Re: Image/screen capture annotations for documentation

Subject: Re: Image/screen capture annotations for documentation
From: Andrew Harvie <withanie -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:03:05 -0300

I see two questions in this thread:
1) A request for suggestions as to best practices for annotating the images
in documentation.
2) A request for information about a tool that will retain text in a vector
format while manipulating the underlying image.

1) For annotation, I've always done it the way that Shawn seems to suggest,
but I'm considering a switch to numbered call-outs instead. (Emphasis on
the word, "considering" in that sentence.) On the pro side, I think it
would make updates easier to manage. I could edit plain old text in the
document instead of within the image. There might be an advantage for
translation too, but that's not an immediate need. On the con side, I
suspect that numbered call-outs will be less user-friendly because the
reader will have to jump back and forth between the image and the
accompanying table of descriptions. Thoughts?

2) If you want vector-based graphics, you have to use a vector-based tool.
Makes sense to me that Adobe integrates that across their products, and
that other HATs don't. I can see two ways to deal with the problem: Scale
first, then add the notes. Use a vector-based editor such as Inkscape.
But, even if I saved the image using a vector format such as SVG, I don't
think that I'd expect to be able to scale the image in Flare or another HAT
and have the font size remain the same. At that point, you're just telling
Flare to make the whole thing bigger or smaller - how is it supposed to
know that parts of what you're scaling need a different treatment than
other parts? Better to get the size right and then plop it into the
document.




On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 4:35 PM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 12:14 PM, Margaret Cekis <
> Margaret -dot- Cekis -at- comcast -dot- net
> > wrote:
>
> > Shawn asked about Image/screen capture annotations for documentation:
> > "I am looking for advice on finding the best approach to adding
> annotations
> > to screen captures or other images. In the past, when I was writing with
> > the
> > Adobe products (FM, InDesign), annotations were easy because they are
> > treated as independent vector
> > overlays.
> > Unfortunately, MadCap Flare (and MadCap Capture) seems quite inept with
> > working with annotated images. The main problem (or question) is how do I
> > ensure a consistent size of the text (i.e. text bubble), regardless of
> the
> > size/magnification of a screen capture?"
> > ___________________________
> > Shawn:
> > I suggest you look at Snagit by Tech Smith. I've been using it for screen
> > shots for several years. For a relatively inexpensive program (@ $50),
> it
> > has a lot of editing features.
> >
> > I tend to avoid annotating screenshots, if possible, because several of
> my
> > recent projects involved rapidly evolving products that required frequent
> > image updates. I prefer to use bold arrows to indicate features or fields
> > that I then discuss in the text about the image.
> >
> > Snagit will also enable you to downsize a whole directory of images at
> > once,
> > or to convert all the images in a directory from one format to another.
> > Check it out at http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html.
> > Margaret Cekis, Johns Creek GA
> >
> >
> Thank you Margaret,
>
> >I tend to avoid annotating screenshots, if possible, because several of my
>
> If I avoided annotations, my post would be moot. Flare handles resizing of
> images quite well. :)
>
> Perhaps I might be better served by asking about best practices in
> describing complex screen captures?
> I have always annotated because it quickly explains what the reader is
> seeing without a lot of words. Perhaps it is laziness but I have found that
> my method has always been well received by readers.
>
>
> I own Snagit, however, IMHO it has a number of flaws that make it
> unsuitable:
> 1) It also flattens images to a single bitmap;
> 2) In order to treat the annotations as an overlay, I need to save each
> image in their proprietary .snag format (which can only be viewed/previewed
> in Snagit;
> 3) Snagit doesn't allow background image replacement. That means when a
> background capture changes (which happens often), I must carefully move the
> annotations to the new image.
>
> So far, it appears that Indesign might be my only solution:
> A) Quick background update/replacement.
> B) Save as vector image (so that text annotations are sharp at all PDF zoom
> levels)
>
> I just haven't figured out a workflow to ensure consistent text size.
>
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
>
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References:
Image/screen capture annotations for documentation: From: Shawn
RE: Image/screen capture annotations for documentation: From: Margaret Cekis
Re: Image/screen capture annotations for documentation: From: Shawn

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