H E L P screenshots look like crap?

Subject: H E L P screenshots look like crap?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 20:25:28 -0400

Dan Gallagher reports: <<Can you give me some tips on improving the quality of screenshots?>>

Have a look at the archives; there's tons of information there. Concerning your specific problem:

<<I'm working with pictures out of a word file, then putting them into QuarkXPress... The boss gives me a word file, it has pictures in it. I copy the pictures to the hard disk.>>

In my experience, using Word's version of an embedded graphic is the source of the "crap". Always work with the original graphics, not whatever corrupted form Word produces. Get your boss to send you the screenshots, not a Word file containing them.

<<I think my problem is that I sized the .jpg or .gif from within Quark.>>

If you resize graphics in DTP software, most modern software usually does a pretty good job of preserving image quality and resampling the file to suit the output resolution if necessary. That's much less true with bitmaps, for which you need to adjust the image resolution of the source file to suit the resolution of the output. However:

<<Proposed solution: I should import the .jpg or .gif into a photo program (not adjusting size) then export those files as .eps. Then I can size them all I want in Quark right?>>

It's generally better to scale a graphic to final size and do any other manipulations (e.g., adjusting contrast) _before_ importing it into the DTP software, provided you know what that final size is going to be. The photo software generally has more powerful and effective algorithms, and the resized graphic will occupy less space and print faster if the DTP software doesn't have to preserve all of the original image data while performing all the mathematical legerdemain required to resize and resample the graphic. This is less of a problem than it used to be (computers are faster and have more RAM), but it's still less efficient to work in the DTP software*.

* Can't speak to InDesign, since I don't know how it integrates with PhotoShop. But Quark is older software and doesn't integrate this way.

Keep a copy of the original file, and work on a duplicate of the file. If you know you'll be playing with that version (e.g., resizing to suit the layout), _link_ to it from within the DTP software rather than embedding it. That approach displays the most recent copy of the graphic each time you open the DTP file.

--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)


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H E L P screenshots look like crap: From: dan . gallagher

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