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Perfect screenshots

Ever tried to output a screenshot at 300dpi? It can sure be a challenge to make a software product look appealing when the screenshot looks so fuzzy. With the following technique, you can maintain the integrity of your screenshot- enough for 300dpi brochures or even billboard displays. Here's how...

Example of a screenshot combined with other artwork.

Example of a screenshot successfully combined with layered artwork at 300dpi.


Before: A typical screenshot enlargement. By scaling up, the image became fuzzy.

Before: A typical screenshot enlargement. By scaling up, the image became fuzzy.

After: A scaled up screenshot with crisp type - identical to the original screen version.

After: A scaled up screenshot with crisp type - identical to the original screen version.


Step 1: Capture the Screen

To make a screenshot, hold CTRL and press the 'print screen' button on your keyword (for PC users). To only capture the size of the active window, press CTRL, ALT, and the 'print screen' button.

Step 2: Paste in Photoshop

In Photoshop, press CTRL-N to make a new document, then click OK. Photoshop will automatically size the document to the screen capture.

Press CTRL-V to paste your screen capture.


Step 3: Change Color Mode

Change Color Mode in Photoshop

From the menu, choose Image > Mode > Indexed Color...

If it asks to flatten layers, choose YES. Choose the default settings by clicking OK on the dialog box. (Our screen reads Local (selective) and 256 colors).

Notice in the screenshot above we included an arrow. The 'print screen' function does not include arrows. To get the arrow, you may either purchase screen capture software that includes arrows, or you may search your system files to find various system arrows and icons, or you may download and use our already-layered Free Arrow - Photoshop .pst file.


Step 4: Scale Up

Scaling up in Photoshop

With an index color mode you may scale in multiples without altering the integrity of the screen capture.

Choose Image > Image Size...

Have Constrain Proportions checked, and Resample Image: Bicubic checked.

Change the resolution from 72 to 144, 216, 288, or any multiple of 72. If you choose 300dpi, for instance, it may skew the type. Now reenter the Image Size dialog box and uncheck the Resample Image box. You may now choose your output resolution, for example, 300dpi, or 600dpi, while maintaining the integrity of the image.


Step 5: Change Back and Save

Now you may change the color mode back to RGB (or CMYK if printing), by choosing Image > Mode > RGB Color. You may now merge your higher resolution screenshot with a boxshot, or keep it as an independent higher resolution file.

Always remember to CTRL-S 'Save...' ...and save often!


Congratulations

Your screenshot is now ready to print at high quality while maintaining its crispness!

By Trent Mueller, © 2005 Turbo Photo™
You may freely link to this page.
Reproductions, however, require permission.
www.turbophoto.com

Photoshop Trick 1: Create Electrifying Special FX Backgrounds

Photoshop Trick 2: Create Perfect & Sharp Screenshots at 300dpi

Photoshop Trick 3: Add Pizzazz to Dull Photos

 

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