Understanding the interface

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Understanding the interface

Fireworks CS5 has a consistent look and feel with other Adobe applications, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash and Illustrator, which means in the long run, you'll spend less time learning interface nuances and more time creating, especially if you're moving from application to application. I have a file up onscreen just for display purposes, called 4231_ocean_sunset_tp. You don't have to have this file open. You can have any file open for this little exercise. We're just going to walk through, get an orientation of the Fireworks interface. We're going to start at the very top.

At the very top of our application, we've got our main File menu, basically, access to pretty much anything that you need to do or need to work with inside of Fireworks. One menu I want to point out in specific is the Window menu. If you're ever trying to find a panel inside of Fireworks, and you can't see it on your screen, this is the place to go. All the different panels are listed here. There is a check box beside the ones that are currently visible. Just by selecting any panel here, it'll come to the forefront in the panel dock over on the right-hand side. One spot I do want to point out is down near the bottom.

You see a Window option called Others, and it actually has a group of other panels placed inside it. So, whenever you see that little triangle, you know that there is more to that particular item. All right. We'll just collapse that panel. Right after the main File menu, we've got our Application bar. This gives us quick access to some common things, such as Adobe Bridge. Adobe Bridge is kind of a hub application for a lot of the Creative Suite products where you can view, sort, rank - in general, just organize files for projects.

Beside that we've got a Hand tool for panning around in our image area. We've got a Zoom tool for zooming in, and we've also got a numeric zoom here. So, I can choose any one of these preset zoom values to zoom in and out within the design. A little further over, we have this little phrase called Expanded mode. This is what's referred to as a workspace switcher. If I click on this, you'll see we've got four default choices: Expanded mode, which is what we're seeing right now, Iconic mode, Iconic mode With Panel Names, and Netbook. Now, the workspace switcher is really handy, because you can quickly change the configuration of Fireworks.

So, for example, I can choose Iconic mode. I get a lot more screen real estate. All my panels are reduced down to strictly icons. If I click on one of them, you'll see it flies out, and I can see what's inside that panel grouping. Iconic mode With panel Names gives you a little less real estate. But you can see the names of each panel inside of each group. The last one here is Netbook, giving you a slightly different configuration for smaller screen displays. Now, these presets are kind of nice. But the great thing about the workspace switcher is I can actually create my own custom configuration.

I can move the panels around. Hide some panels that I don't normally use. I can bring some panels into the forefront that I normally work with. Then I can save that workspace with my own name if I want or the type of workspace I'm going to be dealing with. Then I can save that workspace for future use. I'll be looking more at the whole workspace switcher process when we get into configuring the workspace. So, I'm just going to switch back over to Expanded mode. Beside Expanded mode, we have a Search bar. This is actually for Adobe Community Help. You type a search term in here and hit the Enter or Return key, and you're taken out to Adobe's Web site where you're presented with different knowledge-based articles that can hopefully resolve the problem you're having.

Over on the right-hand corner here are standard ways of minimizing and maximizing, closing the Application window. Now down below our Main menu, we have this toolbar. It's called the Main toolbar. This is only available on Windows. So, you won't find this toolbar on the Mac. But it does give you access to a lot of common program functions, like new document, saving files, opening files, exporting and importing files, printing files, you name it. Those things are all pretty common. Then we've got some options here for handling different elements inside of a Fireworks document.

You'll work a lot of times with layers or multiple objects. So, these buttons give you the ability to change the stacking order of objects as they relate to each other. We've also got options for alignment and for rotating our objects and so on. Now, if we move over to the right, this is our panel dock. Now, the panel dock consists of a whole series of grouped panels. You'll notice here at the very top, we've got three that are grouped together: Optimize, History and Align. Depending on what you're currently doing, you may or may not have information, like, for example, we have nothing in the History because we've done nothing to this file at this point.

Optimizing is for getting your images ready primarily for the Web or screen use. Down below that group, we have Pages, States and Layers. This, again, gives you access to specific workflows inside of Fireworks. You can create multiple pages, multiple designs inside of one document. You can add interactivity and work with States to show, perhaps, for example, rollover effects. You've got your typical Layers panel, which gives you the ability to stack a series of different objects, or different layers, inside of one file and control your design by repositioning those elements.

Down at the bottom, the last three that are visible: Styles, Color Palette and Swatches. Styles gives you access to some pre- built special effects you can apply to various vector elements and text. Color palette gives you the ability to basically choose different colors. Then Swatches gives you sort of a color cube version of selecting colors. You can see down below we've got even more: Path, Image Editing, Special Characters, Auto Shapes, Document Library and Common Library. I just want to show you the common library here. I'm just going to click on that and make it a little bit taller.

We can see, in here, we've got a whole bunch of folders. Inside of each one of these folders, we've got access to a whole series of different pre-built graphics. So, we don't always have to build everything from scratch. We might be able to pull them in from these existing bits of artwork as well. I'll just collapse that back down. Down along the bottom of the application, we have two more panels, the Properties panel and the Symbol Properties panel. The Properties panel is context- sensitive, meaning that as you select different objects or different tools in Fireworks, you'll get different controls inside this particular panel.

Right now, I've got my image selected, and you can see this little thin blue border around the entire photo. So, I have some controls over that image. I can change the name of the image, in terms of how it would be displayed in the Layers panel. I can change the positioning. I can even change dimensions right here. I have also got options to change Opacity, adding Blend modes and even add in Live Filters. Again, we'll be looking at these panels in a lot more detail as we progress through the course. Over on the left-hand side is our toolbar. I like the Fireworks toolbar because it's been broken out into different categories.

So, it's really obvious what tools belong where. We've got our Selection tools up top, our Bitmap tools for bitmap and photographic editing, our Vector tools for editing and creating vector shapes, our Web tools for adding in interactive elements like hot spots, or creating slices, so we can optimize individual pieces of a design as a separate file format. Then we've got our options for colors. We can sample colors using the Eyedropper. We can fill in areas using the Paint Bucket. Down below that, we have our options for Fill and Stroke. Now, if you're used to working with an application like Photoshop, Photoshop has foreground and background colors.

Fireworks is a little more closely related to Illustrator, so we have Stroke color. So, we can have a stroke around a vector shape. We've got our Fill color. We can flip those colors around and set defaults by clicking on the icons down below the Color options. We've also got View options down here as well. We can go for a Standard view, which is what we see now. We can go to a Full Screen View with menus, or we can go to a Full Screen mode where we're basically - almost looks like a slideshow. Now, one of the neat things about this mode, not only does it really simplify the interface, but if I move my cursor around to the areas around the edges of the application, you'll see that my menus pop out when I need them.

So, if I move over to the left- hand side, the tools panel pops up. If I move down the bottom, our Properties panel drops in. If I move over to the right-hand side, my panels pop out from the right. So, this Full Screen mode is a way to simplify the interface, letting you only bring up the panels that you want to work with. I can also get out of these panel views by pressing the F key. So, pressing F will toggle me through all the individual screens. There is my Standard Screen. There is my Full Screen with menus. There's my plain Full Screen. If I press it one more time, I'm back over to my Standard view.

Now, at the very bottom of the View options, we've got our Hand tool for scrolling around the image again and our Zoom tool for zooming in. Our last destination here is right in the middle of the application. This is our main document window. So, at the very top, we've got a tab, identifying the image. If we mouse over it, we can see a path to the image. We see its current magnification and what type of image it is. In this case, it's a bitmap image. We can also close the image right here by clicking on the little X box. Just down below that, we have four options for previewing the images. We'll be looking at previews when we deal with Web optimization later on in the course.

Farther over to the right-hand side, we have a page navigator. If this design actually had multiple pages, we could literally navigate from page to page through this little menu. We've even got some features for uploading files via FTP. If your images are inside of a site definition built by Dreamweaver, you'll be able to actually upload files back and forth from the Fireworks interface. Now at the very bottom of the document window, just below the image, we have over on the left-hand side, an indication of what type of file this is. It's a JPEG document. We've got playback controls for previewing animations.

We also can see the actual dimensions of the image, and as well, again, an option for numerically setting our magnification. So, there is our quick overview of the interface. Basically, we figured out where the menus are, where the tools are, where the panels are, and where the Properties panel is, and how to change the Standard view right out to Full Screen view with no panels at all.

Understanding the interface
Video duration: 9m 43s 8h 51m Beginner


Understanding the interface provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Jim Babbage as part of the Fireworks CS5 Essential Training

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