Archive for March, 2009

Adobe MAX 2009 announcement

MAX 2009 dates and venue have been finalized. This year the event comes to Los Angeles, California from October 4-7.

Check out max.adobe.com for more details.

See you at MAX!

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Adobe Fireworks new book!

Adobe Fireworks CS4 has a new book on the shelves. Friends of Ed from Apress publications have released a new book for beginners which sets a good understanding for designers and users exploring the capabilities of Fireworks. There are some really good case studies in the book to get you related to real world scenarios.

Below mentioned is table of contents of the book. For more details about the book, please visit site http://www.friendsofed.com/book.html?isbn=9781430216186

Book cover

Summary of Contents

  • Part One: Learning Fireworks
    • Chapter 1: Welcome to Fireworks
    • Chapter 2: Fireworks and CS4 Integration
    • Chapter 3: Working with Bitmaps
    • Chapter 4: Working with Vectors
    • Chapter 5: Exporting from Fireworks to the Web
  • Part Two: Using Fireworks
    • Chapter 6: Creating Visual Effects
    • Chapter 7: The Ins and Outs of Animation
    • Chapter 8: Skinning Flex Components with Fireworks
    • Chapter 9: Creating Adobe Air Prototypes
    • Chapter 10: Fireworks Extensions
    • Chapter 11: Extending Fireworks: Developing an Effective Workflow Using Javascript and Flash
  • Part Three: Fireworks in Action
    • Chapter 12: Web Site Case Study #1: Blog
    • Chapter 13: Web Site Case Study #2: CSS Sprites
    • Chapter 14: Web Site Case Study #3: E-Commerce

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Preserve rectangle roundness while scaling

Fireworks CS4 and earlier versions allow for defining the roundness of rectangles. The roundness gets distorted when any of the transformation tools are used like Scale, Skew or distort.

If you know the approximate height or width values for the rounded rectangle, then you can enter the values in Properties Inspector in the width and height fields and the roundness will be preserved. This is a HUGE time saver.

 

Rectangle roundness preserved after scaling

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Layers panel explored

Next in the series of Panel explorations we have the "Layer" panel. It is probably one of the most used panels in the application.

The whole concept of layers is just brilliant when the document has to be organized and different applications have different ways of handling it. Photoshop being the a hugely popular one explains the need for it. In Fireworks the layers behave a bit differently. Fireworks application works at the object level meaning that any attribute which is applied to the layer like a blend mode or the opacity is actually applied to all the objects which are contained within that layer.

The above mentioned difference is huge in understanding how Fireworks handles all the objects and the layers containing them.

 

Layers panel explored

 

In the above shown panel image, I have tried to highlight some of the functionality of the panel. Apart from that the other detail features are mentioned below.

  1. The Layers panel menu can be accessed now from right click on a layer. This is the same menu list which appears on click from the icon on the top right. There is just one exception in a menu item for "Share Layer to All Pages" in the right click menu.
  2. The layers panel can contain optional master page layers if the document contains a master page. The master page layer by default sits at the bottom in the hierarchy order. The order can be changed but all the individual layers of the master page will be moved together and not independently.
  3. The master page layer are locked in child pages and cannot be renamed or unlocked from there. If the visibility is toggled, the affect is seen on all the pages containing the master page layers.
  4. When the blend mode or the opacity values are changed for a layer, it is actually applied to all the objects contained within that layer.
  5. Layers can moved around and converted from sub layers to parent layers or vice versa.
  6. The visual feedback for layer movement is when the folder icon changes color to a yellowish icon color.
  7. All web layers and master page layers are shared to all the states by default and cannot be toggled. This is represented by the film strip icon which is seen at the end of layer name. Other kind of layers can also be shared but not by default. This functionality can be toggled for the other layers
  8. Layers can also be shared across pages, which is represented by the page icon next to the layer name. Any change in the layer attribute like visibility, lock etc are reflected in all the pages where the layer is shared.
  9. The shared layer can be detached from the current layer with/without a local copy.
  10. Even web layers can be shared across pages. In the above graphic, "Web Layer" cannot be shared but layer "Web Layer 1" can be shared. sub layers cannot be shared. The top most parent has to be shared in entirety for the layer contents to be visible across pages.
  11. The last column in the panel representing a circle with a dot in it allows for the movement of selected objects from one layer to the other. In case there are no objects selected in the layer, the circle will be empty otherwise it will show a dot. Moving this dot to any other layer/sublayer will allow for the movement of selected objects onto the destination layer.

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Fireworks CS4 updater- Work in progress

It’s official now! Fireworks will be releasing a patch for the CS4 release version.

"The Fireworks team is actively working on a fix for the text-shifting bug and other bugs we know are causing real pain for Fireworks CS4 users. An update will be made available when we are confident that we have corrected the problems."

Some pain points getting addressed finally. Joy times ahead!

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Pages panel explored

Pages panel is an important panel since it provides a way to quickly access multiple pages in the Fireworks png file. It also allows for various manipulations in the document related to pages.

Pages Panel Explored
  1. A Fireworks png file can contain a master page. The presence is not mandatory. All the objects present in in the master page are visible in all the other pages under a special "Master Page Layer" layer. This layer is by default added on all the pages and resides at the bottom in the layer hierarchy.
  2. Quick navigation to different pages is possible using the ‘PgUp’ and ‘PgDn’ keyboard keys. The navigation is circular in nature i.e from the last page a ‘PgDn’ down key press will lead you to the first page.
  3. Each page in the document contains an independent set of States and Layers.
  4. Multiple pages can be selected using the Shift/Ctrl on Win and Shift/Cmd on Mac
  5. Once multiple pages are selected, they can be deleted from the delete shortcut icon present in the panel as shown above.
  6. Optimize settings for the multiple selected pages can be changed at once by changing the Optimize panel settings.
  7. New pages get added just below the currently selected page in the pages panel.
  8. When a page is dragged and dropped on the New Page icon, the page gets duplicated and added just below the selected page
  9. The thumbnail size of the page in the panel can be selected from one of the predefined 5 options.
  10. An existing child page can be promoted to being a master and an existing master page can be converted in to a child page.
  11. The Link icon shown above is used for inheriting master page attributes like canvas color, canvas size, optimize settings when they get changed.
  12. Right click functionality has been added in the panel apart from the panel menu which can be accessed from the icon on right top location.
  13. The page numbers before the page name are a visual indication of the number of page and does not get included when the file is exported.
  14. When a page is duplicated, the new page gets appended with "copy’ string.

Use Case:

Master page functionality is really helpful when creating the navigation system which needs to be present on all pages. It might be a problem when the different pages are of variable heights where the footer in present will need to on individual page. The master page objects and its placement on other child pages cannot be changed. It can be modified only from master page and inherited by all child pages.

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