It seems that the post about screen portrait generated quite a bit of interest. So I thought I would provide some more "How to" details.
- Bring the screen shot into your paint package. I use PaintShop Pro
- Ensure that the screen is configured in such a way that all the general features are available, so it depicts the required functionality.
- Also Ensure that it is good aspect, so the resulting portrait will fit your help topic. This can be adjust at the end but not as easily.
- Provided your paint package supports layers, and most of the do, start adding rectangles to mask over the key parts of the screen.
- A feature in PaintShop Pro is to tmake a layer semi-transparent, as you can see, I make my rectangles transparent so I can still see the screen shot behind them. This makes for easier laying out.
- Start to add in the key details of the dialog, ensure that anything that is referenced in the help is included.
- What you are looking at doing is replicating the visual signature of the image.
- In the same way that we recognise words by their overall shape rather than each letter, the same is true with how we recognise software screens.
- For example you could probably recognise a Font selector dialog from across the room.
- You can probably make your portraits more styalised than you will first imagine. Practice makes perfect.
- Turn off the original background image in the paint package so you can only see the portrait.
- You can add some bells and whistles like rounding the containing area to match the rounding in windows.
- There you have it, your finished portrait.
- I estimate you can knock these out in about 3-4 minutes once you have a sample layout completed.
Next post about this we will focus in more detail about the colours, positioning and visual clues to make your portraits sing.