A Life Poster Example.
Happy 1 year Birthday Life Poster
The holidayà-?s are over. (sigh) The gifts have been opened. (sigh) You have mountains of digital photos (with your new camera) from Thanksgiving through New Yearà-?s totaling 100 shots? 1000 shots? 5000 shots? (sigh)

Not a problem if you recall TechLifeà-?s November 2005 article about Picasa; an easy to use and free of charge tool to organize digital images. While Picasa is great for digital organization, it also has a few hidden tricks; one of them is a Life Poster. A Life Poster is a collection of photos grouped together in a single image. Usually they focus around a specific subject. The best part is they are easy to make, and Picasa makes them even easier.

More after the jump.

In January of 2005, Mike Matas posted instructions on how to make a Life Poster using Appleà-?s iPhoto. It was quickly followed by a Photoshop version, an XnView version, and a Paint Shop Pro version. Interestingly no one created a Picasa version.

The Simple Life
(These step-by-step instructions assume the reader has used Picasa. Even if you havenà-?t it should be pretty easy.) Below are detailed instructions, you can go even faster if you donà-?t care about photo counts, cropping, or repeat photos. To create a more exact Life Poster though, follow these steps.

1. Picasaà-?s ease of use comes at the price of flexibility. Picasa Life Posterà-?s are square in shape, which means an equal number of rows and columns. Use the following number of different photos to make the best-looking Life Poster; 9, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100. For this example I went with a 5×5 (25 Photos) Life Poster.

2. After deciding how many photos to use, drag-and-drop all the photos to the same folder. If you have a bulk of the photos in a single folder already, drag the few stragglers to that folder.
Step 2 - Move images to folders.

3. Starting in the upper left hand corner as position 1, drag-and-drop your photos in the order you wish them to appear in the LifePoster. Make note that if you decided on a 5×5, the Picasa slider bar can allow you to align the photos in about the same configuration as the Life Poster by dragging until you see 5 across.Step 3 Æ-?? Slider bar to change views.
Step 3 Æ-?? Re-order images.

4. Once your photos are in order, it might be wise to rotate, crop and color correct them one at a time. Picasa makes it pretty quick, with the à-¦Ià-?m Feeling Luckyà-? button for color correction. Step 4 Æ-?? IÆ-??m feeling lucky. Keep in mind that the Life Poster is a square as are all the photos within, so crop accordingly. Cropping close to a square will result in the best looking images.

5. Once you have arranged the photos and corrected them, type Control A or Edit, Select All. All your photos will be surrounded in blue borders and appear in the Picture Tray.
Step 5 Æ-?? A full Picture Tray.

6. Click the Collage button near the bottom.Step 6 Æ-?? Magic Time.

7. Under the Type pull down choose, Picture Grid. The window above is the preview window. Your machine will churn (depending on how fast your machine processes things) for a while and spit out a preview. For Location, Choose a Folder. Then click the Choose button to select the location. Then click Create.
Step 7 Æ-?? A Picture Grid or Life Poster.

Print by Number
Wow, that was easy you are probably thinking. So now the kicker, printing is going to be tough, right? Nope, not at all. When the Life Poster opens, click the print button near the bottom of the page. Choose the Full Page button, and then the Shrink to Fit button. Make sure your printer settings are set for high quality and the correct photo paper to ensure the best quality. Then click Print near the bottom right. Frame and enjoy.
Full Shrink to Fit Print, Frame, Gift.

Article Update: 7/25/2006 – An example of a collage images that are larger.

Large Picasa Life Poster images

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