A quickie test of a few apps, re doing the typical things to screenshots / screenphotos that a new user setting up a distro might need to do.
- Blur (e.g. blur root name in several places)
- Annotate (e.g. text and/or shape e.g. arrow + “here’s what I’m talking about”)
- Crop (e.g. remove irrelevant content)
- Resize (e.g. phone’s camera shot of OS installation produces 4kx2.5k image of a laptop screen that’s only 720p)
- Compress (e.g. phone’s camera produces 7.2mb jpg)
Tested using Screengrab to take screenshot, then selecting “Edit in…” (except for Flameshot). Changed Screengrab’s settings to default to PNG when I realized it was passing lossy JPGs to the editing apps.
Works only with screenshots it takes itself. (I even tried “Open with… > Flameshot” for an existing image but it didn’t work.)
- Blur: Yes, extremely simple.
- Annotate: Yes, extremely simple. And very visible default size & colour.
- Crop: Yes, extremely simple.
- Resize: No.
- Compress: No.
- Blur: No. I can’t work out how to select an area, so when I do try to blur, the whole image becomes blurred. Deal breaker for me.
- Annotation: No. I see no possibility for annotating/text. Deal breaker.
- Crop: Yes. The procedure for cropping was not what I expected but I quickly worked it out. Nice and simple.
- Resize: Yes, nice and simple.
- Compress: Yes, nice and simple, even gives automatic visual comparison preview and future file size.
- Blur: Yes, although selecting an area is not “live” (you only see the selection box after you have selected). And the process takes more clicks than other programs.
- Annotation: Yes. Text really stands out by default (outlined, embossed, dual-colour) but adjustments (e.g. pixel size) are not “live”. The text only changes size after you click again on the text box. Text will be lost if you don’t click “Insert here” button after you’re done.
- Crop: Maybe there’s been a change between the version I used on Spiral and the one I installed on Lubuntu. But now I can’t work out how to do it the way I want. Not with the Selection tool, and the Crop selection tool seems to move in the opposite direction to what I want (and opposite to every other crop / selection tool in other programs). I’m sure I could eventually learn its idiosyncrasies, but that’s not what a new user who needs to quickly post a screenshot needs. Deal breaker.
- Resize: Drawing seems to introduce so many intermediate steps for basic actions that I no longer know what’s going on. I think I’m still stuck in the middle of a (messed up) crop operation. How many times do I have to click Undo just to get out of this failed crop so I can try resize?!? I give up. I briefly consider restarting from scratch but then realize that would defeat the point of finding a simple, intuitive program.
- Compress: Yes, I know from previous experience.
Simple interface for a general purpose image editor (which is good for this test). Have to play around with zoom settings to fit image in working area.
- Blur: Yes. Confused when I couldn’t find “Blur” but then I realized “Selection > Make confidential” was what I wanted.
- Annotation: Yes. Default settings (text size / colour etc) not really suitable for annotating screenshots but easily adjusted.
- Crop. Yes, but “buried” in “Selection” menu as “Set as image (crop)”.
- Resize: Yes, simple.
- Compress: Yes. Also offers a preview button which opens a window showing post-compression image and file size.
I think this has all the features, but I believe it pulls in too many dependencies to fit with Lubuntu’s goals. So I didn’t test in Lubuntu. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)
Much easier to get started than GIMP.
- Blur: Yes, fairly simple.
- Annotation: Yes. The 1st time I tried, I couldn’t make text visible no matter what I tried. The second time I opened Pinta, text was visible straight away. Good options like “Normal and Outline” to make it extra visible.
- Crop: Yes, dedicated button, nice and simple.
- Resize: Yes, nice and simple.
- Compress: Yes. No quality options offered the first time I Saved as a jpg, but yes the 2nd time. I have to work out what’s going on here.
Going into the quickie test I was hoping a minimal program would be able to get all these simple tasks done. (I thought Drawing but it turned out so problematic in practice, for me at least.)
But so far it seems only the general-purpose image creation programs do all of those simple tasks. And because they are full-on image creation programs, they don’t always have those tools up front and centre like a specialist program (e.g. Flameshot) and the tools’ default settings are not ideal for this situation. But they get the job done.
In an ideal world, something like Flameshot would work with not only its own screenshots but also images from other sources (e.g. phone camera photo of screen).
In an almost ideal world, the general-purpose image programs would have all the necessary tools front and centre with suitable defaults (size/ colours of text & shapes). (Can Pinta or Kolourpaint be modified that way?)
For now, though, my ranking of tools that can do all the steps:
Failed: nomacs, Drawing, Flameshot
Untested: gThumbs (due to dependencies).
Personally, for now I’ll keep Flameshot for local screenshots and Pinta for anything else.