Category: Fireworks

Smashing Fireworks is an extended section of Smashing Magazine which has been created to provide you with articles and tutorials on Adobe Fireworks, curated by Michel Bozgounov.

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Workflow Tutorials Techniques Extensions iOS

Simulating The Letterpress: From Live Filters In Fireworks To CSS Code

One of the visual effects that is a mainstay in my Web design toolkit is the letterpress effect. Used properly, it’s a quick way to make text blend better with the layout, as if it were machine-stamped onto the background. Think of what a home appliance marquee or a professional business card looks (and feels) like, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The Letterpress Effect: From Fireworks To CSS

Letterpress is a venerable technique of printing that involves “pressing” a plate of movable type onto a sheet of paper to produce an effect that is impressed (where the text is pressed down onto the paper) or embossed (where the text is raised above the surface of the paper).

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Interactive Prototypes And Time-Savers With Adobe Fireworks

As interface designers, we’re often required to demonstrate the look and feel (and interactions) of the interfaces we design. We often begin with a series of flat images, and while these may be pixel perfect and show some amazing detail, they lack the context of the user experience.

Interactive Prototypes And Time-Savers With Adobe Fireworks

Without context, it would be difficult for your clients to understand the flow of an app or website in the way you originally planned it. The best way to introduce context is by adding interactivity. By providing an interactive prototype (or interactive mockup), your clients can play around with it to their hearts’ content to get an idea of how the app will work and to test the interactions.

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Create Interactive Prototypes With Adobe Fireworks

Whilst designing for screens—including Web, mobile and RIAs—you often need to create a prototype to see whether the application works properly before moving onto the development stage. Prototypes are also essential in Web projects.

Create Interactive Prototypes With Adobe Fireworks

For example, when you plan an online ordering process, you have to be sure that every step is correct and that no critical elements are missing. Usually, you would create different screens for all pages of a website, ordering process or application workflow, and then describe the connection between them.

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Developing A Design Workflow In Adobe Fireworks

Every designer has their own workflow when starting a new project, even if it’s only loosely defined in their head. A typical Web project goes through a variety of steps from inception to launch, with a lot of moving parts throughout the cycle. Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and even Web browsers themselves are available to aid us in our work. But with so many choices, how do we determine the right tool to move from concept to functional design?

Developing A Design Workflow In Adobe Fireworks

Over the years, I have come to rely on Adobe Fireworks as the main workhorse among my design applications. It’s built from the ground up to create screen-ready graphics; it’s object-oriented by design; and it’s lightning fast for creating UI elements. While Photoshop has made great strides lately by adding some vector support, it simply has not been able to match the speed and reusability of Fireworks for production work. Read on to get a glimpse of my project workflow (sketches → wireframes → graphic comps → export) and to see how Fireworks fits into these different stages.

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Blueprints For The Web: Specctr Adobe Fireworks Plugin

There is an aspect to Web design that no one likes to talk about: spec’ing. We all do it, we all hate it, but we also understand that specs are vital to both designers and developers.

Blueprints For The Web: Specctr Adobe Fireworks Plugin

For those who aren’t familiar with the term in this context, “specs” is short for specifications—in the case of design, they are instructions that specify colors, fonts, sizes, spacing and so on, just like a blueprint. Specs are a crucial part of the design and development process for companies with big teams and for small companies that have to outsource some of their development.

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Refining Your Design In Adobe Fireworks

While certainly not as well known as Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks is a great tool for creating user interfaces, website designs and mock-ups, wireframes, icons and much more.

Refining Your Design In Adobe Fireworks

However, most designers who have been using Photoshop for years may find Fireworks a bit awkward at first. Fireworks does have a slightly different workflow and requires a slightly different approach than you may be used to.

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Extracting Logos Using Levels In Adobe Fireworks

In all the years that I’ve been using Adobe Fireworks, I have always had to perform one task in every project: remove the background from a logo. Most of the time, it’s because the client doesn’t have the original raw file that their previous designer used to create their company’s logo, or because I need to work with a bunch of affiliate logos that I downloaded from the Web and not all of them have transparency information.

Extracting Logos Using Levels In Adobe Fireworks

With a rectangular or elliptical logo, I just trace over it with a shape and turn it into a mask. But when tracing a mask is impractical (as with complex shapes or text-based logos), I used to follow a method that I devised for extracting logos in Adobe Fireworks that doesn’t rely on the dreaded Magic Wand tool. This method took advantage of a few Live Effects to remove the background and retain the logo form. It was simple, but also primitive: it worked perfectly only when the contrast between the logo and background was already ideal and the logo form had only one color. Otherwise, I ended up with jagged edges.

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