Showing posts with label photo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photo. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picasa and Screen Captures

It’s another busy week and Mom is finally coming home from rehab after surgery. It’s wonderful that there are facilities to make sure she is ready to take care of herself safely. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers during this time.

All of this means that family history has taken a back seat to actual family but that’s how it is supposed to be. I also teach two days a week and prepare all my own materials and course content. It’s a wonderful opportunity but time consuming. The result is that I can’t blog daily – I imagine you’ve noticed. I will try to keep to three times a week, though.

Today’s post is about a program called Picasa. I have mentioned it before but most of us use it for pictures. Did you know you can use it to capture whole screen shots? If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 or a Mac, you’ve been able to cut a piece from anywhere on your screen and do something else with it. All Windows programs have been able to capture screen shots but the next few steps to keep a copy of the screen shot are arcane.

Picasa to the rescue!

Open Picasa (a free download from  – a Google product) then minimize it. When you find a screen you want a copy of, click the “print screen” key on your computer. (Note: the “ALT-PrintScreen” key combination will capture just the active window.) You will see Picasa capture the screen and store it in a folder called “screen captures” inside the Picasa folder in the (my)Pictures folder on your computer. The best thing is that the screenshots are captured in sequence by time so they are always in the order in which you progresses through the original screens. Once they are in Picasa you can caption them, rename them, edit them, crop them, type text on them, e-mail them, or even create a slide show (with one click!!!), etc. Picasa lets you do anything to these screen shots that you can do to a picture.

OK, so why would you want to do this? It’s a slick way of creating a slide show from different source documents. It’s easy to use for teaching or demonstrating. You can add text to any slide and captions allow you to be precise with directions. Once you have a sequence of screen shots you can put them in an album in Picasa are re-arrange them in any order. You can make a gift CD or movie for someone with this free powerful piece of software. (Note: Family Tree Maker users can also run a slide show of their Family Tree Maker media files.) Picasa has so many uses that I’ll have to share more, later.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Got the Picture?

If you have photos on your computer, then Picasa is for you. Picasa is a FREE small powerful program download from (another Google site). It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

With this program installed with its default settings, (just click through the install screens accepting the standard replies) your computer will become your best genealogy companion. Since Picasa is built with Google technology, the tagging and search features are spectacular and the facial recognition feature will help sort out family photos.

I teach many classes on using this great program and one of the tools I use in genealogy is the facial recognition feature. As your program indexes all of your photos it finds the faces and creates a separate thumbnail of these faces. You can use these thumbnails to populate your family trees, create slide shows with the photos, help figure out who is related to whom, and in general, have some fun with your photos.

My collection of photos includes scans that date back over 100 years. When I tweaked the Picasa facial recognition feature to be LESS sensitive, the program thought my father, brother, and uncle were the same person! This can be very handy if you don’t know who someone is – the program can help.

The sensitivity setting is in the Tools menu and then select Options and then click on the Name Tags setting. As you slide the sliders to a higher number the program becomes more discerning and will help you separate siblings who the program thinks are the same person. As you slide the sliders to a lower number the program is less able to separate people giving you family groups. This facial recognition feature was able to find pictures of my nephews from age 18 months to 21 and figure out it was the same person! OK, I admit, that’s a little freaky but amazing none-the-less.

When you first install the software it will take some time for the face tagging to index the people so don’t close the program for a few hours. You can still use other programs during that time. Each time you open the program it will continue the indexing of the photos and people.

I use Picasa for so much more than photos and I’ll be sharing some of the best tips with you. Thank you for your time.

Happy Hunting.
9-11 Never Forget!