Spotlight and Magnify Effect Distorting Text

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My company uses SnagIt v13. We're on the fence about upgrading to SnagIt '18 due to the following issue. Our client likes the Spotlight and Magnify Effect. However, when we implement that effect on a screenshot of their proprietary system, the text, in the text fields, on the field labels, and really, anywhere on the screen, becomes distorted (not in a good way). Please note, I am not talking about using the Magnify tool, which (although a rectangular implementation, already requested by other users on this forum a number of times, would be great) works well in that little to no unwanted distortion of text, etc. occurs.

With the Spotlight and Magnify Effect... screenshots grabbed using SnagIt's capture tool, all at the highest possible resolution (so as to start with a crisp image)... I tested a few things -- i.e. using different system screenshots, general web-page screenshots, and screenshots of text documents (e.g., Word, .txt files, etc.). Spotlight and Magnify Effect settings were: zoom 120%; dim 35%; blur at 0 (or 1, which is supposed to be like 0... but I have another post open about that issue); drop shadow is off; and, H&V positions set to 0. These are the settings our client wants employed. The results were the same on all screenshots. The Magnify tool scales up text without issue. The Spotlight and Magnify Effect distorts the text, to varying degrees. 

I attached screenshots so you can see what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality issues, I can't show screenshots of the system. So, I used a Lorem Ipsum generator and grabbed a shot from the web page using SnagIts capture tool -- not quite apples to apples, but it shows the issues we face. Whether captured from a web page or from an all-text Word, or other, doc, you'll see below that the Magnify Tool provides clearer results compared to the Spotlight and Magnify Effect, which appears grainier. Our client doesn't want us to use the Magnify tool, given the "round" focus on the text. They want the Spotlight and Magnify Effect in play but, understandably, can't tolerate the grainy nature of the text (screenshots are used in training materials rolled out to a large number of sites across our state). We know we can work around this issue, e.g., by capturing a "normal-zoom" screenshot of the system window and darkening it in SnagIt, zooming-in on the portion of the system window we want magnified, capturing it, and layering it on the original, in SnagIt. But, should that be necessary given more work results since the a Spotlight and Magnify Effect exists -- especially knowing the Magnify tool executes magnification so well?

Is anyone else experiencing this issue with the Spotlight and Magnify Effect? FWIW, this issue occurs with every member of our team -- all using SnagIt v13 on business-grade HP EliteBooks: Win 10 x64, 8GB of Ram, Core i7's (4600 processors), with integrated graphics (should any of this relate to the issue).

Magnify Tool:

Spotlight and Magnify Effect:



Thank you all, community members and TechSmith reps, for any insight.
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Gene

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Posted 9 months ago

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Paul

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I see exactly the same issue as you and i think it's related to the resolution of the initial capture. 

You can see the same effect if you grab a piece of text and then use the resize tool at the bottom middle of the screen to increase its size to 200%.  Here's part of your post which has been given that treatment


 

Unless there is more detail in the original, any magnified portion has to be grainy because the pixels just aren't there to support the magnification.

So the real question is, how do we capture with increased resolution.  If we are screen capturing we are, presumably limited to the density of the display, and how the image is rendered.

By contrast, the following capture of part of your post was taken by zooming in on the browser before taking the capture:



As you can see, on this occasion the image is much sharper because the browser has re-rendered the scalable font for the selected zoom level.  Spotlight and Magnify aren't scaling the font, they are scalin the capture.

Unless someone has a better idea, I suggest that is one avenue to explore, manually creating the effect by overlaying a zoomed capture on top of the original.

Whether SangEEt could emulate that process in the Spotlight and magnify tool is something onlt TechSmith could answer
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Gene

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Thanks, Bill, for the detailed response and effort. You're right of course... it's akin to the old adage, garbage in, garbage out (or semi-grainy in, even-grainier out) ;). SnagIt is, indeed, scaling the capture and not the font, which I'd expect as the capture is an image. But, I'd expect a 1-to-X scale and re-render.

I should've posted our monitor specs too -- EliteDisplay E240c's (1920x1080; 92ppi); not the greatest by any stretch, but a huge upgrade from what we had before. I wish I could post a pic of the system, but I can't. That's where we notice the biggest issue. I'm not even allowed to tell you the font used, which might help.

What you suggested (capturing with increased resolution by manually creating the effect) has been our workaround ever since the client told us they were unhappy with the results -- i.e., capture the original at normal zoom, zoom in on the original (in the system window), capture the zoomed system window, overlay the zoomed capture on the original capture. We're fortunate that our client hasn't implemented auto-wrap/scale in their system. If they did, we wouldn't be able to use the browser zoom feature, as text, fields, and images would shift upon zoom, possibly making the magnification confusing to the learner as it isn't a 1:1 magnification. Our learners are detail-focused and picky.

Still, I have to ask... doesn't the workaround defeat the purpose of Spotlight and Magnify Effect? And, how is it that the Magnify tool can magnify with almost no distortion, but the magnification component of the Spotlight and Magnify Effect can't magnify with similar results? Whew, that was an eye-full.

I can't begin to comprehend how difficult it is to code any of this. I'm simply a user. So, please take any questions, FWTW, the perspective of a user. :)

As always, I appreciate any and all efforts you all make. I also greatly appreciate your insights.
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Rick Stone

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For what it's worth, the article with the video linked below may be beneficial.

I think it may be about Camtasia, but the concepts are the same for SnagIt.

Click here to view

Cheers... Rick :)
(Edited)
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Gene

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Thank you for the resource, Rick. I'm familiar with the workarounds and, generally, with best practices... but can always learn more. Regards, sir.
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Paul

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God Eye weesh ewe cud ed it psots afterwoods. My tie pins kills are just knot up to it!

So the video articulates what I was saying.  If you zoom your browser before you capture, you are effectively doing an optical zoom on the original.  If you capture and then zoom you are doing a digital zoom and SnagIt has to interpolate the extra pixels,
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Gene

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Agreed, Paul, FWIW. BTW, I loved the initial response. I needed a laugh.

I'm still at a loss as to how the Magnify tool interprets and redraws the pixels so well, compared to the Spotlight and Magnify Effect. I guess that's really the short version of all my posts. :)
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Rick Grunwald

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I am not getting that as bad. There is an issue that they have yet to acknowledge where blur (among some other tools) is at Zero, but if you move it at all it can only be reset to "1%" and trying to type in a zero gives an error that you must type in something between 1 and 20 (if I remember correctly)
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Gene

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Yep, Rick, your "remembery" is spot-on. I was the OP for that one too... just causing all kinds o' issues here. Thanks, sir.
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Joe Morgan

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Hello Gene,

I talked to Tech support. That 1% blur. Is in fact 1% applied blur. I can't seem to detect it myself, but your boss is spot on. It's there alright.
It's supposed to make the magnification pop out at ya.Why they don't offer 0%? I don't understand?

So I guess you know what that means.

Regards,Joe
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Rick Stone

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Whelp... I tried it. Also recorded the process to demonstrate.

https://www.screencast.com/t/n32ttewD

Cheers... Rick :)
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Rick Grunwald

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I see it. Mine goes  to zero as long as I don't touch it
Where is Techsmith on this?
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Rick Stone

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LOL, likely in the back room hiding from the other discussion about linking to local files from Camtasia!
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Paul

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Definition of cabin fever

: extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined area for a prolonged time
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Rick Stone

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Cabin fever? Nooooo cabin fever! Where see cabin fever?

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Rick Stone

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Blur is an interesting thing, eh? I was very curious about this so I ran some experiments myself because like Joe said earlier, I was unable to really see any difference.

Here was my test. I captured the part of this page where the text read "always," Then I zoomed to the maximum of 2000% in SnagIt and turned on the gridlines. The image below is the result of my playing.

Note that the forum software scales it here and you will need to click it to see it at the proper size.



Just looking at that image closely, it would seem that blur does indeed make a subtle change when it is at the minimum setting. I was comparing by examining the "L" of always. But it sure is hard to tell just by looking at it. To me, the L that appears in the third image from the top appears to have different shading of the pixels. Yet when I opened the paint bucket tool, hold the Ctrl key down and mouse the cursor over the pixels, the same RGB color values are presented. So it is likely one of those phenomenon that occurs because of the darker shading in the image between the two.

It would be interesting to hear one of the actual SnagIt developers pop in and provide some advice. 

Cheers... Rick :)
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Gene

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Rick, I took a vid but realized I'm not allowed to use video sharing sites. So, I took two screenshots of the vid. Not ideal, I know. Sorry, it's the best I can do with the constraints we face. The section bordered in red (screenshot 1, the more important of the two) shows the 0. Screenshot 2 shows the error, which you all see, after I change the blur to 1 and then try to change it back to 0 by typing 0 in the blur text field.

Thanks for your time, sir.

Screenshot 1:

Screenshot 2:
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Rick Stone

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Interesting. After seeing your images I tried a couple of things. 

First, I thought perhaps it was maybe related to the use of the Dark SnagIt theme. My gut said no, but heck, when one is chasing ghosts, anything is suspect, eh? So I configured SnagIt from my favorite light theme to the dark one, then closed and restarted. And I still see 1% not zero. But then again, I fully expected that.

Then I decided to look in the Windows Registry. (Yeah, I'm one of those rebels that likes to muck about there, despite all the dire warnings.) I did find a key that looked promising. So I closed SnagIt again, modified the key, restarted SnagIt and still got 1% and not the zero I expected to see.

The key that looked promising was named: SpotlightBlur. It was configured with a value of 1. I tried configuring it to zero but nothing changed in SnagIt.
Just one of those mysteries I suppose. At least it was fun.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Joe Morgan

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Well Gene,

When you're right, you're right. The Magnify tool is much better at magnifying text  than the Spotlight and Magnify tool.
I installed the 2 versions of SnagIt 13 today.Just to be slightly scientific in my testing. I snagged  some text from this thread and duplicated it.

I Magnified the top portion 3 times to 120% and switched to the other image.

I selected the lower section and applied your parameters 120% zoom,35%dim and a value of 1 for blur. I couldn't use zero with either version."I even tried restarting the editor,etc.no luck"Oh well.

So through the magic of copy and paste I bring you Clear Evidence "Pun intended"

Magnify produces clearer "Grain free Un-Distorted " text.

Spotlight and Magnify text looks pretty bad overall.



Plus, SnagIt 2018 can't save either you. It's equally flawed.

Regards,Joe

    
(Edited)
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Rick Grunwald

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Are you a technical writer? If not you don't count. Technical writers WANT 1% blur
Don't shoot the messenger until he has had his coffee
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Joe Morgan

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The biggest issue is the distorted  "Magnified Text".

The  blur that's applied outside of the magnification area, is a secondary issue and not the focus of this thread.

However, when the magnified text approaches 150% or higher. "Using Spotlight and Magnify". It improves quite a bit.
It looks bad at 120% .

The round  magnification tool doesn't have that problem.
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Gene

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Agreed, Joe. While I appreciate all efforts and feedback, my focus, for the purposes of this post, is the text magnified by the Spotlight and Magnify effect -- and not the blur, which I addressed in another post. Regards, sir.
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Rick Stone

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Yeah, sorry I missed the mark on that one. I was apparently thinking about the other post WRT the blur.

Magnification as well as shrinkage is an odd thing and can be fairly subjective. 

A few years back SnagIt made some kind of change to its algorithm that was used when generally scaling the image. I regularly scale screen captures to about 70 or 80% of original capture size.

I commented to support at the time and they did confirm that a change had occurred to the process, but I was unable to articulate exactly HOW it looked different. Only that to my eyes at the time, the older way had a much better and more "crisp" result. I'm not sure they ever changed it back. I ended up just accepting that it was different.

Cheers... Rick :)