Bulk Image Compression & Gift-CD in Picasa

For the last decade, I have been scuffling to find a tool that will reduce the quality of several images at once. Before Picasa Web Albums was available, I used to manually reduce the quality of my scanned or digital images to meet two constraints: available server space and bandwidth (offered by a free host) I used evaluation versions of a couple of tools, that didn’t live too long. In this post I will explain how Picasa lets you compress several images at once so that they can be attached to email; also, creating a Gift CD – a great way to share pictures with so-called ‘computer illiterates’!

I use Picasa (desktop) for uploading my pictures to Picasa (Web), but unfortunately Picasa (desktop) was unable to connect to Picasa (Web). Enough of Picasa Picasa, hereon we refer to the desktop tool as Picasa, and the image gallery on the web as Web Albums. There seems to be a known issue as there is some binding with the regional settings of a machine. I was keen on uploading a few images, but the web album upload utility does not allow quality manipulation. So I tried trying options in Picasa, found a solution and another great feature I had never used.

The solution is that there is a way to reduce the quality of all pictures inside a folder using the Export option on the bottom. It allows setting the minimum width for resizing, JPEG image quality and a watermark. Its a nice feature, but output image format would have made it complete. By the way, this utility can also be used for movies.

Export Option

The other great feature I was talking about is PicasaCD, which takes pictures from various folders of your choice, adds the Picasa set-up to it and greats an ISO image that can be written to any disc. I tried this option and after mounting the ISO, Picasa Slideshow launched automatically. In my case, there is a single folder which can be clicked to start the slideshow; had there been multiple folders, they would all appear.

Find the option…

Include the Picasa compact setup so that your CD can run on any machine. You can include more than one albums or pictures. On running the Gift CD, users will be able to view them in the same structure. Make sure that the folder you add are properly named – the Gift CD will use these for Album Title.

Picasa does not write/burn a physical disc, it generates an ISO file that can later be written to a CD or DVD.

Choose a location to save the ISO

Instead of wasting a CD to explain a tutorial, I mounted the ISO on a virtual drive using DaemonTools. Almost immediately, some light version of Picasa started running and displayed the albums I had included

I selected the album and started playing the slideshow for my ‘Desktop’ folder…

Voila! Wasn’t that easy?

I rate all Google products high for their functionality, usability & appearance and Picasa is indeed one of my favorites.