CMXtraneous: Fireworks

Right on the edge of useful

Think Pink!

Posted Monday, August 30, 2004 3:23:50 PM by Stephanie


On August 18th, I was thinking about color and trends and wrote some of my thoughts out over here. I asked a question in that entry like, "Should we start using pink in our web sites since it's gotten so popular in clothing?"

Seems others feel it is time. Look at this site I ran across today: Rapha - High Performance Roadwear. Interesting. And though pink is not one of my personal favorite colors and I've not bought any girlie pink clothes this year, I admit to liking the palette on this web site.

Category tags: Designing for the Web, Dreamweaver, Fireworks

In Vivid Color

Posted Monday, August 30, 2004 9:09:11 AM by Stephanie


Recently I was talking about color and color psychology. Today, I ran across a site, from my Wise-Women list, that really shows this in the most creative way I've seen yet. If you're a visual person (or even if you just love Flash) check this site out.

It was created by Claudia Cortez as her Thesis for her Master of Fine Arts, Computer Graphics Design. I especially love the little "movies" that teach you about each color. Very visual, very easy to remember, and her graphics are really excellent. Take a look!

Category tags: Designing for the Web, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash

Extreme Makeover for Fireworks

Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004 8:23:32 PM by Kim


I love Fireworks. Really. Of all the tools in the MX Suite it's easily the one I'm most comfortable working in. But just like Dreamweaver, there are parts of the interface in need of an extreme makeover. In the case of Fireworks it's the Batch Process dialog.

Fireworks can be many things to many people. It's a superb graphic design program that allows you to work in the magical world of live effects and vector objects almost effortlessly. When it comes to ease of use when developing site compositions the drawing tools combined with the ability to slice images into different graphical objects really makes the page design process much more manageable.

But the one area where the program should also excel, the ability to batch process large number of images, is exactly where it falls down on the job. The actual batch process works just fine, but once again the dialog that you have to work through seems like it was designed by committee.

To begin with, how is it possible that you can still proceed all the way through the steps in the batch process without ever selecting the images to be process? That's the first thing you're supposed to do, but adding images or entire folders that hold your images is an easy step to mess up. Without any feedback from the program you proceed happily along, until you get to the last screen where you can go no further. That's just not right. Help me catch my mistakes before I get going, not after the fact please.

And as with the CSS editor in Dreamweaver, the interface itself is sorely in need of an update to this century. What I'd love to see is a drag-and-drop interface, with a batch area on the left side of a window where I can drag files of folders into place and then build my batch process as I need. Only need to rotate 2 images out of 70? I should be able to apply special processes to individual images as I need to. And how can there be no scale to a set proportion, or scale to a target file weight? Those features really need to be there so I can do the work I need as productively as possible.

So, to the good folks at Macromedia, I say let's think outside the box a little bit. Head on over to the Apple Store and play with the interface in Motion for instance. See what a smooth and non-obtrusive user interface can be. For that matter, spend a little money and beef up your user interface design and programming staff. Most users are way past the hunt and peck and poke and pray mode when using the Studio MX tools. We (and I use that term guardedly) are pros who need the best tools we can find to do our jobs. I want to see Macromedia remain the leader in the world of web design, but that means taking a hard look at some of the ways that your users interface with the tools and the kinds of work we need to get done. In some cases an extreme makeover may be in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Category tags: Fireworks

Upgrading to Panther before Tiger is Released?

Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004 3:27:51 PM by Stephanie


Maybe some of you are as slow as I am to update your Operating System -- maybe not. It always scares me to death ... I just can't afford any down time at all with the rate of speed I work at. So yes, I'm just getting ready to upgrade from Jaguar (OS 10.2.8) to Panther. And yes, Tiger is coming. But it will be a while before I adopt that kitty. I like to let other people work out the bugs and find out which programs don't yet work.

Here's my plan. With Studio MX 2004's product activation scheme, I have to transfer my program licenses before reinstalling or upgrading my operating system. Activation has gone pretty smoothly for most people. But to avoid any problems, I'm going to complete the following steps I found a while back (I will be brave...I will be brave...):

  • In Dreamweaver MX 2004, choose Help > Activation > Transfer License and deactivate the license on your computer. (In Flash MX 2004 or Fireworks MX 2004, choose Help > Transfer Your Software License.)
  • Install Panther.
  • Relaunch your Studio MX 2004 applications and reactivate them.

Generally, activation and deactivation require about 30 seconds or less. Wish me luck!

Category tags: Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Mac

Fireworks can do that, too!

Posted Monday, August 23, 2004 1:55:51 PM by Jim Babbage

Jim Babbage

I picked up a book last week at Costco, in preparation for the fall semester. It's called Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks for Photoshop CS. Yes, I teach PS as well as Fireworks. A lot of my students will be involved in print work if they get jobs in their chosen careers of Advertising or Journalism.

Anyway, while  I have not quite finished the text, I am very please to see that a great deal of the tips in this book could also be done quite as easily in FW - sometimes more easily. Granted, some of the stuff just  will not apply as FW doesn't understand the CMYK color space. And that is fine by me; MM was always very clear that FW was a screen graphics app. I prefer a program that does one thing really well. Don't get me started on ImageReady . . .

I bring this up for two reasons: 1) Brian's recent post (I can't wait to see what y'all send him) and 2)creative ideas can come from anywhere. Don't limit yourself to reading only Fireworks-geared text books or tutorials. You'll find a lot af neat ideas by looking at other graphic apps tutorials and such. The fun will be to see how well you can translate that method into the FW way of doing things.

Category tags: Fireworks

Fireworks is better than Photoshop - Response and Info

Posted Saturday, August 21, 2004 8:53:44 PM by Brian Edgin

Brian Edgin

The response to this challenge has been great so far, however, just to help things along, here is some additional details about how you can make a submission. You can either post a link to where the design is located or you can send it to Please keep in mind that your submission, including any source material (including your PSD file) will be made available with any response to your challenge so that others can try/verify the challenge themselves. I will respond to your challenge in one of two ways. If your submission is the right level of complexity for it, I will write an article detailing the steps and techniques used in Fireworks to accomplish your design. If your submission is too complex or two simple then I will respond in the blog with general descriptions on how your challenge might be approached in Fireworks. In either case, please feel free to respond to my answers. This is supposed to stimulate a dialog on the subject. Although my conviction that Fireworks is the best app for developing on screen graphics is strong, I will not slam or ridicule in anyway anyone's opinion to the contrary. I will attempt to demonstrate, argue, cajole and disprove any who disagree, but I will not be mean spirited or get personal. So bring it on! Lets have some fun with this!

Now for a quick response to Brian Radford ( who wrote:

I'd like to see Fireworks produce multiple comps in one image file that could be switched between with a single click of a mouse! ;-)

Photoshop Rocks!

Well, Brian, as pointed out by a few others who responded to you, Fireworks can do this, and do it well I might add. Fireworks has a frames panel that let you add...well...frames (as in frames of a movie) to your document. It is how you create animations in Fireworks. However, it also works quite nicely for doing comps of a design. In fact, there will be an example of this in response to my 1st challenge, submitted by Craig Hartel, due out the week of the 30th.

There is a chance it could be sooner, we will see. <grin>

Category tags: Fireworks

The Last Word on Aqua Buttons

Posted Thursday, August 19, 2004 3:57:30 AM by Kim


The Ultimate Aqua Button: Brian Edgin has written what he claims to be the very last word on creating aqua buttons in Fireworks. His tutorial gives the clearest explanation of the how and the why of creating a translucent button composition that I've ever seen, and I do believe I've seen them all. Heck, I've written one or two myself.

Brian has also thrown down the gauntlet to you Photoshop users out there by the way. He claims that Fireworks is the best production graphics software for screen graphics and beats Photoshop hands down. If you'd like to take Brian up on his challenge to compare the number of steps it takes to create an image in Fireworks vs. Photoshop, then pop on over and leave him a note. He's been getting awfully cocky lately.

Category tags: Fireworks

Laying down the gauntlet!

Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 12:59:16 AM by Brian Edgin

Brian Edgin

As the title of my blog says: Fireworks is better than Photoshop. There... I said it! The gauntlet has been thrown down! Let the games begin!

Here is the challenge: Pick any web design and I can recreate it half the number of steps with a less complex final document using Fireworks than can be done with Photoshop!

If you are in to photo editing and retouching for high resolution print output, then use Photoshop. However, for everything else... Fireworks! Fireworks kills Photoshop in UI, workflow, web features, editablity of design, integration with web tools, cleanliness of code generated and more. Photoshop kills Fireworks in handling of large (2000x2000+) images, photographic retouching, and color correction. For creation and editing of graphics for on screen delivery, Fireworks wins hands down!

No, I'm not going to get off my soapbox.

Category tags: Fireworks