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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.
Much of the time, you'll be creating mockups in Fireworks, be they for Web sites, Interfaces or even AIR applications. Fireworks have a variety of tools and workflow enhancements to make this job of laying out a design an easier and faster one. In this Video, we'll look at some of the old faithful Layout devices: Rulers, Guides and Grids, and we'll use some of these to move one Image into an existing design. We've got two Files open here right now, my mockup_index_working and my video_placeholder png File, and you'll find both of these in the Chapter_01 Folder. One thing I'd like to do before I get started on Design is make sure that I have some features up and running, and one of those is the Rulers.
So I'm going up to my View menu, and I'm going to choose Rulers, and this gives me my X and Y coordinates for my Layout. Now the Ruler's only unit of measure in Fireworks is Pixels. You won't find inches, or picas, or centimeters, or kilometers, or anything like that here. We're dealing with screen-based material, so the only unit of measure, that we're going to really need to worry about, is pixels. Now as I move my cursor around on the screen, take a look at the Top Ruler and also the Left-hand Ruler, and you'll notice we get a little marker. I'm going to move around to both the 800 pixels across and about 100 pixels down, and you'll see that I get slightly different marker measurements, getting basically a real-time display of where my cursor is currently located, little vertical and horizontal lines, will give me that indication.
So that can come in handy, so I can tell, relatively accurately, where I'm currently placing my cursor. You can also Reset the Rulers to start at a different measuring point, so if I go to over to my upper-left corner, in that spot between the two Rulers, I can literally click and drag a Marker across, and I can decide that what used to be 700 pixels across is now going to be my new 0 point, just like that. So I can change the Location of the Rulers, their starting points. If I don't like what I see here, I can just go back to that Origination Point in the upper-left corner, double -click, and I reset the Rulers back to their normal settings.
Now another reason I have Rulers visible is that they help you bring in Guides, and we see some Guides already onscreen here, these bright kind of blue-y, green lines are actually Guides. As I move my cursor over them, you'll see that I get a double-headed Icon, which means I can literally click and reposition the Guide anywhere I want it to go. I let go over the mouse. If I press Ctrl+Z on Windows, or Command+Z on the Mac, I'll undo that change in Guides. Now Guides are brought in by dragging them from the Rulers, so if I go up top here, you'll see that I can move and click and drag, right from the Ruler area, I can drag in a brand-new Guide.
I'm just going to position this a little bit lower, and let go for a minute, and I am going to scroll down a bit. Now again, because these Guides are editable, I can move and reposition that Guide anywhere I like. So I'll just put my mouse back over it and start dragging down to about there. It's all about 1250 pixels down in the design, and I'll let go the mouse, just like that. Now the thing about Guides is that they can be very helpful placing Elements, but you can get quite a few of them onscreen. Now if you want to simplify your workspace, you can go up to the View menu and just a little bit lower, below Rulers, you'll see Guides.
Now if I move my mouse over that, you'll see I've got four choices: I can Show Guides. I can Lock Guides. I can Snap to Guides, and I can Clear them. Now show is pretty obvious. That shows them up. Locking them takes away my ability to drag them around on the canvas. So if I want to keep them in place, once I've set them, I can choose the Lock the Guides, and they won't get moved unless I choose to Unlock them. Snapping to Guides means that as I drag in or move around objects on my canvas, as they get close to the Guides, vertically or horizontally, they'll snap to the Guide Edge, so it's a nice way to help align things, rather neatly.
And then Clearing Guides would just literally clean off all the Guides from the Design. So I think I'm going to leave Show Guides for now, and I'm going to keep my Snap to Guides. They're going to come in handy in just a minute. Okay, I'm just going to click away from everything. Now as I mentioned, one of the things we want to do here is bring in an Image to fill in the space below Explorers Podcast. I want to bring in a Photo here that's going to basically be a placeholder for a Video. I got both of those Files open. As I mentioned earlier, there's video_ placeholder.png, and I'm going to pull in the technique that we talked about in the previous movie.
I'm going to Split these two Windows. So I'm going to grab my video_ placeholder tab, and I'm going to drag it to the point between my panel dock and my Current Document Window area. And when I see that blue highlight show up, I'll let go the mouse. So now I've got that Split View again, and I'm just going to drag in between the two Windows to reposition the sizing. I want to see a bit more of my Web site Design than I do the Photo. Photo is not really important in this point, because we're moving this Photo into our Web Design.
I'll scroll down a little bit, just so I can see that area where I've got that empty space. So you'll notice I've got a vertical Guide that was there when we opened the File, and I've dragged in that horizontal Guide. These two Guides are going to help me place this little placeholder Image. So I'm going to move over to my video_placeholder. I want to make sure my Pointer tool is still selected, and that's the Back Arrow that we see up here, and I'm going to click and drag across. I'm going to place that right at the edges of those two Guides.
And just as you get close within above five Pixels, the Image will snap to those Guides, and when I let go over the mouse, it gets dropped in exactly in place. So it's a great way that sort of line things up without having to work with the Align tool, right away, you've got the ability there to sort of snap things in the place. Now one last feature I want to show you is Grids. I'm going to close down my video_placeholder Image. I don't need it anymore. I'm not going to Save it and sort of maximizes my View for my Web Design here. I'm going to go back to my View menu again, and the option I want next is the Grid option.
And again, I do have choices here, so when I mouse over Grid, I see I can Show the Grid. I can Snap to the Grid, and I can Edit the Grid. We'll look at the Editing Grid in just a minute. So if I choose Show Grid, up comes a Grid, basically chart paper for the screen, and very much like the Guides, objects that are placed inside my Design can snap to these Gridlines. Now the difference between Gridlines and Guides is that you can't independently change the location of a specific Guideline, okay. If you wanted to have that kind of control, you're going to be working with Guides rather than the Grid.
But If I go back to my View menu, so I've got the ability here inside the Grid menu to snap to the Grid. By default, you don't Snap to the Grids, so I cant choose that option, and that will allow the objects that are inside my Design. If I move them around, it will actually Snap them to specific locations on the Grid, just like so. Now the other option I have in there, under Grid, is to Edit the Grid, and if I click on this option, I get a little Dialog Box here that allows me to change the color of the Grid and also to change the actual distances between the Grids.
So the color right now is just kind of, again, bright blue, very similar to the Guides, and it really is your choice what you choose, color-wise, whatever works for you. But if you want to change the color, just click on the little color box, and you can pick from the color picker here. You can even go and choose the Main Windows Color Picker and pick a different Color if you want to. I'll just press the Escape key to get out of the Color selections. My main concern usually is the actual distance. Now the neat thing about the Grid is you don't have to have a perfect square. You could create different distances horizontally and vertically.
I tend to like to keep it in the square format, if I'm going to work with the Grid, but I like to have it in even numbers, basically units of ten. So rather than 36 pixels, I'm going to change this to 40. And when I click OK, my Grid will resize based on that. Now, why units of ten? Honestly, typically, when I build out a Web Design, I'm building it based on a measure of ten anyway, so it's 960x1200 or 760x420. I'm dealing with units of measure that are going to be easily divisible by ten anyway.
So that tends to make it a little easier for me to make the Grid useful. Once you're done with the Grid, or if you're finding that's a little bit too busy on your screen, just go back up to the View menu, and go to Grids, and you can click on Show Grid again. That will hide the Grid, so it's not visible anymore. Two last things I want to show you about working with Guides and Grids, and that's more of the Global Preferences for editing those options. So if I go up to my Edit menu, I can choose Preferences, and if you're on the Mac, you just go to Fireworks and choose Preferences from there. So I'll click on Preferences and we see a few different categories here. The one I'm interested in is Guides and Grids.
And here, again, is where I can change some of the Settings we saw earlier, but also I have a lot more control over changes. You see there's my Guide color. There's my Grid color. You can also change the colors of other features. We're going to be looking at some of these in future movies, such as Slice Guide, Smart Guides and 9-slice scaling Guides. But down below here, this is what I really wanted to focus on: Snap Distance and Grid Settings. Now Snap Distance basically is your way of telling Fireworks how close do I have to get to a Grid or to a Guide before my object jumps right over to it? And the Default Setting here is five, and that tends to work fairly well.
If you're working with a smaller Grid, you may want to have a smaller value. If you're working with a larger Grid, maybe 100x100 pixels, you might want to have a larger Snap Distance. It's really up to you, and you decide what works for you. I'm going to leave the Default of Five there, and Grid Settings, down below, that's the defaults we saw earlier. I'm just going to change these, 40x40, like so. And I can also determine, right from this location, whether I want to Show my Guide, or Show my Grids, whether I want to Snap objects to them, whether I want to Lock down the ones that are lockable.
All these things are controllable right from the Preferences panel. Any Settings I change here are basically set globally for Fireworks. So I'm just going to click OK, and I'm going back to my document. So there are some of the basic Layout tools in Fireworks. Getting comfortable with these tools can help speed up your Design process, and make things a lot more accurate as you're moving through your Project.
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