Screenshoting for blog – edit and compress

Previous part of series – making a shot .

Getting screenshot (or several) doesn’t mean that process is over. Editing ensures that image fits content well and compressing that server load remains light while readers get to content at best speed possible.

Paint.NET

paintnet_icon Image editing software is often evaluated with flawed “how does it compare to Photoshop? ” question. Truth is most people don’t face tasks that require such complex (and expensive) software and don’t have skills for using it to the fullest.

Paint.NET is image editor inspired by opposite question “can Microsoft Paint concept be made into something usable?

paintnet_interface

After few years of development Paint.NET shaped into handy image editor (with support of layers, history and plugins) while remaining easy to use and beginner-friendly. Personally I am unable to draw a simplest thing but app gives me easy to use tools for cropping and other polishing of my screenshots.

Home http://www.getpaint.net/

Download http://www.getpaint.net/download.html#download

Note – requires .NET Framework

Compressing

Post on image formats explained that different formats are good for different things. However using appropriate format doesn’t guarantee of excellent result. Image compressing is less of a science and more of poking each image on separate basis. Most image editing software tries to relieve user from that and works on kind of best effort principle – images are compressed using generic parameters.

To tinker it further you need specialized tools.

OptiPNG

OptiPNG is command line utility that allows compressing PNG images to the max. It approaches high compression in two ways:

  • allowing to chose very specific settings;
  • calculating best possible compression by brute force computing approach.

I have to admit that few people consider using command line utilities fun. In this case they can get Paint.NET plugin that provides all function of OptiPNG with graphical interface and result preview.

paintnet_optipng

Home&download http://optipng.sourceforge.net/

Paint.NET plugin http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?showtopic=22841

Radical Image Optimization Tool

I had briefly mentioned RIOT in my post on IrfanView (which comes bundled with it).

RIOT

Since then I had few opportunities to use it. It has bit raw feeling of early version (which it is with development ongoing) and inferior to OptiPNG for PNG compression. However for JPEG and GIF it’s more than suitable with excellent real-time preview and flexible compression settings. I think actual interface is best part of RIOT because it favors experimenting which is best way possible to get good (both in image size and quality) compression results.

Home http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/

IrfanView http://www.irfanview.com/

Overall

Truthfully there is no ultimate approach to editing and compressing images. In my opinion most important thing here is that process starts with software. You can get result with anything but to work with images on daily basis image editing and compressing tools that work best for you are needed .

My suggestions are those that fit me and something to start with. Look around, try different tools and choose for yourself.

Next part of screenshoting series is going to cover creating guidelines for your screenshots and making them fit those.

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12 Comments

  • This information I found very handy. Due to the blog reviews that I do, I often make screen shots. I personally find Photoshop too complicated for this purpose and have started using Fireworks instead. I have downloaded Paint.Net and will give it a try.

    This stuff I have downloaded to a notebook as this will soon be the only Windows machine I have. I plan to move my desktop PC to Linux pretty soon. On this machine I will most probably have to download GIMP for the graphic stuff.

    Thanks for the info.

  • @Lyndi

    I think Paint.NET is near-perfect for screenshots. It has good masks, resizing and canvas-sizing. And layers support amkes easy to add something over or under if needed.

    By the way I think you could do post at your blog about moving to Linux. Not technical part but your reasons and such, I find it very interesting what pushes people from one OS to another.

  • i use screengrab! an add-on for firefox

  • @Archer

    This post is more about editing, capturing was covered in previous one. My main browser is Opera so I mostly use separate apps for browsing-unrelated tasks.

    Welcome to blog and thanks for your comment. :)

  • Personally, I use only the FastStone built-in editor for my shots, and it’s enough. The FastStone editor allows you to add simple rectangles, arrows, text, etc.

  • @Adrian

    For my taste FSCapture rules for making shots but I never used it editor much. I use Paint.NET for most of graphical stuff so makes sense to use it for processing screenshots as well.

  • Hey, that was interesting,

    truely paint .net is a great tool but I still prefer to use photoshop which is more powerfull and there are more optiones to work with

    Thanks

  • @software

    Photoshop is expensive and professional tool. Worth it for designers and such but for screenshots that is major overkill. :)

  • i also use screengrab for firefox to take my screenshots, but I’ll try Paint.neet

  • Nice soft, i always use free IE plugin like iepartner to screenshot and PS to edit.

Comments are closed.