So I was reviewing an app yesterday morning, and when it came time to deal with the screenshots I was suddenly aware of how painfully convoluted the process is. I use a MacBook and no less than four different applications to tailor the screenshots to Mobot’s particular aesthetic needs.
To be fair, I’ve got the process down to a fine art; it only takes a few minutes, and anyone watching the assortment of windows quickly coming and going would undoubtedly struggle to follow what the heck I’m doing.
Conversely, a few weeks ago I found myself reluctantly using my dad’s PC with Windows XP, and the effect was crippling. I learned to appreciate the complex but well-oiled machine I’ve created here.
Having said that, if you have any suggestions, I’m entirely open to change. Feel free to berate me with a comment below, something along the lines of: “Why the hell don’t you just use X to Y the Z, you idiot?”
Step 1 – grab the screenshots
This bit is easy. I use an iPod touch for iOS gaming. All I have to do is press the Home and Lock buttons together, and a screenshot is immediately sent to Photos. Sweet.
With a selection of suitable screenshots compiled, I then email them to myself. Or I could connect my iPod to my MacBook and extract them with iPhoto, but I think email might be slightly quicker. Maybe.
Of course, this step will become obsolete with the arrival of iCloud, as photos will automatically sync across my various iDevices.
Step 2 – rotate
Ok, let’s say I’ve got the screenshots on my desktop now. If the iOS game in question runs in landscape, it’s necessary to rotate the screenshot. For this I use Preview, OSX’s native picture-viewer application. Tools > Rotate Left, job done.
Step 3 – resize
We want the final image to be 640 pixels wide. If the screenshots are in landscape, this means we’ll need two pics at 320 x 213 (trust me); if they’re in portrait, we want three images of 213 x 320.
Enter: ColorSync Utility, an odd little application that’s again native to OSX. It features a handy resize option, and takes seconds to use. Resize > Width > XYZ.
Step 4 – splice
This is the step that feels oddly primitive. I’m fairly certain there’s an easier or less low-level way to get the same results, but for now I’m sticking with Paintbrush, a free program that’s essentially the same as MS Paint.
First, I open my screenshots in Preview. Next, I open Paintbrush and choose the dimensions for my final spliced screenshot (640 x 213 if the original screenshots are in landscape, 640 x 320 if they’re portrait). Finally, I copy from Preview and paste into Paintbrush. A steady hand is required to align the shots. Pretty hi-tech stuff, huh?
Step 5 – watermark
This is the step I tend to forget. Nothing beats uploading a screenshot, inserting it into the app review, adding a link to the App Store then realising it doesn’t have a watermark. Gah.
For this final step I use Gimp, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s free, and appears to be a hugely comprehensive, well, image manipulation program. I suspect it could cater to all my needs, but there are sooo many options and windows, man.
I open the 640-wide screenshot and the Mobot watermark as two separate images (or Layers, as Gimp calls them), paste the watermark onto the screenshot then adjust the opacity.
File > Save, and we’re done. Huzzah!