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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

How to create good looking screenshots of a desktop app?

PrintScreen key is fine if you want a basic screenshot however I want something more advanced for my new landing page. Something that creates a really nice looking screenshots, with shadows, perhaps tilted, etc. Any recommendations?

B2B Send private email
Friday, April 19, 2013
> perhaps tilted

IMO, those are awful. Admittedly, screenshots do add a bit of eye candy to a web page, but their primary goal should be give visitors a sense of what the application does. Distorted views often distract from that.

SnagIt (http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html) is highly recommended. They've added video capture, which is a good deal for $50. They also sell Camtasia, so I imagine the video capture in SnagIt has a reduced feature set. I haven't tried it recently, though.

I've used Window Clippings (http://www.windowclippings.com/), and it wasn't too bad for a low cost tool.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Friday, April 19, 2013

You can make nice little shadowed red boxes to highlight something.  And as far as writing documentation where a lot of screenshots might be needed, SnagIt has a good fast flow.
Doug Send private email
Friday, April 19, 2013
I've been using FastStone Capture, like, forever. (At least it was freeware when I downloaded it. )
Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Hacker Solution: Screenshot it, then put it into a simple web page and you can add borders, shadows, annotations, highlights, etc.

Photoshop, or similar, is also good at this stuff.
Scorpio Send private email
Saturday, April 20, 2013
If you need a screenshot for marketing purposes — go try http://placeit.breezi.com/, if it has a template that matches your platform — it'll be one of the best options.
Alex Send private email
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Thanks Alex, that's a slick little website.

The challenge with screenshots isn't the screenshot, it's the annotation.  I find we often want to highlight or explain useful features. And Snagit has some nice tools for that:  nice arrows/boxes with drop shadows, etc.

Same issue with video capture.  The capture is easy. The difficult part is the editing, just like with real movies :-)

I'm *almost* willing to spend $300 for Camtasia.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I can highly recommend both Snagit an Camtasia. Although I do think they need way more attention on the slickness of their transitions / annotations etc. It should be possible to make these things look 90% as slick as an Apple ad (and some Google ads) right out of the box, but the defaults tend more towards 90's powerpoint. You have to work to make something cool.

For example, here:


I'm reasonably happy with the presentation there. I isn't perfect - the pacing could be better etc. but I'm relatively pleased with the cut text slides. BUT Camtasia didn't really help with that, I was forced to cut in animations from Keynote as the options in Camtasia just didn't feel slick enough.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
> I'm *almost* willing to spend $300 for Camtasia.
> I can highly recommend both Snagit and Camtasia.

Based on the CloudTrawl video and the mention that the animations needed to be outsourced to Keynote, I'm not sure why I would spend $300 for Camtasia if I could do that for $0 with CamStudio and edit it with VirtualDubMod or something like that.
Racky Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I don't understand why SnagIt always gets so many recommendations. For me it's a tool to help non-technical people annotate screenshots for use in internal communications/presentations. It focuses on how easily and quickly you can grab part of the screen, add annotations to it and get it into another application. Ironically what it struggles to do well is screenshots. Take a look at page 24 of their own help file:

Why is there no aero theme?
Why are the rounded corners not transparent?
Where is the drop-shadow?

I would be embarrassed to put a screenshot like that on my website or in my documentation. Maybe it can do better than this, but I've never been able to get it to take screenshots I would be happy with and it appears their own documentation authors can't either.

The best screenshot application I've used is WindowClippings. It doesn't have all the flash image editing capabilities, but it does it's core job better than any competitors.

I accept I'm far from a typical customer, but I don't even download software where they can't get the screenshots right.
Adrian Lock Send private email
Monday, April 22, 2013
I actually joined to ask a question rather than answer one but I ran into this thread and couldn't help wanting to jump in.  Amongst other things I note someone saying that he was tempted to throw $300 at Camtasia.  Don't take it personally Camtasia, I am sure you are very good.  However, I have been using http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ for quite a while now. 

It has a subscription fee that is ridiculously reasonable at $15 per year.  With screencastomatic and Audacity (free but really good) to deal with audio edits I have been able to create screencasts that look pretty good.
Atul Vaidya Send private email
Friday, April 26, 2013

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