Can I send photos to a SkyDrive album via email?

Update 6 April 2012: As of May 2012 this feature will no longer be available.

Yes, you can send photos to your SkyDrive albums via email. Windows Live SkyDrive offers a large amount of free storage and some nice photo album features. Normally you upload with a drag-and-drop procedure or, even easier, directly from Windows Live Photo Gallery.

ULbE-01pSending photos to a prime-level SkyDrive album via email is another very useful option. The procedure must be enabled first.

Here is how:

Log in to your Windows Live account. In the upper right corner click on your name. In the drop down menu, click Options. See the red pointers in the illustration here.

imageOn the options page in the lower right corner find and click Email publishing.

This takes you to the Email publishing page. Most of the page is greyed out until you click the Turn on email publishing check box.image

When the form is enabled, there are four steps:

  1. Enter the email address (up to three) from which photos can be sent to a SkyDrive album. Note that photos sent from any other address will not be delivered to the album, the email will just be lost.
  2. Enter a “secret” word. This will become part of the address for sending the photos. This is just used to make the process more secure. (No spaces in this word!)
  3. Select album codes. This is an optional step, codes, three-digit numbers, are pre-assigned to your albums. You can change these, but the ones offered will work just fine.
  4. Click the Save button.

Once you have saved the information, there will be a display of the email addresses for sending the photos. Each album – and this is only for the prime-level albums, it does not work for albums inside other albums – has a unique email address. The address looks like this: name.album.secretword@spaces.live.com. Where name is a name derived from your name, it may be slightly different from your user name – be careful with that! The album will be the three digit album number (or other, if you changed it) to identify which album it is. The secretword is the word that you specified.

imageTo send photos to an album you must originate the email from an email address you specified on this page. Attach the photo or photos to the email. Do not use the Photo album feature in Live Mail. Do not “Change to photo album”.

Be sure to use the correct email address from your Email publishing page.

If using Hotmail use Insert: Attachments, do not use the Photos link.

Enter a subject and message if you like so you can find and see the email in your sent messages. Only the photos get to your album, no messages, no hint that they were sent via email. Only JPG photos can be sent to albums, this does not work for sending documents, just pictures.

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I superimpose a photo on another one?

There are many tools to combine images and many ways. For adding, superimposing, one photo over another, a quick and easy method is to use the collage tool in Picasa. Here is an example: SP-01I have a photo of a tree covered in fruit. It is hard to discern the detail so I want to superimpose a close-up.

Picasa has a “Create Photo Collage” tool right under the folder name in Library view. The tool can also be launched from the Create menu where it is called “Picture collage …”. If you click the button, all of the photos in the folder will be loaded. If you want just some of the pictures select them (Ctrl+click) before launching the collage tool.

To use one photo as the base and to superimpose one or more others, first set the aspect ratio of the collage. SP-02My camera produces images in the 35mm camera aspect ratio of 1 to 1.5, so I select the “4 x 6: Small print” setting. This way the base picture will not get cropped. The “Picture Borders” setting allows putting a border on each of the superposed images. Click on the image to use as the base to select it, then under “Background Options” click “Use Image”.

The base photo will now fill the collage area and all selected photos will be superimposed. Since the small version of the base image is not needed, right-click it and select Remove. SP-03This will leave just the image or images that should be placed on the base photo. In the example here there is just one. It can be dragged to the desired position. Click on the insert image and a four-pointed arrow shape pointer tells that the image can be dragged for positioning. Move the pointer toward the center and a control ring and control handle – a little bulls-eye button – is displayed. drag the control handle sideways and the image is made larger (to right) or smaller (to left). Move it up or down and the image is rotated.SP-05

Really, this operation is faster than you can read about it. In no time at all, you can place the insert photo or photos just the way you want – in size, position, and rotation.

To finish, click “Create Collage” in the controls pane. The collage image will be created and saved. The default file location is in PicturesPicasaCollages. The finished collage will likely be much larger than the original image, so you may wish to resize it.

superimpose

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I add 3D-effect text on a photo?

For a title slide or the cover photo of an album, you might want the title set in an attractive, 3D-effect text superimposed on a photo. How can you create that without an expensive special purpose application? Here is a method that uses Paint, a tool you already have on your computer. 

Load your photo into Paint. With the Text tool (see illustration) draw a text box starting approximately in the upper left position of the intended text. imageimage

The text box will resize when you release the mouse button. You will now see a dashed box in your photo and the Text Tools ribbon opens. Type your title.image

The Text Tools in Paint

imageAs long as you keep your pointer in the text box you can modify the text and the text box. There are resizing handles on the box – you know you can resize when the pointer changes to a double-ended arrow shape. You can select the text by dragging the pointer over it. You can change to any font on your computer. The font size box shows sizes from 8 to 72. You are not limited to these sizes. Just type in the size you want, even larger or smaller than the shown range, and the font will be changed to that size (note the size in the illustration above – it is set to 90).

The text will be set in the Color 1 selection. For 3D-effect, shadowed text, select the darker, shadow color. Position the text box to place the text. When the pointer is placed anywhere on the box outline, except near the resize handles, it changes to a four-headed arrow indicating that you can drag the box to another position. When you are happy with the text, font, and placement, click anywhere outside the text box. The text is now set. If it isn’t right, click Undo (or Ctrl+Z) and start over.

Next set the top color, normally a lighter shade, and open another text box and retype your title. Don’t worry about alignment, you can drag the text and place it precisely. image

Drag the text box to position the text just the way you like. When you are satisfied, click anywhere outside the text box.

There are applications that can do a nicer job, but for shadowed text, Paint is easy and probably just as fast.

Lagniappe

(A lagniappe, pronounced “lan-yap”, is a small extra given to a customer at no charge, mostly in Cajun country.)

imageIn Paint the selection of color is more flexible than you might think. There is an array of twenty colors to choose from. To set the color click the color number, Color 1 is the main one, Color 2 the “right-click” color, then click the box with the desired color. If that does not provide you with the exact shade, click Edit colors. imageThis opens an Edit Colors window. Here you have a wider selection of fixed colors and an opportunity to define custom colors. In the larger area you reposition the mark (drag it) to define the hue and saturation – color and intensity. The vertical slider control sets the luminance of that color. You can even enter numeric values in the fields to define the color. Click Add to Custom Colors and the specified color is added and will appear in the bottom row of color boxes. Click OK to complete the color selection.

When you open the Edit Colors window the color presently set as Color 1 will already be set in the custom area. I find this particularly useful when I want a lighter or darker shade of a particular color. The luminance control can be used to select the shade without affecting the hue or saturation. Remember that the Color picker tool (the eye-dropper in the Tools area) can be used to pick a color from any place in a photo. This color can then be adjusted with Edit colors. Neat!

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I set the base picture for Photo Fuse?

Windows Live Photo Gallery has a tool called Photo Fuse for combining sections from several similar photos. The classic use is to get all the folks in a group shot with their eyes open and smiling. No mean feat in one shot, but  Photo Fuse makes it easy – if you have enough shots to select from.  Sometimes you want one of the shots as the base, the photo that provides most of the content, but Photo Fuse has its own idea of which photo to use as the primary one. collage-3

There is no obvious way to select the photo that should be used as the base. But, of course, there is a way.

Photo Fuse picks the thumbnail that is closest to the top left – first in the sort order – as the base photo. So the trick is to make sure that the photo you want as the base is the first one in the sort order. Normally photos are sorted by file name, this can be easily changed, but for this particular purpose, my method is to use the rating system. Assign a 5-star rating to the primary photo, and either not rate the others or assign lower ratings. Then sort the thumbnails by Rating.

rateHere is how to do this quickly, I will use only two photos to demonstrate, but you can have any number in the folder. Click on the thumbnail of the desired base photo, click Rate in the Organize group of the Home ribbon. Click on 5 stars. If you have rated any other photos as five stars, rate them lower.

star-sortClick the View tab. Click Ratings then click Reverse sort. Your 5 star rated photo is now at the top.

Just select all the thumbnails from which you want to use portions. Click the Create tab, click Photo Fuse in the Tools group.

Photo Fuse will come up with the 5 star rated photo as the base. You can then move the selection window to the desired area and select the area you like best.. PhotoFuse-1

Photo Fuse does an amazing job of stitching in the selected area. One caution: Be careful in setting the selection area so you don’t include some unwanted detail.

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck