17 Replies Latest reply on Aug 28, 2008 3:23 PM by Paevo Kelley

    Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?

    windowswarrior Level 1
      I have purchased Adobe Creative Suite 3 (Design Premium with Acrobat Pro 9 and Fireworks CS3). The installation for Fireworks CS3 is on a separate dvd. The workflow booklet that came with the software has no mention of Fireworks CS3. Also, I purchased the optional manuals and there is not one for Fireworks. This creative suite includes INDESIGN, PHOTOSHOP EXTENDED, ILLUSTRATOR, FLASH, AND DREAMWEAVER. What does Fireworks do that these other program do not. I am not finding any real meat information on the Adobe site to explain why I need this application.

      Thanks for your input. Kristi
        • 1. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
          pixlor Level 4
          Fireworks is a hybrid vector and bitmap graphics program that is focused on building Web graphics. It is also great for setting up page mockups.

          If you are doing print work, then you don't need Fireworks. If you're doing Web design, then coming from your other Adobe apps you may find some adjustment necessary, but FW is really streamlilned for getting the Web worker's (graphics) job done. While it will also produce HTML, this is mockup/preview quality only, and any real site building should be done in Dreamweaver, some other specialized program, or by hand.

          See also This similar thread

          quote:

          Originally posted by: windowswarrior
          I have purchased Adobe Creative Suite 3 (Design Premium with Acrobat Pro 9 and Fireworks CS3). The installation for Fireworks CS3 is on a separate dvd. The workflow booklet that came with the software has no mention of Fireworks CS3. Also, I purchased the optional manuals and there is not one for Fireworks. This creative suite includes INDESIGN, PHOTOSHOP EXTENDED, ILLUSTRATOR, FLASH, AND DREAMWEAVER. What does Fireworks do that these other program do not. I am not finding any real meat information on the Adobe site to explain why I need this application.

          Thanks for your input. Kristi


          • 2. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
            windowswarrior Level 1
            Lorraine,

            have been creating my web sites in Dreamweaver ... including whatever mock-ups I needed for the client. I don't do sketches, I just design in Dreamweaver.

            I produce the web graphics in Photoshop using the SAVE FOR WEB feature which gives me pretty nice control over quality/size.

            I will give this app a try, but it sounds like it's adding another step for me. Thanks for the input and information.

            Kristi
            • 3. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
              JoeDaSilva Level 4
              This article explains everything quite well:

              http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/articles/why_fireworks.html

              Fireworks isn't something you use in addition to Photoshop, it's something you use *instead* of Photoshop.
              • 4. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                Level 7
                If you're comfortable with Photoshop then just use that.

                However, Photoshop began life as a photo editor for print applications. In
                recent years it has added web functionaility.

                Fireworks was inherited by Adobe from the Macromedia acquisition. It is
                built from the ground up to do web graphics, vector and bitmap integrated
                into one streamlined app, and its workflow and methodology suits the web
                medium intuitively.



                --
                Regards

                John Waller

                • 5. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                  windowswarrior Level 1
                  Joey,

                  Perfect Post. BRAVO! Thank you for the much-needed info. Haven't had a chance to read through everything, but the article is exactly what I was looking for.

                  Moreover, I will read your blogs. I appreciate the fact that you've provided a summary as well as content in # of words and anticipated read time. Very smart!

                  Kudos,
                  Kristi
                  • 6. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                    Level 7
                    On Wed, 30 Jul 2008 04:04:43 +0000 (UTC), "JoeyD1978"
                    <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote:

                    >This article explains everything quite well:
                    >
                    > http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/articles/why_fireworks.html
                    >
                    > Fireworks isn't something you use in addition to Photoshop, it's something you
                    >use *instead* of Photoshop.

                    I disagree completely. They are two very different applications, and
                    I use them both - for very different purposes.

                    Win
                    --
                    Win Day
                    Wild Rose Websites www.wildrosewebsites.com
                    windayNOSPAM@wildrosewebsites.com
                    • 7. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                      Level 7
                      > Fireworks isn't something you use in addition to Photoshop, it's something
                      > you
                      > use *instead* of Photoshop.

                      Not me. I use both. Have done for years.

                      --
                      Regards

                      John Waller

                      • 8. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                        JoeDaSilva Level 4
                        Haha, calm down friends! I do all of my masking and photo work in Photoshop. Both applications have been a part of my workflow for over ten years. But if I had to I could do that photo work in Fireworks too, although not as quickly and efficiently.

                        However, if you're doing any layout work in Photoshop then it's my opinion that you're cheating yourself.
                        • 9. Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                          SiamJai Level 2
                          quote:

                          Originally posted by: JoeyD1978
                          I do all of my masking and photo work in Photoshop. Both applications have been a part of my workflow for over ten years. But if I had to I could do that photo work in Fireworks too, although not as quickly and efficiently.
                          Hmm... are you sure? I've been doing advanced photomanips and other raster work in Fireworks for years, and I found it quick and efficient. Universal plugins that can be used both in PS and FW greatly enhance the raster-editing capabilities of Fireworks (AlienSkin stuff, for example).

                          Joe, I think that your first advice was spot-on. I practically replaced Photoshop with Fireworks and it works great, whether it's about photos, webdesign, UI or animation. :-)


                          SiamJai
                          ~~~~
                          http://design.thaiwonders.com - Innovative Fireworks Tutorials
                          • 10. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                            Level 7
                            SiamJai wrote:
                            >
                            quote:

                            Originally posted by: JoeyD1978
                            > I do all of my masking and photo work in Photoshop. Both applications have
                            > been a part of my workflow for over ten years. But if I had to I could do that
                            > photo work in Fireworks too, although not as quickly and efficiently.

                            > Hmm... are you sure? I've been doing advanced photomanips and other raster work
                            > in Fireworks for years, and I found it quick and efficient. Universal plugins
                            > that can be used both in PS and FW greatly enhance the raster-editing
                            > capabilities of Fireworks (AlienSkin stuff, for example).
                            >
                            > Joe, I think that your first advice was spot-on. I practically replaced
                            > Photoshop with Fireworks and it works great, regardless of whether it's about
                            > photos, webdesign, UI or animation. :-)
                            >
                            >
                            > SiamJai
                            > ~~~~
                            > http://design.thaiwonders.com - Innovative Fireworks Tutorials
                            >

                            Agreed, but Fireworks is not set up to handle large high resolution
                            files efficiently, especially if you incorporate Live Filters into the mix.

                            A while back, I tried an experiment where I imported high res files into
                            a Fireworks design and converted them all to symbols. I then resized the
                            instances down to a more manageable size for FW, created my collage and
                            then resized all the images back to their original size.

                            This made it quick and easy to do the work in FW, and because the photos
                            were all symbols, I lost no quality when I sized them back up to their
                            original dimensions.

                            I don't know how often I'd do this, but it did work.

                            --
                            Jim Babbage - .:Community MX:. & .:Adobe Community Expert:.
                            http://www.communityMX.com/
                            CommunityMX - Free Resources:
                            http://www.communitymx.com/free.cfm
                            ---
                            .:Adobe Community Expert for Fireworks:.
                            Adobe Community Expert
                            http://tinyurl.com/2a7dyp
                            ---
                            See my work on Flickr
                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim_babbage/
                            • 11. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                              windowswarrior Level 1
                              quote:

                              Originally posted by: JoeyD1978
                              This article explains everything quite well:

                              http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/articles/why_fireworks.html

                              Fireworks isn't something you use in addition to Photoshop, it's something you use *instead* of Photoshop.

                              __________________________________________________

                              Visit my Adobe Fireworks Blog for tutorials and workflow techniques.




                              The reason I marked Joey's post as "right on" as an answer to my post was the article he cited (link included above). It provides the necessary information to determine how Fireworks can fit into your work flow. As for whether or not I (or YOU) will use it, it's apparently a personal-choice decision ... hence the number of contradictory posts.

                              I would also disagree with the assertion that Firewoks can replace Photoshop. My basis for that statement is my initial experience with the resolution of graphics coming out of Fireworks. Why create graphics at low resolution when you could have a print project in the future that needs 300 dpi graphics.. I would prefer to create my graphics in CorelDRAW or Illustrator and do photo work in Photoshop, scaling the work down and using the SAVE TO WEB export filter which I've tweaked to get very good results. That way, when projects requiring high-resolution graphics come up, I don't have to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. I don't see that Fireworks can save as or export to a scalable EPS graphic.

                              Since my intial post, I've installed Fireworks and tried a couple of things. I went to Joey's blog (cited above) and tried the lessons. While I would have liked to have seen these blogs take me all the way through integration with Dreamweaver. I found them informative. Big Kudos to Joey for pointing me (and other readers of the blog) to two online resources for free/affordable type and stock photos!

                              In the absence of instruction for integrating these graphics into a Dreamweaver design, I tried exporting the graphics at their partially finished state. The gradient band that he has employed in the header looks terrible coming out of Fireworks, as does the drop shadow on the mug.

                              I tried several export options for exporting from Fireworks (export graphics only, css layers, html and images, and something about an mxml file which I couldn't seem to open with any application on my computer!). They all come out with banding and the drop looks weird to me. Compare these to exports from Photoshop ...

                              Click here to see the GIF from FIREWORKS vs from PHOTOSHOP CS3

                              Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on Fireworks. In fact, I'm going to pursue additional online tutorials to get the best idea of what I can do with this tool. However, if it is just a tool in which to make mock-ups which I can import into Dreamweaver and "trace" over to get the disired results, I won't use it. Yes, it can be a bit time-consuming to create a vector image in CorelDRAW, export it as an EPS, open it in Photoshop and SAVE TO WEB, but I have total control to size it, resize it, etc. and seem to have better control over what the web-based GIF or JPG will look like.
                              • 12. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                Level 7
                                windowswarrior wrote:
                                > I don't see that Fireworks can save as or export to a
                                > scalable EPS graphic.

                                png (the native file format) is vector based and scalable...you can also
                                save as AI.

                                Steve
                                • 13. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                  Level 7
                                  windowswarrior wrote:
                                  >
                                  quote:

                                  Originally posted by: JoeyD1978
                                  > This article explains everything quite well:
                                  >
                                  > http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/articles/why_fireworks.html
                                  >
                                  > Fireworks isn't something you use in addition to Photoshop, it's something you
                                  > use *instead* of Photoshop.
                                  >
                                  > __________________________________________________
                                  >
                                  > Visit my http://joedasilva.com/blog/ for tutorials and workflow techniques.
                                  >

                                  >
                                  >
                                  > The reason I marked Joey's post as "right on" as an answer to my post was the
                                  > article he cited (link included above). It provides the necessary information
                                  > to determine how Fireworks can fit into your work flow. As for whether or not I
                                  > (or YOU) will use it, it's apparently a personal-choice decision ... hence the
                                  > number of contradictory posts.
                                  >
                                  > I would also disagree with the assertion that Firewoks can replace Photoshop.
                                  > My basis for that statement is my initial experience with the resolution of
                                  > graphics coming out of Fireworks. Why create graphics at low resolution when
                                  > you could have a print project in the future that needs 300 dpi graphics.. I
                                  > would prefer to create my graphics in CorelDRAW or Illustrator and do photo
                                  > work in Photoshop, scaling the work down and using the SAVE TO WEB export
                                  > filter which I've tweaked to get very good results. That way, when projects
                                  > requiring high-resolution graphics come up, I don't have to re-invent the
                                  > wheel, so to speak. I don't see that Fireworks can save as or export to a
                                  > scalable EPS graphic.
                                  >
                                  > Since my intial post, I've installed Fireworks and tried a couple of things. I
                                  > went to Joey's blog (cited above) and tried the lessons. While I would have
                                  > liked to have seen these blogs take me all the way through integration with
                                  > Dreamweaver. I found them informative. Big Kudos to Joey for pointing me (and
                                  > other readers of the blog) to two online resources for free/affordable type and
                                  > stock photos!
                                  >
                                  > In the absence of instruction for integrating these graphics into a
                                  > Dreamweaver design, I tried exporting the graphics at their partially finished
                                  > state. The gradient band that he has employed in the header looks terrible
                                  > coming out of Fireworks, as does the drop shadow on the mug.
                                  >
                                  > I tried several export options for exporting from Fireworks (export graphics
                                  > only, css layers, html and images, and something about an mxml file which I
                                  > couldn't seem to open with any application on my computer!). They all come out
                                  > with banding and the drop looks weird to me. Compare these to exports from
                                  > Photoshop ...
                                  >
                                  > http://admarkcom.com/comparison.html
                                  >
                                  > Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on Fireworks. In fact, I'm going to
                                  > pursue additional online tutorials to get the best idea of what I can do with
                                  > this tool. However, if it is just a tool in which to make mock-ups which I can
                                  > import into Dreamweaver and "trace" over to get the disired results, I won't
                                  > use it. Yes, it can be a bit time-consuming to create a vector image in
                                  > CorelDRAW, export it as an EPS, open it in Photoshop and SAVE TO WEB, but I
                                  > have total control to size it, resize it, etc. and seem to have better control
                                  > over what the web-based GIF or JPG will look like.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  You have total control over the export of your graphics in Fireworks.
                                  What leads you to think otherwise?

                                  Like any software, you need to give it your full attention for more than
                                  a short period of time to appreciate what it can do and how it can help
                                  your workflow. I am not sure where you got the idea to use Dreamweaver
                                  to trace a full Fireworks design. Sounds like you picked up on a
                                  buzzword. The workflow you describe for creating a vector image alone
                                  can be cut down to one-quarter of the work, by creating the vectors in
                                  Fireworks. You don't even need to leave the application, unless you are
                                  doing some heavy duty bitmap image editing. You'll be amazed at the
                                  things you can achieve if you take the time to get comfortable with the
                                  program.

                                  I speak from experience; I came from a Photoshop background (and yes I
                                  still use it quite often for high res image editing or collages. I also
                                  use Lightroom. Each application has its own strengths). I even teach PS
                                  and FW in college. It took me about three weeks to really gain a
                                  comfortable workflow. It doesn't have the same workflow as PS and that
                                  was the main thing I had to understand. But it has a workflow which is
                                  really suitable to web page design - or almost any screen based graphic
                                  work, for that matter.

                                  There is a wide range of excellent Fireworks tutorials out there:

                                  Fireworkszone
                                  www.fireworkszone.com

                                  Adobe:
                                  http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/

                                  Case in point, a three part series on taking an FW comp and turning it
                                  into a CSS standards based layout in Dreamweaver:
                                  http://www.adobe.com/devnet/fireworks/articles/web_standards_layouts_pt1.html

                                  http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/
                                  http://www.adobe.com/newsletters/edge/june2008/
                                  http://www.adobe.com/newsletters/edge/april2008/

                                  Project Seven:
                                  http://projectseven.com/tutorials/images/index.htm

                                  Community MX:
                                  http://www.communitymx.com/abstract.cfm?cid=ECAAF
                                  which I am in the process of updating, is a list of all the FW tutorials
                                  we have, some free, others low cost.

                                  Lynda.com
                                  www.lynda.com

                                  And this is by no means an exhaustive list.


                                  --
                                  Jim Babbage - .:Community MX:. & .:Adobe Community Expert:.
                                  http://www.communityMX.com/
                                  CommunityMX - Free Resources:
                                  http://www.communitymx.com/free.cfm
                                  ---
                                  .:Adobe Community Expert for Fireworks:.
                                  Adobe Community Expert
                                  http://tinyurl.com/2a7dyp
                                  ---
                                  See my work on Flickr
                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim_babbage/
                                  • 14. Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                    SiamJai Level 2
                                    quote:

                                    Originally posted by: windowswarrior
                                    In the absence of instruction for integrating these graphics into a Dreamweaver design, I tried exporting the graphics at their partially finished state. The gradient band that he has employed in the header looks terrible coming out of Fireworks, as does the drop shadow on the mug.


                                    On your example it really does, and I'm not surprised. :-) When you export gradient-images in any indexed format (PNG8, GIF), such banding will inevitably occur. The Photoshop version nicely reduced - though not eliminated - those bands, at the expense of a ~20% larger file. So you see, there is a trade-off, one that's even completely unnecessary when you could just export an 80% JPEG that preserves the gradients better than any GIF, at a filesize smaller than either of the two GIF alternatives. When you try the Fireworks GIF exports on images that are more suitable for GIF export (large areas of flat color, defined edges etc.), the Fireworks advantage may become more apparent. :-)

                                    Btw, for export comparisons I recommend using the 2Up and 4Up preview modes in Fireworks (located right under the file title). In these preview modes, you can compare various export options side-by-side, in terms of both image quality and filesize. This handy option becomes even more useful when you have your own export presets.

                                    Also, Jim's post has some overall useful Fireworks resources, and this particular article from Project Seven has a detailed explanation about optimizing and exporting images in Fireworks. I hope that you'll find it useful. :-)


                                    SiamJai
                                    ~~~~
                                    http://design.thaiwonders.com - Innovative Fireworks Tutorials
                                    • 15. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                      windowswarrior Level 1
                                      Jim,

                                      Thanks for taking the time to further educate me. I have bookmarked all of the sites you have suggested and will be visiting/reading/working as part of my tutorial in not only Fireworks but the additional components of Adobe Design Premium CS3 which I've just acquired.

                                      I have also bought into Lynda.com, which I have used in the past and feel is a premo product and great way to learn.

                                      I think one of the problems, and what led to this post and my confusion, is the way in which Adobe choose to distribute the Design Premium Package. I opted to purchase the manuals with my software ... yet no manual was included for either Fireworks or Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. Since I've used Acrobat distiller for many years, it is already an integral part of my workflow. Fireworks, however, appeared to be an afterthought in this package; hence, my conclusion (albeit initially) that this really wasn't an important piece of the pie.

                                      I have since learned after speaking with an Adobe CS agent (that's Customer Service) that the manuals I got are for CS3.0 yet the software is CS3.1 or other. Therefore, there are no manuals ready as yet for either Fireworks or AA PRO 9.0.

                                      Providing customers with incomplete manuals seems shoddy. I am hoping that the Fireworks portion of my package will arrive when available, but I'm not holding my breath on that.

                                      In the interim, I'll be plodding away with the online resources you and others have graciously shared.

                                      I also don't understand why Adobe has changed the elaborate graphics on intro screens and program shortcut icons to primitive blocks with initials in them. Adobe's customers (and software) is all about graphics, yet they've got the most basic icons I think I've come across ... even since the days of 8-color icons.

                                      Kristi
                                      • 16. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                        Level 7
                                        Hi Kristi:

                                        I hope you find the links useful and you can always post back here with
                                        questions. Fireworks was not part of the initial Design Premium Suite,
                                        an issue which customers made Adobe aware of quite clearly. As for the
                                        manuals, are you referring to a PDF manual or an actual print version?
                                        Personally, I think you will find much better resources online and on
                                        Lynda.com. Tom Green has an entire series of Fireworks CS3 Essential
                                        Training. Fireworks is not a hard app to learn, and once you get the
                                        hang of it, you'll have a blast.

                                        I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but you might also want to
                                        check out the Adobe Video Workshop.

                                        --
                                        Jim Babbage - .:Community MX:. & .:Adobe Community Expert:.
                                        http://www.communityMX.com/
                                        CommunityMX - Free Resources:
                                        http://www.communitymx.com/free.cfm
                                        ---
                                        .:Adobe Community Expert for Fireworks:.
                                        Adobe Community Expert
                                        http://tinyurl.com/2a7dyp
                                        ---
                                        See my work on Flickr
                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim_babbage/
                                        • 17. Re: Do I need Fireworks? Duplicate Software?
                                          Paevo Kelley Level 2
                                          I had the same reservations about purchasing FW; thought it was redundant when I already had PS; couldn't have been more wrong; FW has increased my productivity and confidence a million fold...