Join Abigail Rudner for an in-depth discussion in this video What's new in Fireworks 8, part of Fireworks 8 Essential Training.
If you are either already a Fireworks user and want to know what the new features are in Fireworks 8, or if you are brand new to Fireworks all together, this tutorial is a great place to start. It provides you with an overview look at the newest features of Fireworks 8 and it will give you a taste of what is to come. There are so many new features in this release of Fireworks. I want to begin by introducing you to the features that I think are the highlights.
The first item that I want to tell you about is the Image Editing panel. I'm going to go ahead and tear off this panel by grabbing its panel handle here, to the left of the arrow. The Image Editing panel. This panel gathers many of the tools that you need when working with bitmap images in Fireworks 8. Transform Tools and Commands, Adjusting Colors and Filters, and View Options are all here, as well as these other grayed out features. They're grayed out because I don't have a project open right now.
We've got red eye removal, crop tool, rotate, all of the main features that you'll need, consolidated into one panel. So, you can easily locate many of the image editing tools conveniently from this single panel. We will explore using this panel in detail later when we work more with bitmap images. But for now, I'm going to put it away: grab the handle and just drag it over here into the dock. Now, the next feature deals with importing files from other applications.
There are several new import file types. To see them, I need to create a new file; so, File>New, and I'm going just give this a small size of four hundred by four hundred and a white background by clicking the white canvas color. And when I go to File>Import, I get a list of all the types of files that I can import from other programs. So many of these are new file formats, and those include QuickTime, PICT, SGI and TGA, Mac Paint, and JPEG 2000 image files.
These are all now supported in Fireworks. I do want to mention however, that you do need the QuickTime plugin to work with any QuickTime imagery. So if you're working with different image formats you can access them much more easily now in Fireworks. I'm going to go ahead and cancel that, I'm not really importing anything. The next new feature in the list of new and improved is that batch processing workflow has been optimized. This means that when you are doing batch processing and I'm going to go ahead and show you here, Commands>Batch Commands, you have a lot more power in this version of Fireworks.
Fireworks 8 includes streamlined file naming, the ability to check file dimensions when you are scaling during a batch process, and the addition of a status bar and log. I am covering batch processing more thoroughly in Studio 8 Web Design Workflow, so you may want to check out that title as well. Also, new in Fireworks 8 are some other integration features, specifically regarding CSS pop-up menus.
Now, Fireworks generates CSS pop-up menus rather than Java script menus to create interactive pop-up menu behaviors that are much cleaner, and the output is far easier to customize when working with Dreamweaver. And we will be covering pop-up menus both in these tutorials and in my Web Design Studio 8 Workflow title as well. Another new integration feature is in the area of vector creation and compatibility. Now, many of the fills and strokes, filters, blend modes and other visual attributes are preserved when working between Flash and Fireworks.
Also there are 25 new blend modes. And blend modes, again I need to have something to blend here. I'm just going to quickly draw a rectangle, we'll go over this in basic shapes and in auto shapes. But to show you the blend modes which live in the layers panel, there are 25 new blend modes. So, this means that you have many new choices when editing and coloring, and working with the look and feel of your objects. Pretty exciting stuff for you visual designers out there.
I'm going to click away. Also new is the addition of a polygon slice object. Let me show you. Here is a Polygon Slice tool. This slice object can be inserted automatically when the selected object is a polygon path, and we'll talk more about this later. Another integrated workflow feature, Fireworks now recognizes action script color values when pasted from Flash. Now this means if you are working between Flash and Fireworks and you need to make sure a color is accurate between both of your applications, you can import or paste from Flash directly into Fireworks and preserve your colors very quickly and easily.
Another great feature is the ability to save single bitmaps as different file types. Instead of having to export now you can actually choose Save As and choose not just PNG, but a variety of different file types for single bitmap images. This is really helpful because you don't always want to export a piece, you may simply want to save something as a GIF or a JPEG or a TIFF, and this new addition makes it much easier to work with single images, and that is great.
I'm going to go ahead and cancel that. Now I'm going to go under View and show you the Grid. The grid in Fireworks has also been improved. In fact, it is much more like the Flash grid. I don't know if you can see this that well, but I'm going to zoom in and show you that the grid is now a dotted line grid, and the default color is much lighter, a much lighter gray than the previous Fireworks grid. If you like key commands it's good to note that you can hide and show your grid with Control-Alt-G, which is going to be Command-Option-G on the Mac.
The next brand new feature, I'm going to zoom out again by double-clicking my Zoom tool. That'll get me back to one hundred percent. And you know what, I'm going to hide this grid by turning off Show Grid. This next new feature is really amazing. It is what is called a perspective shadow. I'm going to select my rectangle shape here and go under Commands>Creative and choose Add Shadow. Now it doesn't say perspective shadow, but this is a perspective shadow.
I'm going to choose Add Shadow. And as you can see, a shadow that follows this object has been created as a separate layer. We'll talk more about layers in one of our upcoming lessons. But the shadow is built dependent on the shape of the object I apply it to. It can be moved independently. Its gradient or shadow affect can be changed by moving the shadow handle, and it allows you to work with shadows in a much more illustrative manner, and play a lot with 3-D effects in a 2-D work space, which is great fun.
Along the lines of shadow, is another new shadow feature that is called Solid Shadow. Now I'm going remove this perspective shadow here, and select again my shape. And I'm going use the Property Inspector. The Property Inspector allows me to change attributes of objects from this panel. And the next shadow I'm going add again is a new shadow, and it is called Solid Shadow. Now when you initially see this dialogue box, it may throw you off a bit. Because what this feature is trying to do is create for you a three dimensional look to your two dimensional object.
I'm going to click this Solid Color button and as you can see, the color that was chosen by default was black. I can change that to gray and that is fine. I can also change the angle and the distance from my object that my shadow is drawn. And so, this is a really interesting feature for creating a sense of three dimensionality, again in your 2-D art work. Now check this next one out. I'm going remove what I have here in my canvas by selecting it and deleting it, and go to the area of my Vector tools called Auto Shapes.
And grab an arrow and draw it out very quickly. Again, we will talk more about creating auto shapes later on down the road. What we have is another new panel; I'm going to tear this panel off with the panel handle and drag it into the canvas view. You can see Auto Shape Properties. Now why is this so great? Well, because you can now control your auto shapes numerically. Each auto shape is going to reflect different properties that you can change, depending on the shape itself, and you can also choose Auto Shapes right from this panel and draw them right onto the screen.
So you'll definitely want to look at that one in more detail. The next feature I want to show you is probably my favorite new feature. I'm going to put away this Auto Shape Properties panel, and remove this donut shape by selecting it and deleting it, and move my arrow into the view. This feature is called Live Marquee and Convert Selections. It allows you to quickly convert selections into paths, and paths into selections, thus bridging the gap between vector and bitmap editing.
You can work very creatively with this feature, and I'm going to be showing you some examples of how to do so later on in these tutorials. But let me show you very quickly. And in fact, I think I will also delete this arrow shape. I'm going to use the Lasso tool, and just quickly draw an amorphous shape. And with this shape selected I can choose Select>Convert Marquee to Path. This is a selection marquee, and it is now going to be converted into a path. How cool is that? This can be extremely helpful when you're quick with your selection tools and not so quick with your pen tools, and for many other uses which again, I will point on later.
One more cool feature I need to talk about here is this Text Auto Name Layers. Now what does this mean, Text Auto Name Layers? What it means is, if I choose a font, I'll say Century Gothic; doesn't really matter what font you choose, and begin to type on my screen. It would be good if I wasn't using white. Let me try that one more time here. I'll choose black. And click and type on my screen here. The word that I type on screen when I click away, is reflected in the layer object, so text items automatically name their own layer objects.
Which is a great thing. Now, I said that was the last thing, but it really wasn't. This is the last thing and this is it. Inside of the Property Inspector we now have a wonderful new feature that allows us to find the last fonts that we used. So, this feature is called Remember Last Settings. And as you work with different fonts, they will come up to the top of your list. Which is extremely helpful if you've ever had to dig through a long list of fonts to find the one you last worked with. Well, you no longer have to do that.
This means that if I do something else, let's say draw an auto shape, and decide in a little while that I want to create something again with my text tools, and I can click on screen, the fonts I have last used will be at the top of the list. And so, I have been working with fonts and these are the last fonts I worked with, and I can quickly grab them and begin to use them. Okay, folks as I mentioned, I wanted to just cover some of the features and not every single feature.
I'm sure that you'll have fun investigating these movies and working along with me in the next tutorials, and I look forward to seeing you there. Bye for now.