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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're going to be times when you need to pass on vector artwork to someone who works in Illustrator. Maybe the file needs to be converted to CMYK, or scaled up for use in print material. Fireworks does have the option to save as an AI file, but the support is limited to Illustrator version 8.0. And this means a lot of the more robust features you can use in Fireworks will be lost when you save the file as AI. Moving complex vector files to Illustrator has become a whole lot easier in CS5 though, thanks to the new FXG 2.0 support in Fireworks. This is a format that Fireworks supports for export and that Illustrator supports for importing and editing.
So let's take a look at the file we've got onscreen here. These are all vectors. I can grab my Subselection tool, and you can see a whole range of different paths and so on. I've even got couple of other special effects. I've got one that's set to a lower opacity, and I've got an elliptical gradient fill on this one particular olive. And down below, where we see the avocado, I've got a couple of things going on here. I've actually made a change to the blend mode. You'll see the front facing avocado has a blend mode of Darken. There's a whole range of different blend modes you can use in Fireworks.
And we've also got a nice gradient running through the skin of the other piece of the avocado. Now, if we were to export this as Illustrator format only, let's see what happens. So I go to File > Save As, and we'll change this to Illustrator 8 (ai), and I'll just call this olivestuff.ai. So the save happens pretty quickly. Now, we'll just go down to Illustrator, and we'll open up that file.
There's olivestuff, and we'll open that up. And what you can see here is you've got the general concept is fine. All your vectors are here. They're all supported. We've got the individual elements and so on. But things like our opacity, gradient fills, blending modes - all of the stuff was literally tossed out because Illustrator 8 doesn't support those kinds of effects. So while we do have all of our vectors, we don't have quite the same kind of look that we had in the original Fireworks document. Now, let's hop back over to Fireworks, and we'll export this out as FXG and Images.
So File > Export, and we'll change the Export Option to FXG and Images, and I'll create a new folder for this, just to keep everything grouped together. And I'll keep the same file name, and again, it's a pretty quick export process. So I'm going to hop back over to Illustrator one more time. We'll go to File > Open, open up our fxg folder, and you'll see in here, we've got a couple of elements.
We've got the olivestuff FXG file itself, which basically contains all of the vector information, and we also have a folder for any assets that couldn't be converted to vectors. So let's open this file up and see what we get. And there's our FXG version, significantly more robust in terms of its support for the effects we're working with inside of Fireworks. Take a look at the avocado. We've got our gradient fill. We've even got our Blending mode on the top half of the avocado. All those things have been supported. Even our Drop Shadows are maintained quite nicely.
Now, the one spot that didn't come in as a vector was this one olive. You notice as I mouse over all the other vector elements, they show up with an outline. I mouse over that one olive, and it shows up with an indicator that says that this is a bitmap. And the reason for this is that the FXG 2.0 format only supports a couple of types of gradient fills: linear and radial. So anything else, like elliptical, like we had here, isn't supported, and that particular object is exported out as a bitmap graphic. But everything else, I can go ahead and select, for example, my avocado, and I can scale this, and you can see everything's maintained.
There's no rasterization. It's still a nice, high-quality file. So moving forward, this may be a really great option for you. If you're working with vector files inside of Fireworks, you need to move them out to a program like illustrator for CMYK separations or for printing, the FXG format does a good job of maintaining many of the effects that were part of the original file, and supports them inside of Illustrator.
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