In yesterday's post, I introduced you to some of the great things that the photo-editing tool Picasa can do. Be sure and go back to see if you missed the introduction. Let's get started right away now teaching you about how you can use this tool.
In the figure below, I've highlighted some of the main things you'll be working with inside the Picasa Window. On the left side is the navigation pane is where you will see all of your folders. By default, the folder with the newest items goes to the top of the list. Folders are categorized into "collections" and you can create more as needed to help organize. For starters, the "Folders" collection is where you will work most. There is also "Downloaded Albums" and "Exported Pictures" collections that are self-explanatory by their names.
Notice above, at the bottom of the window are your main actions: Upload to Web Album, Print, Export, and Collage (we will have classes on each of these). There is a slider bar at the bottom also, where you control the thumbnail size to see more or less on the screen according to your liking.
At the top of the window are your filter commands. When you have LOTS of photos like I do, you'll be glad these are here. I'll show you about that too. Finally, double-click on a specific thumbnail to go to that photo.
As you click on a specific photo, notice below how your screen will be laid out. On the left side now is the tools palette with three tabs: Basic, Tuning, Effects. We'll go step by step through these tools, but feel free to experiment in the meanwhile. (there's always an undo button if you mess up!)
When you start Picasa for the very first time, it asks the question about which folders for Picasa to "watch". You can do your photos folders ONLY or the whole computer. I choose the photos folders only since anything else will just cause your computer to scan longer than it needs to. You can change your folders settings at any time by going to the Tools menu and choosing "Folder Manager..." Below you can see how this looks. You want to look at your settings. Photos folders and subfolders should be set to "Scan Always" (i.e. watch for any new photos added) and all other folders you can set with the red X "Remove From Picasa (i.e. don't bother spending any time watching these folders)
Well that's it for today. Next up, we'll talk about how Picasa does edits ... something called "non-destructive editing" (which means you can always roll back to your original photo. We'll also talk about exporting photos (which has a built in resize and optional watermark functions). Have you ever wanted to resize a photo for your blog post? Come back tomorrow!