinguish different people in your pictures. First you must identify the person and give them a name. I have found it useful to identify a person several times using front and side shots to help the software establish a reliable database for that person.
Once you have the feature up and running, you can open a picture folder and ask for all the pictures of “Aunt Martha” and they’ll be gathered so that you can compare and pick her best shot. Or, even better, you can use another great Picasa feature to make a collage of all your favorite head shots of Aunt Margaret. It’s a fun and useful feature that photo enthusiasts will appreciate.
For those who are not already using the free Picasa program, let me recommend it as your primary interface for digital photography. It’s a software package that a novice can use and the experienced user can grow into it and use more and more of its features. As you develop expertise, you can branch out to more diverse and advanced programs. Picasa gives you a little of everything you need to start enjoying photography as a hobby. Did I say it was free?
Picasa is a photo organizer, editor and photo sharing program that allows you to create movies, collages, slideshows and more. Another nice feature is that it makes it easy for you to preserve your originals. It also allows you to share your photos with friends and family by facilitating printing or enabling you to upload your pictures to a picture sharing Website of your own.
One tip to new users of Picasa; before you install it put all your pictures in folders in the “My Pictures” folder (“Pictures” if you are using Vista).When you run Picasa for the first time it will ask you where to look for pictures; choose the” My Documents only” choice and it will find all the pictures in your documents and in the My Pictures folder. Two things to remember when using Picasa: Picasa does not store the photos on your computer, it simply displays the ones that you already have on your PC and Your originals are always preserved; when you edit photos and save the changes, a new image is created.
You can personalize your photos using the Text tool and you can edit the color, style and placement of the text on your photo and print the result if you like.For more advanced users there is also a Watermark tool that allows you to mark images that you export to other folders or upload to your Website. You can also print your captions or file names on or below your photos.
An unexpected bonus with using Picasa is that there is a large worldwide community of users who are happy to share their knowledge and tips. You can use Google to find many useful video tutorials about general use or for some specific Picasa feature. Read about Picasa and download from picasa.google.com.