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Five tricks you can do with Picasa

In my article here, I explain why Picasa is a great, free programme.  If you ARE already using it, you might enjoy some of the little things you can do with it, that perhaps you have not tried yet.  There are many more, and if these whet your appetite, just experiment.

1. Lighten up the dark pictures

When you are viewing the image in Picasa, look for the slide bar on the left side called "Fill Light":

Slide it to the right as far as is necessary, and see what happens with that dark picture.  Below is an example of a picture before and after the Fill Light Slidebar is used.

2. Make a modern photo into a sepia period piece

This is done by using the "Sepia" function in Picasa. You can do it with any digital photograph. The end result is a photo that is made of just sepia tones, like pictures done a hundred or more years ago. To do this, double click on the image in Picasa, and then click on the "Effects" tab in the left column. If you don't like it, just click the Undo button.

Here is an example of the Sepia effect:

3. Put the focus on one person

In this example, you might have a group photo and you just want to identify one person in the photo. Or you just want to draw the viewer's attention to one person or one part of the photo. You can make the whole picture blurry except for that one area. You have control over what area to have in focus, how blurry the rest of the picture is, and how large of an area will be in focus. To do this, go back to the "Effects" tab and click on "Soft Focus", then just move the cursor to where you want it. Example below.

4. Colour just part of the photo

This can be an interesting way to present a photo. Imagine a normal photo, full of vibrant images. Then, you make that photo a black and white - except for one area.   You use the "Focal B&W" function in the Picasa Effects menu. Here's what it looks like:

5. Zoom in

This works best on high-resolution pictures. When you are viewing a picture like that, look in the lower right area of the Picasa window, right above the "Collage" and "Export" links. You should see a slide bar there. It has no text label, but that is the Zoom tool. When you slide it to the right, it gets closer and closer to the image you are viewing.

The picture below is a large picture of an airplane cockpit (click on the image and you will see how big it is). The area that I have outlined in red is the spot that I zoomed in on in the second image.