Sharp/Crisp Screen Captures

I create training for software usage.  This requires screen captures of the software screens; incomplete and then complete.  I have been using SnagIt to capture the screens to add to the PowerPoint slides.  Unfortunately, the screen captures are somewhat fuzzy and, with screens of a lot of fields, are almost unreadable without capturing a portion of the screen and using the Zoom animation effect, which still remains somewhat fuzzy.  Do you know how to correct the fuzziness of screen captures?  Or, is there a better tool than SnagIt for screen captures that will give me sharp/crisp screens?  Thanks for your help.

17 Replies
James Brown

Use Snag-it to capture the images but then edit them with a real graphics editor such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Fireworks. The other option is to press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. This takes a snapshot of your desktop in a BMP format that can then be pasted and edited with Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, etc. If you can, use a MAC. They are truly king when it comes to multimedia.

Michelle Los

I typically don't have access to purchase a graphics editor, but have had a great deal of luck using the standard Microsoft Paint for basic edits and Picasa for anything slightly fancier.  Neither have all the tools of a paid, professional editor, but do a decent job for the screen captures I've used in courses.

Heather Young

Also, if you're working with software you have the option of doing a screen cast instead of a screen capture ... then embed this into PPT or Articulate as needed.  I use TechSmith's Camtasia (same company that makes SnagIt) and this works really well!  The newest version of Camtasia is about $300, but you can sometimes get discounts for military, student, educator, etc.  Editing audio to synchronize, etc. is really easy with it as well ...

They have a free trial (30 days) on their website, but this does not provide crystal clear screen casts.  You need to purchase the software to get the visual clarity.  We found this out when we were testing it and couldn't figure out why the screens were blurry.

Dale Hargis

A less expensive alternative for screencasting is BB Flashback Express:  http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk/BBFlashBackExpress/Home.aspx

For $199, you get the clearest full-motion screen capturing I've ever seen along with the ability to edit everything (including screen text, add captions, and mouse movements), add audio, record audio and webcamera while recording your desktop, and output to SWF, FLV, or WMV.

Very nice product that I use quite a bit.  There's even a free version to start with that does everything only there's no editing capabilities.  You do have to register the free version in order to remove a watermark.

Jeanette Cefre

I agree, Snag-It is a great screen capturing tool.  My other favorites are Powerpoint 2010.  Yes, the editing features (for my purposes) are quite satisfactory.   If you are looking for a free online tool, I love Aviary.  In fact they have several different tools. 

I've downloaded GIMP, but it's still not working for me...maybe I need to just get down the basics.  

James Murphy

I have found that Evernote works very well for capturing screenshots.  You have multiple options in screen capture selection and you can save the images directly to your computer. I have also found the image quality to be excellent. Another great benefit of using Evernote for me is that I can store all of my screen captures in one central location, organize them by category or project, and since all the screen captures are automatically stored on Evernote's server, you can access them any time from any computer simply by logging into my evernote account. It's a definite value add in terms of organization and ease of use.  Oh and did I mention it's FREE?

As for image editing, I agree with Jeanette, Powerpoint 2010 has excellent image editing tools, especially for simple quick edits like cropping, fading, shadows, resizing and removing backgrounds.  For more advanced edits, I have found that Adobe Photoshop works excellent, but if you're not familiar with the software, it may feel like rocket science trying to figure it out at first.  Not to mention it's very expensive. Anyway, hope this helps!

Jackie Van Nice

James Murphy said:

I have found that Evernote works very well for capturing screenshots.  You have multiple options in screen capture selection and you can save the images directly to your computer. I have also found the image quality to be excellent. Another great benefit of using Evernote for me is that I can store all of my screen captures in one central location, organize them by category or project, and since all the screen captures are automatically stored on Evernote's server, you can access them any time from any computer simply by logging into my evernote account. It's a definite value add in terms of organization and ease of use.  Oh and did I mention it's FREE?

As for image editing, I agree with Jeanette, Powerpoint 2010 has excellent image editing tools, especially for simple quick edits like cropping, fading, shadows, resizing and removing backgrounds.  For more advanced edits, I have found that Adobe Photoshop works excellent, but if you're not familiar with the software, it may feel like rocket science trying to figure it out at first.  Not to mention it's very expensive. Anyway, hope this helps!


I agree, Jeanette. Never thought of Evernote for this purpose. Thanks for the tip, James!

James Picton

G'day everyone

Whilst we're talking image editing - has anybody else tried the free online PhotoShop clone PIXLR? If not, give it a go - it will blow your mind! PIXLR can be used anytime/anyplace that you need to do some serious image editing...so long as you have access to the Net of course

Most useful website around (except this one, of course!)

Cheers

Jim

www.artofjimbo.com

Alexandros Anoyatis

James Picton said:

G'day everyone 

Whilst we're talking image editing - has anybody else tried the free online PhotoShop clone PIXLR? If not, give it a go - it will blow your mind! PIXLR can be used anytime/anyplace that you need to do some serious image editing...so long as you have access to the Net of course 

+1. Pixlr is a nice alternative for quick and easy image manipulation.