Monday, January 24, 2011

Playing with Picasa

If you know me at all, you know I like most things Google. I have an Android phone, use Google Voice for my "home phone", handle email with Gmail and Google Contacts (instead of Outlook) and live by Google Calendar. I could go on & on, but I don't want to bore you to tears.

But there is one thing Google I have avoided, that is, until a week or so ago. I admit, I am way behind the curve on learning Photoshop. People who know it, love it -- at least most of them do. Yes, it's a phenomenal application. However, I personally think it's convoluted, confusing, contraption that frustrates me every time I try to use it. I tried v5.5 and CS4 -- both made me want to throw the computer against the wall.

So, I went looking for another photo editor (yeah, I know... nothing can replace what Photoshop can do). I downloaded GIMP... and deleted it almost as fast. I played with a friend's Lightroom 3, but never really understood what it was supposed to do -- catalog or edit. I tried a few others, but most were lacking features that I found useful in my outdated copy of Paint Shop Pro 6.

Then, I ran across a rave review of Picasa 3. It sounded good, but would I despise it as much as I have some of the other graphics editors? In short, NO. Picasa is not as full-featured as CS4, but it does what I need it to do -- quickly and without much heartburn. I don't unmask my masks or tone map my colors (whatever all that means), but I do adjust contrast, saturation and even crop or resize from time to time. Guess what? Picasa is great for all those things -- AND cataloging my photos.

Hats off, once again, to the people at Google for opening a new door to my world... and for making software that is easy to use and useful at the same time. While I wade through the video tutorials and mass of websites offering PhotoShop information, I'll work happily along with Picasa 3. If you have been as frustrated with PhotoShop as I have, you might want to give Picasa a try.

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