I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this software. I was just looking for something I could use to remove redeye from my pictures. I saw a suggestion in one of the google newsgroups about Picasa 2 and I decided to give it a go.
Holy moses does it do a *lot*! The fact that it’s free is just an added bonus. The search abilities and the sophisticated viewing / manipulation abilities rival most of the other programs I’ve been trialing (ACDSEE and Photoshop pro are the most notable ones).
Basically I’m pretty useless when it comes to photo manipulations. Trying to adjust the lighting levels and the hues and saturation really isn’t something that comes naturally to me. The “I’m feeling lucky” button in the “Basic Fixes” section usually does a great job at enhancing the pictures enough that I’m much more satisfied than when I try tweaking bits myself.
That combined with a really simple redeye remover and the myriad other cool features (check out the timeline feature) makes this a winner in my book.
Cons? Except for committing the redeye adjustment to the files on disk (saves the originals in a folder called… “originals”) most of the changes made, rotation, lighting, colors, etc. Are retained only as information in either the folder INI files or in a database someplace (haven’t found it yet need to back it up). This means that for me to give the picture files to other folks, or to upload them on my website, I need to export them. Otherwise they just see the unretouched originals. If I use the email function in Picasa this is done for me so emailing isn’t a concern. But this *is* something to watch out for if you decide to move to another photo management product. You’ll probably need to export ALL of your subdirectories just to be sure that you won’t lose all that retouching work.
I suspect most of the photo management systems have some proprietary quirks like this.
I felt it was a risk worth taking in this case.