I thought we might skip the talk about virus and spyware, and share a couple of cool tools. Whenever a computer is brought in and we have to wipe the hard drive, our first question is, “Do you have anything important to save?” To which the answer is “my pictures.” Unfortunately not everyone saves their precious photos in the “my pictures” folder in “my documents.” Some people make folders on the desktop, and others allow the camera software to store them in a folder of its choosing. Either way this can make it hard for us to find and save them.
That’s where the first tool comes in. I have Picasa loaded on my bench unit. It’s a free software download from Google, and its claim to fame is its ability to scan a hard drive and locate all the photos in just about any format, and tell where they are located. It also has some really simple editing features that can correct the most common problems. Like removing ‘redeye’ or maybe the photo is too dark, or needs to be rotated. I have recovered pictures taken without a flash, simply by adding light and contrast. It also has the ability to make slide shows and add your own music soundtrack that you can upload to facebook or MySpace. The second is also free photo editing software; however it has many more tools that allow you to correct any problem except a blurry or out of focus picture. It’s called “Artweaver”, just do a Google search and you will find several sites that allow a free download. Artweaver is as close to professional as you’ll get for free, and once you get accustomed to it you can do some amazing things.
One of my favorites is its ability to turn a photo into a sketch, I have been writing short stories and would like to illustrate one in particular, however I am not an artist. Artweaver allows me to take a photo, turn it into a sketch, add color, text, rotate, crop or resize. You would have to try it to see how many tools are available.
So, whether you have a damaged vintage photo you want to repair, or you would like to illustrate your own book, check this out. Remember Picasa will find them and is a good basic fix and Artweaver is for those of you who are serious about how your pictures look, but don’t want to spring for some high price software. As always I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.