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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.
When you're working with vector graphics, making sure that you have smooth professional looking gradients is also really important. It adds just that extra level of professionalism to the quality of the graphics to begin with. Onscreen here, I've got my Vector illustration of an avocado, and there are a couple gradients that have been applied to this. The skin of the avocado here has a gradient applied to it going from lighter green to a darker green to a lighter green again, and the center part of the avocado also has a gradient applied to it. Now if you take a good look, and I'll zoom in a bit on this, so we can see it a bit better.
Take a good look at that gradient fill that's running through the avocado. It's obviously changing color, but it's not very subtle about it in places. We have this almost solid banding running right down through the middle, and over here in the highlight areas, we also see that a little bit, not very attractive. Well, Fireworks has a way to resolve this issue. I'm just going to select that Vector shape, and take a look down inside of my Properties panel. At the very bottom of the second column, our Fill column here, you'll see an icon.
If you mouse over it for second, it says Gradient Dither. What this does is that smoothes out the gradient, makes the transition much more subtle. I'll just click on this, and you can see what I mean. Watch the screen when I do this. See the difference there? A much smoother transition from one color to another, making it look a lot more professional. It will also look better as a JPEG file this way too. Now my other piece here, the center part of the avocado, is not as much of a problem, but if I click on Gradient Dither for this, you'll, again, notice a subtle change to this, and it actually looks a lot better when it's applied.
So Gradient Dithering is a really handy little feature inside the Properties panel. It can make a significant difference to the quality of the gradients in your Vector objects.
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