Posts in Category "Usage and Workflow"

Fireworks and Symbols

Symbols are an important part in the way designer works with Fireworks. The application at the same time tries to reduce the burden or test his memory of updating all instances of the same object when any change is done.

To update all the instances in one go and provide further flexibility in the operations, Fireworks has symbols with multiple variations of it. Symbols are actually stored in the fireworks png file . Once a file is opened they can be accessed from "Document Library" panel in CS4 version. In the prior version it can be accessed from "Library" panel. The panels can be accessed from "Window" menu on a Mac or a Windows machine.

  1. Graphic
  2. This is the most generic form and has a parent child relationship. Whenever the master instance of the symbol is edited, the changes are broadcasted to all child instances of the symbol within the entire document. This serves as the edit once and update all mechanism. Any of the child instances can be updated so that the master knows of edits and transmits the update to all other instances.

  3. Button
  4. For creating effects like roll over, hover and similar behavior, the button symbol are used. They can be 2 state or 4 state buttons depending on the number of States/Frames which are present inside the symbol object. These symbols exhibit the behavior when previewed in browser or the preview button.

  5. Animation
  6. This is the traditional form of creating animated gif files. The transitions, delay settings and other file details are customized from the States panel.

  7. Component Symbols (aka Rich Symbols)
  8. Introduced in CS3 this is probably the most advance and least understood symbol type. This type of symbol also has a parent child relationship with an overriding facility. All the attributes of parent are inherited by all the child instances but if the child instance changes any of the available attribute from "Symbol Properties" panel, the parent attributes get over ridden only for that instance of the symbol. Any other instance of the symbol in the document does not get affected. Only the attributes changes through this panel are overridden, all other attributes are inherited from the parent.Each rich symbol is associated with a script from where the Symbol Properties panel is populated with the attributes which can be edited..

Symbols can be edited by double clicking on them. Once done so, the user enters the symbol edit mode where all the graphic tools are present for editing the objects.

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Vectors rendering in Fireworks

Fireworks is a hybrid application with a competent set of tools and operations for the vector objects. One thing that suits for Fireworks is the ability to design for the screen. It could be a website, web application, desktop application, mobile application, ATM machine or anything else.

Designing with vectors and still get the pixel precision defining for it gives the application an edge. To learn more about how the rendering happens for the vector which have been created in Fireworks check out the following Knowledge Base article at adobe .com by Trevor

Vector Rendering in Fireworks

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How does Fireworks fit in your workflow?

Doug Winnie has posted a blog understanding how Fireworks fits into a designers workflow. He is looking for answers to 2 questions.

  1. What role does Fireworks play in your workflow?
  2. Where do you find the value of Fireworks and it’s integration with Creative Suite and other Adobe design and development tools?

There have been many interesting use cases Fireworks users have posted. Read them and also post the ones you are performing in your stint with Fireworks application.

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CS4 Text woes workaround

Users facing the text bounding box issue can breathe a sign of relief as there is a workaround for that problem. As a temporary solution is through an extension which will correct all text objects whose blue colored bounding box has been shifted in the document.

Important Note:

  1. Running this script will correct the bounding boxes for all text objects in the document affected by this bug. This correction is limited for that png file edit session only. The bug may be encountered again during future file edits where the extension script will need to be executed again.

  2. Any CS3 text element if present inside a Group ONLY will get re-rendered on running this script. After installing this extension, you can access this script from Commands menu–>Re-sync Text

  3. This extension will not touch any text elements containing missing fonts. The missing fonts dialog pops up when opening a png file which contains fonts not found on the system.

Thus there is no need to worry about CS3 text and missing text getting re-rendered unnecessarily on using this Extension.

Re-sync Text Bounding Box is a simple Extension which will go through each and every text element present in a png document (be it inside a page or a layer or a state) and re-align its bounding box.


The following is the screen shot of a file which got affected by this problem.

Text bounding box issue

After running the extension script mentioned in the above link, the following is the state of text objects.

Text issue resolved

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Fireworks CS4 workflow changes – Part 4 (Last)

Continuing with the workflow changes that have been done in CS4 release version, below you can find 6 more. I will keep posting more workflow changes in this release over the next few weeks.

  1. All the color spaces of .psd and .ai are now supported. Once the import/open of the files happen, they get converted to RGB 8 bit.This might result in color variations on certain occasions. Prior to CS4 some of the files refused to open.
  2. Another hidden functionality added in CS4 is the history of object selections. Consider a case when you select objects at multiple places on the canvas and have to revert back to the last selected object. Fireworks CS4 allows a history for the selection of objects also. The user can run back or forward in the selection history using Cmd+Shift+Left Arrow/Right Arrow on Mac and Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow/Right Arrow on Win.
  3. Whenever a custom asset is created by the user, the path location is remembered unlike CS3 where the user had to navigate to Fireworks preferences location in users folder.
  4. The usage of special characters in File, Page, State name has been restricted. Ex ‘/’, ‘\’
  5. Error message
  6. Not really a workflow change but all the flash panels are not loaded at the launch of application. They are initialized and respond only when they are in focus. This improves memory footprint of the application and performance. If all the flash panels are in focus then the user will not see any change. Also when the flash panel has been switched off, it does not unload and consumes memory.
  7. A much needed and special feature to have images inset the text, Text In Path has been added which will create something like as below. It can be accessed from Text->Text in Path.
  8. Text In Path functionality

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Probable Text woes and their resolution in Fireworks CS4

Below are some of the scenarios with respect to text shifting on the canvas. The user lands in a situation similar to one shown below from all the 4 scenarios.

Text and the bounding box mis-alignment
  1. Scenario: Selecting/de-selecting the text object and trying to move it on the canvas using keyboard arrow keys.
    Problem description: The text within a textbox in Fireworks CS4 on a Mac will move within the textbox and even move out of the textbox if you select and deselect the textbox multiple times while moving the textbox with the keyboard arrow keys each time.
    Temporary workaround: When ever you see a text image going out of sync with its bounding box, just re-adjust the text or double click inside the bounding box. This will make the text object to correct itself.
  2. The above scenario can be seen visually from the video. The video has been provided by

  3. Scenario: Trying to align text elements using mouse either against other objects present on the canvas or a guide, using the cues from smart guides.
    Problem description: When ever we have grids enabled and we try to align a text element against other objects on the canvas using the cue from smart guides, sometimes the text bounding box shifts away from the text image on releasing the mouse.
    It seems this shift in the bounding box is happening when the bounding box tends to snap to the nearest grid pixel and we release the mouse at half pixel less.
    Temporary workaround: Try to align text elements with the following settings turned off. (i)View->Grid->Snap to Grid and (ii)View->Smart Guides->Snap to Smart Guides
  4. Scenario: Range Kerning/Kerning value in CS3 is not the same in CS4.
    Problem description: Range Kerning value applied in CS3 does not give the same appearance when opened in CS4 and updated. The look of the text block totally changes and we need to manually enter the new value to get back the desired effect.
    Temporary workaround: Range Kerning control present in the UI has now been changed to Tracking in FWCS4. Tracking control works the same way as that present in apps such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. To apply tracking, a range of characters has to be selected first, unlike kerning control wherein, just keeping the cursor between 2 characters we could apply kerning.
    For a value of Kerning applied in CS3, if we set approximately 10 times the value of Tracking in CS4, we can get similar looking text element. Ex: if the Kerning value which was set in CS3 for a text element was 10, then around 100 could be the Tracking value which we will have to set in CS4 so that we can get similar looking result.
  5. Scenario: 2 pixel shift in text glyphs when we change area/frame text to point text and vice a versa.
    Problem description: When we change the area text (drawn by click dragging on the canvas using the text tool such that we get an area bounding box) into a point text (drawn by just click once on the canvas using text tool) by double clicking the top right handle or vice-versa, we can see that there is a 2-px shift in glyphs on the canvas.
    In ATE, bounding box of a point text is different than the area text. The area text has a small gap between the glyphs and the bounding box, thus currently when we do such a change; there is a slight shift of the glyphs either upwards or downwards depending upon the point or area text change done.
    Temporary workaround: Create either an area text or point text depending upon your requirement and don’t shift or change from one type to the other. Note that when you convert area text to point text, the glyphs shift 2 px downwards and when we convert a point text into an area text, glyphs shift 2 px upwards.
  6. Scenario: Trying to 9-slice scale a custom symbol or common library element, sometimes the text jumps away.
    Problem description: When we try to apply 9slice scaling on common library element such as a button etc, sometimes the text jumps away from its location. 9-slice scaling when applied to a text bounding box changes it to an area text if it’s a point text which makes the glyphs to shift 2 px from their original location. Moreover in situations where in 9-slice scaling is used to scale the button element, after some point the text tends to break away from its original location.
    Temporary workaround: If a symbol or custom component has text contained inside, then make sure that the text object is placed well inside the 9-slice guides and they are not overlapping. More importantly, make sure that the text element is an area text box (if it’s not then convert it by dragging the lower right corner of the bounding box) and not a point text box.

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Fireworks CS4 workflow changes – Part 3

  1. Pixel radius definition for primitive rectangle. The radius can be changed even after the rectangle is 9 slice scaled. This is apart from defining it in percentage values.
  2. Pixel roundness for rectangles
  3. Restricting the scaling down of objects which have 9 slice scaling applied to it. This prevents the objects from getting distorted for vector and bitmap objects.
  4. States and Layers panel have a small radio button kind of functionality which allows for moving the objects from 1 state/layer to the other layer/state without any issues. When an object is selected contained in the State or Layer the radio button is enabled. Once the button is enabled designer can move just the radio button which inturn moves all the selected objects under it.
  5. Radio button functionality to move objects in Layers and States
  6. The vector objects like Line, Ellipse, and Polygon now show up with names unlike just "Path" as was present in earlier versions.
  7. Vector object names
  8. When guides are present on a document, pressing shift will show the distance between 2 guides on the canvas in pixels.

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Fireworks CS4 workflow changes – Part 2

  1. Guides on the master page will be visible on child pages. Any new guides added will also get reflected on the child pages. Guide location changes made in the master will reflect on child pages. Child page can override the master page guide settings.
  2. In the symbol properties panel, user needs to press Enter to reflect the changes in fields like labels.
  3. Loading of flash panels are delayed. This will reduce the launch time and use memory stamp only for panels which are used by users. There are 8 flash panels by default in Fireworks CS4.
  4. Anti-aliasing for vectors is much smoother now. It is due to new rendering mechanism added in CS4 version.
  5. Mouse wheel scrolling in panels
    • Mac:  Layers, Pages, states, Common Library
    • Win: All panels

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Fireworks CS4 workflow changes – Part 1

  1. Master Page Optimize settings can be carried over on to the child pages.  For optimize settings to be inherited by child pages, they need to be linked. Child page can override the master page optimize settings. Alternatively when the optimize settings for child page is modified, the linking goes off and the master page optimize settings are overridden.
  2. Designers can now select multiple pages and change the optimize settings in one shot. It will be reflected in all pages.
  3. Layers contextual menu has a new menu item called "Share Layer To All Pages". This option will share the selected layer across all the existing pages.
  4. Another option added to the Layers contextual menu item is "Exclude Shared Layer". This option will remove the shared layer on current page without affecting it on the other pages.
  5. The contextual menu can be accessed by right clicking in the layers panel. Similar right click functionality has been added to Pages and States panels.
  6. Icons use for Extensible Flash Panels. Users can now place icons along with swf files, which will be considered as panel icons in workspace.The icons need to be png files. The name of the png file should be the same as panel name. Mouse over behavior can also be specified an icon and its name should be ‘panelName_over.png’

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Rectangle roundness backward compatibility

Fireworks CS4 version has introduced defining the roundness of rectangles in either pixels or in percentage values. However in Fireworks CS3 the roundness could be defined only in percentage numbers.

In Fireworks CS4 if you are working with pixel values and a CS3 version file is opened, all the rectangles will loose the roundness information and have sharp corners.

To work around this just create a new rectangle and define the roundness in percentage and then open the CS3 version created fireworks png files. This will solve the issue.
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