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Tips & Tricks Using Fireworks

Crisp Thumbnails
Making the thumbnails by hand in Fireworks involves taking the original full size image and modfiying it. I like to use Modify> Transform> NumericTransform. But as you get the photo or image to the small size you need, it does tend to loose it's sharpness. Simply try the xtras for Sharpen or Sharpen more (or both). The image may seem a little too crisp sometimes after this, but remember some o fthat will also decrease when you optimize it as a JPG or GIF file. See the Gallery and Samples pages for an idea of how this technique turns out.

Slicing and Dicing
Setting up your Simple rollovers can be a problem if your frame two state, includes elements that extend out beyond the frame one state. Consider building the frame two buttons first and setting your slices up there. That way, they will cover all glows and shadows you may want to have appear when the object is rolled over. When you go back to frame one you can remove the extra Effects,Bullets, or other items and select the original color for the text.

Animations with Javascripted pages (Thank you Brian Hayes and the discussion board)
You can't have a set of animation frames coexist in the same Fireworks file as 2-frame rollovers. That's the problem I had. What you have go do is make the two files separately, and create a "slice placeholder" in the file with the rollover buttons. The placeholder needs to be the exact size as the animation file you will import later (use the Info palette to set the exact size of the slice). Then, export the rollover button file as HTML and slices, and open the resulting HTML file in Dreamweaver. In Dreamweaver, delete the placeholder image from the table cell that the (exact sized) slice created. Replace the placeholder image with the animation file. You're done.

Graphic Files Aren't Displaying after uploading in Dreamweaver.
Wow this one haunted me all the way through this project. I discovered the cure while uploading my last five PNG files. When you go to Link graphics and such Dreamweaver wants to know if you want the link Relative to either A. the document or B. the site root.

If you select the second option (not show here) Site Root, all will work well in F-12 preview . But the file will actually be linked with a / in front of it (/pngart/abouttext.png in the above example) and the graphics will not display when viewed on the web. Select Document to avoid this.

Use the Books
The QuickStart was awful as reading material but is fairly good as a reference book. Even the original manual with the software is fairly clear and direct. Fireworks is not really intuitive. So you can spend hours clicking on things that make logical sense but don't do a darn thing right in the software. If it is one thing I learned this semester, it would have to be not to keep clicking around this software take two minutes and look it up. Think of it this way, that's what makes us the professionals, learning all the nuances and shortcuts of the software.

A book I hope to use now is called Fireworks4 f/x & Design This book includes two CD-ROMs containing Special Comstock Stock Photography with over 12,000 comping images. It's published by coriolis and is cheaper at Amazon.

Use the Web
not just for the cumbersome Macromedia help files... but for lots of other web sites with Fireworks tutorials or creative ideas.

Use Verdana
It keeps the instructor happy.

Student Tips Compendium
Links to some of the cooler tips pages.
(These are subject to revision or -404 File Not Found- as students change their sites each semester.)