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Arranging & sorting photos in WIN10 File Explorer (or other means)
February 11, 2020
2:16 pm
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Robert Stovall
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Like an abused spouse, I struggle to leave Picasa but keep coming back! Is there a halfway house for me?

I’ve spent time developing a workflow that uses DxO as a central element in photo editing, especially now that I use my new digital camera that captures RAW images. And I’ve been able to migrate most/all of my pictures into Google Photos (God help me if Google abandons GP like it did Picasa!). Picasa collage making was adequate, but I found Fotojet, an online collage-maker to be a decent alternative. I still struggle, however, with creating videos of my travels because I know of no way to order my photos within WIN10 File Explorer except by sorting against a fixed set of criteria (name, date, etc.). When I drop folder contents into my video maker (Photodex/ProShow Gold, also out of business!), I can then drag them around, but painfully. Here is where Picasa would have entered the picture: a) F2 RENAME or b) EXPORT (Add numbers to filenames to preserve order).

A fallback is to use Picasa (while it lasts) to sort/rename/renumber, but I further fear that GP will do something unexpected with the new name like create duplicates from the current & former names.

If you know of means for sorting, renumbering and the like to enable arbitrary (i.e., drag & drop) photo arrangement, I can leave my abusive lover forever (though I fear any alternate to Picasa will not address the duplicate issue mentioned above).

Help.

February 14, 2020
5:50 pm
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MrsGeek
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Robert,

Thanks for the laugh!

There are things that must be UNlearned in order to embrace the cloud-storage scenario of Google Photos and one of those is filename sorting. Google Photos does not pay any attention to filenames. Have you notice that there is NO capability to rename files with Google Photos? That may be bad news, but the good news is that a change of filenames does not trigger Google Photos to think it is a new photo – therefore, no duplicates.

If you make albums in Google Photos, you do have the ability to re-order them with drag and drop. Just open the album, click the 3-dot menu and choose Edit Album. Now you can drag photos around to your heart’s content. However, if you then export them to some other product – DxO? – I doubt that they keep that order.

It’s a conundrum.

Did you watch our YouTube episode on Filmora for video editing #167? It’s pretty easy to rearrange clips on the timeline.

I’m not sure that any of this helps – come back.

February 15, 2020
2:56 pm
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Robert Stovall
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Thank you for your very helpful reply. Your GP story re no duplicates makes sense & I’ll take advantage of (or live with!) GP’s date sorting as it applies. Also GP’s photo sorting within an album. Thanks.

I did, just now, watch your video #167 re Filmora. I use/used Photodex’s Pro Show Gold to capture big photo adventures & it’s seems likely I will replace it w/ Wondershare Filmora given the review/description you gave in #167. I’m only an episodic videographer (a few cell phone videos as needed, nothing more), but I do use a good “bridge” camera for my adventures; consequently, I’m on the lookout for means to bundle my photos into good videos w/ transitions, music, etc. I’m usually willing to pay up to $100 for middle-of-the-road software (I’m neither a fanatic nor professional), but I generally rebel when a software company wants an indefinite monthly fee. So at $60 maybe Filmora is it.

With my old Photodex process it required, or I thought it required, 3 steps: create a small file consisting of instructions, create a monstrous (up to 10s of GB!) in .mpg format, & use Handbrake to create a more manageable .m4v or .mp4 file (Ugh, what torture!). Q1: Do I infer correctly that Filmora “Exports” a .mp4 file directly from its instruction file?

When I create, the “old way”, I use/used megapixel images which, to my eye, are stunning when shown on a large screen TV. Q2: Does Filmora accept megapixel images & retain very good rendering? (Without really knowing, I inferred that the mpg-Handbrake-m4v process was responsible for the detailed rendering.)

Back to Picasa. I spoke too soon when I said Fotojet was an acceptable substitute for Picasa’s collage creation. Q3: Have you by now found a collage creator that competes, or better, outperforms Picasa? I’m will to pay a onetime charge.

Thanks as always.

February 16, 2020
8:06 am
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MrsGeek
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For collages, I have Picsart on my phone, but I still prefer using Picasa on the computer when I need a collage. Did you see this video?

455.GP-Making Collages with Google Photos or Picasa

 

Filmora does have the option to render directly to .mp4 and the file size is reasonable as I recall.

February 24, 2020
5:21 pm
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Robert Stovall
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First, FYI, I’ve successfully moved my photo cache to GP.

Anticipating its demise, I am attempting to move away from Picasa (sigh). As you know Picasa has – for the moment – 1) really good organizing tools (especially drag & drop ordering), 2) adequate editing, & 3) adequate collage-making. To my knowledge it has no ability to create panoramas. Losing Picasa’s integrated workflow is painful.

In my attempt to break free of Picasa (looking to the day it ceases to function), I’ve looked for tools that compete with Picasa & a workflow to go with them. For organizing, I still find no software that allows for drag & drop sorting & rearranging.

For editing, I use DxO. It’s powerful: works with RAW photos & interfaces nicely with Windows File Explorer (which files I organize by date). DxO is user-friendly (for this user) & at $129 (no subscription) it exceeds my usual $100 threshold, but I tried it & am glad I did.  I understand, however, that Adobe Lightroom is the editor of choice for photographers more serious than I, but I generally avoid expensive subscription services.

For collage-making I finally found a tool that meets my needs – TurboCollage 5 for Windows from SilkenMermaid Technologies. My free trial convinced me, despite some awful (but old) reviews. It looks a LOT like Picasa collage-maker (Picture Pile, Mosaic, Frame Mosaic, Grid, etc., definable collage size as well as stock sizes, et al.), it’s basic, it’s flexible & it’s only $15/year. There are a lot of overkill collage makers out there with way more options than my needs. While TurboCollage 5 DOES have more features than Picasa, I think it still qualifies as a basic & simple desktop alternative to Picasa.

Picasa has no panorama-creation function, but I found software that is powerful but simple: Image Composite Editor from Microsoft. It’s free, powerful, simple. Of course, most cell phone cameras take panoramas without the need for creating one after the fact, but RAW-capable digital cameras create such panoramas in jpeg, not RAW format. If you want a RAW panorama, one must do it the old fashion way: take a bunch of adjacent RAW photos, process with suitable software, export to jpeg, & then create a panorama.

Best of all, these all work well together, often with all four (DxO, Picasa, Turbo Collage, & Image Composite Editor) open on the desktop.  DxO edits & downselects photos within Windows File Explorer, visible of course within Picasa. I then simply drag & drop photos from Picasa Folder View onto the input panels of Turbo Collage or Image Composite Editor as needed.

Picasa remains the central organizing piece – still – its drag & drop arranging (plus F2 RENAME) makes it ideal for making videos. With both Turbo Collage 5 & Image Composite Editor open on my desktop, I simply drag & drop photos from Picasa Folder View onto the input panels of Turbo Collage or Image Composite Editor.

Well, this was longer than I intended. Maybe the bottom line for you & your followers relates to collage-making. At least one of your tutorials – & your comment above – suggests that Picasa remains the desktop collage-maker of choice. If people are looking for an alternative to Picasa for collage-making, TurboCollage 5 by SilkenMermaid Technologies may be attractive.

P.S.: I have yet to compare Filmora with Photodex’s (now out of business) ProShow Gold. I’ll report back when I do.

February 26, 2020
8:04 am
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MrsGeek
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RE panoramas: I use my smartphone’s panorama feature all the time. If you’re taking multiple shots for a panorama, Google Photos may stitch them together automatically and give you the panorama results in the For You section. Unfortunately, there is no manual way to do that – it happens automatically, or not at all. I have not used Image Composite Editor – I’ll take a look.

RE Collages: I admit – I still use Picasa for collages. I expect it will still work on Windows until the next big change in the operating system comes along (it’s already gone for Mac due to the latest OS upgrade). Here’s my video on that: 455.GP-Making Collages with Google Photos or Picasa 

I have not heard of Turbo Collage, I assume you mean https://www.turbocollage.com/ – it does look very full-featured. I do have Pic Collage, and PicsArt – and, since they are Windows Store apps, it works from the Photos app on Windows. I select the photos, click Share, then choose Pic Collage from the list of apps to share with. I don’t see Turbo Collage in the Microsoft Store

RE Video Editing: Although we have settled on Filmora as our video editor of choice, we also use the built in tools with Windows Photos. I especially like their automatic videos – select photos/videos, click the button to make a movie, done! Here’s my video: 532.WM-Auto Create a Movie with Win10 Photos

Thanks for the conversation. I’d love to see some of your resulting collages and movies.

March 5, 2020
5:49 pm
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Robert Stovall
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Well!! Look where being careless w/ words gets you: my principal objective is making slideshows from still images (w/ an occasional video clip inserted), NOT making a video from a collection of video clips (w/ an occasional still image inserted). I checked out Filmora as you suggested in GOT video #167, as available on YouTube, as provided by Wondershare, & as I learned w/ a trial version of Filmora9. Maybe 4-5 hours-worth. It’s clear Filmora is video oriented, not slideshow oriented. Interestingly enough, it was your #167 that provided the only indication of semi-useful image motion: pan & zoom. So, Filmora is probably NOT for me. I have run out of steam chasing all this down, so I will leave to another day the search for a slideshow maker when I will look further into your earlier suggestions. For the moment ProShow Gold still works & meets all my needs. [Sigh]

I DO have important progress to report on a workflow that does NOT rely on Picasa! Recall that I have been focused on the drag & drop feature in Picasa (along w/ F2 RENAME) to order/organize my photos that will no longer be available when Picasa goes tango uniform. FastStone Image Viewer seems to provide what I have been looking for! It’s free, it’s open source, it’s been around for awhile, it was updated in Aug 2019 & it gets pretty good reviews. I tried it as an image editor & found it did not have the features I wanted nor was its UI to my taste; nonetheless, it DID have drag & drop ordering along w/ renaming (as w/ Picasa, that feature is invoked using F2 RENAME !).

Workflow is personal & I won’t presume that mine is great for everyone, but it mimics very closely the workflow that I previously established w/ Picasa. This graphic (Dropbox link – Your attachments function would not accept my PDF, PPTX or even a DOCX file) may help & it centers on FastStone Image Viewer as the folder organizer (drag & drop again) along w/ a good editor, in my case DxO PhotoLab. In addition to its terrific RAW & jpeg image processing, DxO has good image rating filters: 1 to 5 stars, thumbs up, thumbs down, etc.). When finished w/ editing & enhancement, etc., one exports only those images rating, say, 3 stars or better. Specifically, one exports to the folder/folders previously designated for “keepers”, or in my case folders/subfolders which will contain images destined for a slideshow. This culling process really helps when reducing several hundred photos to a manageable number.

One next looks at those DxO export folders using FastStone Image Viewer. With TurboCollage & Image Composite Editor open on the desktop, one drags select image thumbnails from FastStone folder view onto the appropriate app to create collages or panoramas as needed. After directing the output of those apps to their source folder, one simply drags those component images to the bottom of the folder, drags collages, panoramas & single images to their intended locations (using FastStone’s drag & drop), renames them w/ a numerical suffix & sorts by filename. Voilà, all the functions of Picasa (that I used) w/o Picasa & w/ better image processing/enhancement. I found that this workflow scarcely adds a single step compared w/ the same processes in Picasa if all the apps are open on the desktop at the same time.

Whew!

So, you asked for a copy of the slideshow I created (from our Australia – New Zealand trip) using this process. This is the video dropbox link if you’re interested (about 15 minutes long). Music included. Opening the video across the Internet sometimes results in a ragged playback, so downloading is sometimes needed. Or, just pretend you watched & enjoyed it! That’s okay too. You’ve been very patient & most of all, helpful.

March 8, 2020
1:30 pm
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MrsGeek
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Gee, after watching your video – it reminded me of how I created something similar using PowerPoint. Here’s the video in case you’re interested, but it does seem like you’ve got it all figured out.

565.GP-Slideshow w PowerPoint – one last step would be File, Export, Create a video.

coincidentally – my example is also of photos from Australia/New Zealand! – but we did not climb the harbor bridge 🙂

I have heard good things about FastStone, but haven’t used it personally. I will remember that when someone wants a computer-based photo organizer. Thanks

And, when you get back to looking at slideshow options, don’t forget to consider Window 10 Photos:  532.WM-Auto Create a Movie with Win10 Photos

March 8, 2020
8:18 pm
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Robert Stovall
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I have worked inside the DoD since 1975 & thought I was the PowerPoint maven (it’s been the lingua franca of the DoD since its first release from Microsoft), but you taught me something about PowerPoint videos – especially adding one (or specified #) photo per slide. In my defense my slidesets rarely had more than one or two photos out of 30+ slides & never in a video. Thanks for the tip in 565.GP-Slideshow w PowerPoint.

March 8, 2020
9:43 pm
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MrsGeek
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Is that really you doing the bungie jump?!?!? OMG

We didn’t get to the southern part of the south island. I really enjoyed your slideshow.

March 9, 2020
11:25 am
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Robert Stovall
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Yes, that is me at the birthplace of bungy jumping. All 71 years. They move you through so fast you don’t have time for 2nd thoughts. It wasn’t until it was over did I notice how fast my heart was pounding. You obviously toured the north island…did you visit Napier? This town stood out within an entire country that stands out. My wife has vowed to go back to Napier for 4 weeks!

BTW: I tried w/o success to drag a pdf doc onto the message panel in an earlier attempt & just now. I get a “File Extension Error” message, to wit:

Select files
Add files to the upload queue and click the start button.
File extension error.
File: Slideshow Making Process (V3) for GOT.pdf
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