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As promised, here is the list of graphic editing and capture tools I
PaintShop Pro: Everyone seemed to like this one, and after using
it, I could see why. The interface was intuitive, although I have used a
lot of other paint programs before. Even with that, the online help was
more than adequate at the task level. Speedy, too.
ULead: After downloading 13 megs for their trial version, I was not
happy with two things:
- Clicking on "help" told me that help had been removed from the trial
version to keep the download size down. It seems to me at 13 megs,
compressing another 200K into the setup executable wouldn't have been so
- ULead instantly decided that it would register itself as the default
paint program, and all my .GIFs, .TIFs, .BMPs, etc. were now using ULead
as the default editor. No questions asked in installation as to whether
I *wanted* this.
It looks like a package slanted towards the web designer, with all kinds
of tools to manipulate backgrounds and create tiles for backgrounds. To
be fair, if I were a webmaster, I would probably have looked more
closely at this package. For my needs, the basic editing functions were
all there, but I didn't find the interface as intuitive as PaintShop
Pro, and the absence of help didn't make the situation any better.
Riptide: A product put out by a set of ex-Corel executives. This is
actually a nice program for full screen captures and editing as long as
you don't need to have the need to do pixel-level editing and are happy
with plain vanilla screen captures. We did, so I had to put this aside.
I was surprised by the number of features it did have, posessing the
full gamut of image tweaking tools, but only at the overall image level.
Still, the price is right if you don't need to play with pixels, and the
company itself was very responsive. A good choice for the home
enthusiast, I think.
SnagIt: A nice little tool. It has the unique ability of all the
tools I evaluated to grab DLL or executable text from a graphic window
and save it as text in native or delimited format. The current version
as of this message (4.1) has some nice improvements, including the
ability to crop captures in the preview window. It also includes a
browser, for BMP files only. The only problem is that it doesn't offer
compression for TIFF files, which means an extra step here since we
compress linked images in PageMaker.
Capture Professional: Another nice little capture program. The demo
version has the protection mechanism of putting black bars through your
captured graphics. It was a hard choice between this and SnagIt. I
leaned towards SnagIt because it had the text capture function, but
Capture Professional had the equally unique ability of going into an
executable or DLL and pulling out the icons, banners, and cursors inside
the executable. If your needs lie more in that direction, then I would
seriously recommend this one.