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Introducing Fireworks 8

An Integrated Solution for Web Graphics

Until the introduction of Macromedia Fireworks in 1998, no single application had been dedicated to creating, optimizing, and exporting web graphics. Instead, we had to use several applications which did not play well together.

Fireworks 1.0 offered a new approach: a single tool that supported the entire web graphics workflow from start to finish. Although Fireworks has the ability to produce HTML, its best features are optimization and file export. The ability to export portions of design, such as rollover buttons with JavaScript, makes Fireworks a powerful web graphics application.

With each new release of Fireworks we see new tools to make our jobs even easier. Using an application that was built from the group up to be a web graphics tool only, really shows! In this article we'll be exploring some of these new features added to Fireworks 8.

Introducing Fireworks 8
Fireworks 8 is the best solution for creating and optimizing web images with precise control. The optimization tools in Fireworks enable users to strike the balance between maximum image quality and minimum compression size. One huge advantage Fireworks 8 has it that it integrates seamlessly with Dreamweaver, Flash and other Studio 8 applications. This saves a ton of time and makes roundtrip editing a breeze. When I have an image in Dreamweaver and decide I want to "tweak" it. No problem, click the Fireworks icon, Fireworks opens, I make the edit, click Done and whalla-the image is repaired and I'm back in Dreamweaver! What a timesaver. Best of all, you can create professional quality web graphics and animations, such as rollovers and pop-ups, without programming skills.

Who Needs Fireworks 8?
Macromedia Fireworks 8 is used by web designers, graphic designers and developers to create and optimize graphics for the web. Fireworks 8 serves customers who are looking for an integrated, easy-to-use solution for web graphics. Fireworks 8 will also appeal to a new range of users, including non-linear video editors looking to create, encode, and bring video online, as well as traditional graphic designers looking to expand their print skills to digital design.

The Fun Stuff
What I'm sure you all really want to know-what's new and exciting about Fireworks 8? Save time and effort with the many refinements made to common tasks.

Optimization

  • There is a new panel (Image Editing) which contains the entire image editing tools in one location.
  • New support for ActionScript and CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) formats allow Fireworks to work even more efficiently with Dreamweaver and Flash.
  • Support for new file formats, new panels, and dramatically streamlined workflow optimize both time and images.
  • Batch processing workflow has been optimized with streamlined file renaming, the ability to check file dimensions when scaling and a new status bar and log file are just a few.
Workflow
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) pop-up menus! This is a much awaited for improvement in the Fireworks pop-up menus.
  • Vector compatibility-preserve vector attributes when moving from Fireworks to Flash.
  • Polygon slices for a polygon path.
  • Fireworks recognizes ActionScript color values when copied from Flash and pasted into Fireworks color value fields.
  • Save as command to save bitmaps to different file types.
  • Evolved open, save and export logic, easier to use default folders for opening, saving and exporting.
Create Without Complexity
  • 25 new blend modes
  • Perspective shadow-add a perspective shadow to open paths and text objects
  • Solid shadow-a new live filter that stamps the object it is applied to.
  • Mobile interface components-mock up mobile interfaces quickly with bitmap interface components.
  • New sample buttons, cool animations, themes (backgrounds and matching buttons) and bullets
  • AutoShape properties panel-used to modify AutoShape properties.
  • Live marquee and convert selections-very cool. Make a selection and convert it into a path!
  • Layers with text are automatically named by the text typed in them.
  • Special characters panel-easy access to characters such as copyright symbols and other special characters.
  • Reshape text on a path-now you can edit a path even after text has been attached.
Workflow Improvements
  • Recently used fonts now appear at the top of the font menus.
  • Save multiple selection-you can save, restore, name and delete multiple marquee selections within PNG files
  • Autosave is automatically saved more frequently
  • Group consecutive nudges-treated as one move.
  • Improved tablet support.
  • Lock on a per-object basis in the Layers panel.
Fireworks 8 and Dreamweaver 8
The tight integration between Dreamweaver and Fireworks offers the best solution for rapid website development.

More Stories By Joyce Evans

Joyce J. Evans is a training veteran with over 10 years of experience in educational teaching, tutuorial development, and Web design. She has presented at conferences such as Macromedia MAX 2003 and TODCON. Joyce has authored books including Macromedia Studio MX 2004 Bible, Dreamweaver MX 2004 Complete Course, and others. Joyce is a Team Macromedia volunteer and her work is also featured in the Macromedia Design/Developer center. Her Web site is www.JoyceJEvans.com.

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