OK, let me start by admitting: I’m a techno-frump. I don’t have a clue about links and feeds and finding my way back through the woods… I get lost AND I can’t remember, so I NEED all the techno-help I can get. It’s out there, I know, but I don’t know how to use it….:(
All that because I wanted to cross-refer to a wonderful blog I read just two or three days ago about downloading Picasa and all the wonderful things you could do with this program. So I downloaded with much excitement, and I processed the above two photos with each of three systems. The numbering links to the photos above, the results are in reverse order:
(1) is the standard Microsoft Office Picture Manager that came with my MS Office bundle
(2) is Picasa 3.5, downloaded for free off the internet
(3) is Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 which I think came with my camera, but might also have been a free download. It is not one of the fancy Photoshops you pay a fortune for.
I have used PS4 (no 3) for a long time to fix problems, especially disturbing detail like removing irrigation standpipes, and for lightening shadows which it does brilliantly. For most other things it is not thatmuch better than MS PM (no 1), and I prefer MS PM for the ease of operation. So hurried edits often happen on MS PM only. In particular it is very easy to move between pics on MS PM, and to do cropping, compressing and resizing. That is why I finish ALL my editing in MS PM .
So what does Pcasa offer that’s new? Admittedly I’m a beginner, so it’s natural I find it clumsy. But the excess of ‘impressive’ graphics irritates me – pictures are floated on blacked-out under-layers for instance. Slides and groupings are less intuitive than in Photoshop. Same as Photoshop it tries to take over your life. Like a partner who tries too hard to please, it only succeeds in irritating. It’s just too in-your-face for me. Back off, honey, and I’ll love you more…
It does have advantages though. One of them is the easy collage above, which I put together on Picasa. Another, which I haven’t tried yet, is its easy loading to the web. I understand it suffers less quality loss than Photoshop does when loaded to Blogger. I’ve not heard similar complaints about WordPress.
I tried to fix the same photo using all three programs – not very scientifically, because each time I played until it looked right. But the results were consistent. MS PM was the weakest, mainly because it doesn’t have a sharpen function and both pics were not very clear. Photoshop was the best each time, but for different reasons, and both times could relate to the fact that I am more familiar with the program than with Picasa.
Interestingly Photoshop files were considerably bigger -more than twice as big as the MS PM files once I’d ‘fixed’ them, with the Picasa files closer to the MS PM in size than to Photoshop. But when I reduced all three using MS PM, the Picasa was by far the smallest, without a noticably greater loss in quality. This will count in its favour when many photos need to be uploaded.
So what’s my verdict? I will continue to use MS PM for at least part of my editing process. Picasa might in due course replace Photoshop for some other editing. But even this entry level version of Photoshop offers possibilities that Picasa doesn’t. It is only when you ‘play’ and perhaps when you load, that Picasa comes into its own.