DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - APR 2017
ORGANIZING PHOTOS WITH PICASA

2017 Donald R. Snow - This page was last updated 2017-05-10.
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.  They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html  where the links are active and there may be corrections and additions and other related notes and articles.

GOOGLE'S PICASA PROGRAM

Google used to support PICASA, but now has changed to their online program GOOGLE PHOTOS that works across mobile devices, so it requires the Internet and is not a program on your computer any more.  You can still get PICASA from other websites, e.g. http://filehippo.com/download_picasa/ , and it's still free.  It is not being updated, but is still very helpful to organize your digital photos and do some image editing.

TUTORIALS AND HELPS FOR PICASA

Here are links to some tutorials and helps for PICASA.
Google Helps for PICASA -- https://support.google.com/picasa/?hl=en
Free tutorials -- http://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/picasa.html
More free tutorials about PICASA, but looks like some may be for earlier versions -- http://www.learningelectric.com/picasa2/
Tutorials by Geeks on Tour (some are free, but most are $) -- http://picasatutorials.com/2009/02/picasa-tip-picasa-web-albums/

ABOUT ALBUMS AND FOLDERS IN PICASA

PICASA does NOT copy or change your photos, only puts links to them.  Albums in PICASA are storage places for information and links to your photos.  So deleting an album in PICASA only deletes the links and information and not the photos from your computer.  People Albums in PICASA are storage places for links to that person in all the photos. Folders are your hard drive storage places for photos, so DON'T DELETE A FOLDER in PICASA or you will delete all your photos in it.  Before you run PICASA set the preference in File (upper left corner) to tell it which folder or folders to work on or else it does your entire hard drive and then indexes the indexes and so on.  Duplicate photos get indexed more than once in PICASA, so it helps to move duplicates or backups out of the folders you set it to work on.  AWESOME DUPLICATE PHOTO FINDER -- http://www.duplicate-finder.com -- is a helpful freeware program to help find and delete duplicate photos.

FOLDER AND PEOPLE ALBUMS

PICASA keeps all the photos in whatever folders you have them and shows that collection as a Folder Album.  Clicking on a Folder Album shows all the pictures in that folder and you can go through them to look at them or edit them.  You can do a slideshow of that album by clicking on View > Slideshow.  PICASA has facial recognition built in, so, as it goes through all the folders you told it to work on, it looks for what it thinks are faces and puts a small rectangle around each.  It then uses facial recognition algorithms to sort these thumbnails into groups that it thinks are the same person, regardless of the photo or folder it came from.  This may take some time (hours), depending on your computer and how many photos you are having it work on.  It labels each thumbnail group as Unknown Person.  These thumbnail groups are People Albums and you can move any thumbnail in or out of any group by just highlighting and dragging it.  When you give the group a name, that People Album is then shown in alphabetical order in the panel on the left.  You can confirm or "disconfirm" any of the thumbnails in that folder and you can remove any thumbnail out by highlighting and dragging it to another People Album.  As you confirm thumbnails in a group PICASA now has more facial information, so it suggests more thumbnails that it thinks might be that person and asks you to confirm or deny them.  To see just the new suggestions click on the box near the top right of the group and there is an option to Confirm All when they are all correct.  The facial recognition algorithm isn't perfect, but is very helpful and surprisingly accurate.  Editing the People Albums and naming them gets to be addicting and, more than once , I've gotten hooked on doing it and as I keep getting new suggestions, I lose track of time.  Double clicking a thumbnail brings up the full photo containing that thumbnail so you can see the context and decide if that really is the right person to be in that group.  Then doubling clicking the full photo puts you back to the People Album you entered it from.  With the full photo open there are several options at the bottom right side.   One opens and closes the Person Panel which shows thumbnails of everyone in the photo.  You can edit the names right there, if you want.  There are other buttons there to show where the photo was taken, if your camera has a built in GPS, and others to see what tags you may have entered for that photo.  There is one to show all the metadata of the photo, e.g. the camera that took the photo, the aperture settings, etc.  As mentioned, double clicking the photo takes you back to the thumbnail list.  For people that don't need to be identified, e.g. strangers on the street, click the Ignore button and PICASA moves that thumbnail to the trash.  If a person wasn't "thumbnailed" automatically in a photo, you can manually thumbnail them with "Add a Person Manually" (lower right hand side) and put the thumbnail around the face yourself.  But PICASA has a bug that this "Add a Person Manually" button doesn't always come up when it should.  If you want it and it's not there, try going out and back into the photo from a different screen to get it.  The slider arrow at lower right of the screen expands or contracts the thumbnails and photos.  To have the name tags saved in the EXIF metadata of the photo go to PICASA > Tools > Options > NameTags > Store Name Tags in Photo.  Then, by clicking on a Person Album and selecting thumbnails, it will store that name tag in the metadata data of each of those photos.  It will do this as you go to the Person Album for each person in the photo.  It's not perfect, and if you have a comma in the name, it puts the name on two lines in the EXIF data (metadata).

PHOTO EDITING WITH PICASA

When viewing full photos, PICASA has some photo editing capabilities.  The editing buttons are in the upper left corner and include cropping, removing red eye, color correction, straightening, and color correcting.  You might experiment with editing some photos using these, but there are other freeware programs that are better for editing photos.  And remember that PICASA doesn't change your photos; it only puts links to them and stores the changes in its information database, so if you edit a photo in PICASA and later export it, the changes won't be in the photo.

SLIDESHOWS OF YOUR PHOTOS

PICASA does slideshows of your photos by highlighting the album and clicking View > Slideshow.  If you start from a People Album, it shows full screen views of the thumbnails; if you start with a Folder, it shows all the photos in that folder.

MISCELLANEOUS ABOUT PICASA

If your PICASA database gets corrupted, you can rebuild it, but first read the directions on the Help menu, so you don't lose all your previous People Album confirming work.  PICASA does much more than discussed here, e.g. it has a way to backup your photos with the PICASA database to transfer to another computer.

CONCLUSIONS

PICASA is a very useful program for organizing your photos and is still free and available, just not from Google now.  There is an option at the bottom of PICASA to upload your photos to Google, but I don't know if that works now and haven't dared try it.  It may copy your photos into GOOGLE PHOTOS which is their current program that works across all mobile devices and requires the Internet, so it is not just on your computer.  I highly recommend PICASA for what it does and I still use it.
=====================================