Spotlight shape?

HelpXplain is the exciting new animated infographics and screencast tool that integrates with Help+Manual.

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Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:26 pm

A form of mark-up which I use often on screenshots and videos is a spotlight effect, with the rest of the frame dimmed:

spotlight.png

It's very effective at keeping the user focused on the action.

Is this available in HX or am I missing the obvious? If it could be animated to move into position or close down to size, it could be very attractive.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:07 am

Is this available in HX or am I missing the obvious?


Martin, it's right there under your mouse: select an image, click on the ribbon tab "Picture Tools" and enjoy a wealth of image effects including but not limited to the spotlight you want to create. All of these image effects are reversible, that is: the original image is being retained and you can change anything you want without losing the original screenshot (quite an important detail).

The Picture Tools are devided into 3 groups:

(1) Effect - various image effects you can apply to certain areas of an image (a spotlight, for example)
(2) Crop - a simple tool to crop the image rectangle
(3) 3D View - add a perspective to a screenshot

Image effects are a really powerful feature. Whilst the original image is kept for editing (image effects are reversible), the HTML output will include a rendered image.

Why is this important?

Imagine a screencast with sensible information like private urls and passwords. You don't want to publish that information on a website, do you? But the screenshot includes it. We have created an "Overpaint" effect for exactly this purpose. The overpaint image effect looks very similar to a colored shape, placed in front on an image. But with a simple shape, the final HTML page would still include the original image, unintentionally revealing the details you wanted to obfuscate (if you download the image separately).

Not so with an image effect. Image effects are applied to the pixels of the image before the Xplain is saved as an HTML page. The output contains the final rendering of the image. If you overpainted a detail with an image effect, it's gone in the final output.

picture-tools.png
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Simon_Dismore » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:50 am

Alexander Halser wrote:Whilst the original image is kept for editing (image effects are reversible), the HTML output will include a rendered image.

Agree 100% this is important for sensitive information: it's a really helpful feature especially if you might want to substitute different screenshots later, e.g. because of a branding or locale change. And it seems to have been implemented efficiently too: re-rendered versions of my PNG screen captures are only a little bigger than the originals.

Something to think about for the longer-term, perhaps, is that highlighting doesn't benefit from rerendering the image. In an enterprise app the screens are often very busy with detail, and the same capture might be used in many slides with only the highlight position changing. It seems a shame to output multiple copies of the same capture when it could be masked using a CSS filters at run-time instead. Perhaps that's not so much a picture effect as a [possibly compound] shape style?
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:25 am

Thanks Alexander, that's very good. Thanks for the detailed reply.

But what I was really looking for was a spotlight as an animated shape, which could move across the slide or close down onto the area of interest.

It seems odd to have the Image menu to the right of the Help menu (which is normally the rightmost menu). :?

Also, what is 0.98 of a pixel? This field surely needs rounding (or remove the "px"):

0p98px.png

cheers,

Martin.
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Last edited by Martin Wynne on Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Simon_Dismore » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:32 am

Martin Wynne wrote:a spotlight as an animated shape, which could move across the slide or close down onto the area of interest.

That's exactly what I meant by having highlight as a "style" for shape(s). I should have explained better.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:03 am

which could move across the slide or close down onto the area of interest.

When and under which conditions would it move where?

Also, what is 0.98 of a pixel?

Have you manually resized the image? I cannot reproduce this, when creating an image slider the image sizes are exactly the slide size, if the images are cropped. If they are fitted, they could have fractional sizes. An Xplain canvas works with floating point dimensions, that's necessary for scaling.

It seems odd to have the Image menu to the right of the Help menu

No, that's standard Office 2019 style. Contextual tabs are right of all other tabs.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:47 pm

Hi Alexander,
When and under which conditions would it move where?

Hopefully in the same was as the animations for callouts, etc. Plus perhaps a "shrink" function which goes down from full-frame to the area of interest. I think that would be very effective in keeping the user focused on the action in a busy screenshot.

Have you manually resized the image? I cannot reproduce this, when creating an image slider the image sizes are exactly the slide size, if the images are cropped. If they are fitted, they could have fractional sizes. An Xplain canvas works with floating point dimensions, that's necessary for scaling.

I don't recall resizing it. All the slides are showing the same fractional size. It's not an image slider, they were captured as a Screencast. Screen is 2560x1440 at 120dpi. HX compatibility is set to "High DPI-scaling performed by Application". Windows 10.

I understand the need for floating-point values for scaling, rotation, aspect ratio, etc., and I'm quite happy to see floating-point values displayed. It just seems odd to see "px" as a unit after them. I don't see the need to include the "px" in the displays.

It seems odd to have the Image menu to the right of the Help menu
No, that's standard Office 2019 style. Contextual tabs are right of all other tabs.

OK, if that's intended. It just seems odd to me. I just checked a dozen other applications on my system, and not one of them has anything to the right of the Help menu. I don't use Office, and I'm not sure why HX needs to copy it?

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:23 pm

I think that would be very effective in keeping the user focused on the action in a busy screenshot.


Would such a spotlight apply to a screenshot only, or more general to a slide?
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:29 pm

Alexander Halser wrote:Would such a spotlight apply to a screenshot only, or more general to a slide?

Hi Alexander,

I assume it could be applied to anything to which a callout can be applied. A callout can be animated to zoom up from nothing, a spotlight would maybe zoom down from full frame to a small area.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:40 pm

Something like this?
xplain_spotlight.png
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:57 pm

Alexander Halser wrote:Something like this?
https://www.helpandmanual.com/download/ ... tlight.mp4

Hi Alexander,

That's great. Thanks for doing that.:)

But can it be animated like other objects? -- the X,Y, co-ordinates aren't changing when you select it and move it.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:43 pm

Hi Alexander,

I've made a scruffy attempt to illustrate what I mean. It needs to be smoother and slower, but it shows the idea:

http://85a.uk/martin-29-06-2019-18-05-39.mp4

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Paul Elbertse » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:48 pm

Hi Alexander,

can you tell me how you managed to do:
- the rounded rectangle around the christmas tree with that effect.
- the circle round the volkwagen with that effect.

I have tried using Picture tools, and effect lenses but I can't get this effect.
As soon as I click Highlight the whole image is darkened.
Tries other effects as well but not what I expect.

Please help.

Thanks
Paul
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:26 pm

Paul Elbertse wrote:I have tried using Picture tools, and effect lenses but I can't get this effect. As soon as I click Highlight the whole image is darkened.

Hi Paul,

After selecting the effects lens, did you draw it on the slide? Then click Highlight.

Here's the sequence which works for me:

hx_highlight.png

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Spotlight shape?

Unread postby Paul Elbertse » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:54 pm

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your reply.
What you are showing is exactly what I did.
The background picture, including the oval, are darkened.
Choosing blur or magnify works just fine but highlight does not.
Maybe my laptop is too old. Running Windows 7, 32 bit.
I am also having problems creating a screencast when I try to move or resize the capture window before starting recording.
Pressing esc and restarting is the only solution. Resizing or moving is just not possible.

Regards,
Paul
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