Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

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Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby sdcinvan on Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:23 am

Hello and happy Friday all,

Quick description of an applicable scenario:
- I am writing documentation for a rapidly changing product. The images associated with this product are also changing so I don't want to lock the text captions associated with these images and then have to redo them every time I have new screen captures. In FrameMaker (or even Word), I would overlay the captions with either another image (containing the text) or using the built in caption tools. When the images changed, I would simply copy them into the images folder.

I cannot find a way to duplicate this functionality in Flare stand-alone and I am doubly disappointed that even Capture doesn't quite work in an efficient manner. What I mean is that I can overlay objects (created in Capture) using the .props functionality but saving the augmented images actually hard-codes the test captions into the image. When my images are updated, I actually need update each image individually by going into Capture to re-apply the .props information. In other words, it isn't a simply/quick workflow to just copy the updated images into the image folder! I really hope I am wrong about this because, as it stands, this is a huge FAIL.

Questions:
1) Is there a way to overlay images in Flare stand-alone?

2) Using MadCap Capture, how can I overlay images (or text captions) and later update the images in an automated process (perhaps a CLI that instructs Capture to apply the .props to each image automatically)?

Thank you,
Shawn
Shawn in Vancouver, Canada
Main tools used: Flare 11.x, InDesign, Google Docs, Lectora, Captivate.
Report bugs: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/bugs.aspx ▪ Feature requests: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/featurerequest.aspx[/i]
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby RamonS on Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:46 am

As for 1: Yes, you use Capture from within Flare. Otherwise, a simple web search brought up several suggestions, such as these:
http://css-tricks.com/text-blocks-over-image/
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutorials/we ... Images.htm
http://www.the-art-of-web.com/css/textoverimage/
I left it at the top 3, feel free to look for more. I could not get from these examples how to put text in various locations as you may need it. I also wonder what happens when the page size changes, it may not look as well as a flattened image does. I assume that is the reason why Capture flattens it....although I vaguely recall that there as a different option. I couldn't find the post, but from what I recall the background image and the props file from Capture are stored in the Flare image folder. As long as the background image retains the same file name and dimensions you can swap out the file. Again, I think that this is how the trick works, but you need to try it out with one image. If that works you could potentially automate this, but since you are not replacing all background images you'd need specify which ones to swap out. Maybe you can use forfiles (see example here http://www.ghacks.net/2010/08/05/use-fo ... ed-on-age/) because any new background image will have a new file date.

Alternatively, use (screen) portraits instead of images. That is more work up front, but as long as the general dimensions and placement of items remains the same you do not need to change anything. See here:
http://techwritetips.wordpress.com/2006 ... portraits/
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby sdcinvan on Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:23 pm

Thank you but that isn't exactly what I was looking for. Forgive me if I wasn't clear.

I want to overlay a 2nd image over a bottom (often changing) image.

This is easy to do in FrameMaker and even Word but I do not see any obvious way to accomplish this in Flare and Capture requires manual individual image intervention every time the bottom image changes.
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Main tools used: Flare 11.x, InDesign, Google Docs, Lectora, Captivate.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby RamonS on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:33 am

You should be able to do that with the div solution. Instead of text you include an image. As long as you position the div correctly you can swap out the background if it keeps the same dimensions.
So your text captions are an image? I assume to have arrows in them? Hmmmm, I can see why that would be helpful, but from what I understand with the integration of Capture in Flare the number of steps isn't that large in case the div option does not pan out.
Others figured the two image overlay already out, one of the top hits from startpage is this one: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1782 ... -css-style

You may still want to give the portraits a thought. If you look at MS Office help you will see them once in a while, but if I recall correctly you are working on printable docs rather than online help? Honestly, if that remains you main output to create Frame is the better tool. Frame is printable output focused with online help being a 3rd party add-on afterthought like WebWorks (and it shows as such). Flare is focusing more on online help and has printable as second option. For pure print focus use Frame or LaTex.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby sdcinvan on Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:46 am

Thanks again Ramon,

Since I own Capture, I do prefer to use this tool. However, it doesn't appear to support a CLI in order to automate updating images.
Shawn in Vancouver, Canada
Main tools used: Flare 11.x, InDesign, Google Docs, Lectora, Captivate.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby ajturnersurrey on Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:43 am

Is there are reason why are you not using profiles? I have subsets of hardware photos or screenshots, with certain items highlighted with callouts or arrows. I save that set of callouts or arrows as a profile, which I can then I can apply to any image. So when I replace any of these hardware photos or screenshots, I apply the appropriate profile to a set of images as a batch (see MadCap Help "How to apply a profile to many images in a batch") to add the callouts and arrows back in.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby sdcinvan on Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:43 pm

ajturnersurrey wrote:Is there are reason why are you not using profiles? I have subsets of hardware photos or screenshots, with certain items highlighted with callouts or arrows. I save that set of callouts or arrows as a profile, which I can then I can apply to any image. So when I replace any of these hardware photos or screenshots, I apply the appropriate profile to a set of images as a batch (see MadCap Help "How to apply a profile to many images in a batch") to add the callouts and arrows back in.


No reason other than the fact that I am still trying to figure out how to use MadCap Capture beyond the basics. I swear, this program appears to come with a steeper learning curve than Flare. :shock:

Thank you for the tip, I'll definitely look into this.
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Main tools used: Flare 11.x, InDesign, Google Docs, Lectora, Captivate.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:06 pm

Go check out the recording of Paul Pehrson's webinar on optimizing images with Capture. It'll be well worth the time spent watching. I attended his session on the same subject at MadWorld, and I got A LOT of out it. Caused me to rethink how I was using Capture, for the better...

It's here: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/demos/signup.aspx?id=1136614529064590696

I actually think the Capture documentation is rather thin. There's a lot of how to do something, but not much why. It's that classic problem: Any decent tech writer can describe the what, but it's the skilled tech writer who helps readers to understand the why behind feature. Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking pot-shots at MadCap's tech writers. Rather, I just know how hard it is to convey the why.
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Re: Image overlays? MadCap stand-alone or with Capture?

Postby sdcinvan on Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:32 pm

Nita Beck wrote:Go check out the recording of Paul Pehrson's webinar on optimizing images with Capture. It'll be well worth the time spent watching. I attended his session on the same subject at MadWorld, and I got A LOT of out it. Caused me to rethink how I was using Capture, for the better...

It's here: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/demos/signup.aspx?id=1136614529064590696

I actually think the Capture documentation is rather thin. There's a lot of how to do something, but not much why. It's that classic problem: Any decent tech writer can describe the what, but it's the skilled tech writer who helps readers to understand the why behind feature. Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking pot-shots at MadCap's tech writers. Rather, I just know how hard it is to convey the why.


RE: pot-shots

I believe this complaint is valid for much of the MadCap documentation. Personally, I don't mind politely criticizing one's documentation efforts. But that is because I expect the same treatment towards my work. Often people are surprised to hear me say something along the lines of please don't waste a lot of effort complimenting my work, I would much rather receive criticism that I can learn from and improve my quality. IMHO, there is little worse than surrounding oneself with people that 'love' everything you do! Try working in the film industry and you may understand why this attitude is so darn annoying. :x

Anyhow... I cannot thank you enough for that link! I've been dying to find anything that can help me learn this confounding (but seemingly super powerful) image tool.

Thank you :D
Shawn in Vancouver, Canada
Main tools used: Flare 11.x, InDesign, Google Docs, Lectora, Captivate.
Report bugs: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/bugs.aspx ▪ Feature requests: https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/featurerequest.aspx[/i]
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