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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.
There has always been a difference in functionality between saving files and exporting them. Generally, any file format which Fireworks can reopen are usually found under the Save or Save As options. Any formats or workflows which can't be reopened back in Fireworks are usually found under the Export option. So let's first talk about saving files. Flat files, such as GIF, JPEG or standard PNG files will save back as flat files unless you add additional layers or text elements or effects. Add any of these elements to the file and Fireworks will ask you what you want to do.
So, a quick example here: I've got my JPEG file of my cyclist. If I go up to my Filters menu and just make an adjustment to my levels, increase the contrast a little bit, so, click OK. That's a permanent effect to the file. If I go ahead and press Ctrl+S, the file will automatically get saved back as a JPEG file. That adjustment is basically permanently part of the pixels. I'm going to undo that, and we'll try something else here. I'm going to grab my Text tool, and I'm going to go into my image here, and I'm just going to type in some text.
Now, as soon as I add in an element like this, whether it's text or a live effect or another layer, for example, when I try to save the file by pressing Ctrl+S, Fireworks is smart enough to know there is a difference between the original JPEG file and what we've got onscreen now. We've got extra layers. So, Fireworks asks you, "What do you want to do?" If you say, this is a JPEG file, you're going to flatten everything, and the text will no longer be editable. Your main option, and the one that Fireworks wants to pick, is right here, Save Fireworks PNG file.
That would maintain the layer integrity. The text will remain as text, and the photo will remain as a photo, and you can continue to edit them later on. I'm just going to cancel out of that. I'm going to delete my little text block here. Now, if you create a brand-new file and you add layers, you add objects, you add pages or effects, when you try to save that brand-new file that was created, you're automatically going to be saving it as a Fireworks file. You won't really be given too much of a choice there. Now, let's talk a little bit about Save As. If you want to save you layered or flattened file in another format, including Photoshop, you'll use the File > Save As command.
So, I'm just going to hop over to my mockup_index page here, which is a multilayered file. I can choose File > Save As. When I make this choice, I'm given several options under the Save as type menu. You can see we've got our Fireworks PNG format. That's the default choice, because it is a layered file. But I can also pick Bitmap, GIF, Animated GIF, Illustrator 8, JPEG, SWF, Flattened PNG, Photoshop PSD files, TIFF files, or WBMP files.
So I've got quite a few different choices here. Most of these are flattened files, but files such as the Photoshop format will retain a lot of the editability in the layer structure that are in the original Fireworks file. Just a quick example here, if I decide to save this as a JPEG file, for example, a flattened version of my mockup that I can e-mail to my client for them to have a look at, once I've chosen JPEG as the format, I've got an Options button I can click on where I can go into an Image Preview window, and I can set the optimization settings. I can set the Quality. I can set things like Smoothing, and so on, for that specific export.
If I choose, for example, the Photoshop format, again, I have an Options button. I get different choices here. This is all about maintaining editability in the Photoshop file. So, I've got options here to maintain editability over appearance, maintain the Fireworks appearance, create a smaller Photoshop file, or I can do my own custom settings as well. I'll just cancel out of that as well. And lastly, we've got Exporting. Exporting a design or image generally means one of two things: either you're flattening the file and basing the image export on settings in the Optimize panel, or you are exporting the file in a format that Fireworks can't really work with later on, such as PDF or FXGN images or even CSS-based layouts.
So, let's just take a quick peek at that process as well. You notice, in my Optimize panel, I have a generic optimization setting of GIF here. I'm just going to change to JPEG, because there is a lot of graphics, a lot of photographs in that file. I'm going to go to File > Export. In this particular case, I can choose a whole range of different export options. So I can choose to export as PDF. I can choose to export as HTML images, which will generate a web page plus my graphics. I can export just the images only.
Now, in this case, that's one big file, because there is no slicing or anything applied to this. I have quite a few other choices, CSS and images. I can export existing layers to files, existing states to individual files, even pages to individual files. So, there are quite a few choices here, but most of the end results in these options are not the kinds of files you'll be able to reopen inside of Fireworks and do any editing with. So, that's saving and exporting in a nutshell. Knowing your options for working with files is a fundamental part of any graphics application.
As we can see, Fireworks is no different.
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