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Screenshotting arbitrarily large Flash apps

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Mar. 28th, 2015 | 12:41 pm

I recently needed to take screenshots of a Flash application running at a higher resolution than my screen's native resolution. Taking screenshots of a window larger than the screen isn't easy in Windows; here's a list of things that do NOT work:

  • PrtScrn
  • Alt-PrtScrn (screenshot of the current window; areas outside the screen are cut off)
  • GIMP's screenshot tool (areas outside the screen are black)
  • Windows' "Snipping Tool"
  • Screengrab for Firefox (won't capture Flash content)
  • Various third-party applications

The only way I've found that works is taking individual shots of the various parts of the window, and stitching them together manually, e.g. in GIMP.

This is complicated by the fact you cannot usually move a window up; in order to move it, you have to grab its title bar and drag it, but you cannot drag it outside the screen. But there's a way around this, so here's a complete recipe:

  1. Take screenshots of the top parts of the browser window (use GIMP's screenshot tool, since you'll be combining the shots in GIMP anyway).
  2. Set the screenshot tool to capture the entire screen after a couple of seconds' delay (say 10).
  3. Bring the browser window to the front, open its window menu (use Alt-Spacebar if it isn't visible), select Move.
  4. Move the window with the cursor keys; don't touch the mouse, as moving that will snap the window back so its title bar is visible again.
  5. Once the right part of the window is visible, wait for the screenshot to be taken.
  6. Repeat these steps until you got screenshots of all parts of the window.
  7. Stitch them together and save the result, et voilà.

This is a complicated, time-consuming method, but it's the only one I've found so far that works, and it can be adapted for arbitrarily large windows (though it'll take proportionally more time then). It should also work for most applications, save perhaps those that bypass the usual rendering layers (certain video players come to mind).

If you want to capture a browser window of arbitrary size and do NOT need to capture plugin (e.g. Flash) content, I highly recommend the Screengrab extension instead.

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Comments {4}

The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit

(no subject)

from: porsupah
date: Mar. 28th, 2015 11:56 am (UTC)

No idea how you'd actually go about it, but if you could find an application to set up a very high resolution virtual display, you could then, presumably, take a screen grab of that in one swell foop. Someone out there must've come up with such an application.

Or might I be able to help? Though ISTR you run at 4K, ne? Hazel's native display's 2880x1800, FWIW.

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(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Mar. 28th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)

That might work, if such a thing exists! Yeah, you'd think someone would've come up with something like that.

And thank you. :) I'll keep that in mind if I need to do this again.

But no, no 4K for me, alas; I'm just using plain old 1920x1080, nothing more. (He says, all the while remembering how such things as 40x25 text mode displays, 4-color 320x200 CGA, monochrome 720x348 Hercules, and – the luxury! – glorious 16-color 640x350 EGA.)

I'm happy enough with that, too, by and large. A higher resolution would be nice, but it'd also have to be on a larger screen (or two). And that would necessitate rearranging my desk to make room for that, so... who knows when it'll happen. I'd also need a new graphics card that's actually able to drive a 4K screen at high quality settings.

And then I'd throw it all away again a few years later when 8K becomes standard. :P

Either way — getting way to Flash screenshots, the point of this entire exercise was to grab something at a resolution that would allow you to crop the frame and still end up with something that's a native wallpaper resolution, so pretty much by definition the window has to be larger than the screen. May have to look into that "virtual desktop" thing after all if I end up finding myself doing this more. (For now I'm done, though; I just wanted to record the solution, for my own benefit and others'.)

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Aurifer Salavor

(no subject)

from: aurifer
date: Apr. 3rd, 2015 05:02 am (UTC)

I've seen some different modes in regular display adapters that either let you make a desktop bigger than your physical screen or cram a bigger desktop down to fit your smaller screen. The latter was part of a friend's AMD Catalyst options, but I'm not sure which graphics card you have. NVidia? I don't know if they have something similar.

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(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Apr. 3rd, 2015 09:14 am (UTC)

Yes, Nvidia. If there is something similar I've not found it, but it could well exist, buried somewhere.

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