Hi all,

[from a lurker on daily digest, sorry if this is late]

> Here is the current comment from a client: Generally, I would like
> to keep high quality of screen captures.

> The comment that I have from the client is what I have - nothing
> specific about fuzziness, or anything else.

Tammy, if that is the only comment you have about graphics from the customer, 
when taken literally, it is a compliment. You don't say whether you're new to 
this customer's documentation, so I can't tell if it's a reflection of your 
past work or a veiled request on your future work.

Either way, you have what I would consider a solid process for getting sharp 
screen shots into the docs. As others have pointed out, there are probably some 
things that can happen after that, but it's just a matter of a few settings.

For reference, my screen-shot process is generally similar, but I have a few 
refinements I haven't seen mentioned here. I'm running FM 8 on Vista.

I use the MS Snipping Tool that comes with Vista, and save directly to PNG. I 
always draw and clip a rectangle box and give myself about 10 pixels around the 
actual GUI item I want. From there, I open the image in Gimp, a free photo 
editor that has some handy features for working with PNGs. For example, I 
mostly work at 150 dpi in Frame, so I have that set up as my default save 
option. Once the dpi is in the PNG, FM automatically takes that as the default 
(I learned that on this list a few months ago). I like to zoom to 400% and see 
every pixel in my screenshot, so I can crop it just right. Cropping is easy 
because you can draw the box and then move each border independently to get 
what you want.

In my docs, I generally try to have screenshots at only 3 different DPIs:
- 96 for small icons and such that usually go inline (this makes easy to see
  because they are about the same size as in the GUI when viewed at 100% in PDF)
- 150 for most dialogs and screens, which keeps all text easily readable.
- 200 or 300 if I have to present a full screen layout.

(Although I've been basing that on the 600 dpi of most laser printers; I like 
Ian's suggestion to optimize for PDF viewing in Acrobat.)

90% of my screenshots are at the 150 dpi setting, which I like to think keeps 
the perspective consistent for the reader. However, when editing the capture, I 
take some liberties with the actual screen contents. I always make my window as 
small as possible before the screenshot, but the GUI is still often too large. 
For example, if a dialog box has a lot of white-space somewhere, especially 
vertically, I copy-paste the border to cover up some of the extra space, then 
recrop the box. Or if the screen is too wide, I move some of the fields and 
elements closer together.
The idea is that the reader needs to see something that looks like the product, 
not the exact pixels.

With the image editor, I can also fix bugs in the GUI, even typos in the 
labels, so I don't have to wait for engineering to generate the fix and I dont' 
have to set up the screenshot again. It's a bit of an art, and sometimes a bit 
complicated to move the dialog elements, especially if they're on a gradient 
background, but as long as the end result keeps the general relative dimensions 
of the actual GUI, the reader gets the needed info in a clearer way.

Anyways, thanks to all who contribute regularly here, I've learned a lot 
reading this list.


akass at jaspersoft.com

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