Playing around with Skitch

I’m sat in Edinburgh airport and thought I’d have a play with Skitch.

Skitch is a new screenshot / drawing tool for OS X. It is currently in closed beta. The application is by plasq.com, the makers of Comic Life. It is ridiculously easy to use – and very cool.

The interface takes a little getting used to, as it departs from some of the UI conventions that we’ve come to expect. No menu bar. Preferences on the “back” of the window, more like a Dashboard widget. The tools and features are kept to a minimum. But, no problem – when you first start it, a small screencast leads you through the features and the way the tool works. It really is very easy.

You can quickly grab the screen, part of the screen, or take an iSight photo… and then resize it by dragging the window corners, which physically resizes the image inside it. To crop or expand, you grab the edges of the image inside the window, and drag. Once you’ve got something to play with, there are a series of simple drawing and shape tools, and a limited palette of colours. There is also a very cool text tool – simply start typing and your text will appear. To resize the text or change the thickness of the lines, there is a size slider on the left of the window.

Skitch-Editor-1

Even cooler is the fact that all of the stuff that you do to the image is automatically done on layers, so text and lines can be moved around later – Skitch also keeps an image history so that you can quickly find stuff you’ve edited before.

To save, you simply “rip” off a tab at the bottom of the window, having typed a filename and chosen from one of the formats (JPG, PNG, SVF, PDF or the Skitch format which preserves layers, so that you can exchange the editable file with friends). There is also the ability to email, or you can upload to a web service like Flickr, an FTP server, or Skitch’s own mySkitch site at the click of a button.

I love it. It’s so simple. It took a little bit of getting in to, but now I’m using it more, I find it so quick and easy. Definitely one to watch, for Mac users.

As for Firefox, he’s not my friend anymore. Why use 70% of my CPU when there’s no network connection and the application is minimised and idle?

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8 responses to “Playing around with Skitch

  1. Camino Andy… Camino – way lighter than Firefox…

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  2. Lighter, but less functional. No extensions. Plus, it suffers the same colour problems as Firefox, so in the end I am better off with Safari. I haven’t heard a convincing argument for Camino yet, regardless of how pretty it looks.

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  3. Hey Andy.

    Thanks for the review!

    Did the departure from the Mac UI take long to get used to?

    Can you say why it was a problem?

    Or if it was not a problem as far as usability, was it more a visual familiarity comfort thing?

    cris / atariboy.com / plasq.com

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  4. Hi Cris, thanks for dropping by.

    So I think it was mostly familiarity. I “know” where I expect to find a close button, for instance. Once I got the hang of the fact that Skitch minimises when you double-click the title bar, I was good. A couple of other things got to me… for example, I’m forever hitting the size / colour / tool buttons in the wrong sequence so I end up recolouring some text I already have selected, rather than setting it for the next lot – but I’m getting used to that now too. Oh, and the one thing I really couldn’t figure out at all was expanding and cropping the canvas… again, that makes sense now, but trying to find the inner edge of the window/edge of the image to open up the canvas was not intuitive (for me).

    But, thanks so much for the preview and I really am impressed!

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  5. This is a stab in the dark, especially since I don’t run on mac, but have you checked Firefox extensions as the cause?
    I used to have a problem with the Google toolbar in particular going nutso on me. I switched to GoogleBar Lite and the problem went away.

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  6. Yeah, extensions are possibly a culprit. Al suggested that it might be Firebug, which I’ve now temporarily uninstalled – I’m seeing much better page load times now, but the same behaviour on the CPU. It could also be the excessive number of tabs I have open… frankly I suspect one tab or other is doing some AJAXy reloading and chewing CPU.

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  7. Yeah, agreed. If you need extensions then use FireFox, if you want correct colour handling on photos use Safari.

    However, Safari’s theme kills me to look at (too heavy), and the Firefox footprint is too high on Mac OS X for regular web browsing – so Camino fits in right there (if your not worried about the colours being slightly incorrect on some photos). Camino 1.1 has the best L&F (imho) 🙂

    Hoping that FireFox 3 might “behave” a bit better on the Mac….

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  8. Pingback: Snapping web pages - LittleSnapper « The lost outpost

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