Re: Screen Capture Software

Subject: Re: Screen Capture Software
From: "Anameier, Christine A - Eagan, MN" <christine -dot- a -dot- anameier -at- usps -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 09:45:08 -0500

> My concentration was in software documentation
> and web design, neither of which were graphic intensive.

I'm kinda surprised that web design wasn't graphic intensive. The only
places I know that farm all their graphics work out to a graphics
specialist are ad agencies; everywhere I've worked as a tech writer,
it's been a "do your own graphics" kind of thing. That suits me fine:
it's a nice break from words, words, words.

> So, I was wondering what the best screen capture software out there
Snagit. Next question. <g>

> I always have problems taking screen captures and then trying to
> resize them (after cropping them, they come out blurry). Any
> suggestions?

As Mike noted, cropping and resizing are two different things.

(List regulars will recognize that clanking sound in the background as
the Christine Anameier Screenshot Advice Autoresponder firing up and
preparing to emit the usual edicts.)

Resizing screenshots is almost guaranteed to make them blurry. All those
straight lines--edges of screen elements, text--get distorted.
Photographs are a lot more forgiving when it comes to resizing.

Cropping screenshots, on the other hand, can save you from having to
resize them. My standard approach is to crop the screen capture to show
the particular area or object that I'm writing about at the moment at
100% size. That way, instead of one big blurry picture followed by a
couple pages of commentary, you get small, readable images interspersed
with the text.

Another common cause of blurriness, IMO, is using JPG compression.
Screenshots usually contain large fields of solid color (as opposed to
subtle gradations) and lots of straight edges (text, and edges of
interface elements). When you use a lossy compression format that
basically averages pixels, edges soften and fields of solid color
suddenly get speckled. I would use JPG for photographs, but for screen
captures I invariably use GIFs. We batted this issue around in two long
threads back in February:
Why JPGS?:
Thread continued, with results of testing:



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