7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 7, 2011 6:58 AM by Jim_Babbage

    How to view image at actual size?

    zxyme

      I am confused by the Fireworks (CS3) image size settings. I set the canvas size at 3 inches by 3 inches, but when I measure the image on the screen with a ruler, it measures only about 2 inches across, even though the magnification setting is set at 100%. What does the size setting mean? Will the image be 3 inches wide when it is printed? How can I get the image to display at actual size?

        • 1. Re: How to view image at actual size?
          japchap Level 1

          Fireworks is primarily a pixel-based program, intended mainly for Web comps,

          image editing and design to go on the Web.

          There does happen to be an inch and centimeter setting on the canvas

          setup screen, but in practice, as you have found, this means next to nothing.

           

          A "pixel" can vary wildly in actual dimensions, depending on the display

          resolution and screen size of the user's monitor and system.

          You might want to have a look at the Wikipedia articles regarding

          pixels and display resolution to learn more about the subject if you're

          interested.

           

          Bottom line:

          1. the screen and the printer are two very different things, using two completely
            different units of measurement;
          2. Fireworks is not a printer-friendly program—its strengths in web
            design and production, not print;
          3. you will be (and probably are already) tearing your hair out trying to get the
            dimensions on your own printer to match the pixel dimensions you see
            on the screen.

           

          For your reference, when I create a 3" x 3" canvas on Fireworks CS5 and

          display it on my 13" monitor, the visible size ends up being 4.8cm,

          or almost 1.9". Already we can see that the visible dimensions are different from

          what you are seeing.

           

          Fireworks is extremely useful for work that is going to be displayed on screen;

          but if you are going to be printing your work as well and need accurate dimensions

          and scalability, I would suggest that Illustrator is a better bet.

          There are simplistic formulas and online converters that claim to convert

          pixels to inches and vice-versa, but I haven't seen one yet that takes all

          of the factors above into consideration.

          You'll also get much crisper and cleaner output when you go to print if you

          work with a vector-based program such as Illustrator.

           

          I'm sure that there are other people on this forum and on the Illustrator

          forum who can give even more helpful hints based on real-life experience—

          hope that some of them are following this discussion!

           

          Jeff

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to view image at actual size?
            zxyme Level 1

            That's a shame because Fireworks has so much better of a user interface and is so much easier to use than Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. I am intimidated by those other programs and have neither the time nor the desire to attack the learning curve they entail. There surely must be some set relationship between the print size and the screen size.

            • 3. Re: How to view image at actual size?
              japchap Level 1

              As for ease of use, I really think it comes down to what you're used to and what makes you the most comfortable.

              I personally find Illustrator much more intuitive when it comes to things like the pen tool and vector editing, and options such as Live Color and Live Paint are likewise extremely useful. However, each piece of software has its own strengths and weaknesses, and if you can use the right tool for the right situation, I think you're in a good place

               

              As for the "set relationship" between print size and pixel size, like I said, the fundamental problem is that the "pixel" is a relative unit of measurement, primarily intended for screen output. We've already established that the 3" x 3" canvas displays at different dimensions on your monitor than it does on mine. This could be because of your display resolution setting, your monitor size, and even the physical size of the "pixel" itself on your monitor. So already we are facing problem number one—trying to determine the physical size of a non-tangible element on the screen—before we even hit the printer settings.

               

              If you are only going to print on one printer at your home or office, and you are always going to be using the same monitor and screen resolution, you can probably work out some kind of mathematical relationship between what you see on screen and what you print. However, once you start working at higher canvas resolutions in Fireworks (to display photographic content more crisply, for instance), all of that will go out of the window. The question is whether you want to do math every time you create a canvas or draw an object.

               

              The other issue with using Fireworks to created printed material is that Fireworks is an RGB-based program, whereas the print medium generally works with CMYK. The result is that you may find some discrepancies between the colors you see on screen vs. what you see coming out of the printer.

               

              There are a lot of advantages to using dedicated vector-based programs for print, and Illustrator is a decent program that allows a lot of flexibility for creating work that can be used in print and on the web. However, if you still want to use Fireworks for print, keep in mind that there are some hurdles you may need to overcome that may give you some headaches in the long run. Then again, it depends on what kind of output you expect to see coming out of that printer, and whether you're ultimately happy with what you see.

               

              Jeff

              • 4. Re: How to view image at actual size?
                pixlor Level 4

                zxyme wrote:

                 

                That's a shame because Fireworks has so much better of a user interface and is so much easier to use than Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. I am intimidated by those other programs and have neither the time nor the desire to attack the learning curve they entail. There surely must be some set relationship between the print size and the screen size.

                 

                There is, it's the printer resolution, the dots (or pixels) per inch. If you're making an image to print, you need to take your printer into consideration. The screen size doesn't come into it, though.

                 

                If you're drawing on paper, you're working with a continuous line. If you're drawing in a computer program, and you save a bitmap file (.pngs are basically bitmaps), then the file is made up of a grid that describes the color information for each pixel. If you want a 3x3" image, then you need enough pixels for that. How many pixels you need depends on the printer you're using:

                 

                (# pixels) = (# inches) x (printer resolution)

                 

                If your printer has 1200 dpi (dots per inch), and you want a 3" image, then you need (3 inches) x (1200 dots per inch) =3600 pixels (dots).

                 

                That's if you want to be totally exact. In practical terms, you can usually get by with an image that is much smaller, say one half or one quarter the size, depending on what it has in it, and it will look okay to the human eye. If you make a smaller image, then you can insert the image into Word or another word processing program and set the size there, then print.

                • 5. Re: How to view image at actual size?
                  japchap Level 1

                  Seems like a simple idea—just work in Fireworks at the resolution that you're going to print at.

                   

                  The major drawback to this approach is that you will have trouble going to export to web,

                  because you are now working at print resolution and not screen resolution.

                  You will need to scale everything down again if you are going to output the same design

                  for the web. You could of course scale the image down in the image preview menu

                  when you export an image.

                   

                  Also, it appears that Fireworks does not have a setting to change the units on the ruler

                  (I'm looking at CS4 now).

                  What this means is that you will be looking at pixel units on the ruler, even though

                  you wanted to work in inches.

                  FW won't let you enter inches into the dimension settings for selected objects,

                  either, so you'll have to either do the math each time or else do it manually.

                   

                  Just a few more thoughts.

                   

                  Jeff

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: How to view image at actual size?
                    zxyme Level 1

                    sounds like I'll have to resort to a trial and error approach to get the size I want. It would be great if Adobe would incorporate a Fireworks-like interface into their other products like Illustrator. It would make them much easier to learn and use IMO. I wonder if Adobe is planning to kill Firefox. They make support info on it hard to find and it is not prominently featured. I sure hope not.

                    • 7. Re: How to view image at actual size?
                      Jim_Babbage Level 4

                      Actually, the major trouble is that Fireworks is not optimized to work with high resolution files, as its primary use is as a screen resolution design tool. Editing high res files can reduce performance on Fireworks, although this issue has  been minimized slightly with each new version.

                       

                      There is also a physical limit to the pixel dimensions for creating a new document: a new Fireworks document can't be created larger than 6000 pixels at its longest dimension. Fireworks will open existing files that have larger dimensions, but again - performance may suffer.

                       

                      As Jeff indicated, using File > Image Preview will let the OP scale the file to the desired web dimensions without affecting the original document and - so long as different file names or a different folder location are used - won't over write any existing high res version(s).

                       

                      Fireworks rulers ONLY display in pixels as it is a screen design tool. There is no way for a user to change this.

                       

                      HTH