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Why This Book?

Cut to the chase. That was what motivated me to write this book. As a student, I know when someone is teaching me well and when I “get” it. As a teacher, I strive to understand what my students need to know and how they need it presented to them. I know that students don’t need another book filled with fluff that’s not relevant to their goals. This book’s goal is to give design students and designers a clear and comprehensive reference and tutorial information on how to use the finest web-graphics tool on the planet.

  • Fireworks is incredibly underused by design community.

  • It’s a best-kept secret that shouldn’t be kept secret.

  • Fireworks is a phenomenal tool.

  • It’s the only tool truly designed for making flawless graphics because it has, hands down, the best feature set and interface.

  • As you’ll discover in this book, it’s the only program that seamlessly combines bitmap- and vector-art creation.

  • With the new MX products, we’re likely to see people migrating to other tools.

  • Awesome power lies in the ability to integrate code bits and graphics with Dreamweaver and Flash from Fireworks MX.

  • This book demystifies the program’s awesome power.

  • The highest gift that you can give is knowledge. Share the joy by ushering people to use this amazing tool.

Who This Book Is For

Fireworks MX Fundamentals is for beginning users. The language and exercises presented in this book meet you at your level. Clear and concise explanation and instruction make learning easier, and we throw in some of the most relevant and meaningful tutorials in town.

Who This Book Is Not For

Let’s face it: You’re not reading this book if you’re already a Fireworks superexpert. You also don’t want to read this book if you’re a brand-new computer user.

How to Use This Book

Like me, this book is straightforward. Here’s the method:

Want to learn about animation? Just jump to that chapter.

Want to learn the whole enchilada? Start at the beginning and read until the end (preferably with bathroom breaks). You’ll get it.

So now you’re thinking, “Cut to the chase? I’m holding this big, fat book. How can this be cutting to the chase?” Ah ha. You just grasped the paradox of Fireworks. So simple, yet so in depth.


Part I of this book gets you up to speed, which is why it’s called “Getting Up to Speed.” In this part, you learn all the basics, including what Fireworks is, how to navigate the workspace, and you get a handle on using all the tools that are in the Tools panel.

Part II, “The Meat of the Matter,” teaches you about vector drawing, how to control your color, fills and strokes, and the ins and outs of working with text. You also enter the wonderful world of live effects, scale the learning curve of bitmap painting, and master masking techniques.

Part III, “Getting It Out There,” discusses, obviously, how to get your work out there. The chapters in this part include creating image maps, proper optimization techniques, and the oh-so-important intricacies of exporting your files to most every file format imaginable, plus two or three.

Part III also includes information about interactivity, behaviors, and automation. This is the part where, if you haven’t already fallen in love with Fireworks, you become love struck. Up until now, you were only infatuated. After this part, you become a true disciple because you’ll see beyond the cool features and tricks and realize the true driving power beneath what is too often seen as a mere graphical production-tool exterior. Wow.

Part IV, “Appendix,” includes the chapter “What’s on the CD-ROM.” Be aware that certain projects may call for a particular font. The font being used is for illustration purposes only. You may substitute a different font, as the font selected is not the important part of the project.

The grand finale is an appendix that explains how to work with the CD-ROM. the book also includes an index, so if you’re looking for a quick fix, you can locate a specific topic, quickly learn that topic, and get back to your project.

A Final Thought

Fireworks is really, we mean, really fun. It’s big fun. So, put your tray tables up and your chairs in the upright position because we’re taking off.

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