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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.
If you are creating an Interactive Prototype, it needs to do more than link from page to page to page, then chances are you are going to need to work with Slices. Slices give us a few features that Hotspots don't. First of all, you can, as with Hotspots, generate URLs. But Slices also give us the ability to create things like Rollover Effects. And for prototyping this is a really helpful feature, because it makes the Prototype look that much more realistic. Not only can we create Rollover Effects, but one the other main goal of Slices is for image optimization. So we can slice up individual parts of our design, and basically optimize each piece to get the best possible balance between bandwidth and image quality.
In this lesson, we are going to look at the basics of creating Web Slices. So you can see in this design quite a few little green overlays. These green overlays are Slices. So we've got quite a few of them created already, but you're going to work with a couple other elements on this page to create Slices yourself. Up at the very top we have a logo, and it has not yet been sliced. So let me show you the easiest way to do this. I am going to right-click on the logo. And when I do that, I get a pop-up menu, or context menu. And about two thirds of the way down I'll have an option for inserting a rectangular Slice.
I can select that and automatically Fireworks puts a Slice overlay on top of the image, based on the actual pixel dimensions of the image. Now this is a really handy feature in Fireworks, because not only does it take into account the actual image, but if I had a Drop Shadow or Glow around this particular object, it would take that into account as well, and produce a Slice that included the shadow or glow. Now if you take a look inside the Slice, you'll see a couple different things. At the very top you'll see some text, ForegroundImage.JPEG, and down below that you'll see a little circle.
Now we will talk about the little circle in just a minute. But the top part here basically gives you information about the Slice itself. And this information can be changed through the Layers panel, the Properties panel or the Optimize panel. Now we can do some of the basic changes right inside the Properties panel. I'm going to go down to my Properties panel, and you'll see there's a name for our Slice, and it's called _r1_c5, which I don't know about you, doesn't mean a heck of a lot to me. And this is Fireworks Auto Naming feature. As soon as you generate a Slice, Fireworks automatically gives it a name.
We are going to try this out in just a minute, when we create some Rollover effects. I am going to scroll down, and we have one more image here that needs to be sliced. So I am just going, again, to move my cursor on top of the image, right-click and choose Insert Rectangular Slice. And in this case it's pretty good as a JPEG file, because it's a photographic image. It's just a placeholder image for a video that's going to be dropped into the Web page. I will rename it though. It just makes it easier to find these graphics later on if I need them.
So I am going to change this from what Fireworks call the Slice to video_placeholder, makes a heck of a lot more sense to me. All right. And I am going to scroll back up again, and we'll take a look here, our Navigation. Navigation buttons are typically one of the places where you'll find Rollover Effects. On a Web page you'll move over a button, and it will change in some way. Now in Fireworks this is done through a combination of Slices and States. And in our case, I've already got the second State built for you. I am just going to show you what that looks like.
I'm going to hide my Slices. I am going to go over to my Layers panel. At the bottom of the Layers panel, the bottom left corner, you can navigate to the different States that are part of a specific page. So if I click on State 1, you can see I now have two choices, State 1 and State 2. So I'll choose State 2. And you'll notice that the Navigation menu changes slightly. It becomes gray rather than blue. Switch back to State 1. It's back to being that deep blue again. So I have a slight change in the way the Navigation Links look. Now how do we turn this into Rollover Effects? Well, that's where the Slices come into play.
I am going to turn them back on again, and I am going to select my first Slice for Tours here. Now again, this one didn't get named yet, so I am going to change my name here to btn_tours. And I am putting btn at the beginning to basically describe this as a button. And I'll do that with all of my Navigation Slices so that's easy for me to find them inside my Web folder later on. I'll type in btn_, and then some kind of description of what the button is supposed to be doing. So btn_tours is the name of it, and I'll leave it as a GIF file because it is basically just a solid color anyway.
It's a really quick thing to do. You don't have to do anything other than choose the option. And again, with my Contact, I'll do btn_contact. And again, just set that Rollover Behavior. Resources, same thing, btn_resources, and set the Rollover Effect, and lastly Explorers, so btn_explorers and set the Rollover effect there well.
So this is helping me create a very realistic mockup. If I was to produce this as an interactive HTML page for a client, they will be able to mouse over those individual buttons and see the change. And in fact, we are going to preview that right now. I am going to turn my Slices off again. And I am going to switch over to my Preview View here. A page will load up, and as I mouse over my individual buttons, you'll see that they change based on that specific Rollover Effect. So basically what's happening here is the area under the Slice is being swapped out, for the same area under the Slice in State 2.
That's why we get the different effect on each individual button. All right. I am going to switch back to the Original View here, and turn my Slices back on for a second. One other thing I pointed about Slices is is you can also create them manually, rather than Auto Slices. And there are a couple examples of me having done that on this page. I am going to zoom out a little bit. You will notice along the left- hand side of this design I've got one long rectangle here. I created that Slice using the Slice tool, and the idea behind the Slice is it's going to work as a repeating background image for the Web page.
So rather than right-click on the background and create a Slice for the entire background, which we don't want to do for a couple reasons. One of them is it's a big graphic. The other reason is you don't want to overlap your Slices. Rather than do those things I can just use the Slice tool, here in the Web tools, and treat my rectangular Slice tool. And I can literally click and drag a Slice whatever dimensions that I want. One of things I like about the Slice tool is it takes into account the actual dimensions of your image. So you can't draw a Slice that's bigger than the actual design.
So once I let go out the mouse, there is my new Slice. So this gives me the ability to create a custom sized Slice rather than worrying about sort of an object based Slice, in case I don't need to slice up the entire object. I'll just press Delete to get rid of that extra piece there. One other thing to point out with Slices - I'll zoom in again - is that a Slice is not connected to the object, even if you're creating them based on the object. I'll show you what I mean. If I select my logo Slice again here, I can reposition that Slice anywhere in the design, and the logo does not move.
So Slices are independent from the objects themselves. The only time that's different is if you're working with button symbols. Button symbols generate their own Slices as part of the button. And as you move the Slice or move the Button, you are going to remove all the elements related to the button. So that will include the Slice, and it will also include all the different States you may have created for your button. Adding Slices is a pretty straightforward process, as you can see. And for prototyping, it gives us the ability to add some interactivity. More thought and planning needs to be given when you're slicing up a Web page design for actual production, but that's for another lesson.
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