OS X has a built-in screen capture function, but it is pretty limited. For example, Command-Shift-4 lets you define a rectangle to capture. Command-Shift-4 followed by the spacebar will capture a window. You can also capture your entire desktop with Command-Shift-3, and other commands will save the result to your clipboard.
Sometimes, those basic features are not enough. Apple bundles a utility called Grab with OS X that adds more features, but it still falls short for many users. Enter Screenshot FX, a very handy US$1.99 utility (on sale now) that lets you capture irregular objects by clicking on points and then dragging those points to create a curve.
Gallery: Screenshot FX
The app sits in your Menu Bar waiting to be invoked, or you can hit Command-Shift-5 to bring it up. When you have outlined your object, you click on the first point, hit Return and your screenshot is saved to a location you specify in the app’s preferences.
Once your points are selected, you can modify them, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to fine tune the selection, either one or four pixels at a time. Any control point can be edited or deleted, giving you a lot of flexibility. The only negative is that all captures are saved as PNG files, the same format Apple uses. I’d like to see an option where I could save as a JPG, TIFF, BMP or GIF.
I tried the app with some difficult shapes, and it worked very well. I did have to refer to the built-in help to learn all the commands and key combinations, but it soon became second nature. In my work for TUAW I am constantly grabbing images like logos or screen shots of apps I am testing, so Screenshot FX is going to be a much-used item. There are similar apps around, like Screenshot Menu, which is free, but you can only draw a rectangle with it. Screenshots ($9.99) is also worth a look, as it has some nice features like sending directly to mail or iPhoto.
Screenshot FX is a handy little utility that I’ll use a lot. If you find yourself needing screenshots, and want more functionality that Apple gives you, this app is just the ticket.
Screenshot FX needs OS X 10.7 or later, and a 64 bit processor.
Screenshot FX will easily capture any image on your Mac originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.