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Fireworks CS5 Essential Training
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Understanding symbols


From:

Fireworks CS5 Essential Training

with Jim Babbage

Video: Understanding symbols

Symbols are one of the great time saving features of Fireworks, and they've been around since the very beginning of the application. Symbols are a way to contain multiple objects within a single asset, but still have a quick access to editing those objects. They come in very handy, if you're using something over and over again, for example, a navigation button or Logo. Now symbols can be a single object or they can contain text, vectors, and bitmaps, each with their own live filter attributes. A Symbol is a master version of the graphic. When you place a symbol on the canvas, you're actually placing a copy of the symbol known as an instance.
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  1. 3m 42s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. What is Fireworks?
      1m 59s
    3. Using the exercise files
      21s
  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 39s
    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 35s
  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 18s
    1. Understanding symbols
      5m 41s
    2. Creating graphic symbols
      13m 11s
    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 46s
    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
      13s

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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
Subjects:
Web Web Graphics Prototyping Web Design
Software:
Fireworks
Author:
Jim Babbage

Understanding symbols

Symbols are one of the great time saving features of Fireworks, and they've been around since the very beginning of the application. Symbols are a way to contain multiple objects within a single asset, but still have a quick access to editing those objects. They come in very handy, if you're using something over and over again, for example, a navigation button or Logo. Now symbols can be a single object or they can contain text, vectors, and bitmaps, each with their own live filter attributes. A Symbol is a master version of the graphic. When you place a symbol on the canvas, you're actually placing a copy of the symbol known as an instance.

Let's just walk through the process of adding a symbol to a document. So I've got my mockup_index.png file onscreen, and what we're going to do is we're going to flag our Explorer's Podcast as being a new feature to the Web site. So I'm going to go into my Common Library. Now this basically is a collection of different symbols that you can use. They are all stock assets with Fireworks. I'm just going to minimize a couple of panels here, so I can see my Common Library a little bit more easily. We're going to go into the Web & Application folder, and I'm looking specifically for a Symbol called New, and a new batch there.

Getting this on to the canvas is pretty easy. Just grab the Symbol and drag it onto your canvas, just like that. Pretty straightforward stuff. Now I'll just double check in my Layers panel, and make sure that that's in the right spot. It's actually not at the moment. It's inside of the main containing layer for everything else. So I want to bring this into my content region. So I'm just going to grab the little radio button in the layer, and drag it down to my content region. That will move the actual Symbol down into my content region.

So at least it's in the right location. Now as I mentioned earlier, when you drag a symbol on to the canvas, you're working with an instance. Anything you do to the instance is not going to affect the original symbol. However, if you make edits to the original symbol, it may affect the instance on the page. So let's just take a look and see what I mean. I'm going to zoom in a little bit here. You'll notice in the middle of this graphic, you see a little tiny crosshair. That's your incredibly subtle indication that this is an instance, and it belongs to another symbol.

So if I double-click on the button, you'll notice that everything in the background kind of fazes out. I'll zoom out just to show you what I mean. We get a little bit of a hazy view. Everything except the actual Symbol is kind of washed out. I'll zoom back in again and scroll over. This is what's referred to as Edit In Place mode. If you have worked with Flash before, you'll know that terminology. Basically, we're editing the symbol right on top of the canvas, so that we can see updates immediately. And if we were working with a Symbol, for example, that may be inside of navigation buttons that were all based on one Symbol, we could see the changes update on all the buttons at the same time.

Now in this case, we just have the one single object. So all I'm going to do here is select the Vector Rectangle, and you'll see I've got a specific Gradient Fill applied in here. So I'm going to go into my Gradient Fill, and I'm going to make a change to this. I think I don't want to go with red. I want to go with green. So I'm going to click on my first color, and change it to a deep green. Then I'm going to change my second color to a brighter green. You see right away, the effect happens right on top of the image, and you can see those colors are changed immediately.

Now I'll just click away from my Gradient editor, and click away one more time. I still have a stroke or an edge around my shape. That's still red. So it looks like I've got a couple of different options in there. So I'm going to try clicking again. That's one of them. I'll take a look in my Layers panel. I can see all the elements that are part of the actual design. That one there is my outline, and it still has a Linear Gradient Fill as well. So I'm going to go ahead and edit that version as well. So a darker green and a lighter green. There we go.

Not too bad. When I'm done editing the Symbol, I can get back to my original canvas in one of two ways. I can either double-click on the Canvas, or I can go up to the top of the Document Window, and I'll see a little breadcrumb trail here. I can just click on the Index page. That'll take me right back to the Original. I'll zoom back out. Now one other I want to point out. When you bring a symbol on to the canvas, it's copied over to your Document Library. So if I click in the Document Library tab in the panel dock, you'll see there is our New Graphic. It's been brought into our existing design.

If I try to bring that graphic in again, I go to my Web & Application folder, and look for that New button. If I try to drag it on to the canvas again, Fireworks is going to warn me that it can't work with two copies of the same thing. So I either Replace the existing one, or I Don't replace it. In my case here, I Don't want to replace it. So I'm going to click OK. I'll still get another copy of it showing up on the screen. So I'll just quickly delete that. But just to keep in mind that once you bring things in from the Common Library, they get copied into your Document Library, and from this point on, if I want to add additional versions of this symbol or additional instances of the symbol onto the Canvas, I'll just drag them right from the Document Library onto the Canvas.

There are three main types of symbols available within Fireworks: Graphic Symbols, Button Symbols and Animation Symbols. There is also an enhanced graphic symbol referred to as a Component Symbol. In the next few lessons, you'll learn more about the different types of symbols you can create and use.

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