27 May 2009
Adobe Fireworks CS4 offers increased integration with the other tools in Adobe Creative Suite 4. It's never been easier to share files between Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Fireworks. The new features allow you to choose exactly how the graphics from other programs will be brought into Fireworks. The updated Open and Import options save you time because it is no longer necessary to prep graphic files before incorporating them into Fireworks. CS4 offers a seamless experience to share images among the different image editing tools.
There are several ways you can bring bitmap graphics into Fireworks CS4. This section describes the process of opening, importing, copying, and dragging images into your Fireworks document.
I describe how to open a Photoshop document in Fireworks CS4 with the new Photoshop File Open Options dialog box and how to set your preferences in Fireworks to specify the default Photoshop import/open options. I also show you how to open an Illustrator document in Fireworks CS4 and choose the right options in the Vector File Options dialog box. I also describe the process of opening files as "untitled" to create a new version without overwriting the original PSD or AI file. Finally, I provide steps so you can open multiple Illustrator files as an animation.
When you open files, they appear in their own document window. From the file menu, select File > Open (see Figure 1).
Navigate to the Photoshop file. Double-click on the filename, or click Open. The Photoshop File Open Options dialog box appears (see Figure 2).
Click the check box next to Preview to see a thumbnail of the file you are opening. If the file contains layer comps, use the drop-down menu to select the layer comp you wish to open. Use the Layer Comp preview thumbnail as a visual guide to help you choose the correct comp from the list.
If desired, you can reset the dimensions and resolution of the document.
Note: Keep the check box next to Constrain Proportions checked. If the aspect ratio changes, the bitmap image will look distorted.
Check the check box next to Include Guides if you wish to preserve the guides that exist in the Photoshop document.
Enable the option Convert layer to frames if you created an animation or interface button in the Photoshop file and you wish to bring each layer in as a separate state. When you select this option, each layer of the Photoshop document will be placed on its own state in the States panel.
Use the drop-down menu to choose between the following four options:
Maintain Layer Editability Over Appearance offers the most editability of the opened file. However, if the Photoshop file includes features that are not supported by Fireworks, such as CMYK layers, adjustment layers and objects using the Knockout option, Fireworks maintains the appearance of the Photoshop artwork by merging the unsupported elements with underlying layers.
Maintain Photoshop Layer Appearance retains the changes made in Photoshop, making some items uneditable, but maintains the original look of the file.
Custom Settings from Preferences uses the custom settings that you've set in the Photoshop Import / Open preferences. These settings allow you to set up a default profile for importing Photoshop files (see Figure 3).
Finally, Flatten Photoshop Layers to Single Image flattens all of the layers, resulting in a single layer with a flattened image. Text and vector objects are no longer editable.
After making your selections, Click OK to open the file.
Choose Window > Layers to access the Layers panel, if it is not already open.
If you select either Maintain Layer Editability or Maintain Photoshop Layer Appearance in the drop-down menu, the layer panel will display the layers and sublayers that were present in the original PSD file. Layers may also be retained if you select Custom Settings from Preferences, depending on the Photoshop Import/Open preference settings (see Figure 4).
If you select Flatten Photoshop Layers, the Layers panel will display a single layer with the flattened image.
Choosing editability allows you to continue editing vector shapes of opened Photoshop documents in Fireworks. Use the Subselection tool to select individual anchor points and manipulate them (see Figure 5).
Note: Smart objects and adjustment layers from Photoshop are not supported in Fireworks.
After making edits, you can either save the file as a PSD and continue working in Photoshop, or save as a PNG and continue using the features in Fireworks to finalize the design.
Note: Prior to Fireworks CS4, some files that used alternate color modes could not be opened. Fireworks CS4 supports all of the color spaces (CMY_K, Lab Color, etc.) available in Photoshop and Illustrator. After opening or importing these files, the graphics are converted to RGB 8 bit. This may result in color variations in some cases.
To read more about working with Photoshop files in Fireworks, watch the video Importing files into Fireworks CS4. Also, check out the video on Fireworks CS4 Photoshop integration from Layers Magazine.
When you open files, they appear in their own document window. From the file menu, select File > Open (see Figure 6).
Navigate to the Illustrator file. Double-click on the filename, or click Open. TheVector File Options dialog box appears (see Figure 7).
Specify the scaling options and reset the dimensions of the vector artwork as desired. By default, the scaling will be set to 100% of the original file's dimensions. Unlike bitmap graphics, you can choose to import the Illustrator file at a setting larger than 100% scale of the original artwork, because vector graphics are resolution independent. This means you can increase the dimensions of the artwork and scale it to any size without loss of image quality.
Web and video graphics are generally set to a resolution of 72 pixels/inch. If you plan on printing the document, check with your print vendor to determine the resolution of their printer—usually somewhere between 150 and 300 pixels/inch.
Set the anti-aliasing for the paths and text to Smooth, Strong, Crisp or System, using the drop-down menu. You can specify anti-aliasing for paths, text, or both by checking the corresponding check boxes. Uncheck both check boxes if you do not wish to apply anti-aliasing (see Figure 8).
Anti-aliasing, when set properly, makes text graphics more legible by substituting shades of the font color around the lines and curves which would otherwise appear to be broken or jagged from pixel to pixel.
Here's a description of the results of each setting:
If the Illustrator file contains multiple art boards, the graphics of each art board will be copied to its own page in the Pages panel by default. If desired, you can specify which art board to bring into Fireworks by selecting it with the "Open a page" drop-down menu.
To bring in the Illustrator file as a single flat image, check the box next to Ignore layers.
You can choose to ignore the background layer of the Illustrator document (if one exists in the file) by deselecting the check box next to Include background layers. Otherwise, this option is unavailable.
The Render as images options at the bottom of the dialog box allows you to reduce the file size (and therefore increase performance) of the file. Depending on the complexity of the Illustrator shapes, you may wish to bring in vector shapes as groups, rather than individual paths. If the paths are fairly simple, it is not necessary to check the check boxes. But if you have traced bitmaps and complicated vector paths in the Illustrator document you are bringing in, you may find it is easier to work with the shapes as grouped images. Experiment with settings of 30 or more to help facilitate editing vector shapes in Fireworks CS4.
Click OK to open the Illustrator file. The vector shapes remain editable and you can use the Subselection tool to click the vector points and change the shapes as desired. Documents using other color modes are converted to the RGB 8 bit color mode when opened or imported into Fireworks CS4.
There are times when you'll want to edit an existing Photoshop or Illustrator document without overriding the original PSD or AI file. You may also wish to work with a JPEG or other image and not affect the original file. Fireworks CS4 makes it easy to open an existing file and immediately save it with a different filename.
Select File > Open. In the Open File dialog box that appears, check the option to Open as "Untitled" (see Figure 9).
A new, untitled document opens in Fireworks, allowing you to preserve the original file and not make any changes to it. Now that the untitled file is created, choose File > Save to name the new file and specify where to save it.
Now you can add Live Filters, crop, and make any other desired changes without altering the file that you initially opened. If you make minor changes, such as cropping the file, you can save it as a flat JPEG file. If you add Live Filters or make significant changes, Fireworks CS4 automatically prompts you to save the file in its native Fireworks PNG format to preserve editability.
If you have a series of Illustrator documents that will be used to generate an animated GIF, Fireworks CS4 offers a time saving feature that allows you to open the files as an animation. Choose File > Open to access the Open File dialog box. Press and hold the Shift key to select multiple Illustrator documents at the same time. At the bottom of the dialog box, check the check box next to Open as Animation (see Figure 10).
Click OK to complete the Open File operation. The Vector File Options dialog box appears. Select the desired settings for the first document, and then click OK. The Vector File Options dialog box will repeatedly open to allow you to choose the settings for each of the selected documents.
The current Fireworks document is updated, and each one of the Illustrator files is added as a separate state in the States Panel (see Figure 11).
The same process can be used to open multiple Photoshop documents as an animation, allowing you to quickly create a series of states in the Fireworks document.
When you are working on a project, it is helpful to bring in new graphic elements directly into the current open document, rather than opening them in their own document window. Choose File > Import to bring a graphic into an existing open Fireworks document. Navigate to a file to select it. Click Open.
When you import a file, the cursor changes to a left corner bracket shape. Click and drag a region on the open document to specify where you wish to place the imported graphic. When you click and drag the bracket cursor, you are automatically resizing the imported graphic to fit the region's dimension. Fireworks constrains the proportions of the original image file.
Alternatively, if you wish to bring in the graphic at its original dimensions, simply click the cursor once on the document. The imported graphic will be placed at that location at its original size.
Note: Whenever working with bitmap graphics, never scale larger than the file's original dimensions, because the resolution of the pixel-based graphic will be compromised. Always use bitmap graphics at their original size, or scale them down to a smaller size.
It's never been easier to bring graphics into Fireworks CS4 from other image editing programs. Any graphic that is copied to the clipboard can be pasted into an existing Fireworks document.
Choose Edit > Copy (Ctrl+C on Windows, or Command+C on Mac OS) while a bitmap graphic is selected. The graphic can be in Photoshop, Illustrator, a web browser or any other program that allows you to select and copy the image.
While Fireworks CS4 is open, drag the document window over to one side so that you can see another open application, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or a web browser. Once you can see both the image you wish to copy and the document window in Fireworks, click on the image and drag it to the canvas. Release the mouse. Then use the selection tool to place the dragged image at the desired location.
You can also drag images from one open Fireworks document to another. If both files are open simultaneously, right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the tab of one of the open documents and choose Move to New Window from the context menu that appears.
Once both document windows are open and positioned side by side, you can use the selection tool to drag the image from one canvas to the other.
If you are familiar with Fireworks CS3 and want to get up to speed quickly with the enhanced features in Fireworks CS4, see What's new in Fireworks CS4 in the Using Fireworks CS4 online documentation.
To learn more about importing files into Fireworks CS4, watch the Photoshop file import demo by Jim Babbage. He shows you how Fireworks retains the high degree of fidelity when you import a Photoshop native file that contains vector shapes, layer hierarchy, object visibility, and Photoshop Live Effects. Also check out Jim's getting-started video, Importing and exporting images.
Finally, explore other areas of the Design Learning Guide for Fireworks CS4.