Does any other program (windows or linux) do screenshot annotationefficiently?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Danny D., Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    Q: Does any other freeware program do screenshot annotation efficiently?

    While almost all programs perform almost all tasks, the three
    critical screenshot annotation tasks that are often implemented
    inefficiently are:
    a) arrowing (should be as simple as click + click + bend ... you're done)
    b) texting (should be as simple as click + type ... you're done)
    c) circling (should be as simple as click + sweep + click ... you're done)

    Other annotation-critical tasks (which most programs do well) are:
    d) cropping (should be as simple as click + click ... you're done)
    e) converting (should be as simple as file->save as ... you're done)

    Programs on windows that fail the simple annotation triad test are:
    - IrfanView, GIMP, MSPaint, Photo!Editor, FastOne, & SketchUP

    Programs on linux that fail the simple annotation triad test are:
    - GIMP, Inkscape, ImageMagick, F-Spot, Viewnior, Krita, Xfig,
    - Xara Xtreme, Xpaint, Shutter, Solang, Fotoxx, & Kolourpaint

    The only program on Windows that passes that simple test is
    Paint.NET; while no program passes that test, unfortunately,
    on Linux.

    Here is a WINDOWS example: (using Paint.NET)

    Here is a LINUX example: (using Kolourpaint)

    In summary, what is required for efficiency is:
    a) arrowing (should be two clicks plus bending to avoid obstacles)
    b) texting (should be a single click and then you start typing)
    c) circling (should be as simple two clicks)

    Amazing as it may sound, out of the score of freeware image
    editors listed above, only one performs all three tasks efficiently.

    Do you know of any other freeware image editor that can perform
    those three critical screenshot-editing tasks efficiently?
    Danny D., Apr 21, 2013
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  2. Are there any non-freeware programs that meet your requirements?
    Jennifer Murphy, Apr 21, 2013
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  3. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    I've tested every freeware program that was suggested, so
    I'm not an expert on the payware programs.

    However, I would be shocked if something professional,
    such as Photoshop or PSP didn't meet the three critical
    requirements for annotating screenshots for typical DIYs.

    Personally, I don't have any professional programs installed.
    Therefore ...
    May I ask of the Photoshop or PSP folks these three questions:

    Q1: When you text, must you draw a bounding box first?

    Q2: When you draw arrows, do you only need to draw the beginning
    and end points, and can you subsequently modify the curve as needed
    to create dashed lines and to flow, as needed, around obstacles?

    Q3: When you draw an open circle, is the task as efficient
    as simply sweeping out the desired area?

    If the answer to the three questions asked of all screenshot
    annotation programs is YES (which I presume it would be given people
    PAID for the privilege of ease of use), then those payware programs
    meet the three critical requirements for annotating screenshots
    Danny D., Apr 21, 2013
  4. It seems to me that you have spent an enormous amount of time testing
    "free" software, without, apparently, any regard to the cost of your
    time. Is it worthless? I don't understand the fixation of things that
    are "free"? I believe the old adage that "there is no such thing as a
    free lunch".

    Why have you not also tested some "payware" offerings? I use Visio for a
    lot of the type of markup you mention. It's not free, but I believe it
    has a trial version. There is a bit of a learning curve and it doesn't
    do everything. ymmv
    Jennifer Murphy, Apr 21, 2013
  5. Danny D.

    Tony Cooper Guest

    No, in Photoshop and Elements.
    No, in Photoshop and Elements. You have a wide choice of arrows
    (straight, curved, curve direction, barb style, etc), dashed lines and
    such. An arrow is like a type character and can be set to size,
    position, shape, and color. And, it can be rotated.
    Yes, and there are choices that involve holding down certain keys to
    make the circle open from the center point or simply open where you
    start it. You can also set stroke size and color.
    Did you read what you wrote? You *don't* want a YES for Q1. In Q2,
    you don't have to bother setting points in Photoshop and Elements.

    What you are using is a nice little program, but it's not a new
    religion or a cure for cancer. I'm not interested in converting you
    to an Adobe product, and I'm certainly not interested in stepping back
    to a minor program.

    Most people don't buy a program to annotate screen shots. That's one
    use, but we buy programs to do that and many other things.
    Tony Cooper, Apr 21, 2013

    p-0.0-h the cat

    Attention new posters. Beware: ACF is under attack by a small number of
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    These are my recommendations to filter their malicious trollspam

    By filtering out messages containing
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    p-0''0-h the cat (ES), Apr 21, 2013
  7. Danny D.

    Rikishi42 Guest

    I find that Irfanview does those tasks rather wall, actually.
    What do you find wrong with it ?
    Rikishi42, Apr 22, 2013
  8. Danny D.

    JJ Guest

    If image editor classification is very important, then try these two (no
    screenshot feature; have to use PrintScreen key, then paste from clipboard).

    Photo Filtre
    Serif PhotoPlus

    Otherwise, use Greenshot. A screenshot tool that can do non-eye-candy tasks
    for screenshots.
    JJ, Apr 22, 2013
  9. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    That I've spent an enormous amount of time researching is true.

    I've often said the biggest expense, by far, of freeware is the cost
    of the testing required. Asking questions helps ameliorate that a bit
    because you can take advantage of other people's tests (and they of yours).

    But the same can be said of anything else in life.

    Take the well-known example of buying a car.

    I researched buying an automobile such that I knew all the internal
    code names for the vehicles being considered and the costs and
    code names for the colors and options (which helps immensely when
    talking seriously with the three types of dealer sales people
    (lot, fleet, and customer service) so that I used type of salesperson
    for what they were most useful for.

    Lot salesperson: Use him to test drive (leave your wallet at home!)
    Customer service: Use her to locate the exact options and vehicle.
    Fleet salesperson: Use them to buy the car at a hundred over cost.

    Same concept with freeware.

    Use each one for what it does best.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  10. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    While that is true, I do not believe in the old adage that
    you get what you pay for.

    Having taken economics 101 (micro and macro), it's clear you
    pay what other people are willing to pay for.

    You're competing with the rest of the world - many of whom may
    not have done the research that you've done - so they're making
    bad decisions (perhaps).
    I've been using freeware since the early 1990s, and I've concluded
    there are few programs most ever have to overtly buy. One is
    Microsoft Office - and even then, it's only because everyone else
    uses it and because the replacements (open office, star office, etc.)
    are not compatible.

    Another is a tax program.

    But, for photo editing, I've never needed a payware solution.

    Of course, I'm not CREATING content from scratch - I merely edit
    screenshots - so the needs will dictate the software.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  11. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    I've used Visio at work for creating huge flowcharts.
    It's a nice program.

    But, as you said, it's not free (and trialware doesn't count as
    it will expire or watermark the results).

    The question is whether PSP and Photoshop (or Visio) do this:

    A) Do they just text without having to draw a bounding box?
    B) Do they arrow just by clicking two points & bending as needed?
    C) Do they circle just by sweeping out the desired area?

    If PSP, or PhotoShop, or Visio can do that (which I hope they do
    since people PAID for these conveniences), then they meet the
    simplest requirement of annotating screenshot for DIYS (which I
    write a lot of).

    If not - then that would be sad.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  12. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    Good! Efficiency & ease of use is what I'd expect if I paid
    for these programs.
    Hmm... I'm going to presume that means the arrows have an ease
    of use that is expected, even though I'm not sure how they work
    if you can't set the starting and ending points easily, and then
    subsequently modify the curve to flow around obstacles.
    Good. Of the three critical annotation tasks, this was the one
    that is most often in most programs - but it's on the short list
    because some freeware (e.g., Gimp) can't do it easily, even though
    the task is considered a basic one in screenshot annotation.

    I thank you for the answers for Photoshop and Elements.
    I'm a bit confused about the arrow answer - but I presume from
    your tone that the arrows are easy & intuitive.

    It turns out that the arrows are the HARDEST feature to find
    in freeware! That, and simple texting without drawing bounding boxes
    (although all freeware does texting but not few freeware does arrowing).

    If I had to pick the ONE critical task, it's ease of arrowing that
    distinguishes one package from another - therefore it's good to know
    that Elements and Photoshop apparently do arrows easily and efficiently.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  13. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    I heartily agree.

    In fact, I hate some things about Paint.NET on Windows, such as the
    fact it is slow as a dog (compared to, say, Irfanview); but, man,
    does it do arrows well!

    I'll be the arrowing on Paint.NET is (almost?) as good as what you
    said Elements and Photoshop has. And, the texting is a simple click
    and type (which is the way it should be).

    Unfortunately, on Linux, it's bothersome that the best I can find,
    Kolourpaint, doesn't really do arrows at all (you have to manually draw
    them and you can't easily reshape them and it's nearly impossible to dash
    them and you have to manually draw the arrow points, etc.).

    Plus, you have to draw bounding boxes before you can text in Kolourpaint.

    So, I never said they were the cure for cancer - but - they're free - and,
    they're the best I can find for the task of annotating screenshots. If
    someone suggests better freeware - I'd be ecstatic to test it out.
    This thread originally did not have on it; that
    newsgroup was added to get the answer of how efficiently payware programs
    handled the three critical tasks:
    a) Texting by simply typing
    b) Arrowing by simply choosing the points
    c) Circling by simply sweeping the area

    Of course, there are other tasks (but most freeware does them well already):
    d) Cropping (especially limiting the cropping to a given ratio, such as 4:3)
    e) Saving as another format (especially with vectors, layers & transparency)
    f) Creating collages (mixing photos together as a single composition)
    I agree the professionals have harder goals. For example, one thing I've
    found hard to find in freeware is a good "magic wand" such that you can
    cut a person out of one photo and insert into another background photo.

    But you don't have that tougher problem set with screenshot annotations.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  14. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear that Irfanview is a great program.

    Irfanview is the best freeware out there for some thing:
    - It's fast <-- really really fast!
    - It crops efficiently <-- almost perfectly (it just needs ratioing)
    - It converts to most other formats nicely
    - It gives Windows users batch rotation & resizing & renaming

    But, if you've ever used Irfanviews' "Paint Dialog" to edit out
    your name and other information from a screenshot, you'll want to
    pull your hair out in frustration (as compared to, say, the ease
    of performing those same tasks in Linux Kolourpaint).

    And, if you've ever tried to draw arrows in Irfanview, for screenshot
    annotation, you're crazy (once you see how well Windows Paint.NET does

    And, IIRC, Irfanview requires you to have to draw a bounding box just
    to type simple text (although, if Irfanview did arrowing and editing
    better, I'd probably settle for the way it does text as I already
    settled for the bounding-box method on Linux 'cuz I can't find any
    freeware on Linux that does texting efficiently).
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  15. Danny D.

    Savageduck Guest

    As far as a technically free (it is part of the Mac OS bundle)
    application I use for simple annotation, including arrows, is "Preview".
    So I can do stuff like this.
    < >
    Savageduck, Apr 22, 2013
  16. Danny D.

    Guest Guest

    preview does what he needs but he doesn't have a mac.
    Guest, Apr 22, 2013
  17. Danny D.

    bugbear Guest

    Try googling

    screenshot annotation

    if that's what you want, rather than "proving" that image
    editors aren't screenshot annotators.

    bugbear, Apr 22, 2013
  18. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    I was on Linux when I saw this, so, I had the best of the worst
    for arrows - but sometimes it's nice to have curved arrows as
    shown here for your photo.

    Does this Macintosh application curve them?

    NOTE: The Windows Paint.NET arrows are vastly superior to what I drew
    just now with Kolourpaint on Linux - but the point is the same.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  19. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    This is the USENET, so, we have all types - therefore, it's nice
    to answer the questions for all three major platforms:

    Best freeware arrows on Windows: Paint.NET (far better than all the others)
    Best freeware arrows on Linux: Kolourpaint (just so so ... nothing special)
    Best freeware arrows on Mac: Preview? (but does it text & circle?)

    Arrows are very important when screenshot anontating because you
    may wish to flow around objects in a graceful way that follows
    the inherent curves of the screenshot.
    Danny D., Apr 22, 2013
  20. Danny D.

    Savageduck Guest

    No. It is only intended for making on the fly simple annotations.

    With Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator, where you have several ways of
    going about dealing with this sort of thing using text layers and
    vector graphics all sorts of stuff is possible. Unfortunately you are
    only seeking free solutions in the Linux World, so there is little
    point in going further. However, it might be worthwhile for you to
    check "Inkscape".
    Savageduck, Apr 22, 2013
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