How To make Collages using Picasa 3:
First download Picasa 3 (if you don't already have it)CLICK HERE..
Your Picture files should automatically be saved into Picasa 3. (if your Picasa 3 is acting weird, just Uninstall and Reinstall a new one--it's fast and won't lose your pics)
1-Click on a Picture
2-Edit the picture by cropping and changing Effects, fixing red eye, etc.
3-Click on the picture or pictures you want to make a collage or layout of. (Hint: if choosing more than one, hold down CTRL.) It will show you on the bottom left which pics you have chosen. Then click the COLLAGE link on the bottom of Picasa. This will put your pics into a collage. Note: you can only click on pics within one folder. If you want to mix pics from other folders you will have to click CLIPS and GET MORE after you are in the Collage Page.
4- Under Settings, click on which collage style you want. If you want to make it yourself, choose Picture Pile and size and arrange the pics yourself. If you want Picasa to do the work for you, click on Mosaic or Grid. It will automatically make a layout for you. You can click SHUFFLE below the collage to get different arrangments.
5- Adjust the Grid Spacing, for wider gaps between your pics.
6-Click on the dropper tool square for background colors, then click on a color out of the color grid, or color match by clicking on clothing articles in your pic to match. (That's my favorite)
8- VERY IMPORTANT: For the Page Format, click on the size of your collage and be consistent with all of them. I choose the SQUARE layout so when I make 12x12 photo books they are the right size. If you will be making 8x10 books, choose 8x10 on each one. Just don't forget this step!
7- You will not be able to add any Text yet, so if you want text, be sure to leave a spot for it before making your collage!
8- Once your pics are arranged how you like them and you have chosen your background color and chosen your Page Format click CREATE COLLAGE.
9- Once it is 100% complete, a new page will pull up. This is where you can add Text if you want. Click on the TEXT box and then click on your collage where you want your text to go, pick your font, and color and drag your text or resize until you like it. The color of the text is made by using the dropper tool again with the circle on the left. You can also put an outline around your text by using the Text Circle on the right.
10- Once you have your text complete, and any other basic fixes you want to make, your collage is complete. Click on FILE and SAVE to get it to save to your computer's picture file as well as to Picasa. Otherwise, it will be saved into a file Picasa makes called COLLAGES. See how easy! Watch out... it's addicting.
HOW TO MAKE A PHOTO BOOK WITH COLLAGES:
1- Now that you have your collage file, highlight all the collages you would like to make a Photo Book with.
2- Click on SHOP at the bottom of Picasa and click on which website you want to order from. The best deal I've found is Winkflash because they have an on again off again Flat Rate Book Sale where you can get up to 100 pages in one book starting at 19.95 for an 8x10 book. I love the 12 x 12 which is 29.95. Anyway, you can use whatever you want, but Winkflash has worked great for me. If you don't already have an account with that website, you will set one up right there.
3- Picasa will automatically start uploading all your highlighted Collages. You can do about 100 of them in a couple hours. (This is way way faster than uploading all your pics separately and then putting them in the book!)
4- Once they are uploaded, (it will tell you in the bottom right corner of Picasa, then you go to the website you are ordering from and find them. For winkflash, I go to Winkflash.com, click on Member Sign in, I sign in and then click on Books, I do the Classic Cover Book and then I click Window Cover Book (again, whatever you want to do here).
Type in your Book name and Book Size. (Notice, there is a glitch on winkflash where sometimes it changes your books size automatically throughout the process, just make sure in the end, that you double check that it is the book size you wanted. If not, it's easy to reclick your size again)
6- Click on Start Book and it will bring up your book layout. You've already made your collages so don't worry about all the different layouts. Choose the same full page square layout for every page. If it didn't pull up your collages, click on Open Folder and choose your collage foler. Then drag and drop your already made collages from your folder into the squares.
7- Do this up to 100 pages and then follow directions to check out. Don't forget to enter the discount code for the flat rate book sale at the end. (it tells you the code on their home page).
8- Note, shipping is $6 to $10 a book and I haven't seen any free shipping codes, but it's still worth it.
You're going to love your book. They are so much nicer than just dragging and dropping pics using their system. I hope this all makes sense. Good Luck! It's really easy once you get the hang of it! Wow, that's the longest post I've ever made.
So this is how my photo books turned out. I did Riley's first. It is just a typical 8 x10 photo book using the Winkflash drag and drop method. It was okay, but then I made Luke's. For his I made square collages using Picasa 3 FIRST and then uploaded them to Winkflash and ordered their 12 x12 photo book. Since the pages were all made, I used the single image layout on every page and drug each collage to its page. His book turned out amazing and colorful. And I have to say, it was even easier to make than Riley's.
So, if you are looking for an easy way to print off your pics, I think this is totally the way to go. I've researched prices on many sites, and the biggest bang for your buck is Winkflash. They are doing their Flat Rate Book Sale again now where you get to have up to 100 pages for the base price. My 12 x 12 filled with 100 pages (and probably 400 + photos) was only $29.95. I do like Blurb, but they don't have a 12 x 12 book. And now that I have done one, there's no going back.