Making a Screen Shot.

My Screen shot tips and hints for the begining screen shooter.

Friday, October 17, 2008 by HG_Eliminator | Discussion: Tutorials

Since I have yet to see a tut on Screen shots, I thought I would offer my way of putting together a quality SS. While my style may not suit all, it can help those wanting hints/ideas.

HG's rules of screen shots:

#1. less is more. To me a screen should be functional as well as elegant. To much stuff within a SS can often work against the look im trying to purvey.

#2. Clean and smooth. The elements should fit well together and look like they belong, going by textures/gradients first. Colors are typically not as imperative, as they can be changed later.

#3. Obscure the wall enough to keep it hard to extract but still be seen well. Object placement can be critical as it should look as if it was supposed to be there to begin with, not like an add on.

#4 When Matching colors, try to adjust to match the main items majority color. I often use the DesktopX color Picker to get elements as closely color matched as possible. If an element fits well with the theme, the surrounding colors of it usually closely match the ones in the main item. * Hint try to match the brightest portions of the colored areas, the darker areas should fall in line* if not you can settle for a happy medium, if it is to far off then Id go searching for a more fitting item.


Building a SS from the ground up:

I will use one of my own screen shots and describe how I assembled it to better explain. ( Phoenix, at bottom of page)

First I spotted the wall By Sed. And decided I wanted to build a desktop to go with it.

So I grabbed A WB that just fit the look of the wall with its color scheme, texture and gradients. Which was October BY NightTrain. It was already close in color, the black fit well with the Walls borders, the satiny glow of the Orange set well with the satin look of the Wall. Next I grabbed the Matching docks by webgizmos and Widgets by fairyy~ from the Library as I felt those too would be a perfect match. The Round weather widget just looked like it fit right in the middle, which also offered more Obscurity to keep the wall from being extracted.

As for the Icons I wanted ones that really complimented the wall and WB's light contrasts, I chose Sunx's Dark Shine Icon set as they had little bands within them that once recolored really matched the wall and WB. It looked to me as if they were meant to be together, Kind of like finding the pieces in a puzzle.

So I moved on to the cursorFX. I wanted one that just screamed Pick me. Again the gradients and texture came in to play. JJ yings Cursors from his master suite fit the bill. Perfect style, coloring and with a flame like pattern to go with the Phoenix Wall.

Move things around to give a full desktop look without clutter. When satisfied all is as it should be, I Print screen, import from clipboard to Xnview, Save at Jpeg highest quality. * do not use progressive or optimize hoffman table as they tend to fubar the images* Upload to WC and Im all done.

This was actually one of the more easier Desktop combination's to assemble. But some times simplicity pays off.


There are more complex Screen Shots I have done with actually making elements from the WB and or other items in the libraries, but that is for another day, another tutorial.





Other shooters, feel free to add to this with tips and or your ideas on how to build that perfect screen shot.

Reply #1 Friday, October 17, 2008 6:11 AM

Thanks for the tut.It's always interesting(and helpful,)to glimpse others' processes. 2 u!

Reply #2 Friday, October 17, 2008 8:49 AM

hg, couldn't find the wall. got a link?

I like what you did, looks great. I think it would look even more sharp if you used a dark blind with it. Was gonna make up a screenie to show the difference but can't find the wall.

there are one or two dark blinds with a golden accent that would really set that off. what is the calendar in the lower right corner? that would also look sweet if it had a thicker dark border to differentiate from the wall. Love the widget in the middle. looks like it should have been made for the wall.

Thanks for the tutorial!!

Reply #3 Friday, October 17, 2008 9:29 AM

Ever wonder how some skin screenshots show both an open start menu, and a window in-focus at the same time?  Pretty simple really, and doing this can help you build previews and screenshots that show off the start menu along with numerous other elements that would otherwise be hidden when having an open start menu.

This requires the use of a graphics program that lets you build images in layers, as you will be taking multiple screenshots and combining them into one screenshot of supreme awesomeness.  For this example, we'll just assume you want to have the start menu, one in-focus and one out of focus folder displayed.

  1. Setup your desktop with the icons, wallpaper and skins you want to show off
  2. Position your in-focus and out-of-focus folders somewhere that the start menu will not overlap.
  3. Take a screenshot of the desktop with the in/out of focus folders
  4. Paste this into your graphics program as Layer 1
  5. Open the start menu
  6. Take screenshot with start menu open
  7. Paste into your graphics program as Layer 2

Ok, you now have both screenshots in your graphics program.  Make sure that Layer 2 is the active layer (the one with the start menu in it. 

  1. Using the Marquee tool, select the region of Layer 2 where the windows are in Layer 1. 
  2. Delete this selection from Layer 2

You now should have a shot showing off the open folders (one in-focus) along with the open Start Menu.  Save this as a flattened JPG and you're done!

This can be done with any combination of elements and any number of layers to get increasingly complex shots.  The main thing to ensure is that nothing that you want to combine from multiple shots overlaps, especially if there's any transparency to the window borders or start menu.

Reply #4 Friday, October 17, 2008 9:53 AM

And to actually upload to WC or post to the forums check out the Wiki here:

Reply #5 Friday, October 17, 2008 2:31 PM

Awesome additions Folks.


Wulfy heres the link to the wall. Phoenix , have fun

Reply #6 Friday, October 17, 2008 8:43 PM

Thanks for the tips and the link

Reply #7 Saturday, October 18, 2008 2:08 AM

Any Time BK.. im glad folks are getting use of the tut

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