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Creating graphic symbols


Fireworks CS5 Essential Training

with Jim Babbage

Video: Creating graphic symbols

Graphic Symbols can be made up of a single graphic or a collection of different graphics. You can even add interactivity to Graphic Symbols, such as hyperlinks or even multi-state rollover effects. I tend to use graphic symbols for common elements like logos. Let's have a look at how to create a simple graphic symbol. Now I've got my snow boarder page up here, my mockup_tourSnow_working3.png, and we're going to add some little elements to this page. I want to sort of keep that snow and wintry theme going.
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  1. 3m 42s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. What is Fireworks?
      1m 59s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 1h 27m
    1. Creating and opening documents
      7m 36s
    2. Understanding the interface
      9m 43s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 18s
    4. Setting up rulers, guides, and grids
      10m 7s
    5. Using tooltips and Smart Guides
      5m 40s
    6. Working with panels
      9m 29s
    7. Working with pages
      8m 59s
    8. Working with layers
      13m 13s
    9. Working with states
      4m 35s
    10. Using the Properties panel
      4m 38s
    11. Using the Preferences panel
      7m 34s
  3. 52m 30s
    1. Understanding the Fireworks PNG format
      2m 11s
    2. Saving and exporting files
      5m 11s
    3. Importing files
      5m 34s
    4. Opening Photoshop files
      6m 7s
    5. Opening Illustrator files
      3m 58s
    6. Exporting a single file
      9m 57s
    7. Using the Image Preview window
      1m 52s
    8. Using the Export Area tool
      3m 10s
    9. Creating PDF files
      4m 16s
    10. Saving Photoshop files
      5m 48s
    11. Using Fireworks files for Illustrator
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Understanding bitmaps
      1m 32s
    2. Resizing images
      3m 48s
    3. Using the selection tools
      8m 0s
    4. Using the drawing tools
      8m 19s
    5. Retouching with the corrective tools: Rubber Stamp
      12m 16s
    6. Using the bitmap effects tools: Blur, Sharpen, and Replace Color
      7m 33s
    7. Using more bitmap effects tools: Dodge and Burn
      7m 1s
    8. Improving images using the Levels filter
      8m 15s
    9. Creating a bitmap mask with a selection
      6m 2s
  5. 1h 10m
    1. Looking at the vector toolset
      6m 53s
    2. Using the Pen tool
      7m 32s
    3. Editing vector shapes with the Freeform and Reshape Area tools
      4m 35s
    4. Filling shapes with patterns and live filters
      3m 17s
    5. Using Auto Shapes
      7m 24s
    6. Using shapes as image elements
      4m 16s
    7. Scaling shapes
      5m 28s
    8. Masking objects with vector shapes
      7m 13s
    9. Applying strokes
      5m 52s
    10. Using Vector Path and Path Scrubber
      6m 9s
    11. Using the Compound Shape tool
      7m 40s
    12. Using Snap to Pixel
      2m 15s
    13. Using Gradient Dither
      1m 46s
  6. 51m 3s
    1. Understanding symbols
      5m 41s
    2. Creating graphic symbols
      13m 5s
    3. Creating button symbols
      10m 22s
    4. Creating animation symbols
      5m 4s
    5. Sharing symbols with the Common Library
      1m 37s
    6. Editing the instance of a symbol
      3m 46s
    7. Adding component symbols to a design
      8m 37s
    8. Exporting and importing symbols
      2m 51s
  7. 17m 34s
    1. Creating GIF animations
      9m 31s
    2. Animating with Twist and Fade
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a tweened animation
      4m 16s
  8. 26m 46s
    1. Using text in Fireworks
      7m 19s
    2. Understanding text properties
      3m 14s
    3. Adding text in a path
      4m 43s
    4. Adding text to a path
      4m 31s
    5. Using text as a mask
      3m 35s
    6. Maintaining crisp text in web images
      3m 24s
  9. 28m 35s
    1. Having fun with filters
      8m 44s
    2. Working with Styles
      4m 10s
    3. Using Blend Modes
      4m 40s
    4. Converting bitmap selections to paths
      3m 50s
    5. Working with Adobe Swatch Exchange files
      2m 33s
    6. Using the Kuler panel for color inspiration
      4m 38s
  10. 1h 14m
    1. Understanding the web toolset
      1m 51s
    2. Creating hotspots
      6m 22s
    3. Using the Slice tool
      8m 57s
    4. Using a master page
      5m 20s
    5. Sharing layers across pages
      4m 49s
    6. Sharing web layers across pages
      3m 30s
    7. Using HTML component symbols
      3m 15s
    8. Creating choices and showing design options to clients
      7m 7s
    9. Importing pages
      2m 47s
    10. Previewing the mockup
      4m 17s
    11. Using HTML prototyping
      5m 22s
    12. Improving the workflow
      20m 30s
  11. 33m 19s
    1. Optimizing images for export, part 1
      15m 36s
    2. Optimizing images for export, part 2
      13m 36s
    3. Generating a CSS-based layout
      4m 7s
  12. 22m 20s
    1. Integrating Fireworks, FXG, and Flash Catalyst
      3m 56s
    2. Integrating Fireworks and Flash
      3m 46s
    3. Using roundtrip editing between Dreamweaver and Fireworks
      5m 52s
    4. Copying and pasting objects to Dreamweaver
      2m 57s
    5. Integrating Fireworks and Device Central
      4m 13s
    6. Working with Bridge
      1m 36s
  13. 13s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Fireworks CS5 Essential Training
8h 51m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Customizing the workspace
  • Working with pages, layers, and states
  • Importing content
  • Comparing bitmaps and vectors
  • Creating and editing vector shapes
  • Converting artwork into graphic, button, and animation symbols
  • Animating in Fireworks
  • Maintaining crisp text in web images
  • Sharing content between pages
  • Optimizing images for export
  • Integrating with Device Central, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Flash Catalyst
Jim Babbage

Creating graphic symbols

Graphic Symbols can be made up of a single graphic or a collection of different graphics. You can even add interactivity to Graphic Symbols, such as hyperlinks or even multi-state rollover effects. I tend to use graphic symbols for common elements like logos. Let's have a look at how to create a simple graphic symbol. Now I've got my snow boarder page up here, my mockup_tourSnow_working3.png, and we're going to add some little elements to this page. I want to sort of keep that snow and wintry theme going.

So in my other file that's open, my exp_snowgear Page, I have a whole bunch of different icons that I can use. What I want to do is pull one of these icons, and use it across the page. So you notice up here, I've got this strip of snowflakes that were designed really to work as a dividing element. But if I click on my Subselection tool, I can select any one of these individual snowflakes, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to grab one of those snowflakes, and I'm going to Copy it.

So I've got the one individual element. Then I'm going to go back to my Web page, and I'm going to make sure that I'm in the right area for placing this. So I want to be in my main article layer, where everything else is currently residing. All I'm going to do is press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac, and that pastes in my one lonely, little snowflake. Now I just click away from it, so it's not selected. We'll see there it is there. I'm going to grab it.

Now I cut and pasted underneath my landscape shot here, my masked image. So let's show you another tool that allows you to get the things a little bit quicker. I'm going to go over my Selection tools, and underneath the Pointer tool, is a tool called Select Behind. It does exactly what it sounds like it's going to do. It allows me to select objects that are hidden behind other objects. So now with that selected, I can just reposition it up there in the sky for a minute, and I'll go back and just revise my Pointer tool.

What I'm going to do with this is I want to convert this to Symbol and reuse it over and over and over again. So I'm going to select it. I'm going to go up to my Modify menu and choose Symbol and choose Convert to Symbol. Now when the Convert to Symbol dialog box comes up, I get some choices. I get to Name the Symbol. Well, that's a good idea, because the generic Symbol Name is not going to help you too much in the long run. So I'm going to call this one snowflake. The Type of Symbol that I want to create in this case is a Graphic Symbol.

Note again, the three different main types of symbols: Graphic, Animation and Button. I have two other Options here: Enable 9-slice scaling guides and Save to Common Library. Now, this isn't any kind of regular shape, so 9-slice scaling guides aren't going to help me for scaling. Saving to the Common Library, if I'm planning to use this graphic over and over again on other designs, that aren't part of this specific file, saving to the Common Library would be a good idea. We'll look at that in another lesson. So all I want to do right now is Name it, and call it a Graphic Symbol. Click OK.

Now you'll see that I don't have all the little vector points showing up anymore. I just have the snowflake with a little plus sign through the middle of it, and again, I'll zoom in so you can see that a bit better. It's very hard to see on the blue snowflake, but there it is, that little blue crosshair. What this is now, sitting on top of my Canvas, is an instance, or a copy, of the Original Master Symbol. So I'm going to zoom back out. I want to add in a few more of these. I can add additional instances a couple of different ways. I can go to my Document Library.

You'll see there is snowflake graphic. I can just click and drag, and drop it onto my Canvas, just like so. But a really quick way to do this is to just select one of the symbols - grab your Pointer tool first - hold down the Option key and drag, and you can create additional copies just like that. These are all essentially copies of that same Master Symbol. I'll grab one more I think, put it up in there. So I've got my little snowflakes going on. The benefit to having this as a Symbol is that I can do some global changes to all of the instances from one specific symbol, or one specific graphic.

So I'm going to double- click on this particular symbol. It doesn't really matter which one I'm going to click on, to be honest, because they're all copies of the same thing. As soon as I do that, you'll notice that everything, again, gets masked out, kind of get washed out kind of feeling. The only thing that showing up sharply is that one particular object, and that's my Symbol, and we're in what's referred to as In Place Editing mode. I'm going to zoom in just a little bit more, and grab my Pointer tool, select my snowflake, and I'm going to do a couple of things here.

I think I'm going to change the Color. I'm going to go ahead and make that more of an icy blue. Now notice as soon as I do that, all the other instances update with that color change. I really don't actually like that color. So I'm going to go back and maybe pick something that's a little bit less greenish. There we go, something along that line. So again, all the instances update automatically. Now if I choose my Scaling tool and resize the snowflake, you notice they also resize all at the same time.

So I'm able to get some pretty good control over all the instances that are linked to this Symbol. So think for a minute about this. If you were working with navigation buttons or logos, things along those lines, you had more than one of those objects on a page, you can go into one master object, make your edits and those edits update on every single copy that's currently on the page. So it could be a real time saver. I'll just double-click first to get out of my Scaling mode. To get out of the Symbol Editing mode, I can either double-click on the Canvas, or I can go up to my breadcrumb trail up at the top of the Document Window, and go back to my Original Page, just like that.

I'll zoom out just a little. Now, you might think that because these are all based on one master Graphic that were kind of stuck with them as they are. Like, if we want to change the color, we're stuck with the same color for every snowflake. Not necessarily true. When you're working with the instances on the Canvas, you actually have some control over them on an individual basis. You can control their Opacity. You can control their size. You can even control their color. So I'm going to select this snowflake here right by my tall tree.

I'm going to go down to my Properties panel, and what I'm going to do here is change the color. Now, notice there is no option to change color in the Properties panel, but we can do it through a Live Filter. So I'm going to go to Adjust Color and choose Hue/Saturation, and this gives me the ability to literally change the Color any way I want. So I still want to have something that's kind of bluish, but let's go about there, make it, reduce the Saturation a little bit, something along that line.

So that one particular snowflake, out of all the other ones, is a different color. Every snowflake is different. So Hey! This is not a bad thing. I'm going to click OK. I can also scale this, as I mentioned. I can scale it independently from the Master Graphic or the Original Symbol. So I'm going to grab my Scaling tool. I'm just going to go ahead and drag from a corner, and make it a little bit smaller. Just double-click to lock that into place. So there is that one done. I can do the same thing for scaling by going in and changing the Width and Height in the Properties panel.

You might remember our Constrain Proportions Option here. I'm just going to select that. I'm going to change the Width to about 30. When I tab, the other dimensions changes automatically and my snowflake updates right on the screen. None of these changes, the color changes or the scaling changes, have affected the Master Symbol at all. These changes are all at the instance level. Now if scroll down a little bit, I've got my rounded rectangle that I'm using to highlight some Tour features.

Again, this is a really common graphic that might get used over and over again. A Rounded Rectangle might be used throughout multiple pages in the design. So rather than copying and pasting or redrawing every single time, what I'm going to do is convert this to a Symbol as well. I'm going to convert this to a Symbol with 9-slice scaling. So I'm just going to, first of all, select the Rectangle, and you'll notice in this case, it's a regular plain old rectangle. I can adjust the corner radius down here in the bottom of the Properties panel, and change the Roundness in that way. But if I try to scale this, I'll just give you a quick example, this is a standard rectangle rather than a Rounded Rectangle Auto Shape, if I Scale this, take a look at the corners.

You see how they're distorting and stretching? Not really very attractive. So Enabling 9-slice scaling with this as a Symbol will make it a lot easier to re-purpose it for different uses throughout my entire Web site design. So I'm going to undo that. I'm going to go, again, to Modify > Symbol and choose Convert to Symbol and in this case, I'm just going to call it container. It's going to be a Graphic Symbol again. This time, I'm going to Enable 9-slice scaling guides. I'm going to click OK.

Once again, we'll see that little indicator that this is a Symbol. You'll see a little crosshair there. If I was to double-click, I go into my Symbol Editing mode. Now, this is a slightly different Symbol Editing mode than we saw a minute ago. We don't see any Web page background anymore. This is what's referred to as Isolation mode. And when you apply 9-slice scaling guides to a Symbol, you're always going to go into this Isolation Editing mode. So you won't see your original canvas or anything in your background. You'll only see the Symbol itself. I'm just going to zoom in a bit here, just to show you that we do actually have all four sides to our Rectangle.

Sometimes it's a little hard to see that, when you're zoomed out. Now there are my 9-slice scaling guides. I'm going to go ahead and grab my Pointer tool. I'm going to redraw these, or reset these, to basically preserve the corners of my Rectangle. The nice thing about these guides, because they're part of the Symbol, is that they will stay put. Once I draw them, I can Lock them in place, and they'll stay that way all the time. You might remember with the 9-slice scaling tool, every time you selected it, you had to redraw your guides.

In this case, they're kept locked down as part of the Symbol. So I've got those guys drawn. I'm going to double-click on the Canvas to go back to my Original design. If I zoom out a bit, and I grab my Scaling tool this time, and I drag upwards, if I commit to that, you'll notice in this case here, I've had no trouble maintaining the roundness of my rectangle. It looks just like it did before. There is no distortion at all. So this is a really handy feature.

I'm going to zoom back out and resize. I'm going to just press Ctrl+Z to resize my Rectangle back to its original size. I'll press Command+Minus or Ctrl+Minus a couple of times. Let's just see where else we could apply this, just to give you an example to show you what we can do with this rectangle. I've got my little menu areas down here in my footer. So just as an exercise, we're going to select that container graphic again. There it is there in my Document Library. I'm going to drag it onto the Canvas. It's going to be brought over to the Canvas at the original size of the Graphic.

Again, it's a little hard to see. So I'm going to zoom in a little bit here. There it is there. It's that pale gray border is not helping that as much. But what I want to do is use this and isolate different elements inside my footer. So I'm going to make this a significantly different size, something along that line there. You'll notice that the corners are maintained, all the way through. I can stretch this out as long as wide or as narrow as I want.

I'm going to retain my corner radius. Again, like I did before, I can hold down my Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and drag out a new copy. Then just Scale that one. Because these are just so darn hard to see, I'm going to select both of them. I'm going to go into my Filters menu and choose Adjust Color, and this time choose Color Fill. Now this one is a little bit different.

It gives me a solid color. The default, for whatever reason, beyond my knowledge, is red. We're going to change it to white. Now I'll get a nice, white, rounded rectangle around my objects, and I'll just go out to 100%, so you can see. They look pretty good. So I can re-purpose this Symbol, or the Shape, over and over and over again without having to have multiple versions of it. I've got one master copy that I can control, scale and resize, even change things like Color as often as I want. So there you have it, Graphic Symbols.

It's a great way to sort of simplify your workflow, and give you quick access to commonly used assets.

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