It seems hard to improve on a standard screen capture, right? You want a copy of whatever happens to be on your screen, so you take a screen cap. But Aviary, which already has an impressive array of online photo-editing tools, has come up with a nifty screen-capping web app and a matching Firefox plugin that improve on the basics.
Here are five things that make Aviary screen capture really useful.
- Choose exactly what you’re capturing. With Aviary, you type in the URL of any web site you want to capture or just add “aviary.com/” to the beginning of the URL in your browser. Aviary offers you the option of choosing the screen resolution and quality of the image you’ll capture, as well as the region of the page. The site also plans to offer to capture sites as they appear in different browsers (very useful for web designers), but that feature is not ready yet. Aviary can capture Flash web sites with no problem.
- Drop screen caps directly into an editing application. Not all screen caps can be used as-is. Sometimes you have to edit them before you can use them, and Aviary has made that process much easier. As soon as you take a screen cap with Aviary, you can move directly into Aviary’s image-editing applications. There are separate editors for different purposes, such as Phoenix Image Editor, Toucan Color Editor, Peacock Effects Editor and Raven Vector Editor.
- Save your image online. As long as you have a free Aviary account (which takes less than a minute to create), Aviary will save your image and host it. It will even automatically provide you with embed codes for HTML and forums, as well as sharing tools for social networking. You can add controls on exactly who can see an image with a Pro account.
- Use Aviary without visiting the site. As long as you use Firefox as your web browser, you can install Talon, Aviary’s Firefox plugin. It will add a button to your toolbar that will allow you to use Aviary’s screen capture tool without constantly needing to go back to Aviary’s site. You can even direct a screen cap into Aviary’s image editing application.
- Set your screen capture as your desktop. As soon as you’ve captured a web site with the Firefox plugin, you can set that image as your desktop — along with sending it to email, saving it, copying it or even simply viewing it. You can complete similar tasks from the web site, as well, but I’ve found that the plugin significantly speeds up the process.
Aviary provides a simple solution for screen captures, along with image editing. It might not be my first choice for a large design project, but when I just need to get an image into a blog post or saved for future reference, it certainly speeds up the process.
Have you tried Aviary?