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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.
The Properties panel is an essential panel when using Fireworks. It's context-sensitive, displaying properties for selected objects on the canvas or selected tools from the Tools panel. Let's take a look at what I mean by this whole context-sensitive thing. I've got a couple of files open - and feel free to open these yourself. They are in the Chapter 1 folder, mockup_index.png and logo_final.png. Now in the mockup file here, we have a lot of bitmap elements. We've got a background photo here of two people looking off into the sunset. We've got a whole range of other different elements inside of here.
So, I'm going to go ahead and select that background photo. If I take a look down in the Properties panel, you'll see that we have just a little bit of information here, not a lot, because this is a bitmap image. So, we see the name that we were using in the Layers panel, in this case, I've called it photo. We see the Width and Height, and we also see its X and Y coordinates. We can also go ahead and adjust things like Transparency if we want. We can adjust the Opacity. Maybe take it down to about 80%, so they start to fade into the background a little bit.
Bring it back up to 100% there. We can add live filters if we want to, as well, to create editable special effects, or we can change the Blend mode. We're not going to do that in this case, but Blend modes basically give you the opportunity to blend the colors of the uppermost image, the selected object, with the colors of the objects that are below it. Now, if we take a look a little bit lower here into our text area, just going to select the heading, Explore our world your way. Now here, we have a piece of text selected. You notice we have a whole lot more going on in the Properties panel.
We've got the ability here, again, to do things like name the text for the Layers panel. We've got our Width and Height or X and Y coordinates. But we've also got the ability here to change so many different text options. We can change the Font family. We can change the Font style. We can change things like the Size, the Color, and the Alignment. There are quite a few different things that are available for editing just by clicking on that particular text object. I'm going to switch over to my logo_final. This is a vector graphic.
You'll see as I move my cursor through the design, different areas highlight for me. So I can go ahead. I'll grab that sunburst in the background there. In this case, here we have Attributes inside the Properties panel that controls the vector. So again, we've got the usual. We can name it. In this case, it's called Path, so I think I'll just select that and call it Sunburst. Here we go! I can also change the Width and Height or X and Y coordinates. I have lots of other controls for vectors from changing the Fill, the Stroke, and again, things like Opacity and the applying filters and so on, to it.
So I get lots of different control through this Properties panel. It's a panel that I pretty much always have opened. In case you want to maximize your real estate though, you have an option here to reduce the size of the Properties panel. You can see right beside the word Properties, a little double-headed triangle or up and down arrow. So if I click on that, I collapse the Properties panel down to half its own height. Click on it again. I can drop it down to just a tab. So I can free up a little more real estate if I need it. Now if I click on a third time, I go back up to the full height.
Like the panels over on the right-hand side, the Properties panel can be undocked. I can grab it and drag it off of its fixed position and let go. It will be a floating panel at this point. I can move it around. I can reposition. I can collapse it down to an icon with a name if I want to, just whatever works for me in that sense. I tend to not float the Properties panel to be quite honest. It's a big panel and no matter where I put it, it's always in the way of something. So I'm going to bring it back. I'm going to expand it again and bring it back into my base location here and just slide the two of them around so the property shows up over on the left-hand side.
So there you have a little quick overview of the Properties panel. So you see we can alter different elements existing inside of our design. But as I mentioned earlier, the Properties panel also has controls for tools. So if I go into my Tools panel here, and now let's see. I'll grab my Marquee tool. I select that. You see I've got options here for controlling the style of the Marquee, whether it's Normal, Fixed Ratio or Fixed Size. I can change the Edge of the Marquee from Hard to Anti-alias to Feather. I can also use something called Live marquee, where I can sort of, on the fly, adjust the Marquee Edge while I'm making a selection.
Each one of my tools has a different set of controls. So as I click on each one of these, you'll see I'm getting different options inside of the Properties panel. So there you have it! The Properties panel is a really important component of Fireworks. It gives you some really fine-tuned or fine-grained control over objects on the canvas or over the tools in your Tools panel. We'll be working a lot with the Properties panel throughout this entire course.
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