Re: Screen captures and sizing

Subject: Re: Screen captures and sizing
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 12:00:15 -0500

Like many questions, the answer here begins with "It depends."

What publishing tool are you using? Each publishing tool handles resizing images differently. If you're using the images at other than their original size, that may cause some degradation.

What are the uses of your PDFs? If you're *positive* that they're being used on-screen only, then the image resolution you've chosen is fine. However, if they're being printed, I'd go to a minimum of 300dpi.

I don't use SnagIt... I do the screen capture with {Alt} {PrtScrn} then paste the image into Paint Shop Pro. I reduce the color palette to 256 colors by applying a palette file that's 256 colors and also contains the Windows 20-color palette. Then I save the file as a .gif file for use in the publishing tool. I always set up my computer to use the Windows Classic display of dialog boxes, etc. and then set the title bar color to a single color rather than the default gradient. This yields a screen capture that doesn't look like cr*p when I reduce the colors to 256. I have macros set up in Paint Shop Pro to handle the image processing so it's basically a two-click process to process and save the file.

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

Spectrum Writing wrote:
> Cross-posted to framers and STC Lone Writers list.
> I know that there are many graphics gurus on this list and I will be the
> first to admit - I am NOT a graphics guru and it is my weakest point. That
> said, I have never had any comments from clients until now about what I do
> for screen captures, and I wanted either confirmation or some additional
> insight on improvements for taking screen captures.
> Here is the current comment from a client: Generally, I would like to keep
> high quality of screen captures.
> Would like to suggest using a tool that can downscale the images with a
> smoothing function to keep high quality appearance. (as appear here, this is
> just sub-sampling with no smoothing.)
> The comment that I have from the client is what I have - nothing specific
> about fuzziness, or anything else.
> I use SnagIt as my capture tool. I use the region option and capture either
> the relevant portion that I need or if required, I take a capture of the
> whole screen. I then save the capture as a .png, and use the import file
> function to bring the capture into my Framemaker file. Obviously, the
> default dpi is set to the fictitious Windows 96 dpi. I change the capture to
> 150 dpi and import. If this works for size and clarity, then I am done; if
> not, I right-click on the picture and adjust the dpi until I get the size
> that works for the page layout and what I am trying to show. (After much
> reading on this list, and advice from another colleague, I have learned that
> what I was initially taught at a long ago gig - to set the dpi to 300 and
> then use the manual sizing handles - is NOT the way to go).
> When I create the PDF, I am manually distilling the file - I don't do a
> "Save as PDF." I use the Adobe printer to print to a postscript file, and
> then distill the postscript file to a PDF. I don't change anything any of
> the settings in Distiller - I use the standard settings option and don't
> change anything.
> Can any of you graphics gurus give me some insight as to what else I should
> be doing/changing or if I am doing it the right way - and if you want to
> lecture me off list about dpis and stuff, that is fine with me too. I will
> gladly take whatever information I can glean so that I can reply
> professionally to this client. The pictures are not fuzzy in the PDFs - and
> they have been just fine for all other clients before.
> Thanks so much,
> Tammy Van Boening
> Owner/Principal
> Spectrum Writing, LLC
> <>

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Screen captures and sizing: From: Spectrum Writing

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