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Welcome to Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Fireworks MX in 24 Hours! This book will teach you how to use Fireworks MX for graphic design, Web design, animation, and photo editing. It will also teach you how to make Fireworks MX even more powerful by working with other popular applications and creating custom tools to speed up mundane tasks. This is the book for you if you are new to working with digital images or the Fireworks MX application. If you’ve worked with Fireworks before, this book will help you realize the full potential of Fireworks, with clear language and examples to help you work faster and make your work look better.

You will move step-by-step through the process of creating graphics and Web pages using Fireworks MX and other popular Macromedia applications, such as Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX. Along the way you will learn good habits, tips from the pros, and how to avoid common mistakes. By the end of the book, you should be able to accomplish almost any graphic design task for the Web and should be familiar with the full breadth of Fireworks’ tools and options.

Some books may approach Fireworks just as a limited part of the Macromedia Web Design Studio or as a simplified version of Adobe Photoshop. We believe that Fireworks is in fact one of the most powerful Web design tools on the market, and this book will show you how you can create many complex page elements with Fireworks MX, including drop-down menus, Flash animations, and complex interactivity. A special emphasis will be placed on professional graphic design fundamentals, such as color correction; Web design considerations, like usability; and customization tools to speed up your workflow through automation.

This book is intended as a complete course and is broken into 24 one-hour lessons. Each lesson offers instruction on using the application, graphic design, and Web design concepts; useful tips and suggestions; answers to common questions and short quizzes for you to test your new knowledge; and, of course, step-by-step tasks for you to complete. If you don’t already own Fireworks MX, you can download a 30-day trial version, which will enable you to complete all the lessons in this book, from Macromedia at http://www.macromedia.com/software/fireworks/

Who Should Read This Book

Fireworks MX has tools that almost anyone with a computer can find useful. If you’re just starting out with digital imaging, this is a good primer, as many of Fireworks’ tools can be found in other graphics applications, as well. Maybe you’ve been asked to work with graphics or Fireworks for the first time, and you just need to get something done quickly. No problem! You can review some of the beginning hours (chapters) and then jump to just what you need to know. For that matter, if you are an experienced graphic and Web designer who is looking to save time and has heard about Fireworks, you will find that almost any tool you need is covered here, along with tips on unleashing the full power of Fireworks for advanced automation, customization, and integration with other applications.

If you’ve ever needed to edit a digital image or design a Web page, this book is for you. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make great-looking Web sites. All you need to know is how to work with Microsoft Windows XP or Macintosh OS X and browse the World Wide Web comfortably. Your computer should have Fireworks MX installed, some kind of connection to the Internet, and a pointer tool, such as a mouse, trackball, or stylus tablet. It is recommended that you have a monitor capable of displaying at 800 × 600 resolution or better.

How This Book Is Organized

The book is divided into seven parts, each focusing on a different group of tasks you can accomplish with Fireworks.

The first part, “Learning the Basics: Image File Fundamentals,” will take you through the new MX interface, help you find digital images to work with, and assist you in under-standing the different graphics formats.

In the second part, “Bitmap Editing: The Digital Darkroom,” you will learn how to create and edit bitmap images, such as photographs, with professional editing techniques, like retouching and compositing.

Part III, “Graphic Design: Working with Art and Text,” contains a wealth of techniques for designing with vector graphics and typography.

Part IV, “Creating Animations: The Power of Motion,” introduces animation concepts like storyboarding and shows you how to use special tools for adding movement to your graphics. You’ll also cover integrating Fireworks MX with Flash MX, Macromedia’s popular animation and multimedia tool.

In Part V, “Designing Web Pages: Layout, Interactivity, and Publishing,” you will learn how graphics work with HTML code to create Web pages, and you will learn how to use the Fireworks tools that make this easy. You’ll also learn how to use Fireworks MX and Dreamweaver MX together, including the new Roundtrip HTML editing features.

Part VI, “Speed Up Your Workflow: Automation and Customization,” contains lots of information on how to save time and work with a team on large projects.

Finally, in Part VII, “Fireworks and Friends: Working with Other Applications,” you complete your course of Fireworks by learning how to work with a number of different programs that you might use as part of your work.

If you have an image file you need to get on the Web right now, you can skip to Hour 3, “Choosing Optimization Settings and Exporting Graphics.” If you’re a Dreamweaver MX user, you may want to skip straight to Hour 17, “Working with Dreamweaver MX.” If you’re experienced with JavaScript and Flash MX, take a look at Hour 20, “Harnessing the Power of Macromedia Extensions”; you’ll see what we mean by “the power of Fireworks MX”!

Certain hours introduce digital imaging techniques and explain tools, concepts, and best practices for working in a professional environment. Among them is Hour 6, “Improving Photos,” which discusses professional color-correction and retouching skills. Hour 10, “Tricks of the Trade,” lets you in on how graphic designers use special tools to create stunning effects. Hour 24, “Microsoft Office,” shows you how to use Fireworks with charts from Excel to create data-driven graphics, how to export and import graphics to and from Word, how to improve your PowerPoint graphics, and how to use Fireworks with FrontPage.

Each hour also contains a Q&A section, a few quiz questions, and optional exercises. Don’t worry—these aren’t tests! They should help you understand the content by anticipating your questions and reviewing what should be second nature. You should be able to answer the quiz questions in under a minute if you’ve worked through the entire hour; answers are provided.

Think about it: For the cost of this book and a little of your time, you can become as proficient in Fireworks as you need to be. The return on your investment can be measured in spare time. So grab a cup of coffee, stretch your mouse-clicking finger, and get ready to learn how easy it can be to create graphics for the Web through Fireworks MX.

What’s on the Web Site?

Provided with the step-by-step tasks in this book are example files that contain graphics and photographs necessary to complete each exercise. These files are available from the Sams Web site at http://www.samspublishing.com. Simply enter the ISBN number for this book, 0672324059, in the Search field and then click the resulting link for the book. When the book’s main page loads, click the link titled Related Materials. You may download all the sample files for the book or simply download the files hour by hour.

Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses the following conventions:

Text and numerical values that you type appear in boldface font. If they can be chosen from a menu or such devices as on-screen sliders, they are in regular font.

File and folder names that you see on-screen appear in monospace type, as do snippets of computer code.

A Note presents interesting information related to the discussion.

A Tip offers advice or shows you an easier way to do something.

A Caution alerts you to a possible problem and gives you advice on how to avoid it.


The Task icon indicates the beginning of a task.

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