This is one very cool program. I’ve been playing with Snapz Pro X from Ambrosia Software for a couple weeks now and I’m using it more and more everyday. (Look at some of my recent posts – the screenshots are a product of Snapz Pro X.) Sure, OS X comes with Grab for taking screen shots, but it’s pretty basic in function. Snapz Pro X is full-featured and then some.
Snapz Pro X starts up as a background service when you log into your OS X account, so it’s always there, waiting for when you need to use it. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t bother your regular cpu usage when it’s not being used (I know, I keep a top monitor on my desktop with geektool, at all times…) When the mood strikes you, hit CMD + SHIFT + 3 and the options come up which allow you to choose what kind of screen capture you want to take.
Boy have you got options. There’s an entire Screen Capture (the whole thing), Objects (individual application windows), Selection (choose your own selection area/dimension), and Movie. The Movie option is the one that I believe makes Snapz Pro X stand-out first to potential users (but honestly, each feature is equally great).
Here’s a quick breakdown of the main options:
Undoubtedly the most interesting feature, and the one to try first is the movie capture. You set a selection area as large as you want to capture and then choose whether you want that selection area to follow your cursor around the screen, or if it should remain fixed, where you’d keep your cursor activity within that selected area. Then you can set a scaling percentage, to size the movie down (or up) for web viewing or whatever you may need it for.
You can even capture audio tracks while you capture the screen movement. Though there is a known bug currently that Ambrosia Software is aware of and is working on a fix for.
(I’d have linked a movie, but even with smaller resolutions, it was still a hefty file – for viewing or serving. But download a demo and try it for youself!)
Objects are the application windows on your desktop. Using the Objects option is a quick way of selecting a specific window in its entirety, instead of having to drag a selection around it manually. Just click the window you want and the selection snaps to it. To select more than one window, hold CMD when you click a second and then both will be selected together.
When there’s a limited area you want to capture, use the Selection option and just drag to the dimensions you want to show in your final image. Pretty straight forward.
The Whole Enchilada. You get just what the name indicates – the entire screen. Menubar, dock, windows, everything.
With each of these capture options you get the ability to choose detailed output options such as color palette detail, output image quality, and scaling (+ or -).
Snapz Pro X has an option to generate a thumbnail of the full size capture as well. These little things can save you lots of time, and I really appreciate that.
You can also enhance the final image with additional features like a drop shadow, borders, rounded corners and so on. These little details really add a lot to a quick screen grab that would otherwise be completely bland in presentation.
I found only one downside to Snapz Pro X – I couldn’t for the life of me figure outhow to actually TAKE the screen capture once I’d configured all the options and settings. So I emailed the Ambrosia Software folks and got a quick response with the answer. Turns out that all you have to do is hit Return.
I know, RTFM you say. Well I like to figure out programs by tinkering. If their main functions aren’t obvious after a little playing around, there is probably some room for improvement.
But after looking through FAQs and the such on Ambrosia’s website and support forums, there was no mention of this issue, so I’ll chalk it up to personal mental limitations.
Once that issue was cleared-up, I was well on my way to putting Snapz Pro X through its paces. I couldn’t have been happier with its performance. This is one of those apps that I’m surprised I lived without. I never took all that many screen grabs before, but now that the ease and simplicity is right there, it’s become very natural.
If you take a lot of screen grabs – or even if you don’t like me – you need to try Snapz Pro X. If you do any kind of documentation or presentations, this program will really enhance the finished look of your documents with no additional time on your part. Go check out Snapz Pro X at Ambrosia’s website, and purchase yourself a license.
The full version including movie capture is $69, without the movie capture engine is $29.