Around ten years ago, as the IT expert for a social club, I frequently had to scan passport photographs into a Risc PC as a part of a membership database system. I bought David Pilling's ImageMaster software to do the job. In the "David Pilling's Scanning Software" package (as it's now called) came a smart utility called Snapper. It had a simple function, namely, to capture as a sprite any part of the screen image.


Snapper was recently updated by Chris Johnson and released as free software. If you think you don't need it because the Paint application does the same job, then think again.
Like so much of David's software, Snapper is slick, easy to use, and with a focus on preventing the user having to faff around. Chris has been careful not to spoil this whilst sorting out a few 'issues'. Snapper has a RISCOScode award for 'outstanding software'.
I recently gave a talk on 'The history of sailing in small yachts". The preparations involved using Snapper  to create slides for use with Flicker , the new powerpoint style software from MathMagical.

Getting started

Let me talk you through what is involved. I started by loading one of Flicker's sample presentations into Paint. As shown above, it comprised eight slides, 1 to 8, with a duplicate, 0. The duplicate is whichever of the eight is to be displayed on start up. My plan was to replace a single slide and check I still had a working presentation. I set my screen to display 32K colours with a click on the Monitor on the Icon Bar. This was the colour depth of the existing sprites.

A click on Snapper, on the Icon Bar, opens a small window. Another click on a radio button switches Snapper to 'Area' mode. I now have a red frame on my desktop. If I click and hold any part of the red frame I can drag it around the screen. By doing likewise on a yellow 'tab' I can resize the frame. For the screen shot below, I placed the red frame around the mode window and this next to a thumbnail of a JPEG photo. I'm intending to use the JPEG to open my talk.

Notice that the size of the area within the red frame is shown as 284x82 pixels. The slides to be replaced are 984x804. So I need an area of JPEG exactly 984x804. Snapper allows this to be aquired with ease.

The clever bit

By now double clicking the red frame, a window headed 'Grab area coordinates (px)' has opened. After entering 984 and 804 AND PRESSING <RETURN> the frame jumped to that size. I am going to move this around the screen by 'click, hold and drag' on the red frame, taking care to avoid the yellow size-adjust tabs. That way, when I click 'Snap' I'll get a sprite of the correct size. The crucial idea is to resize the photo of the sailing boats to fit the red frame, rather than fit the frame to the photo ! 


With the JPEG loaded into Paint, a scale of 6:5 has sized it correctly. The screen shot shows the work in progress. I could have put the JPEG into ArtWorks , added text, and then taken the 'Snap'. The key idea is to get the image as you want it on the screen, then 'Snap' it. It makes many of Powerpoint's file manipulations irrelevant. It has always been a RISC OS philosophy; do more with less.


I'll finish with a view of Flicker running my presentation. I left in the Icon Bar to give an idea of scale. For more information about Flicker, visit the MathMagical website. To obtain Snapper, use the link top right of this page.


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