CAPTURE ANYTHING

SnagIt is a Windows program that lets you capture anything you see on the computer screen, including video clips, even if they have been protected against copying.

Joy says SnagIt is her secret weapon. She can add drawings and comments in balloons, like the kind you see in comic strips.  For a recent beach party for her club, she captured a map of the area from Google Maps andSnagIt 9 circled the places where you could find parking, then drew pointers to heavy traffic streets to avoid and how to reach the right beach.

Because the new version, SnagIt 9,  has a whole new look we found it awkward at first, even as we were discovering features we never knew were there. Fortunately, the program comes with some of the best teaching videos we’ve seen.  ( Just click “help” and go to “tour.”) The videos walk you through everything, step by step. After a while you get the hang of it. If you are used to using graphics programs, nearly all the commands, like grouping objects, will be familiar.

Among the new features is the ability to work with multiple images at once, laying them out like scenes in a film strip. So you don’t lose track of what you’ve captured, screens can be given tag words, so that later they can be brought together into one folder. You can drop and drag them the separate captures onto a main screen to lay out the kind of presentation you want. When you get the look and sound you like you can click on the “send” tab to email the result or post it to the web or send to another program, like Photoshop Elements, for special effects or masking.

An old feature that is made more visible in the current version is “hot spot.” You can designate any point in any captured screen as a hot spot that will bring up another image, text, or even a whole sequence. You’ve seen this effect many times in programs and web sites: when your mouse pointer hovers over a point, another image or instruction pops up. Using SnagIt, you can do this too.

SnagIt 9 is $50 from SnagIt.com and there’s a 30-day trial version for free. There is a free, much-lighter version of SnagIt for PCs and Macs at JingProject.com.

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