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In Fireworks CS5 Essential Training, author Jim Babbage gives a detailed overview of Fireworks CS5, Adobe's software for creating and optimizing web graphics and interactive prototypes. This course includes a detailed tour of the interface, the enhanced PNG format, and the image editing toolset in Fireworks. Critical concepts, such as prototyping for HTML applications and working with symbols, the heart of an efficient workflow in Fireworks, are covered in detail. Exercise files are included with this course.
Most designers will provide a client with at least a couple of different designs or variations on the design to choose from. You'd rather move forward in the design process. Fireworks can help in this area as well. Now we've got a few different options to look at. First, let's take a peek at our design here. I'm going to switch over to my Pages panel. You see we've got three concepts here, concept 1, which is onscreen right now, concept 2, which works with a slightly different color theme, so to reverse the gradient and change some of the colors up, and concept 3, which has, again, a slightly different background and slightly different color scheme.
Now, I'm going to zoom out a little bit further here, so we can see the whole thing. Actually, I think what I'll do is I'll zoom back in a bit and just hide my Properties panel, so you can see the whole design. I'm just going to flip through them one more time. So you can see there is the same general content, but slight variations on the theme. Now what I want to be able to do before I move forward in my design process is to share these concepts with the client. Like I said, I've got a few different ways to do this. The very first way is right through the File menu. I can go to File and choose Send to E-mail.
This allows me three different choices. I can create another Fireworks PNG file. I can create a flattened Compressed JPEG file, or I can use whatever existing export settings are set in the Optimize panel. What this will do is create, basically, a single file from the currently active page. From there, I can e-mail them off to the client. The advantage to sending off JPEGs would be the fact that they're easy to open. The only disadvantage is I'm sending multiple files. So you've got to keep track of what you're sending and make sure they've seen everything. I have a couple of other options though that are quite handy as well.
If I look up in my Commands menu, I also have an option called Demo Current Document. This feature allows me to create a little flash slideshow of my designs. It's kind of handy. It's an online presentation. The client themselves can sort of click through the individual pages. You don't require any interactivity in the design in order to do this. So if I just chose the option, you can see I can select either all of the documents or just specific ones. I'll choose to create a demo.
I'll just save this in a new folder. Fairly quickly, the demo is actually created. Now Internet Explorer is warning me about a possible security issue, so I'm just going to allow the blocked content. There we go! We can see our first screen, our second screen and our third screen.
So if you're having a telephone conference with your client, you can put this up on your Web site and literally just walk through the different designs and get some verbal feedback in that manner. So that's a handy way to do things. Now, another option we've got is to create a PDF file. Now if I go into my File menu again, I can choose File > Export. I can choose from my Export types, Adobe PDF. A PDF option is a good one, if you want your client to be able to review things offline. It also gives you the added benefit of being able to have the client place comments or feedback right into the document.
So I'm just going to go up into my main lesson folder here. I'm just going to say explore _concepts as the file name. I can, again, determine whether I'm going to export all pages, the current page or selected pages. Now, if I want to do Selected Pages, I have to have had selected them before I make that choice. So I'd have to cancel and go back, but we're going to go with All Pages anyway. There is another option down here, View PDF after Export, a really good idea, partly because you may want to enable commenting, so that your client can actually add comments to the PDF, and also, because it's the only way you'll find out if Fireworks is actually done.
There is no Progress bar with this Export. So when Acrobat boots up, you'll know that Fireworks is finished doing its job. The last thing here is the Options button. I'm just going to click on this. You see we have a few different choices here. We can set Compatibility for the file that we're exporting. We can set Compression. We can also choose Quality ranges. If we're concerned about e-mailing the file, we may want to reduce the Quality. We can also convert to grayscale and enable text selection. These are all pretty basic PDF features. Down below those, a couple other ones that I want to mention, these are the password-protection options.
We can set up a password to protect the file from being open. So I can choose Use password to open document. I'll type in here, explore. That means that unless you've got the password, you can't open the file. You can also password-protect specific tasks too if you like. So I'm just going to click OK. I'm going to save this. Within a few seconds or minutes, depending on how big your file is, Acrobat Pro, if you have it on your system, opens up.
We'll enter our Password. Click OK. Now, I can preview these files. I can e-mail this PDF file off to the client. They can view each individual page. As I said, if we want to, we can certainly enable commenting from the Comments menu. Choose Enable for Commenting and Analysis in Adobe reader. That means they can attach their own little comment bubbles anywhere they like inside the concepts, and then fire the PDF back to you when they're done. Okay.
We'll hop back over to Fireworks here. Two more options just want to point out to you. One of them is the ability to export pages right from the Pages panel. This is new in CS5. I can select a page, right-click on it, and choose to export selected pages. Basically, when I choose that option, I'll be given the choice of what kind of format I want to export out in. I can choose HTML and Images. I can choose Images Only, which will give me a flat JPEG file in this case.
I can also choose whether I'm going to export the selected page, the current page or all pages. So I've got that option there as well. So the advantage to working with this method is you can pretty much choose whatever format you want to work with, to export out the entire design. It's just another way to help you get the material out to your client in a speedy manner. The last one I'll point out, as well, is being able to export this out as HTML and Images. Now that really is only useful if we've got interactivity set up in the concepts.
These Pages don't have any interactivity yet. So I would have to, at the very least, draw some hotspots over some of the areas in the concepts, and make them clickable and linkable to other pages. If I want to take that step, I can certainly then export that as HTML and Images, and I can turn it into an interactive prototype that the client can view online. So you can see, even when you're building out a full concept like this, being able to use these features for getting the material to the client, getting your ideas out to them is going to be really helpful.
It'll save you a lot of time in the long run, if they've got a chance to see what you're working on quite upfront.
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