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Macromedia Fireworks 4

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    8 Reviews
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      09.03.2004 20:33
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      Fireworks 4 is a great piece of kit for all people interested in web design, graphics creation, editing home pictures or other graphics, or even creating user interfaces for applications or the web. Macromedia have long since produced professional software and Fireworks is one of the most popular alongside it?s sister product Macromedia Flash. I started using Fireworks about 2 years ago for web design. I made simple images and good navigation for websites. My first attempt of navigation can be seen in my first website http://homepage.ntlworld.com/liamsquire. I also used it to make other things but web design was the first and main thing I used it for. ► What do I Get In The Box? ------------------------------------------ Well, just the usual as you?d expect, manual, a few pages here and there and of course the CD. ► Is Installation Hard? --------------------------------- Thank God NO. Installation was pretty quick and effective and within minutes I was up and running. Some products can conflict with Operating Systems and the sort but I found Fireworks 4 fine on my computer. Just for your information I?m using Windows ME. If you found installation difficult, let us know by leaving a comment. Your computer will need to have a decent amount of free RAM (Random Access Memory) and hard drive space for Fireworks 4 to run properly. It can be adept to freezing sometimes when your RAM is low. ► What Can I Do With Fireworks 4? --------------------------------------------------------- With Fireworks you can do many wonderful things that will help you in whatever you do. Below is what you can do: » Make professional graphics » Edit Home Pictures » Edit other images » Design A website layout & slice it up for web maintenance » Create user interfaces for websites or applications » Create a skin for notepad, win amp and many other ?skinable? products »
      Excellent for popup menus and navigation » Create Business or Personal Logos You can easily design a website and import it into Macromedia Dreamweaver, a product that allows you to edit and maintain your website. It is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor but it allows you to work on the HTML within a website itself. I don?t use Fireworks for web design, I use Adobe Photoshop, which I have reviewed, but if I did I would not import it into Dreamweaver as I like to manually code my websites though notepad, but some people like to use Dreamweaver or other similar products. Fireworks 4 has a superb range of functionality that allows you to create awesome images. The amount of filters when compared to Adobe Photoshop is not too large. These filters such as, Fade & Twist, Blur, Gaussian Blur are applied to your image to create certain effects that when they come off can be quite literally stunning. I?m not going to go into great detail about these filters as it will bore you and you may well have no idea what I?m talking about. ► Cost ---------------- Macromedia Fireworks 4 will cost you in and around the £150 - £200 mark. The MX version, which is newer comes in a collection with other Macromedia Products such as Flash, Flash Player Freehand and Dreamweaver, which will cost around £750 - £850, which is a great package but expensive. These prices are very expensive for the home user but would be ok for a business that would gain much from this great product. If you are a web designer, I would definitely suggest that you get this product, as it is very good. It can really improve your professionalism as a designer and in turn make you more valuable to your employer or your clients if you work alone as a web designer. ► How Does It Compare To Other Similar Products --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, as good as Fireworks 4 i
      s, th ere i s one other product that beats it and that is Adobe Photoshop 7 (I use this) and now it is upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS, which is supposed to be more advanced. I have not used Adobe Photoshop CS therefore I cannot say how this product is but Adobe Photoshop 7 is awesome and THE nest product of it?s kind that I have used. The good news for Macromedia fans is that Macromedia Fireworks MX is released and will improve upon version 4, but what I have seen of it, it still pales in comparison to Adobe photoshop. ► Top Tips ++ -------------------------- My top tips as with any piece of software is to get a few tutorials of the web and try them out. Get to learn the basics and in a while you will get a good grasp of this product. It is quite a large product with lots of functionality so DO get some tutorials and get creative! Here are some good tutorial sites: » http://www.smartwebby.com » http://www.ezwebdesign.com/fireworks.html » http://www.ultraweaver.com/tutorials/index.asp » http://www.macromedia.com/support/fireworks/tutorial_index.html Conclusion ----------------------- If you asked me would I recommend Macromedia Fireworks 4 to you, I would say YES without hesitation. But if you asked, what product that falls in the category of Fireworks 4 would I suggest I would definitely say Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop is the number one and you should consider this option when purchasing Fireworks 4. But that is not to say Fireworks 4 is poor ? No way! Fireworks is fantastic and can make you so much better at whatever type of design you do. Fireworks though does have the upper hand when it comes to creating popup menus BUT Adobe Photoshop comes with Adobe Imageready that does a fantastic job at creating popup menus. Fireworks does make it easier to do though. If you are considering buying a product like this, I urge you to check out my Adobe Photo
      shop revie w. I hope you have enjoyed my review of Macromedia Fireworks 4. Good Luck. Liam

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        21.10.2001 05:14
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        I should start by saying quite clearly, "I can't draw!" and I am usually more concerned with the techie stuff like databases, programs and scripts. So far, I have simply done my best with Fireworks 3 (or PaintShop Pro) if I needed some graphics - generally, doing things the hard way and taking a long time but then I got the Fireworks 4 trial version - ooohhhh mama! Maybe it's just me, but I find things much easier to do the more I use version 4. They have improved the wizards that assist you in the more complicated tasks, integrated Fireworks much more closely with Dreamweaver and, surprisingly for me, I actually used their help pages! It still remains largely a professionals tool due to the price but it has so many features and possibilities that I feel everyone should consider it. There's no reason not to try it, you can download a free trial version from the Macromedia site or even better, look for it on a magazine cover disk. So there you have it, I think I'm in love with a Fireworks 4 which is saying something because version 3 is a still pretty good package. Maybe, as they did with Flash 2 a few years ago, they will bundle a full, free version of Fireworks 3 on a cover disk as a promotion...

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        10.08.2001 21:22
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        Fireworks is a great graphics program that packs tons of useful features. Like Jasc Paint Shop Pro, this is one cool proggie I can't do without. I do a lot of web design, and of course graphics has a major effect on the look of any website. Fast loading, professional looking graphics are a must for anybody that wants to be somebody. Fireworks is specialised at creating web graphics, and will automatically optimise and compress images when saving. There is also a preview of compression choices when saving, so you can be sure your pics are the smallest size they can be, while still retaining that crisp sharpness. Fireworks really comes into its own when you need to create image rollovers, or a graphically intense site. It will allow you to slice a larger image into smaller parts, and save these separately to piece together on a web page. You can even set the rollover events in Fireworks, preview the results, and then export the whole thing with HTML! Using Fireworks, it is possible to design a complete site template with minimum hassle. Fireworks also supports batch file operations, which is really useful if you are maintaining a large site. Especially useful too if you have a whole directory of old graphics you want to optimise. The drawing tools in Fireworks are easy to use, and there are some nice effects. For my work I find that a combination of Flash, Paint Shop Pro, and Fireworks works very well. Fireworks is also able to use Adobe Photoshop/PSP compatible plugins and filters, making it very versatile and extending its functionality greatly. .:: Web Links ::. Macromedia (publisher) Fireworks Resources http://www.macromedia.com/software/fireworks/ The PlugIn Site (3rd party plugins - most Photoshop/Paintshop are compatible with Fireworks) http://thepluginsite.com/ Happy designing, and remember, treat fireworks with caution and respect ;)

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          03.08.2001 23:27
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          Well I wouldn't go as far as what the title says, but it got your attention. :) Well what can I say, this is truely a magical piece of kit, that every computer user should have. I know most people describe it has a web design tool but believe me, this can be for home use too. I have created many banners for projects, or just to mess around and see what the programs capabilities are. Everything you need and more can be found in here to make the perfect banner or graphic. I must say though a couple more effects wouldnt go amiss. But lets be honest here you can still make quality stuff without these missing effects so I wouldn't let this but you off buying this product. I hear people saying "What is so good about this, that other design tools don't have?" Well to just name a few, there is the vast amount of workspace, the easy to navigate menus, and the excellent help features. Peoples main worries when buying products like this is the fact that they don't know what they are doing or they have never used something like this before. Well thats what the help feature is for. It has an extensive library of functions, and the ability to search for a certain feature. Even though this is one of the best and most extensive help functions I have seen, it does leave quite a lot out. When I first started to use this product I needed to go to a friend for help. One major downside to this tool/kit/product is the price. Im not sure the exact amount in british pounds but it is $250.00 on average. Fireworks is a brilliant piece of software but for this price I would expect a lot more. Overall, a great piece of software but it comes at a hefty price.

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          12.04.2001 05:31

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          macromedia fireworks v's adobe illustrator. Well unfortunately fireworks doesnt stand a chance against adobes mighty illustrator. OK fireworks is very good for day to day web based graphics, eg, banners, buttons etc, but thats as far as i would go. OK it isnt a fair fight, bearing in mind that Illustrator costs around £500 and fireworks can be bought either as a package with dreamweaver at around £300 or on its own for about £200. Its features include bevel/boss/blur/eye candy etc, eye candy being all of them really. Other good features include streamline working with dreamweaver. Fireworks can export files as gifs, jpg, jpegs, png (save format), tif, tif24 etc, you also have the choice of exporting it as html, a handy little feature for making contents and so on. It makes tables etc for you. GREAT. So go and buy it, unless your looking for a photo suit that will make you stunning graphics. Then you need illustrator. ps well done to macromedia for another great product.

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          20.03.2001 22:40
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          I have been using Fireworks for about 18 months. I'm not fantastic with it but I have created some stylish and eye catching bits and pieces. I use this product on my own website and I have heard many rave reviews on all of Macromedia's products. They are the industry best for Web design. Certainly in my personal experience. You can add loads of effects to your text and pictures: bevels, shadow, glow, blur etc and each one can be manipulated substantially. You can import pictures to use as fills or backgrounds. And some of the general effects you can add are quite bizarre and outstanding. I used this package recently to actually remove part of a picture and fill it with something else. I've never had a lesson, just read the book and played around with it. A very worthwhile and useful piece of art manipulation software.

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          17.01.2001 03:17

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          Fireworks has really impressed me. This program not only allows you to create cool graphics and edit existing graphics, but you can create animated gifs, and rollover images relatively easy. It's seamless integration with DreamWeaver makes it a MUST for all webmasters. For you graphic design gurus, check out the wide variety of file export formats. When I first opened, Fireworks, I was a little intimidated. The traditional dropdown menus are supplemented by various toolbars that are a bit overwhelming in their multitude of options. However, a little time with the manual and some playing around and I discovered that most of these menus are pretty intuitive. My favorite features of Fireworks would include the ability to create animated gifs using the "frames" feature and the export feature which allows you complete control over what type of file you want to generate, the quality of the image, and the file size. You can export a wide variety of image formats including gifs, jpgs, animated gifs, bmps, etc.... You can also follow the similar steps to create full-functional javascript rollovers that can be cut and paste directly into your existing website using ANY html editor. With respect to the animated gifs, creating them couldn't be easier. All you have to do is create your animation just like you would create a movie -- frame by frame. Once you have created what each frame should look like, you can control the playback by adjusting the length of time each frame is displayed and whether the animation should play a specific number of times, or infinitely. IT'S SO EASY!!! The file quality and size adjustments are a must for web designers. Sometimes we need the highest quality image possible, and must accept large file sizes. Other times, however, we can use lower quality and get more speed. Fireworks gives web designers complete control. The program will even estimate how long it will take the image to load at a
          28.8 modem speed. The granddaddy of all great features, however, is the ability to export slices. This is an advanced feature and takes a little time to learn, but once you've mastered it, you can create awesome graphics. Essentially, the slice tool allows you to break apart your graphic into smaller graphics with each smaller graphic having its own behaviors. An example would be if you created a graphic and you wanted two different parts of the graphic to be animated when they were "rolled over". In the past, multiple links on a single image has primarily been accomplished with image maps, but with an image map, you can't turn those individual "hotspots" into rollovers. When Fireworks slices an image, it does just that. It takes your image apart, and then exports it as a bunch of little images put together in a seamless html table that you can cut and paste into your code. You can even export an html document that contains your graphic and has instructions on how to place your new sliced object into your webpages There are a few things I don't like about Fireworks too. First, I haven't found a good way to "smudge" graphics. While the program allows for feathering the edges to provide that smudged look, I have had a couple of instances where I have needed to smudge something in the middle and couldn't find a way to do it. Both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro have this feature and I'd like to see it added to Fireworks). Secondly, the "Xtras" that Fireworks has like blur, sharpen, and PhotoOptics don't seem to be as advanced as some of the filters and PhotoOptics that Photoshop offers. But for the difference in price between the two products, I guess I can't complain too much. My third, and final complaint about Fireworks is that it is a HUGE memory hog. I often find myself working all day on a project and then, when I try to open another program, I get an "out of memory"
          ; error that goes away when I close Fireworks. While these are annoyances, they certainly to not outweigh the great features that Fireworks does effectively provide. Although it does take a little time to figure out all the extras, you can install Fireworks and be making great graphics in a couple of hours. In addition. I can't say enough about Fireworks, only that I reccomend it.

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          09.01.2001 01:33
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          There has been a lot of rivalry between Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks, with Adobe believing that Fireworks treads on the toes of Photoshop just that little bit too much for their liking. There are a startling number of similarities between Fireworks 4 and Photoshop 6, although up until now Macromedia have protested that Fireworks has been for web use only, whereas Photoshop with things like CMYK colour separations is more of a print based output solution, although it does appear to have aped the interface used in Fireworks 3 for web output somewhat closely (perhaps too closely!) in version 6 of Photoshop, with Macromedia using a lot of the palettes and chips that Adobe originally used. As far as web-imaging goes, Fireworks is definitely the way forward, even more so that it has now adopted a lot of the tools that Photoshop has in its armoury. If any such proof is needed as to whether Fireworks 4 is trying to compete with Photoshop 6, then it must be the fact that the import and export functions for Photoshop PSD files have been given a better workover, and now the process is less of a minefield, whereby features such as layers used to provoke a mini spasm, with result error messages. Previous versions had only featured export options. Fireworks has always been very good for vector drawing, and now has included a Bezier pen, in line with Macromedia's latest version (5) of Flash. For animations there is also a new tweening control, which helps to a certain extent, although its interface is not as good as that of ImageReady (packaged with Photoshop 6 for the same purpose). A visible improvement is the Animate command on the Modify menu, and the constituent frames are more easily editted. Fireworks' integration with Dreamweaver 4 is also improved with an option in DW4 to insert the variant Fireworks HTML, something most commonly used when creating pop-up menus, and entries can be displayed as graphics or as HTML, and are act
          ivated automatically when you drag the mouse over a hotspot. Image compression, which has long been something that Fireworks has lead the way in, showing the best trade off between file size and image quality. The batch conversion process has been simplified and this now makes it possible to manipulate image sizes by means of a few simple steps. Whilst Fireworks 4 is not really a standalone package, in that it focusses merely on Web Graphics output rather than also being geared towards Print graphics output like Photoshop 6, it is a very important part of the Macromedia product palette, and coupled with Dreamweaver 4, it is definitely the choice of professionals. For those with experience of using Photoshop it has a great deal of similarity, making it easy to pick up, although Photoshop 6 and ImageReady offer a very comparable level of features, but if you already use Dreamweaver (and Flash) it rounds off the whole ensemble very nicely. Of course all of this doesn't come cheaply, with the full version costing £229+VAT or the update £99+VAT. Fireworks 4 and Dreamweaver 4 as a bundle retail at £349+VAT. This effectively doesn't make Fireworks a serious possibility in its own right for the domestic user, although for the professional Fireworks 4 is the tool for web graphics.

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