Screen shot woes

Subject: Screen shot woes
From: "Rich, Charles" <crich -at- FSC -dot- Follett -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 08:53:53 -0600

I wonder if anyone else out there can tell me how to fix a problem I have
had in the past with screen shots for our docs? Most of the screen shots in
our documentation are Paintshop captures of various screens of our user
interface at 800 X 600 resolution. The problem I am seeing is in the scroll
bar of the window; instead of being a nice light speckled gray, it comes out
as a loud gray and black checkerboard pattern when printed.

At first I thought it might be a simple dithering problem, as we would take
a color screenshot, grayscale it, and import it as a TIFF into Interleaf 6
documents. I tried all different dithering schemes, color correction, and
whatnot, all to no avail. I also tried reducing color depth to 256 colors
before grayscaling, and vice versa, which made the problem worse.

My next thought was that maybe this was related to the fact that Interleaf
actually converts Tiffs to its own, proprietary format, and perhaps it
wasn't handling the graphics properly. To test my hunch, I repeated the
process with other applications such as word and acrobat, but got the same,
or worse, results.

Ok, so maybe it was Paintshop that was introducing the problem. No, uh-uh, I
tried a couple of other graphics editors with the same result. Could it be
the printer? Nope, five different model printers all gave the same
checkerboarded output.

I looked at previous versions of our manuals, and it seems the problem has
always been there. Finally, I decided to poke my head out and see if anyone
else had the same problem, and low and behold in both the Interleaf and
Paintshop manuals themselves (among others) the scrollbar checkerboarding
glared off the page. Obviously this doesn't occur in every manual I've seen,
but many of them. Even in our own manuals it doesn't happen all the time;
once in a while a page will display properly, for some unknown reason. Does
anyone know what causes this problem? I'll be the first to admit that the
painfully obvious sometimes saunters by right under my nose. Hopefully
someone out there has a simple fix for this annoyance.

Charles T. Rich
Technical Writer
Product Development
Follett Software Company


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