Using Picassa 3 To Create A Template

Picasa 3 was released recently and the feature descriptions seemed too good to be true. Sure enough, they’re real and the user is greater with a friendly interface that is intuitively easy to manipulate for what I call, the Artist’s primary photo editing functions.

And its superb for producing Pop Art Templates, both advanced and Basic. And the additional beauty of this process is you can play around with the canvas color to see what specific color you’d like to use for the first application. This set of step by step instructions will show you how.

Now, if you’re reading this article and havn’t ordered the Basic Techniques of Pop Art from us or know how to create your own “Warhol” style of painting, this article may be a little confusing to begin with. But I’m going to clear the mystery for you right now.

Pop Art is created by painting your entire canvas with a basic color and then tracing a template over the canvas of the individual, animal, pet or object you’re painting. The key to producing good pop art is the photo editor one uses to create the template.

Let me walk you through the basics.

Launch Picasa 3 and pull up your own photo. For my example, I’ll be using a photo of myself that my grand daughter took. She loves taking photos even though she’s six. So I’ve been spending time teaching her how to shoot photos.

This is the photo of Sabrina that she took of me.


She also took a photo of Joe, who manages the security of our systems and custom applications such as the help desk.


Picasa is quite nice. You can perform the following basic Fixes effects in batch:

  • Auto Contrast
  • Auto Color
  • I’m Feeling Lucky
  • Sepia
  • Sharpen
  • Warmify
  • Film Grain
  • Black and White
  • Rename
  • Rotate Clockwise
  • Rotate Counterclockwise
  • Resize Images (Although only to pre-selected sizes)

The first thing you need to do is crop your photo to a rectangle roughly representing the canvas. Your photo, if created using a digital camera produced in the past couple of years will probably larger than the canvas size. In this event, you’ll need to resize your photo.

So, crop the portrait photo so that the face is dominant like you see above.

Next, resize the photo so its equivalent in size to the canvas: 6″x8″ is generally what I do.

Double click on the photo “Joe”.

On the top left you’ll see the Windows Applications bar line. Below that is a single function, Back to Library.

The third row is what we’re looking for. Three tabs entitlled “Basic Fixes”, “Tuning”, “Effects”

Click on the “Tuning Tab”

Slide the highlights and shadows to the right all of the way. Notice the effects each sliding switch has on the Photo.

Now look for the Fill Light Slide. Slide it to the right until you’re satisfied with the image.


Now click on the Effects Tab and go to “Saturation” then slide the saturation slider all the way to the left. In my example below, I slid the slider all the way to the left.


Go Back to the Tunning Tab and slide the Highlights and Shadow sliders all the way to the right. Adjust the Fill Light until the photo looks good. Save a copy, print your template.

To choose what the basic canvas color should be, once you’ve completed the above and saved your copy go back to effects and click on “Tint.”

You’ll notice a color square like a prism on rainbow in the center of the screen, click on it. An eye dropper will appear and as you move your eyedropper to the left or right, the photo will change its tint. This is a great way to review what color would work best for your pop art painting. What do you think looks great for Joe?

joe5.jpg joe-step-3.jpg joe-step-4.jpg joe-step-5.jpg

Here’s how the pop art for Darrell turned out:

First crop the photo as we did above and resize to your canvas size.


Set the Shadows/Highlight/Fill Light slider switch on the Tuning tab.


Go to Effects, set slider for Saturation all the way to the right. then go back to the tuning tab and again readjust the highlight/shadows/fill light slider switches until you have the appropriate template. Save a copy of your photo.


Go back to the Effects tab and click on tint. Click on prism box and maneuver your eyedropper until satisfied with the final color for your Pop Art Canvas.


This photo editor is free and available from Google.

Enjoy and share with us all your photos and final paintings. I would love to hear from you.