On some of my posts, I include an occasional application screenshots. The better ones that I have done may look something like this one of f-spot (which I made when frustrated with the quality of a screenshot in a presentation I was reviewing).
You might notice that it has really nice shadowing. Too nice. Casual consipracy theorists could get the idea that my blog might be supported by a cadre of Novell graphics people as part of a underhanded–even dastardly–marketing effort by Novell.
However, if you have ever tried to screenshot an application while using Compiz, have probably found some issues.
First off, the Alt+PrtSc key combo that usually can grab a screenshot of the currently active window does not grab the window decorations (title bar, mainly) on the window under Compiz.
Also, without the window decorations, you lose the shadowing. Screenshotting a window is still an area that has not been fully worked out under Compiz.
This graphic shows the same window screenshotted as a single window versus one that has been taken with my alternate technique. For me, the one on the right a little more visual appeal.
A while back, I filed a bug to have the decorations issue addressed. But, thinking about it, I’m not sure how you would get a clean shot of a single window, since it now has a composited shadow effect around it. It may be a while. So in the meantime, I do this little sequence of steps in order to get a good window-only screenshot: I grab the whole screen, and then do a couple quick GIMP tricks. Here are the steps I use:
- First, I remove my desktop wallpaper and set the background color to white. (White because that’s the background color of my blog.)
- Next, I clear away any clutter on my desktop. (“You shouldn’t store so much crap on your desktop anyway,” I keep telling myself.)
- Then I open the windows I want to capture, and position them so that they have only the white desktop behind them.
- Now I capture the whole screen using the PrtSc key, and save the capture as a local file.
- Next, I open the file in the GIMP and use the rectangular area selection tool to select an area of the desktop containing just the windows I want to capture.
- With the window loosely selected, I first Crop to the selection (Image menu > Crop). That gets rid of any outlying icons that were on the desktop, setting me up for an Autocrop. Now, I use Autocrop (Image menu > Autocrop) to crop down the image, which reduces it down to just the windows their surrounding shadowing.
Viola! One professional-looking window capture, complete with subtle drop shadow.