Those of you who have been following my blog for a fair while will know that I publish a lot of photos. In order to get these photos to look the way I want them I edit them using a piece of software offered (for free) by Google. It's called Picnik. It's closely linked to the Picasa Web Albums suite. Anyone who uses Blogger (and presumably any other Google service, such as Google Reader) can use this software - in fact they would be foolish not to! You may not know this, but when you publish a photo in a Blogger post, it stores a copy of the photo in a web album that has the same name as your blog. The maximum size of such an album is currently 1000 photos (which in my case is not a lot!), but you can make additional albums for yourself whenever you feel like it. I now have 12 of them. Your initial ration of free storage space is 20Gb, but you can quickly, easily and very cheaply buy more storage space whenever you need to.
I thought some of you might like to learn about about how I use Picnik.
First steps: take your photo, and upload it to a Picasa Web Album. It may not be particularly good at this stage, but just a few minutes' work can make it an awful lot better. For example:-
Here's one of my favourite photo genres - water droplets on a leaf. The initial photo is not brilliant - taken in difficult light conditions, and the water droplets themselves are not in focus, but I noticed a nice light pattern on the leaf at the right, so I decided to use Picnik to help me rescue this photo.
Using Picnik, I cropped the photo, leaving just the bit I wanted, (which has the effect of zooming-in) adjusted the exposure, added "Clarity" and this is what I got. It's not as crisp as I would like, but that's what happens when you zoom. When my new Macro lens arrives, I hope to do better!
Picnik also allows you to add literally hundreds of different features and effects. For instance, changing the temperature settings can get you something like this:
Now don't you wish you could grow brassicas as colourful as that, eh??
But as I said, I was in pursuit of water-droplet photos, so the above - although interesting - was not what I was after. This next photo has potential. Although it is too dark, at least the water droplets are nicely in focus.
Here it is, cropped, and with the exposure adjusted:
Later on, using a bit of creativity, I made it look like this:
I think this has a sort of Science Fiction look to it now, don't you? Adding a frame is easy too: there are dozens of different styles to choose from, and you can adjust the colour and thickness of both inner and outer bands. I think the frame formalises the photo somewhat and helps with the transformation to a work of art.
Today I have published my re-vamped PHOTOS page, so perhaps you would like to visit it and see some more of my work?
Go on then, I urge you to have a play with Picnik and see what you can do!
P.S. Google did not sponsor me to write this (more's the pity...). I genuinely think their product is great - and easy to use.
I never mess about with my photos (as you can probably tell). It's so interesting what you can do with digital photography though nowadays. Do you remember picking up you photos from the chemists only to find out that they were all out of focus or that fingers had been placed where they shouldn't have?ReplyDelete
Is there a link to your revamped page Mark? I tried clicking the the word Photos at the top of the page but nothing happened, or am I being particularly dumb today?ReplyDelete
Hi Toffeeapple; There's no link to the Photos page. Just click that word "Photos" in the Pages line (though you will need to scroll down to see the photos).ReplyDelete
Jo; Yes, I do remember the old-fashioned celluloid photo experience - which is why I never took up photography until late in life; it was just too much like hard work. And think of the money it would have cost me to produce all these thousands of photos!ReplyDelete
my god I had no idea about Picnik... i'm off to investigate now... oh and by the way I received my wonderful seeds today, thank you... can't wait to plant them up xReplyDelete
I hadn't come across this piece of software either Mark. It looks like a lot of fun although, like Jo, I rarely retouch my photos. I not only remember picking up my photos from the chemists but I also used to mess around in the colour darkroom to get these sort of effects on my slide photos! It's a lot easier these days!ReplyDelete
Amazing what you can do quickly with this bit of software. I don't normally dabble beyond the odd crop and red eye removal. I need to experiment more this year.ReplyDelete
Pretty cool, Mark! I didn't know about this software Picnik. I'm always reluctant to mess with my pictures other than to crop them. Mostly because I don't know how to use the digital software out there. Maybe I'll play with this one. Thanks for sharing! I love the water droplet photos.ReplyDelete
That last photo is creepy - sci fi is a good description. Incidently there's another photo editting program on the web called PAINT.Net also free (although they like donations) which is similar to photoshop in many ways. It has potential but I haven't really worked out how to use it yet.ReplyDelete
The other day my daughter was trying to remember the name of this particular software but couldn't until we read your post today...Eureka!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing Mark. I'm not sure when I'll get time to play at the moment, but it looks fun and I'm looking forward to having a go :D
Many thanks indeed Mark for the heads up with Picnik. Your photos are truly inspiring! I had never heard of Picnik either but have signed up now on your recommendation...Still need to work myself on getting those close ups in focus -maybe have to now investigate in getting a tripod or a macro lens-whatever that is....Please keep up with all those tips for taking photos-much, much appreciated!ReplyDelete
I like the last photo Mark! Creepy cool! Great post!ReplyDelete
Picnik is fun. My storage is almost full. Might have to increase the space usage.ReplyDelete
All along I'd been imagining that you were using Photoshop or some such s/w. It's great to know that Picnic can do so much. I've been loathe to try it since it seemed a little slow. But now that you've shown us its many abilities, I will give it a shot.ReplyDelete
Just browsed through the photos in your "Photos" section. Absolutely awesome! The paw-prints in the snow, the peas in the pod, the chillies, the apples... can't decide which one is the best. So many masterpieces all in one page.ReplyDelete
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...did I say thank you????? I used this once last year and then forgot the name of it!!!!! Thank you (again!)xxxxxxxxxxReplyDelete
Do you upload your photos full size Mark? I've downloaded Picasa 3 to my computer - it's free too. This way you can set it up to reduce the size of photos uploaded. Ours are set to 640px which are fine for the web - Picasa does count photos below a certain size as part of your storage quota. This way I have literally thousands of photos uploaded but am currently using 97 MB (9.57%) of my 1024 MB limitReplyDelete
Interesting, Sue. I didn't know this. However, the cost of extra storage is ridulously low, so I'm not too concerned,ReplyDelete
Funny you should mention Picnik as I used it myself for the first time yesterday and had a lot of fun playing putting holly borders and santa claus beards and a red nose on my husbands photo. I haven't tried it 'proper' as I do any editing on Picasa - it does seem to take a lot of time up though.ReplyDelete