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Skitch! Net lingo for sketch…

It’s not often that something comes along that truly impresses me. It’s all the more galling to be as impressed as I am knowing that the guys behind Skitch, the all-round image editor are Australian…

For those not in the know, we British have an intriguing love-hate relationship with our Antipodean cousins, but I’ll attempt to rise above such sibling rivalry for now.

So what is Skitch?

Skitch is a 2-4-1 deal. When combined with mySkitch, a great pain for casual or new ‘bloggers alike is suddenly taken away:

“Skitch + mySkitch is an amazingly fun and super useful duo. Everyday we all share images, ideas and have fun with friends online – this should be easy… right!?”

And indeed it is.

Skitch Window

I don’t want to go into exhaustive detail about all of the options you get with Skitch, because I’d be here all day, and Plasq have that buttoned down well enough, anyway. However, there is a video of Skitch, which is worth a squint.

If you’re a ‘blogger, Skitch is just the pill you need to remove that add image ‘eadache.

You see, with Skitch, you can create images from anything you’ve got on your screen in front of you. You can either do a full screen or partial Snapshot, which you do with this neat little cross hair tool, similar to but slightly better than pressing Command + 4 on your Mac.

Crosshair SnapshotWhat would have been nice is if there was some constrain options, such as square or scale as well as some pixel values, so I knew what size image I was getting.

There’s even support for taking pictures from a web cam, which is a nice touch. All of which is accessible from a menu bar item, making taking Snapshots pretty easy to do.

Incidentally, for now Skitch is a Mac-only affair. So if you’re running Microsoft Windows and you’re suddenly feeling a little left out .. err, tough!

The fun really starts once you’re in Skitch proper, because there’s a ton of tools to fool around with.

There’s plenty of paint, draw and write tools to keep even seasoned pixel demons like me happy. Plus everything you throw on the canvas is done so non-distructively, which means you can just select the stuff you’ve daubed on the canvas and delete it.

Layers would be nice, but so would a ton of other stuff, most of which I imagine falls right outside the remit of what Skitch is all about.

But where & when would I use Skitch?

So, say for example you’ve seen a picture of someone famous, you can take a Snapshot, write some message underneath their face on the picture, give the image a name, click the Webpost button and you’re ready to go.

After that, you’re taken to your mySkitch page where you see the image, choose the code you need to embed or share the image and then do whatever the hell you like with it.

They’ve clearly thought this through, because when you do click the Webpost button, the image is stored on-line, but you have a choice; you can either elect to have your stuff stored on their servers, a couple of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) options, on your .Mac account or even with Flickr.

This really opens up Skitch in all kinds of directions. I imagine a lot of people would balk at using Skitch if it was limited to storing images on just their own servers, but just Flickr alone removes a lot of mess, fuss and concerns.

But is Skitch a nice Mac application?

The really, really great thing about Skitch is that it’s a lot of fun to use. Better yet, there’s lots of stuff that just reveals itself gradually as you explore, which is what you expect with a good Mac application.

And by coupling Skitch with an on-line service like mySkitch, you get that all-important social element, which opens things up considerably.

Your images don’t sit in isolation, you can either really easily drop them into your ‘blogs, or email them to your friends.

mySkitch > waynesmallman

Currently, I save all of my images on some web space I have, and go through a mini obstacle course to get those images into my ‘blog articles. That’s partly the reason you see so few images on this ‘blog.

However, if Skitch is any good, I’ll be using them more and more, and you’ll see more images turning up.

Looking ahead, I have to wonder “What next?” and imagine a much more social Skitch, where people get to store their images with mySkitch, but they remain ‘live’ in that the stuff you painted, drew or wrote is still editable.

Or even creating custom feeds of your images to share with people, to include in all kinds of stuff.

There’s currently an option to add comments to images, but I haven’t yet tested whether that’s open to other users of Skitch, but I hope it is.

Overall, the picture looks very good for Skitch, with it’s ease-to-use interface, the solid storage options, the tools and the razor-like focus on making image creation and sharing simple, easy and most of all fun…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

6 replies on “Skitch! Net lingo for sketch…”

I guess I’m a dyed in the wool Photoshop user, but there are times when using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is not the best option, so I may check this out just on the very likely chance that it doesn’t parasitize RAM, virtual memory, and my CPU in quite the same was as Photoshop.


So you’re a Mac user?

I might have guessed, you coming from the sciences.

There’s a lot going for Skitch, so I’m going to be using it more and more I think…

Hi Brian and thanks for the comment.

I’m liking Skitch, and looking to use it more for ad hoc image grabs and quick edits, not just articles like this.

I’ll give your tip a shot some time, see what happens!

Hi Joey, I don’t have any left right now, but I will keep you in mind should they hand out any more.

Also, I’ve deleted your email from your comment — you don’t really want my ‘blog to be a spam relay to your email, do you? 😉

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