Fireworks MX: The Complete Reference

"This is a Must-Have Volume on the Latest Release
of a Great Graphics Toolset!"

| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product


Title: Fireworks MX: The Complete Reference
Doug Sahlin
Osborne McGraw-Hill
Publication Date:
July 2002

Fireworks MX: The Complete Reference by Doug Sahlin is designed to be a stand-alone desktop reference. The book includes detailed discussions of the tools, menu commands, and interface elements you use to create a Fireworks document. You'll find detailed step-by-step instructions on how to use Fireworks to create anything from a simple rollover button to a finished design with interactive elements and special effects that will be used as a Web page. It's written in easy-to-understand language with a minimum of technical jargon. It has full coverage of all the new features in Fireworks MX.

User Level
Beginning to advanced computer users. The book is appropriate for everyone. Whether you're new to Fireworks and Web design, or an experienced veteran, you're sure to find valuable information that you can use to streamline your workflow and increase your productivity.

Inside you'll find information on the following:

  • Navigate the user interface--dock and undock panels, display the grid, and create guides;
  • Customize the workspace and keyboard shortcuts to suit your preferences;
  • Create a document for use in a Web site or as a standalone Web page;
  • Import vector graphics or create your own with the Fireworks drawing tools;
  • Add bitmap images and optimize them for the WEb or an output device;
  • Create text objects using the Property inspector and Text Editor;
  • Create solid color fills, gradients, Web dither fills, and pattern fills;
  • Streamline your workflow by creating reusable artwork;
  • Add special effects and interactive elements to your designs;
  • Create animations frame-by-frame or by tweening symbol instances.
Product Analysis

How The Book Is Organized

Fireworks MX: The Complete Reference consists of an Introduction, 23 chapters, appendixes, and is divided into five parts.


Introduction: The book begins with a special Introduction which includes an overview of the book.

  Part I: Fireworks Basics
  • Chapter 1: Getting to Know Fireworks MX--In this chapter, you'll learn what you can do with Fireworks and some of the fundamental concepts behind the software. In addition, you'll learn about the new Fireworks features and how you can use Fireworks to create images, button, nav bars, menus, and other items for your Web designs.
  • Chapter 2: Exploring the Fireworks Workspace--In this chapter, you'll receive a tour of the Fireworks workspace. You'll also find references to the chapters in which the various tools and menu commands are discussed in detail.
  • Chapter 3: Optimizing Your Workspace--Shows you how to change the preferences to meet your needs. You learn how to save a custom panel set and how to modify Fireworks preferences to suit your working habits. In the latter part of the chapter, you learn to create custom keyboard shortcut sets and modify them.
  • Chapter 4: Exploring Fireworks Workflow--Looks at the steps involved in creating a document for use in a Web page, or as a standalone Web page. You'll learn how to create a new document and develop an understanding for the workflow in a typical Fireworks project from start to finish.
Part II: Creating Artwork for Your Designs
  • Chapter 5: Working with Vector Objects--Shows you how to import vector objects into a Fireworks document. You also learn how to create your own vector objects using the Fireworks drawing tools. A brief introduction is given to modifying objects using the Pointer tool and the Property inspector. Also it covers how to rearrange the stacking order of objects using menu commands and how to modify an object's appearance by changing its blend mode and transparency.
  • Chapter 6: Working with Bitmap Images--In this chapter, you'll learn how to use Fireworks to import, create, and modify bitmap images, and it explores how to incorporate images into your documents by importing, scanning, and acquiring them with a digital camera. It examines how to modify bitmaps using tools and effects and how to mask bitmaps to reveal underlying areas, as well as how to use a mask to apply a different level of compression to a masked area.
  • Chapter 7: Creating Text Objects--Discusses how to create text objects for your documents. You learn to modify the text objects using the Property inspector and the Text Editor, as well as how to attach text to a path and attach text to both sides of an ellipse. It also shows how to create special effects for the text in your document.
  • Chapter 8: Working with Color--Shows you how to work with color. You learn how to use the Swatches panel to work with a particular color palette and define stroke and fill colors. You also learn how to use the Color Mixer to create a color and how to build a color table in the Optimize panel, edit the export palette, and save the export palette for future use.
  • Chapter 9: Creating Stroke and Line Styles--Discusses how to modify the default stroke characteristics and how to choose a style to suit your work. You will also see how to edit a preset stroke style and then save it as a menu option. In addition, you will learn how to create artistic paths using a digital tablet.
  • Chapter 10: Creating Colorful Fills, Textures, and Patterns--Learn to create fills to color objects in your designs. It discusses how to create solid color fills, gradient fills, Web dither fills, and pattern fills. You also learn to modify preset gradient fills to suit your document and to use textures to give the fills in your document a more natural or organic appearance. It gives you some tips on how to create your own patterns and textures. Finally, you discover how to use the Paint Bucket tool and the Gradient tool to apply a fill to objects in your document.
Part III: Modifying Artwork
  • Chapter 11: Modifying Objects--Covers how to modify the physical characteristics of an object. You'll also learn to use Fireworks tools and menu commands to modify the objects in your documents. You'll transform objects with pinpoint accuracy using menu commands. You'll learn to select objects, create object groups, and transform every characteristic of an object as well as how to modify, combine and alter object paths using menu commands and tools.
  • Chapter 12: Organizing Your Artwork with Layers--Provides an in-depth discussion of working with layers. You learn to use layers to organize your artwork, plus how to create new layers, organize the hierarchy of layers, transfer artwork between layers, and perform other tasks that will help you to better organize complex documents.
  • Chapter 13: Creating Reusable Artwork--Introduces you to how to create reusable artwork in the form of symbols. You learn to create instances of a symbol by dragging it to the canvas from the document Library. It also discusses how to edit symbols and how to create custom libraries.
  • Chapter 14: Creating Special Effects--You learn to use Live Effects and filters to add variety and originality to the objects in your document. You'll also learn how to link Fireworks with any third-party, Photoshop-compatible plug-ins you may have on your system, plus how to use Fireworks' sophisticated color adjustment filters to modify a bitmap image. It also looks at how to use the Eye Candy and Splat filters to spice up bitmap images in your documents.
  • Chapter 15: Modifying Artwork with Styles--Provides a thorough look at how to modify the appearance of objects in your documents by applying preset styles to them. You learn to apply these styles from the Styles panel and how to create your own styles and maintain the Styles panel. In Addition, you discover how to create special effects by using commands commands from the Command menu's Creative submenu.

Part IV: Creating Animation and Interactive Web Pages
  • Chapter 16: Creating Hotspots and Slices--Leads you through using Fireworks to create hotspots and slices, and you'll learn to insert them using menu commands and tools. Topics of discussion include assigning uniform resource locations (URLs) to hotspots and slices. You'll learn to work with the URL library, where you can create and maintain URLs you frequently use in your documents. You'll also learn to create an image map.
  • Chapter 17: Creating Interactive Graphics for the Web--Discusses how to add interactive elements to your designs. YOu'll learn to use the Fireworks button editor to quickly create an interesting button. You'll also learn to create an entire navigation bar by creating a single button and then changing duplicates of the button to display a different text message and link to a different URL.
  • Chapter 18: Creating Animations--In this chapter, you'll learn how to create animations using the Animate command, and you'll learn how to use the Frames panel to create frame-by-frame animations. In addition, you will learn how to create animations by tweening symbol instances, as well as how to animate bitmaps and create image sequences.
  • Chapter 19: Creating Animated Banners--This chapter discusses how to plan and create animated banners for the Web. You learn how to choose an optimal color palette for the animation, loop the animation, and create a transparent background. In the last part of the chapter, you learn to use the Data Driven Graphics Wizard to quickly create multiple files from a template with variables, an XML file, and accompanying images.
  Part V: Optimizing and Exporting Documents
  • Chapter 20: Automating Fireworks--Discusses how to use Fireworks features to streamline your productivity. It shows you how to find and replace elements in multiple files using the Find and Replace panel. You also learn to use the History panel to undo multiple steps, and create your own commands. You learn to use batch processing to perform the same tasks on multiple files. In addition you learn to create scripts from the tasks performed in a batch process, plus how to manage multiple files using the Project Log.
  • Chapter 21: Optimizing Fireworks Documents--Shows you how to use use the various Fireworks tools for optimizing a document. You'll learn to use the Optimize panel to fine-tune the optimization for an entire document or an individual slice of the document. Plus it discusses how to use the various features of the document window to compare the document as currently optimized to the original document.
  • Chapter 22: Exporting Images and HTML Code--Focuses on how to export a document as images and HTML. You'll also learn how to use a Fireworks wizard to optimize and export the document in one fell swoop. You'll learn how to use the Export Preview window to fine tune optimization and export the document. And for the times when you just need to edit a slice of the document, you'll learn how to export the edited slice.
  • Chapter 23: Integrating Fireworks with Other Applications--Learn to use the cross-program functionality to streamline your workflow. You'll learn to edit graphics by launching Fireworks from within Dreamweaver or Flash. You'll also learn to export Fireworks documents fro use in Dreamweaver, Flash, Freehand, or Director and how to export a file for a specific application using the Export Launcher.
  • Appendix A: Keyboard Shortcuts: Lists shortcuts.
  • Appendix B: Fireworks Resources: Lists resources for Fireworks.
  • Appendix C: Web Design Resources: Lists resources for Web design.
Final Comments
Fireworks MX: The Complete Reference will get you up and running quickly with Fireworks MX. This is a thorough, organized and fun to use book that would be a great addition to anyone's library.
System Requirements

For running Fireworks MX, you need:


  • 300 MHZ Intel Pentium Processor (Pentium II or better);
  • Microsoft Windows 98 SE, ME, NT 4 (Service Pack 6), 2000, or XP;
  • 64 MB of RAM (128 MB recommended);
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space;
  • 800x600 or greater monitor resolution;
  • Adobe Type Manager Version 4, or later, with Type 1 fonts;
  • CD-ROM drive.


  • Power Macintosh Processor (G3 or higher recommended);
  • Mac OS software version 9.1 or later, Mac OS X version 10.1 or later;
  • 64 MB of RAM (128 MB recommended);
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space;
  • 800x600 or greater monitor resolution;
  • Adobe Type Manager Version 4, or later, with Type 1 fonts;
  • CD-ROM drive.
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 7.0
Web Page Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX
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