With a great digital camera comes great responsibility to manage thousands of photos. This can be a pain, especially if you want to use them to document a process for Instructables. I know my way around Photoshop, but more often than not I turn to Google's free Picasa program to do the heavy lifting.
With Picasa you can import a picture, straighten it, color correct it, crop it and resize it in under a minute. Here I'll run though these main processes, but there are still more tricks to play with if you want to check it out.
Step 1: Download Picasa
Go to picasa.google.com
and download Picasa. It's only for PC right now. Sorry, Mac users.
Upon installation, Picasa will catalog all of the images on your hard drive. You can take some time to organize and rename these folders if you want. It's a fun way to kill an afternoon, but let's move on to the processes we're after.
Step 2: Import a Picture
This is super easy. Picasa can scan a memory card and import new photos. It can also detect new photos on the machine so if you import a photo in a different way it will still appear in the top of the list.
Here, I shot a photo of my right hand to use as an example. The goal is to mimic the Instuctables hand icon. But the hand isn't straight so the first thing to do is...
Step 3: Staighten the Image
Click the Straighten button on the top left and a grid will appear on the screen. These are guides for your alignment. Now click and drag the slider on the bottom to rotate the image. The image will zoom in in the process to keep the same aspect ratio.
My hand had a big angle so I had to do this twice.
Step 4: Get Lucky!
Just like on google.com, there's an "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. Click it and it will auto adjust the contrast and color. This usually works pretty well. This time, however, it didn't so I undid that and hit the "Auto Contrast" button instead for the second image here.