Falcon Grabs Screens with Talon

    Alex Walker

    Aviary has expanded their offering of nifty AIR-powered, bird-themed graphics tools with the recent release of Falcon — a simple visual markup tool.

    So what exactly *IS* a visual markup tool? Falcon is basically just a really neat tool for selecting, cropping, and marking up screen content. Bloggers, writers, and general forum junkies take note!

    Like Aviary’s other tools, Falcon is free and runs live in your browser via the magic of Adobe AIR. However, the bit that makes Falcon particularly useful is its integration with Firefox via the Talon Firefox Extension.

    So, here’s the 30-second tour:

    1) After installing Talon, you’ll find a new button on your Firefox toolbar, and a new right-click/CTRL-click option on your mouse. Activate this control and you’ll be able choose between capturing areas, whole pages, or the entire application window.

    2) Falcon resizing textOnce captured, your screen image is auto-loaded into the Falcon application inside your browser, complete with a small but useful suite of editing tools.

    3) The toolbox allows you to add attractive, stretchable arrows, lines, squares, and circles with a simple drag and drop. As these are vectors, they remain fully editable at all times.

    4) The Text tool lets you annotate your image. I must admit, I found the lack of text-size controls a little disconcerting at first. However, once you’ve become accustomed to the idea of using the scaling tool to control the size of ALL elements, — even the text — it’s all good.

    5) When you’re happy with your image, you can then choose from two options: save to desktop or create an account with Aviary. The latter allows you to upload the image directly to their image hosting servers.

    Though I confess I’m partly loath to add yet another image hosting service to my list, it’s hard to beat the sheer click-and-forget joy of the Falcon/Talon system. The transfer process is completely invisible, and it also autogenerates ready-to-eat markup for Twitter, BBcode, Facebook, and WordPress. Slick stuff. There’s something to be said for laziness.

    Ready-to-eat codeI’ve been using Falcon for a couple of weeks now and it has quickly become a fave. True, the editing tools are relatively modest but are good enough to make your point in 95% of situations. In the other 5% of cases, jumping out to more sophisticated tools (including Aviary’s own Phoenix editor) is simple enough when required.

    Most importantly, Falcon is superfast — even on modest systems — and clean, and positions itself exactly where you need it, when you need it.

    Check it out and let me know what you think.

    Republished from SitePoint Design View #61