15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2008 10:27 AM by bawd

    Screen capture software

    Authorgirl Level 1
      Has anyone found any good screen capture software? I tend to do it manually via the Print Screen button but I really need a better solution as it doesn't feel very efficient and it's not always exact.
      What I really need is a way of capturing windows with rounded corners. This can't be done manually as you end up with little corners of the background showing.
      Any suggestions would be appreciated.
        • 1. Re: Screen capture software
          RoboWizard Level 4
          Hi Helen

          If you have RoboHelp 6 or 7, RoboScreenCapture is included. Otherwise, you should probably investigate TechSmith's SnagIt Click here to visit the SnagIt site

          SnagIt has, for more years than I care to mention, been the best $40 I've ever spent. When each upgrade comes along, I don't hesitate for a moment to shell out an additional $20 for the new version.

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: Screen capture software
            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
            If you are on RH6 or 7, it comes with RoboScreenCapture and I have always found that is a good tool.

            On rounded corners, RSC seems to outline the rounded corners when it shows what is going to be captured but then shows white to fill the gap between the rounding and the rectangle. Against a white background, you thus just see the rounded corners. Bear in mind, in any html page, the graphic is going to be displayed in a rectangle, with or with visible borders.

            A lot of people like SnagIt because of the effects you can create. My dislike of that tool is that you have to capture an image and then save it before you can do anything else. With RSC, I can grab any number of images, hack them around and decide which ones I want to save later.

            Look on WinwritersUA site. Matthew Ellison has published a review of the main tools there.

            • 3. Re: Screen capture software
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
              Rick is one of those poor deluded souls who think SnagIt is the best. :-)

              • 4. Re: Screen capture software
                Authorgirl Level 1
                Yes, he does seem rather evangelical about it - does he get commission?

                Actually, I am downloading the trial of SnagIt as I type but will also check out the review.

                Sadly, I'm still on RH5 so don't get the screen capture tool. I just get the PDF creator which is hardly gonna help me here.

                Thanks guys
                • 5. Re: Screen capture software
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                  I was really just teasing Rick. He knows I like RSC and I know he likes SnagIt. No he doesn't get commission. If you look at his site, you will see it does have some neat features. It's simply that I have found RSC does what I need, is free, and works better for me.

                  • 6. Re: Screen capture software
                    RoboWizard Level 4
                    Hey there

                    As you can see, we are very passionate about our tools!

                    I would like to clear up a bit of a misleading statement though. I frequently retouch images, add callouts, resize, add edge effects and almost anything else I like without having to first save the capture. Where SnagIt falls short and RoboScreenCapture shines, is by allowing you to repeatedly capture several screen captures, then make edits to the individual captures. Currently SnagIt doesn't do more than a single capture at a time. But even that limitation is probably short lived, as the next version of SnagIt is planned to bring this to the plate.

                    No, I'm not making commissions on SnagIt, but I'm addicted like nobody's business to some of the things I find it easily does that other tools cannot. Things like those "oh-so-cool" edge effects!

                    Yeah, Peter and I jokingly jibe one another over which tool is better. On the one hand, you simply can't beat the "no extra charge" price of RoboScreenCapture. But the flexibility of SnagIt is hard to beat too!

                    Happy Monday all... Rick
                    • 7. Re: Screen capture software
                      Authorgirl Level 1
                      I was only joking about the commission ;)

                      I have just taken my first SnagIt capture of a window with corners on a grey background and there are no nasty little grey bits left over so I'm happy!

                      As I don't have the option of RSC, at least until I upgrade, I think I will see how I get on with SnagIt for the trial period.

                      • 8. Re: Screen capture software
                        RoboWizard Level 4
                        Hi again Authorgirl

                        Almost forgot about this. Take a look at this link. I'm not sure if they are still honoring the offer, but as I understood it, you got version 7 at no charge. Then if you elected to upgrade, you could get a really good upgrade price on the latest.

                        Cheers... Rick
                        • 9. Re: Screen capture software
                          HKabaker Level 2
                          Let me put in a word for Paint Shop Pro, which I have used for a long time.

                          You can do in PSP about everything you can do in SnagIt. The latter may save you some time with some features of its UI. But I prefer to capture and save a lot of images before editing them.

                          I'm also pretty compulsive about saving interim changes until I'm satisfied with callouts, shadings, or whatever, so I work in layers. Even after I save the illustration, the layers remain until I finally flattened the ones I like into a single-layer jpg or gif.

                          With SnagIt, you get only one chance to do your work and save a flattened image. (Maybe somebody knows how to keep layers. I couldn't figure it out.) You can save the raw screen shot, open it in SnagIt Editor, and doctor it, save it as another name and so on. But you can't revise what you did earlier.

                          PSP can't scroll the screen to capture a long page or image in one swipe, as SnagIt can. (I haven't looked at the newest release.)

                          Recently I tried this approach:

                          Capture in PSP and save the original.
                          Crop and resize in PSP.
                          In SnagIt Editor, create a blank image and build the bubbles in approximate position (or in any location, for that matter). Save it as jpeg or whatever.
                          In PSP open the file with illustrations. Copy any or all items and paste them over the screen shot as new layers. Or make just one new layer in PSP and put all the pieces there, to be adusted and saved as work in progress.
                          Flatten the finished piece and save as something else. Keep the layered version for that rare occasion when developers modify the screen before or after you publish WebHelp.

                          No doubt PhotoShop can do all this and more.

                          PSP is not expensive. Corel bought the product from Jasc, its creator, and is busily enhancing it as Corel(registered mark) Paint Shop Pro(registered mark) Photo X2. It has much more photo-enhancing capability, and still is not expensive.

                          I have no financial interest in Corel, so far as I know.


                          • 10. Re: Screen capture software
                            Ben Minson Level 2
                            I use Adobe Fireworks. The basics are very easy to learn, and it uses layers. It's pretty easy to manipulate the various pieces. When you save a file as a PNG, the default, it keeps all the pieces/layers, which are still editable later (as opposed to JPEGs and GIFs, which are flattened). However, the default PNG file sizes end up being large sometimes, and if your final file format is something else, this requires that you keep the PNG copy somewhere if you think you'll ever come back and edit it later (which I have to do).

                            Using Fireworks also requires using Print Screen. As for rounded corners, I'm sure you can get that in Fireworks by applying a rounded rectangle as a mask.

                            If I have to capture a window that scrolls beyond what's visible in the window, I use RSC to grab the entire thing (love that feature) and then copy it into Fireworks.

                            Just my two cents,

                            • 11. Re: Screen capture software
                              Vernholio Level 1
                              ...and just to stir the pot a little more, I'll offer my two cents: Combination of PaintShop Pro and good ol' Photoshop. Unfortunately, this is probably the most expensive solution, but -- at least with me -- it offers the most control. PSP is great in that it allows you to configure your screen captures: You can set it to capture the full screen, or just the foremost window, set up for single or multiple captures, include the cursor in the capture, or leave it out, etc. I'll then just use the Marquis Tool in PSP to select specifically what I want and copy it into a new window in Photoshop; where I can add any effect I want, work in layers, add text, etc. (it's fantastic in Photoshop if you have access to a font that matches whats in your UI, combined with layers you can rig your screenshots to match scenarios that you may not be able to actually set up from the local instance of the UI your documenting). Now I'm sure that SnagIt may offer similar tools, but I can't speak for it, because I haven't used it.

                              On another quick note, if your UI is web-based, Firefox offers a great new screenshotting tool that is built in to the browser (FireShot). It allows you to capture the full browser window's contents, even if it can't be displayed on screen (i.e., you have to scroll up/down). It's quick and easy, and allows you to directly integrate with your image editing application -- click on a browser button, and the screenshot will automatically open in your editor app. And best of all, IT'S FREE!! Check it out if you want...


                              Good luck!

                              • 12. Re: Screen capture software
                                MergeThis Level 4
                                Harvey, "With SnagIt, you get only one chance to do your work and save a flattened image" is not the case, at all. Simply save the original capture as a .snag file, then layer to your heart's content! Save the most current .snag file as a .gif or .jpg file, and you're good to go. Come back and do it again and again, as needed.

                                Good luck,
                                • 13. Re: Screen capture software
                                  HKabaker Level 2
                                  Thanks, Leon.

                                  I apologize to any colleagues who were misled on this point.
                                  I looked in the SnagIt help pages but couldn't find it. Maybe I should have done a better search.

                                  With Ben's and Vernholio's contributions, the thread has grown from useful into a fat lot of information!

                                  Hey, guys! Does anyone else want to share tips on screen capture and illustration?

                                  • 14. Re: Screen capture software
                                    Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                    Hi Harvey

                                    Not sure if this was what you were referring to, but I've published a couple of techniques on my RoboWizard site.

                                    Creating a ragged edge
                                    Creating a shaded zoom perspective

                                    Cheers all... Rick
                                    • 15. Re: Screen capture software
                                      Oh well, if it's a free-for-all, my vote goes to Fullshot for capture; Corel PhotoPaint does any tweaking.

                                      Interesting that Corel now has PSP...