5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 30, 2017 2:36 PM by miriamb26384112

    Fireworks alternative

    katherine.mary Level 1

      As Ive just learned adobe has abandoned fireworks I am reeling and looking for an alternative.
      I need something that functions like fireworks in several ways, one the vectors which were always more easy to create and tweak in fireworks, also lets you work with bitmaps. I need to be able to select and cut with a feathered edge. fireworks does this better than photoshop. and also ESSENTIAL I need pages, layers and groups.

      My workflow also depends on pages. as I often have to create many assets for many clients. with pages I can take the same button with shared elements, tweak for a client and then save out MULTIPLE pages. this is a great time saver.

      another example of how Id use pages is with creating astological signs. I create them all, share certain layers that all use while maintaining elements that are different. and then saving them all out at once instead of one at a time. For example I redesigned parts of the astro sign for the same client several times over the years. instead of recreating from scratch often it was just one element on all the signs that needed changing. Id update that element then viola, all pages ready to go.


      I also created a lot of banner ads and marketing assets using photos and vectors and using the superior vectors ability to have soft edges that I could control I could "paint" in a way to create precise shadows and highlights exactly the way I wanted. Illustrator cant do it and photoshop cant do it.


      so please if there is an alternate out there that can do it...let me know. Ive been with adobe for 20 years but I leave it in a NY minute if I have to get what I need elsewhere. as far as I know neither illustrator or photoshop has been updated to work as well as fireworks.
      and believe  me...I went to fireworks reluctantly. ironically it was a former employer who forced me to learn to use it. and once I mastered it I never looked back. and only used photoshop for photos.


      stumped by this move by adobe.

        • 1. Re: Fireworks alternative
          katherine.mary Level 1

          updating my own journey. After having tested some recommendations I found in another thread.
          There were no solutions which kept Fireworks pages intact, or even layers intact. Every application I tested flattened the PNG.
          There were several UI tools that some people might enjoy using but these do not solve the problem we will all eventually face with regard to our existing assets.


          These are my opinions based on my needs with regard to a replacement for Fireworks.


          I dont just design websites, phone apps, illustrate banner ads and create web assets. I do it all. and having to spend time going from one app to another is a terrible idea.


          Adobe photoshop
          deletes fireworks pages. if you save out every single page as an individual file you can at least save your layers and perhaps groups. but this is tedious workaround that does not guarantee your files will not break and need tweaks to get them in working order.
          Photoshop also can not crop bitmaps with the high level of (feathering) control that we have in Fireworks. Photoshop can not create vectors with the same degree of feathered control on edges. Nor can one control gradients as well as with fireworks.


          Adobe illustrator
          this app has always been an epic fail with regard to pages due to the "artboard". It loses all pages and terrible with regard to layers. as above you can not control feathering of vectors. you can not cut edges of bitmaps with the same control as fireworks


          Affinity designer
          can do layers but can not import PNG files with layers. It opens the PNG file flat such that not only are all working layers are lost but so are all your pages created in fireworks. I like this program even though there are no pages and is not what I am looking for. but it has some weird quirks like when you try to move one layer above another it disappears or flattens into the other. in addition there is no way to crop a bitmap image with soft gaussian edges. I don’t even think you can paste into vectors.


          Photo line
          does not look as sophisticated as affinity designer and can not open layered PNG files. It flattens pages and layers both. It does however, supposedly have pages and layers and groups. however, when I tried to create a file with 12 pages the result was one page and I was not able to add another page. the “edit” icon was greyed out. I don’t think this tool is suitable for replacing fireworks. it really is “photo”. so somewhat like pshop but pared down to almost nothing


          Sketchup looks…non intuitive. it has pages. but not like fireworks at all. no way to share assets. you “insert” an item to begin creating but I could find no way to “select” anything Id created in order to edit a point and this despite the fact there are obviously bezier curves to be selected. I have no idea why anyone would consider this tool. and it also looks as unsophisticated visually as it is non-intuitive to use. this is not a pros tool at all.


          XARA designer is windows only


          is can not be used as an illustration tool in the way that fireworks can when creating marketing assets such as banner ads, buttons, etc. It can not be used to create vector artwork or edit bitmaps. it is strictly a layout tool for web, IOS, Android, etc.


          is a low level program that runs inside, non-natively a subprogram called Xquarts. I hated it. no layers, no groups and no pages.


          this is not a designers tool. strictly UI layout


          justin mind prototyping tool
          is like macaw. nothing more than a prototype layout tool. not a designers editing or creation tool


          Why is fireworks being abandoned? to force you to use more than one app, and pay a higher monthly fee to do most, but not all that you already do in fireworks. I wouldnt mind IF illustrator and photoshop could pick up the slack that will be left behind when Fireworks is so old your computer can no longer run it. But seriously, when they dropped Freehand the slack remained. Years later, Illustrator is still married to an artboard we all hated. Fireworks is the only program that gave us back our pages and came close to the superiority of Freehand vector work.

          • 2. Re: Fireworks alternative
            Herbert2001 Level 4

            I can only relate, and I will share my experience with you.


            FIreworks uses a custom PNG format, which is unsupported in any other application. At the time when Fireworks was still 'alive', users (and I believe the developers as well) were arguing and discussing about switching to a new native source file format, because the use of "layered" PNGs with custom attributes was more and more frowned upon, and regarded as a mistake.


            You cannot blame other applications for not supporting FW's PNG files with layers intact: PNG was never supposed to be 'abused' as a native file format.


            As for the applications you looked at: just spending a short amount of time in any application, and not truly understanding how they function, will warp your opinion. I have worked with all the applications you mentioned (except Antitype), and to be honest, based on your comments, it seems to me you really did not understand the functionality and features of each. Spending an hour or so in each application and comparing them with Fireworks which you are very familiar with, is a bit unfair.


            Yet, you are correct in stating that Fireworks offers a number of unique features which are just not found in that combination in any other software.


            Anyway, I primarily use Photoline (in combination with other applications) for my work. I do not mind working in multiple applications. I am a firm believer in that no single application can (or should) cater for everything I need to do. Fireworks, while having some unique features, always lacked certain other features which I found to be essential - hence, I already worked in various applications before I left Fireworks.



            Photoline GUI: I admit that the default interface with its coloured icons is not as appealing as it might be. Having said that, the GUI light/dark level can be seamlessly controlled in the preferences, and icons can be switched to greyscale ones.



            Pages in Photoline: PL works in two modes (image mode and document mode). To work with pages, you must work in document mode. This can be accomplished by either creating a new document (not a new image) or by switching an image to document mode in the document properties panel.


            Once in document mode, you may insert and delete pages. Any page can be any size. Sadly, master pages are still not supported in Photoline. However, layers and layer groups can be virtually cloned, and copied across pages, and these will update when the source layer is edited.



            Photoline gradients are far more controllable than the ones in Fireworks. Granted, Fireworks offers more gradient types, but Photoline combines the circle and ellipse into one type. Others, such as the Countour, can be easily emulated with the ellipse gradient type. Ripples are merely repeated/mirrored elliptical gradients, which in Photoline is (more) easily accomplished by setting the gradient to mirrored and/or repeated. The Waves gradient is in principle a texture. Photoline offers a range of procedural texture generators (a feature which I have not found in any other image editor).


            Unlike Fireworks, Photoline allows the user to add, edit, and delete colour stops directly in the view: no need for dialogs. And in the latest betas even the gradient interpolation can be set to linear and cubic.

            Changing the colour stop's colour in a gradient is also easier and more elegant: just right-click on a colour stop to change the colour in the view. Document colours are also supported (colours which update document-wide when changed).


            Feathered edges: the reason why the feathered edges look so nice in Fireworks is simple: as far as I am aware, a Gaussian blur is applied. In Photoline I solve it this way: first, I create a selection, and use it for a mask (cropped). Then I apply a live Gaussian adjustment layer to the mask. The quality is the same, but the control of the feathered edge far exceeds what is possible in Fireworks, since I can apply additional live non-destructive adjustment layers - even on the Gaussian blurred mask and other components.


            As far as layers, layer masks, and groups are concerned: Photoline completely blows Fireworks out of the water. There is no comparison. I would go as far as stating that Photoline's layer stack outperforms the one in Photoshop. There are many reasons for this, but to really understand why this is so, you MUST spend more time and get familiar with Photoline. Simple example: layer opacity can be set from -200(!) up to +200. No other application I know of can do this, and it is super handy.


            As for other misc. things:

            - full vector layers are supported. TRUE vector layers: the ones in Fireworks are always converted to the base resolution of the bitmap image. Not so in Photoline: it is up to you, the user.

            - work on a pixel grid, or not. Up to you.

            - app link: link up other applications. Photoline can send layers, a flattened document, or the entire document to an external application, where you can edit, and then send it back to Photoline. Photoline automatically updates the content.

            - nice guide creator, with an option to use formulas. Guides adjust to a page size adjustment that way. Also control of guides on specific pages. No layer-based guides.

            - export of layers directly to a specific image format.

            - great SVG support. Even more so in the latest betas.

            - mostly non-destructive workflow.

            - webp import/export.

            - image editing in Photoline is far, FAR superior to Fireworks. It is more on par with Photoshop.

            - standard Photoshop plugin compatible

            - selection methods and options are just incomparably better in Photoline.

            - while Fireworks' PNG output used to be king of the hill, the king has grown old and stale. I now use Photoline's app link to export layers directly into Colour Quantizer - the best PNG optimizer (dare I say it?) on Earth. Unfortunately only available for Windows.


            Cons compared to Fireworks:

            - no real symbol/library option.

            - stroke options for painterly effects not nearly as strong

            - no direct html output. No interactivity.

            - no 9-slice scaling option

            - slicing is very basic in Photoshop

            - no scripting support (ouch!)

            - vector editing in Fireworks can be augmented with extensions, which do offer way more control.


            For me most of the cons are not a problem: I never used slicing myself. The code output in Fireworks is dreadful and old-fashioned. I do miss a symbol/library panel, though. I use the app link to send vector layers to InkScape in case I need more sophisticated vector tools. Works really nice - the vector editing tools in InkScape I find much of an improvement over the ones in Fireworks. And btw: InkScape DOES support layers and groups.


            You gave Photoline a mere glance of attention - you cannot expect to form a founded opinion based on that.

            The same holds true for Affinity Designer: you really ought to spend more time with the applications.


            Also realize that the workflow in these applications is just different. Worse in some aspects, same in others, and an improvement in yet other areas.


            Still, you are correct in saying that nothing else out there offers the same combination of features as found in Fireworks.

            • 3. Re: Fireworks alternative
              katherine.mary Level 1

              Hi Herbert, thanks for your details on photoline.


              Its not what I am looking for.


              I want my fireworks. but alas thats not to be. Im going to give affinity design a try. at 49 bucks its cheaper than a month of all of adobes tools and I never have to pay again. if Im disapointed I wont have wasted a ton of money and maybe Ill give photoline another look based on your commentary.


              or maybe...and Im really dreaming...adobe will WAKE up and give me what Im losing from the loss of fireworks in some other program they should also be refining and improving. Really all they have to do is port over some of the things it does into photoshop and illustrator.


              Im not sure why ALL software developers believe there should only be ONE way of doing something in an application.


              why cant photoshop handled shapes the way it does..which I abhor and also allow vector based editability the way fireworks does?


              why cant illustrator offer document setup for the lame "artboard" for those who cant get over it...and the ability to create pages like we do in fireworks? Why cant photoshop do that?


              why cant any application do ALL of  that?


              why not dare to be inclusive instead of exclusive?


              I hated proprietary when I had to code one way for netscape, another for mac web browsers and everything in between.


              why should I have to use MANY tools to do what I want?


              because it makes some capitalist somewhere big money?

              I think the little guys are gonna reinvent the wheel and adobe is gonna have to pay attention because they are no longer the trend setters they once were.


              I want adobe to remain my goto. but they are not going where I am going. But Im sure they are going somewhere some folks really want them to go. You cant really be all things to all people...or so I am told.


              anyway...thank you herbert. I did know exactly what I was looking for when I reviewed each application. I am that old. and Ive been doing my thing for a very long long time.

              • 4. Re: Fireworks alternative
                katherine.mary Level 1

                Fireworks to Affinity! Maintain Vector editability, keep content from pages.



                Here's how to save your valuable Fireworks Assets, preserve editable vectors, keep the content on alternate pages from completely disappearing, or having to be painfully saved out as separate files.


                You may desire to save all your FW PAGES out as individual files preserving layers instead of choosing to include them all in one file.


                Before proceeding please note I have not tried this with PAGES that have "shared" layers. SO your mileage may vary.


                My testing so far only includes FW files with multiple layers, groups and pages. None of which was shared across pages.


                Open your fireworks file and for best results make sure EVERYTHING on every layer and every page is UNGROUPED, UNLOCKED and VISIBLE.


                Convert text to paths IF you need to preserve the styles and effects applied to text. If you do not the text may remain editable when you open in Illustrator but it will have lost the styles and colors applied and be a weird pale green color.


                EXPORT the file as "FXG and Images" Select ALL PAGES from the Menu before clicking on "save".


                Open illustrator C5 or newer.


                Create a NEW Illustrator document.


                PLACE the FXG file you saved out from FW into the new document.


                EVERY page from the original FW file is present but now everything is now on one "page". You have lost individual pages--but at least everything is there and you can add artboards or pages to affinity and move items over to additional pages or artboards. Not as neat as your FW pages were but better than nothing. And considering all Affinity has to offer its a small price to pay.


                NEXT Go to the layers panel and make sure everything that can be ungrouped is UNGROUPED, UNLOCKED, and NOT Hidden. If you have not already converted text to paths do it now as editable text will not be preserved when you open the file in Affinity Design.


                RESAVE AS an Illustrator CS5 or better .ai file. UNcheck "compression" before you save.


                OPEN the .ai file in Affinity. DONT FREAK OUT. The thumbnail preview will look scary but its all okay. Just click to open the file.


                Viola. Every vector is there and editable. Though you may have to yet again UNGROUP if you neglected to do this in any of the steps above.


                Not all of your styles or effects will have been preserved in the vectors. At least you havent lost everything. And wont have to start from scratch. Select individual vector items and you can ADD their styles in Affinitys style panel for use in other projects.


                NOTE: you might ask why cant I just save out as .ai from FW. Well the problem there is that FW only saves out as an ancient version of Illustrator 8 and nothing is preserved when the file is opened in Affinity.


                You can also save from illustrator as an EPS and open that in Affinity. I don't like using EPS as the colors "shift" noticeably and the quality of the graphics dont seem to be as well preserved as when you go from Fireworks to FXG and then to Illustrator and back out as C25 .ai or better.

                • 5. Re: Fireworks alternative
                  miriamb26384112 Level 1

                  I am in the same position as you. I want to use Abobe Creative Cloud for all my work and taking away fFireworks REALLY disrupts my workflow. I NEED to have an Adobe program that will open Fireworks layers after Fireworks disappears altogether. Are you really abandoning us Adobe? Can't you make a plug-in for Photoshop and/or Illustrator to convert fw.pgn layers-----PLEASE!