Easily Create and Modify Screen Captures with Clarify

We’ve all experienced the frustration of collaborating with someone or trying to communicate over the Internet without any sort of visual support. To better explain your visual ideas, you can take screenshots and add indicators so that other people know exactly what you are talking about, but this process can get time consuming and annoying if you do it a lot.

The app that we are reviewing today is called Clarify, and it can help you create documents by capturing and modifying screenshots. Let’s take a look!

Getting Started

Clarify

Clarify

Clarify is an app designed to help you quickly take screenshots and edit them with visual or text elements that can help you explain your ideas better for someone else over the Internet. This could be useful, for example, when you need to communicate with a co-worker that is in another place, or to make a small tutorial for a family member (because we’ve all been there).

The first time you run the app you’ll be greeted with a welcome screen that will also show you some links to a very useful short video that sums up what the app does, and gives you a link to the app’s Help site. After that you can get right into creating your documents.

Capturing Screenshots

Capture Mode

Capture Mode

The app is pretty much based around you taking screenshots, and that’s why the “Screenshots” button is one of the most visible elements in the UI. Taking a screenshot with it is a pretty easy task, once you activate the button, the Clarify window will disappear and you’ll enter a “capture” mode with an instruction box on the top of your screen.

Here you can customize how your screenshot will look by selecting a part of your screen or just taking a full screenshot. You also have a few settings like hiding the cursor and showing the areas you have previously captured.

 

Unfortunately, the “capture” mode is a little buggy and it doesn’t work too well with Lion’s spaces, so you need to have the Clarify window in the desired space once you access the capture mode if you want to capture an app that is in a specific space. Once you have your screenshots, it’s time to modify them.

Modifying Screenshots

Creating Documents

Creating Documents

When you take your screenshots, they will be added to this document that looks very much like if you were making a new email. You have a title for the whole document, but you can also add a specific title and description to each screenshot if you wish. You can also add images from your hard drive if you wish, and then there are also the image editing tools.

 

If you select any image, a small toolbar on top of it will appear. From there you can add things to your images like arrows, boxes, circles, sequences (boxes with numbers in them), text boxes, and even highlights (which are basically semi-transparent color lines that simulate the effect of highlighting text). Before adding any of these, you can change the size and color of the element that you are about to add. Once you are done taking your screenshots and modifying them, you are ready to export them or send them to someone.

I should also mention that there are tons of ways for you to format the documents that you create: you can resize the images, select their alignment and positions, borders, and more.

Sharing Documents and Other Features

Web service

Web service

Clarify has its own webservice where you can upload and share all of your documents with the click of a button. You have to make an account for that, but it’s completely free and you even get a custom URL for quickly accessing all of your stuff. Anyone can access these files, they don’t need an account and they don’t need to download anything (example).

There are other ways of sending your Clarify documents to someone as well. For instance, you can export them as PDFs. You can export each image individually or send them through the Mail.app.

Conclusion

Clarify is a pretty unique app, as I haven’t seen anything done like it before. You could argue that its functionality is easily covered by other image-editing apps, but the reality is that this one does a very specific task and it does it with much ease for an audience that might not have the resources or knowledge to use a high-end image editing app.

Its price is hard to justify, when it does something that many free apps do. Sure, it takes some steps away from the process of taking, modifying and grouping screenshots, but is it worth the price tag? I guess it comes down to the usage that you give to it. The idea behind the app is great; the pricing, not so much. What do you think?


Summary

Clarify is a great app that can help you quickly create documents with screenshots. It easily lets you modify them and adding all sorts of stuff to them. Its main problems are the price point and some trouble working with Mission Control.

8
  • dzigg

    There’s a pretty good FREE alternative for this : Skitch . It’s free and has almost all the feature.. Overpriced IMHO..

    • B30

      That’s so true. 30 bucks for a screenshot tool, whew (overpriced all the way!)

  • http://tcelestino.com.br Tiago Celestino

    I’m use LittleSnapper and Skitch.

  • http://jdfwarrior.tumblr.com David Ferguson

    I personally prefer my method. If I want to edit a screenshot… I use Layers. It takes a screenshot and saves every thing you see on the screen as a layer in a PSD file. Then I can open that up in any editor that supports a PSD (Photoshop, Pixelmator, etc) and can move things around however I want them, add effects, etc. Its a little more drawn out, but it works nice.

  • Amidomi

    Strange. This looks like a copy of Screensteps that is already available for many years on Mac and Windows.

  • http://www.fallingupmedia.com Falling Up

    I like how you can straight edit text in this one, but $30?

    It really doesnt get much easier than command+control+shift+4 to make a custom sized screenshot then past in photoshop to edit if needed.

  • DJ Spinz

    What! Skitch knocks the boots off this app, and its free. WORD!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ericastrahon Erica

    There are others like this such as Screensteps, MacSnapper (currently own), and myManuals. The former two import to WordPress as well. This one looks very nice though.

  • taja

    how on earth can you give this 8/10 when it costs $30 and Skitch is a free alternative! I know you need sponsorship but…

  • http://www.bluemangolearning.com/clarify/ Greg DeVore

    Hi, I am one of the developers of Clarify. Several people have commented on using Skitch instead of Clarify. Skitch is an awesome app but solves a different problem than Clarify. If all you need to do is capture individual screenshots then you should definitely use Skitch or one of the many other free alternatives.

    Clarify is designed for people who have to create communications with multiple screenshots quite often. So, if you need to:

    1. Help others (customers/co-workers) with how to’s
    2. Get help from others (show them a problem you are having
    3. Provide feedback on apps/websites

    Then it works very well and saves you a lot of time. If you don’t have to do those things regularly then it probably isn’t worth the price.

    We set up a simple comparison page between Clarify and Skitch/Jing to point out the differences:

    http://www.bluemangolearning.com/clarify/compare/

  • Pingback: 9 Awesome Mac Apps For Taking Screenshots and Screencasts | Design City

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