In captivity. (graphics manipulation software) (Buyers Guide)
by Robert Bixby
There are a number of options for capturing a screen either in Windows or in DOS. The quickest and easiest way to save a Windows screen is to press PrintScreen in Windows. That saves the entire Windows screen to the Clipboard. You can then save it as a CLP file or paste it into Windows Paintbrush (the technique for this is covered in "Built-in Windows Power Tools" in the November 1993 COMPUTE), edit it, and then save it as a BMP or a PCX file. You can save only the active window by pressing Alt-PrintScreen.
Clif Karnes has written a program called Clip-In (which he may soon release as shareware) that will capture to the Clipboard individual elements of the Windows screen, such as a scroll bar, a dialog box, an icon bar, or an area you define yourself.
With so many alternatives available, commercial publishers have to go a long way to earn your dollar.
Collage Complete (Inner Media, 60 Plain Road, Hollis, New Hampshire 03049; 603-465-3216; $199) is the successor to the fast and flexible Collage Plus. My only complaint about Collage Plus: It was difficult to get a look at the pictures captured. Collage Complete eliminates that problem by providing not only a viewer and editor but also an image catalog that displays thumbnails of images. You can also capture from DOS, edit pictures, and convert images individually or as a batch. Collage Complete comes with a two-disk sample clip art collection.
Collage Complete for Windows has two separate icons: one for the capture program and one for the image-editing and -cataloging program. You have the option of capturing the active menu, title bar, menu bar, client, or window, the whole screen, custom coordinates, multiple selections, or last coordinates. You can set the timer from 0 to 300 seconds. You can capture images to any of ten formats (including TIF, PCX, BMP, and GIF) in any of the following color levels: 16 gray scale, 256 gray scale, 16 colors, 256 colors, 16 million colors, or monochrome. It supports TWAIN, so you can use your TWAIN-compliant scanner to scan images directly into Collage Complete.
Pizazz Plus 4.0 (Application Techniques, 10 Lomar Park Drive, Pepperell, Massachusetts 01463; 508-433-5201; $149) has the simplest collection of tools under Windows of the three, but it can save to an incredible range of formats, most identified by applications, for which the image is custom formatted. it also has a recorder that remembers the transformations you perform on a graphic and can reproduce them on another graphic. The macro (called a recipe) can then be saved to disk.
Pizazz's DOS capture and, manipulation program is the most complete, but its interface is a little overwhelming.
Graphics Tools (Delta Point, 2 Harris Court, Suite B-1, Monterey, California 93940; 408-648-4000; $99.00) offers a slightly expanded features list including autotrace and a bonus CD-ROM that contains 700 pieces of clip art, 100 photographs, and demonstration versions of other Delta Point programs. Delta Point is known for its charting program, Delta Graph and Freeze-Frame ($69.95), another image-capture and file-conversion application.
Graphics Tools will capture and convert among more formats than Collage Complete, but it gives less control over the image as it is captured. The image is captured as a TIF file, for example, but you cannot tell it to capture in monochrome or 16 million colors. You can capture freehand, a window, specified coordinates, an area, or full screen. If you elect to capture a window, you can refine the capture to a menu, an icon, or a dialog box by clicking on the object you want to capture. The only way to capture a DOS screen with Graphics Works is from within Windows.
Whatever you choose, you'll find that graphics manipulation has entered an era of extreme interoperability.
Have a DTP tip you'd like to share? Let me know about it by calling (900) 884-8681, extension 7010203 (sponsored by Pure Entertainment, P.O. Box 186, Hollywood, California 90078). The call costs 95 cents per minute, you must be 18 or older, and you must use a touch-tone phone. Or write to "Art Works" in care of this magazine. And if you don't have a tip, call to let me know what you're up to, what software you're using, and how I can be of assistance.