Optimizing Images in Fireworks 4 Flash

Although Flash can hold its own for vector art creation, you need another application to acquire, finesse, and export bitmap images for use in Flash. The newest release of Macromedia Fireworks has upped the ante on what you can expect from a Web-imaging application. Many of the new features of Fireworks 4 enable you to do more of your Web-image production from start to finish without ever going to another application. Here’s a quick overview of some of those features:

  • Macromedia common user interface (UI): Just like Flash 5, all the tools and options are laid out in panels that are distinguished by unique icons and names. Also, the document window provides a Launcher Bar in the lower-right corner.
  • Batch Processing improvements: It’s easier to run the same processes with a group of images, thanks to the new user interface for Batch Processing. Scott Brown’s tutorial in the next section shows you how to use this incredible feature. You can also run scripts during a batch process.
  • Selective JPEG compression: Fireworks 4 enables you to add a JPEG Mask to an area of your image. This mask can have a different JPEG compression setting than the rest of the image.
  • Better Dreamweaver integration: You can more easily edit .PNG image files while authoring HTML documents in Dreamweaver 4. When a .PNG image is opened in Fireworks from another application, Fireworks will let you know that you’re in “Launch and Edit” mode.
  • Director export: Fireworks can now export its files in a format suitable for Director use. This export requires an additional plug-in for Director.
  • FreeHand reader: You can import FreeHand files from versions 7, 8, and 9 into Fireworks 4.
  • There’s plenty more to Fireworks 4, and we get you on your way by introducing some solutions for Fireworks and Flash integration.

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