I have a background in training and have created a fair amount of eLearning.
eLearning is very visually oriented and that means graphics. I’ve often thought some of the tools and applications used to create those graphics would be useful to authors.
One in particular is Snagit — a screen capture tool — by Techsmith, and I resolved to write a blog post about it.
Steve provides three examples of using Snagit:
- Collaboration with a designer on cover layout and editing. He used Snagit to take screenshots of the design an annotate them
- Collaboration with other authors by quickly taking screenshots of Word tables and sending them, rather than send the entire Word document or messing around with cutting and pasting into an email
- Using Snagit to take screenshots of receipts for items ordered on line (something I’ve done many times as well). He can then immediately store the captures in his expense folder
Snagging, annotating, and writing simple workflows using Snagit has become a way of life for me.
— Steve Shipely
Steve’s article is well worth reading in its entirety, but I would like to add a couple more things that authors can/could do with Snagit:
Collaboration with artists
I’ve commissioned artists in the past to draw certain scenes from Lady Merreth’s upcoming novel Western Watch. Because I suck as an artist I would create stick figure images or layouts in PowerPoint and take a screenshot of them. I would then send the screenshot to the artist.
For example, I worked with an artist named Max Forward (yes, that is his real name) and sent him this PowerPoint image captured with Snagit:
He turned it into this:
Likewise, I sent this layout to an artist — S.Yoshiko — to provide her with direction for a movie poster type image I wanted made:
You can see what she created for me using the above guide in my post Lets Make a Book Trailer — Part 7.
Why not just save the image directly from PowerPoint using PowerPoint’s native functionality? You could certainly do that, but Snagit offers the ability to resize and annotate captures.
For example, the note bubble talking about wooden floors and walls in the above image was added using Snagit after I had done the capture. No need to go back to PowerPoint to put it in.
This is useful if you participate in an online writer’s group and wish to provide fairly detailed edit suggestions for a particular paragraph or series of short paragraphs.
Below I have taken a screenshot of a novel passage and marked it up using Snagit’s highlighting and annotation features.
The strikeouts, colour coding and annotations (letters) show how to reorder the writing to tighten it up. This is much easier than trying to describe the suggested changes.
The screenshot is of Srivener, but you could easily do the same thing with writing contained in a Word or PDF document.
You could make the edit suggestions in those two documents, but each lacks some of the features Snagit provides. For example, Word will let you highlight, but there is no easy equivalent to annotations.
I would not recommend Snagit for extensive critiquing but for particularly complicated edits to a single paragraph it is ideal. Truly embodying “show, don’t tell”. 🙂
Snagit comes packed with goodies that can help enhance or create images. A partial list includes:
- Cut outs (removing the middle of an image)
- Line draw
- Step feature (adding step #s to images)
- Edge tools (used to create ‘torn paper’ images edges)
- Rotate & Resize
- Spotlight & Magnify
- Export to a variety of applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc)
- Video screen capture
All of these are very easy to use. In many ways Snagit may be the only graphics tool you need.
It’s very inexpensive (~ $50 US) and they offer a free trial.
Are you a writer using Snagit? What do you use it for?
Thanks for reading, and I will see you again soon.