Review: Snapz Pro X

Snapz Pro X is a wonderful solution for still and video captures (April 14th, 2001)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Ambrosia Software

Price: $49.00

The Good

  • Very convenient and intuitive interface; excellent movie capture implementation; lots of useful options for journalists, webmasters, etc.

The Bad

  • Some occasional residual effects after image capture.

The potential uses for capturing the contents of a screen are varied--proving to your good friend that you topped his high score, showing a business client your work in progress, or quickly saving the list of files on a freshly burned CD, just to name a few. Not only can Snapz Pro X fulfill all of these needs, the utility will become a must-have for Mac users of all levels because of its vast array of output options, simple and effective use, and options for saving on-screen action as a QuickTime movie.

Once Snapz Pro X is launched, it becomes an invisible application that will only appear when invoked with a hotkey command (by default, Shift-Command-3). For this reason, it's recommended that users place the program in their list of applications automatically launched upon login.

Once invoked, a small windows pops up, letting the user choose which kind of screen capture they would like to use, such as a full desktop screenshot, where the entire contents of the screen are captured. If only a portion of the screen is needed, users can select the "selection" tool, where a rectangular dotted outline will appear on screen that can be moved and re-shaped to the user's needs. Finally, new to Snapz Pro X is an "objects" option that lets the user select specific objects on screen to be captured, such as certain windows, menus, or even the Dock.

Beyond those options, Snapz Pro X lets the user choose a desired output format, ranging from .jpg, .gif, or .bmp to .pdf, .tiff, or .psd. Screenshots can even be sent directly to the printer or clipboard. The program can also automatically create thumbails for the screenshot--a handy tool for Webmasters--and add a custom watermark to the bottom left hand corner. Screenshots can also be scaled on-the-fly from 10 to 400 percent, set to a particular color palette, and polished with a fade to white, fade to black, or drop shadowed border. In short, Snapz Pro X can do just about anything in capturing your on-screen display.

In addition to capturing still images, users have the option of purchasing a special "movie capture" edition that allows for on-screen action to be saved as a QuickTime movie. The ability to easily capture everything that you're doing on-screen has enormous potential applications. Rather than trying to describe to a friend how to do something with his new Mac over the phone, you can quickly capture a movie of how to do it and attach it to an e-mail. For instance, we were able to create a QuickTime movie showing how to enter Mac OS X's System Preferences, select the Login section, and add Snapz Pro X to the list of startup items. After a minute of compressing the 30-second tutorial to file, the result was a QuickTime movie under 300K; small enough for a modem user to handle with ease.

Snapz Pro X continues the tradition of its Classic counterpart: the be-all and end-all of screen capture utilities on the Mac. The program puts Apple's "Grab" utility to shame, and other developers should look to Snapz Pro X for a template of how to successfully bring a Mac OS 9 product to the new operating system.

by MacNN Staff


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