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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.
As we've seen, you can make a lot of application-level customizations to Fireworks, by changing the configuration of panels and shrinking or expanding the width of panels and so on. But if you want to make more global changes to the entire application and how certain things function inside of Fireworks, you want to get used to working with the Preferences panel. You'll find this in Windows by choosing Edit > Preferences and on the Mac you choose the Adobe Fireworks icon and select Preferences from there. So let's have a look at what's inside the Preferences panel. I'm going to go up to Edit and choose Preferences. There is our panel. We've got several different categories of options that we can work with, starting off with the general categories here, things like the Startup Screen, that little welcome screen that you see when you start up Fireworks, can be turned on or turned off right from the Preferences panel.
Maximum Undos, everybody likes to be able to go back in time a little bit, and the default setting here for Undos is 20. So that gives you 20 history steps to go back. That's pretty good. If you find that you really need to go further back, you can certainly change that number and increase the amount of Undo steps or History steps that you can work with. The default Interpolation is also here, so we can choose between Bicubic, Bilinear, Soft and Nearest Neighbor. We also have got an option here for faster but less accurate resampling. Just the statement itself should make you know you want to stay away from this option.
Anything that's going to be less accurate, you want to avoid it. So it's turned off, by default, and I strongly recommend you leave it that way. Saving Files, we have an option now, in Fireworks CS5, to save per page thumbnails, so that we can actually preview, when we're opening a file, which page we want to actually start with. So, by default, this is turned on, and it's a nice feature. So I think it's a good idea to leave it where it's at. The User Interface, we looked at how we can collapse panels and so on and how if they are collapsed down to their icon or icon and label states that they'll create a little flyout panel for the full version of the panel.
We have a feature here that enables the panels to autocollapse as soon as you click away from. It's turned off, by default, and I recommend that you leave it that way, because nothing worse than bringing out a panel from a collapsed state, going to your canvas to do something, when you click on the canvas, the panel collapses. It's not a good working method, so I leave that one turned off. You can also change the default settings for certain colors, like Strokes or Fills or Highlights. If you're finding that the default colors that your objects get filled with aren't what you want, then by all means, feel free to change them.
In the Edit menu, we've got the ability to Delete objects when cropping or retain the original image so that you don't lose any of the original image data. We can delete paths when we convert to a marquee. This is something we haven't looked at yet, but we will be looking at converting paths to marquees down the road. Brush-size painting cursors - basically again, being able to control the size of the brush when you're working with things like the Eraser tool or the Brush tool. Precise cursors is an option that, for many tools, replaces the Tool icon with a cross hair, so it's a little more accurate in that sense.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see depending on the canvas you're working with, but it's one of those features that you can certainly try out and see if it works for you. Pen tool options, now again, lot of these tools we haven't dealt with just yet, but Pen tool options, this gives you the ability to show a Pen Preview, so as you're drawing a path, you can actually see what that path is going to look like. You can also set up your path points to be solid or hollow. So, again, a different way to differentiate an unselected path point from a selected path point. Pointer tool options, okay, this is our main selection tool inside of Fireworks.
Mouse highlight means that when you move your mouse over an object that's on the canvas, you'll get a little highlight in red that shows that object is ready to be selected. Show fill handles basically gives us the ability to control things like a Gradient Fill visually on the canvas. The Preview option: If you're dragging objects or dragging a gradient to a different angle, you can actually preview the result before you let go of the mouse. Pick distance, very similar to Snap distance. In this case, what we're talking about is once your cursor, your Pointer tool, gets closer to an object, what's the likelihood of it being selected? So the general number here is 5.
Again, if you want to be more accurate, you can set a smaller number. If you want to be able to pick from a greater distance, you can set a larger number. 9-Scale option basically allows us to ungroup special types of vector shapes called autoshapes, so that when we scale them, we don't run into any errors with inside of Fireworks as the object is being resized. Guides and Grids, we've looked at this already in a previous movie, but just a quick overview. You can change the colors of your guides and grids. You can determine whether you're going to show, snap or lock these different options.
You can also control the snapping distance - basically, how close your object has to be a to a guide or grid before it snaps to that guide or grid - and you can also set up your grid settings, your actual distance between your horizontal and vertical grids. Type, you get some controls here for text. We have some base controls that we can stick with, or we can change. So we've got a Base Leading of 120%, gives us our line spacing, essentially. Baseline shift gives us the ability to adjust the position of the text up or down, based on the actual text box itself.
We've got options here to show the font names in English, to preview font sizes. We can change from small, medium and large. That comes in handy when you're actually choosing fonts you're going to work with. You'll get a little Preview window of the font when you mouse over that specific font. Number of Recent Fonts, basically, gives you at the very top of your font list, in this case, the last 6 fonts that were used. You can increase this number or decrease it, whatever you prefer. Then we've also got a default setting here for missing fonts. This will happen from time to time, if you're moving from the Mac to Windows or if you're moving from one system to another.
Certain fonts may be available on one computer that aren't on another computer. So Fireworks tries to handle this by having a default font ready to go to replace any fonts that you don't have on the system you're working on. Photoshop Import/Open, we're going to be looking at this in much more detail through the course. But we've got some general options here for how Photoshop files are handled when they're opened or imported into Fireworks. We've also got options here for converting Photoshop settings, in term of image layers, in terms of text, shape layers, layer effects, clipping path masks and adjustment layers.
Generally, if I'm going to import a Photoshop file, I try to keep everything as editable as possible, unless I'm getting some real issues with a difference in how the file looks once Fireworks opens it up. Launch and Edit is a round-trip editing feature, used quite a bit through Dreamweaver. If you have graphics, JPEGs or GIF files inside of your Web design, you can actually launch Fireworks right from Dreamweaver, and Fireworks will prompt you, in this case, as to whether it should open the flat Web file, or whether it should use a source PNG file, or whether it should never use a source PNG file.
So you've got choices there that you can set up. And lastly, Plug-Ins: There are a lot of third-party filters, or plug-ins, that can be used with Photoshop that can also be used with Fireworks. So if you have some of those third- party filters, you can certainly point Fireworks to the folder where they're located and make use of them from the Filters menu or from the Live Filters menu in many cases. You can also point to another folder for additional textures or for additional patterns that you can use for filling in vector shapes. Okay, so that's sort of an overview of the Preferences panel.
While I don't expect you to remember all right now, just remember that if you need to make some global changes, the Preferences panel is probably where you're going to have to go to do it. There are a lot of options here. It's one of those panels that you'll probably use more as you get more comfortable with the application. But at least right now, you know where to find it.
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