Switch from the Web 216 palette to an Adaptive one. Alternatively, export in JPEG format. You'll get a smaller file size and smoother gradients.
Fireworks crushes the palette down on the Adaptive setting as well.
I cannot use the JPEG format because it does not support transparency. I want to use PNG 8 instaed of PNG 32 because I will get a smaller file size. As you can see from the example image embedded below the PNG 8 format provides for transparency with a very smooth gradient.
Embedded is an original PNG 8, Web 216 with smooth Alpha Transparency image. The question is how to achieve this in Fireworks 184.108.40.206 on Windows 7 64-bit. Others have accomplished this using Fireworks, as demonstrated in the screencast I referenced.
(click to view/download, the thumbnail does not maintain the transparency)
Create your drawing in Fireworks on a transparent canvas. Export in PNG 8 format with an adaptive palette and dithering. Fireworks will reduce the number of colors from 256 to 10. I don't know why it does that. It has since about version 4. I can't do more for you than that.
Oh well. I will look at other tools and ask the creator of the example 8-bit alpha on an 8-bit PNG what tool they used.
Hope Adobe looks at improving this functionality in their products.
The problem isn't with Fireworks. It can do exactly what you want. Try what I suggested. Create the image in Fireworks on a transparent canvas, and then export with Alpha transparency.
I do not appreciate your condescending tone. I have attempted all of your instructions. Embedded is a window capture of my graphic on a TRANPARENT canvas with your suggested settings. Also embedded is the resulting graphic. Finally, embedded is the original graphic that demonstrates what I am attempting to achieve.
Resulting image on export.
I'm disappointed that you cannot be bothered to attempt to recreate the problem and post evidence to back up your claims.
I have tracked down the creator of the original image who says about using Fireworks "the quality was rarely good enough." The tool used was ImageOptim, http://imageoptim.pornel.net/.
The background of your original image is not transparent. It's an image created in another application and imported into Fireworks, isn't it? What you need to is create the image, from scratch, in Fireworks, on a transparent canvas. I'm finished with this thread. Good luck with your project.
Don't use Fireworks and avoid Adobe "Support" forums where people don't recognize the checkerboard pattern as an indicator of transparency.
Instead use a tool like ImageOptim, http://imageoptim.pornel.net/