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An original point of view

Miscellaneous, Photography

PicPick – the best screen capture application for Windows

PicPick Effects multiple

Pic. 58 Image with several "Effects" applied.

This article is aimed at the recommendation and substantial guideline for apparently the best screenshot application available on the market, which is the PicPick application.
Probably you have been wondering how can I create arrows or some weird elements in my screenshots from time to time. All of them have a common source – the PicPick editor, which will be also described here. Saying frankly, the PicPick application is something like the Microsoft Paint and Screenshot combination. In the practical sense, the interface should be familiar enough to you when editing some intercepted screen images. Let’s get started then.

PicPick head

Pic. 1 Main PicPick toolbar.

Above you can see the main toolbar. We have the three types of tasks available:
A. New Task – including opening an existing image or creating a new, blank document.  Both options include a wide understood image processing tools, which are explained later. The existing image might come also from external sources, not only captured by PicPick.
B. Screen Capture – includes all the ways of grabbing images from our screen.
C. Graphic Accessories – quite a unique set of tools, which makes PicPick very useful in terms of selection of color palette, making measurements, and so on.

  1. SCREEN CAPTURE

A. FULL SCREEN – simply captures full screen in real-time. An analog thing to the PrintScreen option in Microsoft Paint, but more convenient for the user.
B. ACTIVE WINDOW – grabs our active window, we are working in now (Pic. 2).

PicPick Active window Visual Studio Code

Pic. 2 Active windows captured by PicPick – The Visual Studio Code.

C. WINDOW CONTROL – takes control of all our windows opened and adjusts our screenshot to their real-time dimensions. It takes into account also other elements of our desktop like the search bar in our taskbar, the time and date section, and so on. Before action, you can see the enlarged region with crosshair and currently selected area bounded red with exact dimensions (Pic. 3, 4).
PicPick Window control

PicPick Window control2

Pic. 2,3 – The window control screenshot option in PicPick.

D. SCROLLING WINDOW – the best way to get more than you see on your screen. By clicking “Scrolling window” you should see your window bounded red with the “Active Scroll” in the top left corner. Next, it disappears and the tool starts to scroll and capture your area. Make sure, that you are at the very top, otherwise only the visible screen will be captured. If you see, that application doesn’t scroll down automatically, you can do it on your own by scrolling the mouse wheel until you reach the very bottom. Anyhow PicPick offers the best option to get screenshots from the scrolling window in your operation system (Pic. 4).

PicPick scrolling window

Pic. 4 The scrolling window screenshot example – the PicPick application main website.

E. REGION – snipping by selected region on our screen. You can see the bounds of your screenshot region including also the total dimensions placed in the corner crosshair (Pic. 5,6).

PicPick capturing region

PicPick capturing region2

Pic. 5, 6 Capturing region in PicPick application.

F. FIXED REGION – An analog option, but you can set the dimensions roughly, which potentially match your area of interest on the screen. I have done it randomly for you below. The most important thing is, that you can change these dimensions once by clicking the Escape (Esc) button. If you repeat it, the tool will be switched off. If you select this option once again, it will retain dimensions set previously (Pic. 7, 8).

Picpick capturing fixed region

Picpick capturing fixed region2

Pic. 7, 8 Capturing fixed region with PicPick, where: 7-1 – your “old” dimensions set previously when used this option; 7-1a – the crosshair position; 7-2 – Setting new screengrab dimensions; 7-3 – New dimensions of our fixed screenshot area; 8 – Output screenshot region.

G. FREEHAND – this option allows you to take a screenshot with random borders and various shapes. During the selection of the area you can see the crosshair with the enlarged current position of your cursor and the actual size of your screenshot, including also the white spaces outside, as the tool always saves our job as the rectangle (Pic. 9, 10).

PicPick freehand screenshot

PicPick freehand screenshot2

Pic. 9, 10 The freehand selection in PicPick application and its result below (image from maps.google.com).

H. REPEAT LAST CAPTURE – also a useful option, where you can save time when repeating exactly the same screenshots. It applies predominantly for freehand and fixed region selections (Pic. 11).

PicPick repeat last capture

Pic. 11 Repeating the last capture in PicPick.

  2. GRAPHIC ACCESSORIES

A. COLOR PICKER – Very useful if we want to know the color code or use the particular tint or hue somewhere else. You can select it by placing the crosshair in the proper place as per the screenshot below (Pic. 12).

PicPick color picker

Pic. 12 The color picker option in PicPick (image from maps.google.com).

We have a few options to display our color code. You can also copy it straight away. If you tick the box, then your code will be copied with the # symbol either.

B. COLOR PALETTE – the same tools as the previous one, but instead of picking color across your screen, you can select it from the prepared palette. There are a few patterns available. Everything works on the same basis as described partially above (Pic. 12, 13).

PicPick color palette options

Pic. 13 Color palette options in the PicPick application.

C. MAGNIFIER – useful function, unless you don’t exceed the enlargement. You have the scale up to 10x digital zoom, although your view might be too pixelated finally. It’s handy when you want to find some interesting elements on your image you working on (Pic. 14).

PicPick magnifier option

Pic. 14 The magnifier option in PicPick application (image from maps.google.com).

D. PIXEL RULER – interesting tool, which can be used when you need roughly to know your image width. It works both for horizontal and vertical dimensions (Pic. 15).

PicPick Pixel ruler

Pic. 15 Pixel ruler in PicPick application (image from maps.google.com).

The tool offers also a few other options like changing the ruler color or transparency. The most important, however, is the possibility of changing the units from pixels to centimeters and inches (Pic. 16).

Pixel ruler settings in PicPick

Pic. 16 Pixel ruler settings in PicPick.

E. CROSSHAIR – another useful tool, which defines the coordinates of our screen. They are calculated from the top left corner, contrary to the Cartesian coordinate system (Pic. 17).

PicPick crosshair option

Pic. 17 The crosshair option in PicPick with the way of screen coordinates calculation (image from openstreetmap.com).

You can also capture the place on your screen, which you want to refer to later. Since your mouse clicked somewhere, the cross lines become red and the coordinates are nullified. Then after moving your mouse, everything is calculated by referring to the last point (Pic. 18).

PicPick crosshair option2

Pic. 18 Crosshair option in action (image from openstreetmap.com).

F. PROTRACTOR – nice tool for the angle measurements, as you can see below (Pic. 19).

PicPick Protractor

Pic. 19 The Protractor (angle measurement) option in PicPick application.

G. WHITEBOARD – Perfect option for a screenshot if you need to mark something on the screen instantly. This option will definitely prevent you from forgetting something important. If you wish to bound some text or object, yet before the screenshot is taken, this choice will be the best for you! (Pic. 20, 21).

PicPick whiteboard screenshot

PicPick whiteboard screenshot2

Pic. 20, 21 The Whiteboard screenshot option in PicPick. It’s a very beneficial choice for someone, who wants to mark important things yet on the screen.

3. IMAGE PROCESSING ACCESSORIES

Let’s take a look how the image processing panel looks like in the PicPick application. First of all, we will find there the elements, already described here, as they are available from the main panel tool. It definitely applies to the color section including the color palette, color picker, and alternatively the color order, commonly known as Microsoft Paint tools (Pic. 22).

PicPick image processing panel - color palette

Pic. 22 Image processing panel in PicPick with color section considered, where: 1 – color palette; 1a – color palette options; 2 – color selection; 2b – default order of foreground and background color; 2c – switching the foreground and background colors; 3 – color picker (image from w3schools.com).

PicPick color selection image processing

Pic. 23 The color selection in PicPick is analog to Paint (image from w3schools.com).

PicPick Color picker image processing mode

Pic. 24 Color picker in the PicPick image editor is also the same as we can see in Paint (image from w3schools.com).

The color palette and color picker were widely discussed above (Pic. 12 – 13). Here I would like to elaborate more about other image processing features, which might be quite interesting for you.
The next options towards the left are: line & border size scale and the shapes panel (Pic. 25).

PicPick shapes

Pic. 25 Drawing shapes in PicPick software, where: 4 – line & border scale; 5 – shapes panel; 5a – slider; 5b – new shapes window pop-up; 5c – highlighting rectangle; 5d – magnify effect (image from w3schools.com).

When you start drawing shapes, you should have an additional menu available, giving you more options for customizing your shape. Not to mention, that you can set its color, border thicknesses, and opacity (Pic. 26).

PicPick drawing shapes

Pic. 26 Drawing shapes and arrows in PicPick.

However, I believe, that the most important options are located in the top left corner of the shapes panel. They are the “Highlight rectangle” and the “Magnify effect“. The highlighted rectangle comes initially in yellow color, although you can change it easily thereafter (Pic. 27).

PicPick highlighting rectangle

Pic. 27 The “Highlight rectangle” option in PicPick.

A magnifying effect is a quaint option. It works as a magnifying glass. Once the enlarged piece of our screenshot is created (by dragging the bounds), you can move it wherever you want (Pic. 28).

PicPick enlargement option

Pic. 28 Magnifying effects in PicPick application (image from Youtube.com/FreeCodeCamp).

Going further, we have other options. Quite interesting are stickers, which we can place everywhere in our screenshot. Moreover, we can also change them later by choosing the other one from the bar.  They work analogically to the object pasted, which size can be changed by dragging the box corner (Pic. 29). We can do everything until the object is flattened. It means, that it has been firmly integrated with our screenshot and can’t be edited separately.

PicPick Symbols and fill

Pic. 29 Symbols and fill options in PicPick, where: 6 – panel with symbols; 7 – text options, described below; 8 – fill options (image from w3schools.com).

We have quite a few symbols, although their variety is restricted. Anyhow this option might be useful. We need to know, that it’s the screenshot application only not an advanced graphic tool. The color fill option seems to be exactly the same as we know from Paint. It was split here between the contiguous fill and color replacement fill. We know only contiguous fill from the Microsoft Paint, where the color can be changed (filled) within a certain area as far as it continues across the image without any breakdowns. The color replacement fill is so much better because we can change the color across the entire image wherever it occurs (Pic. 30).

PicPick contiguous and color replacement fill

Pic. 30 The contiguous fill (red) and color replacement fill (orange) in PicPick (maps.google.com).

Between the symbols panel and fill options, we can find the text feature. Text options are quite poor here if I would be honest, they are a tad better than we know from Paint. Besides font type, font size, and color we can make some scant decisions about the placement of our text. On the other hand, there is no underline option, which is a shame (Pic. 31).

PicPick text option

Pic. 31 Text options in the PicPick application ( the map from workshop.mkrgeo-blog.com).

Let’s go to the drawing options, which lie at the very basis of any screenshot processing. Here we have effectively 2 options for drawing with the eraser feature. We have “Brush” and “Marker” options. The “Eraser”  gives us the background color, which has been initially set as white. If you swap the colors (Pic 22, 2c) then the eraser will return the color you defined initially for the foreground. I used the “Eraser” option for a white color anyway (Pic. 32).

PicPick drawing features

Pic. 32 Drawing features in PicPick, where: 9 – drawing features option; 9a – a selection of drawing tools and eraser; 9b – drawing by the marker in action with selection its thickness; 9c – erasing the screenshot to the background color.

An interesting option, obviously known already from Microsoft Paint is the selection. We can select both entire areas and make the rectangular selection (Pic. 33). The same as in the “Text” option, one option is missing against the Paint image editor panel. This time, we don’t have the free-form selection. Every selected rectangular section, as well as the other object provided (before flattening), can be moved to the other part of our image by using the “Move” option (Pic. 33).

PicPick selection and move options with effects

Pic. 33 The “Selection” and “Move” features in PicPick application, where: 10 – Selection feature; 10a – selection options; 11 – Move object feature. As some rectangular area is selected, we have the “Effects” options in our main bar.

The most intriguing thing here is the auto-population of the “Effects” when some rectangular area is selected. It gives us the ability to make some alterations for this area certainly, leaving the remaining part of our image intact. Because the “Effects” section is to be described later, I am showing only a few examples beneath (Pic. 34). It’s worth to mention, that apart from the “Effects” we can also resize our snippet or change its transparency (options just left of the “Effects” panel). On top of that, there are not all “Effects” populated. It’s most of them, which are truly dedicated to editions like this. We don’t have i.e. the “Watermark” and “Frame” there.

PicPick rectangular selection examples with effects

Pic. 34 The “Rectangular selection” examples with effects and transparency changes in PicPick, where: 10A – the Blur effect; 10B – the Pixelate effect; 10C – the Sharpen effect; 10D – area transparency changed.

The “Resize” option is developed quite well. We have an option to scale it by pixels or percentage or adjust it to the common formats available (Pic. 35).

PicPick image resize

Pic. 35 Image resize options in PicPick.

PicPick Canvas resize

Pic. 36 Canvas resize options in PicPick.

The “Rotate” options are the same as usual. We can spin our image (or selected object) in 90 degrees steps or flip it (Pic. 37).

PicPick rotate object options

Pic. 37 Image rotate options in PicPick.

Now let’s go to the “Effects” – the most interesting set of options in PicPick image editor.  There are exactly 10 effects available (Pic. 38), which will be the subject of concern below.

PicPick list of effects

Pic. 38 All “Effects” available in PicPick.

We can combine all of them as we wish (Pic. 41).

The “Invert” option turns our image coloration upside down.
The “Grayscale” option washes out all the coloration, leaving our image in black & white appearance.

PicPick inverted image

PicPick grayscale

Pic. 39, 40 – The Invert (upper image) and Grayscale (lower image) options in PicPick.

PicPick grayscale inverted

Pic. 41 Image with inverted colors combined with grayscale mode.

The “Pixelate” option is very useful if we want to hide some confidential part of our image.

PicPick pixelate mode

PicPick pixelate mode2

Pic. 42, 43 Pixelated images produced in PicPick.

The “Frame” effect is represented by a few options, which can border your image nicely (Pic. 44 – 46).

PicPick frame effect

PicPick frame effect2

PicPick frame effect3

Pic. 44 – 46 Possible frames in PicPick, with the best one – Spring Note (bottom image).

Another interesting, and for sure well-desired option for all publishers, photographers, and so on is the “Watermark” feature, especially that the tool gives an option to import your own one.
We have a few possibilities to place our watermark in our image as well as the rough path where our watermark image is stored (Pic. 47, 48). You can also add it as a default when this option is set.

PicPick watermark

PicPick watermark2

Pic. 47, 48 The watermark example in PicPick. The image has been fetched from the default application path.

The “Blur” option is quite similar to pixelation but weaker. You must repeat it several times if you want to get a decent result, where all your confident numbers etc. will be covered properly (Pic. 49, 50).

PicPick blur effect

PicPick blur effect2

Pic. 49,50 The “Blur” effect in PicPick after 1st apply (upper image) and 10th apply (lower image).

On the same basis, the “Sharpen” option works. By selecting it once, the effect is faint. It comes out, as you repeat the selection. However, like everywhere, there is a quite easy way to exaggerate (Pic. 51, 52).

PicPick Sharpen option

PicPick Sharpen option2

Pic. 51, 52 The Sharpen effect in PicPick after 1st applying (upper image) and 10th applying (lower image).

Brightness and contrast changes are typical for every simple image editor. It wouldn’t surprise anyone here, however, it’s always worth mentioning (Pic. 53, 54).

PicPick brightness and contrast

PicPick brightness and contrast2

Pic. 53, 54 The Contrast & Brightness options in the PicPick application.

The same is with the Hue & Saturation mode (Pic. 55, 56).

Hue Saturation PicPick

Hue Saturation PicPick 2

Pic. 55, 56 The Hue & Saturation mode in PicPick.

Quite important is the last feature, where we have quite a few ways to change our color balance. We can do it with respect to the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights (Pic. 57, 58).

PicPick Hue and Saturation

PicPick Color balance 2

Pic. 57, 58 The “Color balance” options in PicPick.

For summarizing this section I would like to show how the image looks like when several effects are applied (Pic. 59).

PicPick Effects multiple

Pic. 59 Image with several “Effects” applied.

The last section to work at covers the Cut & Copy & Paste features, which seems to be the same as usual. We have the possibility to cut some area from our screenshot, copy our image or paste the stuff from the clipboard (Pic. 60). It wouldn’t be so interesting, but we have an option to paste the image from another file. Otherworldly, we can import another graphic file into the one, we are dealing with. It’s a good option, especially that you can easily resize it afterward. The subtle difference between pasting the data from the clipboard is selecting the graphic file from the folder straight away instead of opening it, selecting and copying to the clipboard (Pic. 61).

Cut copy and paste in PicPick

Pic. 60 The Cut & Copy & Paste section in PicPick, where: 14 – the Cut & Copy options; 15 – the Paste option; 15a – the Paste option details.

PicPick pasted from another image

Pic. 61 The image pasted from another file in its original size (image from maps.google.com).

Approaching nearly the end I would like to mention the common ways of sharing our PicPick work. We have quite a few, The most interesting is straight embedding our images to the MS Office package (Pic. 62, 63)  as well as the FTP server.

PicPick share options

Pic. 62 Image share options in PicPick.

Bear in mind, that your work will be placed in the active document (or worksheet or page) you are working on.

PicPick share image

Pic. 63 The example of image sharing in Word and Excel.

The last thing to mention is the “View” section, offering a few options (Pic. 64). We can make an enlargement, display our image in its original size, toggle full screen, or switch thumbnails. The status bar display is also optional.

PicPick View options

Pic. 64 The “View” options in PicPick, where: 1 – magnification scale; 2 – magnified view (300%); 3 – the “Actual size” option bringing our image back to its original size; 4 – Full-screen mode; 5 – Thumbnails view.

4. OPTIONS

The PicPick application has several useful options bounded in the major sections as seen below (Pic 65).

PicPick general options

Pic. 65 General options in PicPick.

In the “General” panel we can change the language, set PicPick on as Windows starts, and, what is the most important set the way how our program should be run. There are 3 modes available, where the handiest is the “Floating widget” giving instant access to the edition anytime (Pic. 66), as it’s restricted to the small snippet floating above the stuff we are working on.

PicPick floating widget

Pic. 66 The “Floating widget” in action and its selection from the Options mode.

In the “Editor” options, we can set our background and optionally the circumstances of our screenshot/ image processing, as follows (Pic. 67).

PicPick Editor options

Pic. 67 The “Editor” options in PicPick with the grid background selected.

The “Program” options include the image output type and some capturing options. By setting the way of output we can paste our images straight in Word, Excel, or any other target destination, as listed below on the screen (Pic. 68).

PicPick Program options

Pic. 68 Program options in the PicPick application.

The “File Name” section is very interesting, as we can save our file with the system date and time. In turn, we can keep our files chronologically. The file save format covers all common raster graphic formats (.png, .bmp, . jpg, . gif and .pdf)(Pic. 69).

PicPick file name options

Pic. 69 The “File name” options in PicPick.

The biggest advantage of PicPick editor is the “Auto Save” option, where we can instantly get our work on the proper directory. The tool is also able to send it over to Paint or Photoshop straight away (Pic. 70).

PicPick Autosave option

Pic. 70 The “Autosave” options in PicPick.

The image quality remains the best in default and we shouldn’t change it (Pic. 71).

PicPick Images

Pic. 71 The “Images” options in PicPick, default settings.

Interesting if the FTP server upload, what was mentioned earlier. Below you can see all the details required to connect you with the server (Pic. 72).

PicPick FTP server

Pic. 72 Setting the FTP server in PicPick application.

The last options are “Hot Keys”, which can seriously facilitate our work with the program. We have effectively 4 options there (Pic. 73). The 5th option is to disable them all. In the “Custom” mode you can set your own hot keys, whichever is more convenient for you.

PicPick Hot Keys

Pic. 73 The “Hot keys” options in PicPick.

5. SUMMARY

The PicPick is a very handy graphic application, dedicated predominantly to screengrab and its instant processing. However, this tool can be also widely used as the typical image processing program, where we have quite a few basic options to upgrade our captured screenshot or external image. We can use PicPick even in photography if some basic alterations are considered. Obviously, it won’t work with the RAW files, but if you have them converted to .jpg format, you can easily change their size here for example. Some people believe, that PicPick might be an alternative to Photoshop at some points, although we are considering the basic approaches only. The broad selection of options makes this screenshot tool probably the best in the market. I hope, that this granular user guide will help you to use the PicPick application without any doubts. I haven’t included the installation process, which is very simple. You can simply visit this website and install the application on your desktop. I am convinced, that it’s the best alternative for the Windows 10 Snipping Tool.
Concluding this reference manual I would like to point all the major pros and cons of using the PicPick program.

Pros:
– many options of screenshot capture (region, fixed region, freehand),
– expanded image processing toolbar (interesting effects, stamps, etc),
– built-in technical tools (i.e. measurements),
– autosave option with a customized image file (including system date and hour),
– many ways of saving image externally (MS Office, FTP Server, URL, or external program),
– option to draw elements straight on your desktop and save it instantly (WhiteBoard),
– possibility to save our image in the .pdf format,
– an opportunity of screen grabbing without running the program (floating widget option),
– very familiar interface, based on the Microsoft Paint application,
– possibility to hide confident regions in your image (pixelate and blur options),
– possibility to import the image from another file (paste from file),
– an easy way to get the programming color code from the palette

Cons:
– some options are missing, comparing to Microsoft Paint (text underline, strikethrough, free-form selection)
– unlike Microsoft Paint, it requires an additional installation for our desktop, which might slow it down sometimes,
– if your computer is not strong enough, this tool might cause unforeseen freezes, disrupting your work,
– some hot keys might be undertaken, the custom option possibly required

Microsoft Paint vs PicPick toolbar

Pic. 74 The Microsoft Paint and PicPick image processing toolbar difference (how2shout.com).

Mariusz Krukar

 

Links:

  1. https://picpick.app/en/features/
  2. Step-by-step instructions for working with PicPick
  3. https://howtotechnoglitz.com/the-best-screenshot-software-for-capturing-images-and-video-review-geek/
  4. https://portableapps.com/apps/graphics_pictures/picpick-portable
  5. https://www.thakkarworld.com/capture-scrolling-window-picpick.html
  6. https://monkeymanifesto.com/how-to-use-picpick-on-windows-10-mac-1752/
  7. https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/best-screen-capture-software/
  8. https://www.guru99.com/screen-capturing-tools.html
  9. https://screenrec.com/screenshot-tool/best-free-screenshot-software/
  10. https://defkey.com/picpick-shortcuts
  11. https://www.mysysadmintips.com/windows/clients/667-one-drive-hijacks-all-picpick-print-screen-shortcuts
  12. PicPick graphic editor step by step
  13. Best free MS Paint alternative software with same interface & featurestures.html
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2018/oct/25/what-is-best-replacement-for-windows-10-snipping-tool
  15. https://droplr.com/how-to/productivity-tools/5-best-alternatives-to-windows-snipping-tool/

 

Forums:

  1. PicPick: Steps to capture a scroll down
  2. PicPick screen capture problem in Firefox

Wiki:

  1. Cartesian_coordinate_system
  2. Microsoft_Paint
  3. PicPick
  4. Screenshot

 

Youtube:

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