Fireworks Flower Power

Fireworks Flower Power

Three free vector flower design samples created in Adobe Fireworks.

Once downloaded unzip and open the .png file in Adobe Fireworks. Each ‘flower’ (group) graphic is isolated onto its own Layer for easy selection. Use as you please.

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How was it Made?

I will not go into every fine detail but the following captures should provide some assistance.

Create two shapes using the Star Auto-Shape Tool from the main toolbar. As captured the first one has a Solid Fill and a Stroke; the second with no-fill and a Stroke. To match the Star Auto-Shape properties, select it then go to the Window > Auto Shape Properties menu command and configure the shape propeties. Repeat for the second Star Auto-Shape.

Once the two auto-shapes are configured Align them one above the other, with the no-fill/stroke version as the top-most Layer.

Select both Shapes with the Pointer Tool, then go to the Modify > Combine Paths > Join menu command. The two auto-shapes will merge to form a compound shape.

All that remains is to clone (Edit > Clone) the original, so now there are two compound shapes, and scale it inward as captured below, middle. Clone the second compound shape and scale inward as captured right.

A total of three compound shapes: the original Normal Blend Mode with an Inner Glow filter effect; Clone 1 (of original) is set to Normal Blend Mode and a Zoom Blur; Clone 2 (of clone 1) is set to Erase with a Zoom Blur.

Have fun!

Vector Flower

Three variations of a vector flower created in Adobe Fireworks.

Fireworks Vector Price Tag Graphics

Fireworks Vector Price Tag Graphics

Eight free ‘price tag’ vector graphics, including some additional base element shapes to work with for user inspired additions.

Download [download id=”15″].

Once downloaded unzip and open the .png file in Adobe Fireworks. Each ‘price tag’ graphic is isolated onto its own Layer for easy selection. Use as you please.

Also included within this page is a basic walkthrough of the element shapes used – it is shocking simple!

Download at the bottom of this page.

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How was it Made?

As captured below the base elements comprise nothing more than a ‘Shape’ Layer and/or a Stroked path.

For the shape I used the Rounded Rectangle Tool and configured the individual node handlers for a varying corner radius options.

The simulated rope on the left, the Pen Tool was used to create two open paths (No Fill) with a simple stroke.

The simulated rope on the right I used the Wave auto shape located in the Window > Auto Shapes Panel. In this case I did not need to draw anything except configure a few nodes.

Once the base elements are created (shape and rope) I moved on to creating a ‘knockout’/hole to wrap the rope around. To create the hole I used the new CS5 Compound Shape options. But because the base is an auto shape, it needs to be converted to path outlines in order to perform the path compound.

Select the auto shape, Right/Control Click and from the context menu options choose Ungroup. You will loose the dynamic auto shape capability but at least you can now apply the compound operations.

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Now to complete the knockout! With the base shape selected; activate the Ellipse Tool from the Toolbar; then select the Subtract/Punch from shape compound option in the Property Inspector (PI). Now draw an ellipse directly over the base shape to ‘puch’ a hole right through it.

All that remains is to position the rope graphic in the area of the hole. If the rope element does not line up resort to ‘masking’ to hide areas that should not be visible in the foreground.

For the varying color and textures resort to any Fill or Stroke options from the Property Inspector Panel.

Shockingly simple – Have fun!

Pricetag UI Kit

A collection of vector price tag UI elements created in Adobe Fireworks.

Fireworks Auto-Shape Tip: Multi-tiered Filters

Fireworks Auto-Shape Tip: Multi-tiered Filters

Here is a workflow tip when working with Auto-Shapes and applying multi-tiered filtering.

As captured below you can locate the 13 native Auto-Shape Tools directly from the Toolbar. When drawn to Canvas, the Star Auto-Shape  for example, you get special object oriented (yellow) node handlers (encirceled in red) that provide user to object dynamic alterations. Click and drag any one of them to tweak.

You also get the traditional Property Inspector object properties of Fill, Stroke and Filter.

[message type=”info”]Additional Auto-Shapes can be found in the Window > Auto Shapes Panel.[/message]

Ok, now here’s the rub – select the the Auto-Shape object with the Pointer Tool and add your choice of Fill, Stroke and Filter.

For the sake of brevity I only applied an Inner Glow filter.

Now toggle to the Subselection Tool on the Toolbar and select the same object.

Notice what happens!

  • The Subselection Tool selects the objects’ Path outline and shows the individual path nodes that define it, even though this is still an Auto-Shape.
  • The Fill and Stroke is preserved but now we have another opportunity to apply additonal filters.

In summary, toggle the Pointer Tool and Subselection Tool on Auto-Shapes will allow room for multi-tiered filtering.

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Words of Caution:

  • It’s not easy determining which Auto-Shape has this multi-tiered filtering applied, if your document uses a lot of them.
  • Ungrouping an Auto-Shape, only the Subselect filter remains.

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Have Fun.

Fireworks CS5 to Flash Catalyst Checklist

Fireworks CS5 to Flash Catalyst Checklist

Using Fireworks CS5 to design interactive prototypes for Flash Catalyst follow these simple ‘mapping’ procedures to insure optimal results.

Below is a simple login design and Layer structure using core Fireworks design elements (text, paths, primitive shapes, styles, button symbol and rich symbols).

When exported to FXG (Fw: File > Export > FXG and Images: Current Page) and opened in Flash Catalyst it poses a number of layout inconsistencies. So let’s go ahead and debunk the workflow issues.

As captured below, text elements become truncated, object style attributes ignored, rich symbol instance labels default to generic ‘text’ and symbol object Layer captions reverts to ‘master####’ symbolID captions.

In Fireworks CS5 I am tempted to ‘flatten selection’ for each of the mapping issues to simulate a ‘maintain appearance’ status of the design but I would rather maintain as much (core object) fidelity as possible in the original Fireworks file. So let’s dissect some of the mapping issues and correct these compatibility items before the Export to FXG and Images command is executed.

A good practice, as with any structured design, is to use a naming convention for both Layer and Object instances. Since this sample employs varying text, vector and symbol instances, I make particular effort to distinguish my Layer object types.

As captured below, with typical Type objects (ones with the T Layer icon marker) I further distinguish (rename) their roles with personalized captions. Static symbols I mark with the ‘sym’ prefix; Rich Symbols I mark with the ‘rsym’ prefix; and background elements with the ‘bg’ appended to the title. Ultimately it’s up to you to manage your document objects and assets.

Text Mapping
Instead of listing all the supported property options for a text object, it is easier to list the items that DO NOT map/translate to FXG for Flash Catalyst:

Unsupported Text Property/Attributes

AntiAliased/AntiAlias Mode Fill and Stroke
Baseline Shift Horizontal Scale
Orientation

 

Fill and Stroke to Text

So from my original attempt I was using an Anti-Alias (Smooth) on many of the text objects, so a quick fix there is to disable that feature and set them to No Anti-Alias.

Mapping Text objects inside Symbols

If you make use of symbol instance objects in the design, as I did, then you will most likely encounter additional issues in the export process (as captured below). Rich Symbols, in particular, default to the generic ‘Text’ caption/label when opened in Flash Catalyst regardless of the input value within the Symbol Properties Panel.

The best option to correct these mappings is to ‘Break Apart’ the symbols. Select the symbols in question (in my case the two text field and two buttons), then go to the Modify > Symbol > Break Apart. The symbol will be converted to a Group object, then rename the group to what it was for the symbol instance. Reapply the Export to FXG command, open the .fxg file in Flash Catalyst and notice the fidelity between the two application versions.

I would suggest breaking apart all/any ‘symbol’ instance in the Fw document if intended for .fxg projects in Flash Catalyst. Breaking apart symbol instance will also ease another mapping issue noted earlier – obscure symbol object ‘Layer’ captions like ‘master####’ (see bottom of this page for capture reference)

Tip: Even though the symbol instance is ‘broken apart’ your original (symbol) reference remains intact inside the Window > Document Library Panel.

Texture Attribute
If your vector object has a style ‘Texture’ attribute it will be ignored in the Export process. If you want to maintain your core vector object, then use an alternate style attribute that does not make use of a ‘Texture’.

To maintain appearance upon export to .fxg then select the ‘Layer’ object (in my case ‘login_bg’) then use the ‘Modify > Flatten Selection’ menu command. This command will convert your vector object to a bitmap object in Fw and will be exported as an ‘image’ asset for use in Flash Catalyst.

Tip: Since the texture attribute I used is part of a native Fireworks CS5 > Style, if you choose to go the ‘flatten’ selection route you do not need to recreate it. If a texture attribute IS used on your object instance AND is not already part of an existing Style, then be sure to SAVE the object attributes as a new style before resorting to the flatten selection route. (See Save options from the Style Panel property options)

Fireworks CS5 Canvas to Flash Catalyst Artboard
Fireworks CS5 ‘Canvas’ color maps to a locked Background Layer in Flash Catalyst.

If the Fw Canvas is transparent then it is mapped to a ‘White Artboard’ in Flash Catalyst.

Blend Modes
Fireworks CS5 has over 40 object Blend Mode options. Below is a selection from the Fireworks CS Blend Modes supported in the export to FXG process.

Supported Blend Mode Mappings

normal darken invert multiply difference
alpha screen add erase lighten
subtract overlay hard light color dodge exclusion
hue saturation color luminosity color burn
soft light

If you’re Layer/Object uses a Blend Mode option not in the supported list the end result will be an image asset inside Flash Catalyst.

Filter Effects
Supported filter effects include Blur/Blur More, Inner Shadow and Drop Shadow. As captured below an object with a native Fireworks ‘Drop Shadow’ filter applied is preserved inside Flash Catalyst with live properties.

Supported Filter Effects

Blur Inner Shadow Blur More Drop Shadow

If you resort to a filter effect not in the supported list then the resulting export/mapping will be an image asset (even if the filter is set to hidden).

Gradients
Fxg only supports the Linear and Radial gradient object type. So all remaining Fireworks gradient object type (Rectangle, Cone, Contour, Satin, Starburst, Folds, Ellipse, Bars, Ripples, Waves) used will result in an image asset output to Flash Catalyst.

Supported Gradient Mappings

Linear Radial

A gradient with a ‘feather’ property is not supported, but it also does not ‘break’ the gradient mapping to FXG. As an alternative, to simulate a ‘feathering’ you can use the Fireworks: Blur/Blur More filter effect; export from to Fxg and open the Fxg in Flash Catalyst; then adjust the Flash Catalyst ‘Blur: Radius’ live properties.

Also, as noted above, any Texture property will result in an image asset, so this also applies with Gradients.

Bitmap and Vector Masks
Both native Fireworks bitmap and vector mask (defaults to Path Outline) type options are supported and the end result in Flash Catalyst is a Group object type.

Fireworks to Flash Catalyst mapping/ fidelity checklist:

  • Use Layer/Object naming conventions;
  • Avoid the shortlisted text options including Text On/In a Path;
  • Break Apart symbol instances where applicable (my preference);
  • Support for a large number of Blend Mode options (see list above);
  • Support Blur/Blur More, Inner Shadow and Drop Shadow filter effects;
  • Linear and Radial gradient object types (no Texture);
  • Bitmap and Vector Masks is allowed;

Final Flash Catalyst CS5 import of Fireworks CS5 design file (fxg).

 

Auto Vector Masks

Auto Vector Mask Bitmap Objects

Ensure an object is active in the Layers panel, in my case a Bitmap, otherwise you will be greeted with an ‘Incorrect selection for this operation’ message.

Then go to the Commands > Creative > Auto Vector Mask menu command option.

At the Auto Vector Mask dialog, choose from a variety of Live Gradient Presets, then click Apply to commit.

Note: Enable Preview to see live changes as you toggle among the Vector Mask presets.

Once the Auto Vector Mask is applied, select the Bitmap Mask thumbnail to access the Live Gradient Mask controls. Use these Live Gradient control points to redefine/reposition your chosen preset, in this case a Linear Vector Mask.

Select the circle control end-point to reposition the entire Gradient.

Select the cube control end-point to reposition the Gradient in any direction.

Select the black line connecting the two end-points, and drag to reposition in a clockwise or counter clockwise Rotation.

Notes:

Hold the black line and the the Shift key to constrain the rotation to a 45 degree increments.

Double click, either the circle or cube end points, to reset to a default center position.

Below are examples of the other Auto Vector Mask presets applied to the same bitmap.

Other Notables:

Auto Vector Mask works with the following object types: Type objects, Auto Shapes, Groups, Symbols, Rich Symbols, Paths and Bitmaps.

Final Words: Reversing an Auto Vector Mask

Since an Auto Vector Mask takes advantage of Live Gradients, and though the option is not availaable in the command dialog, it is still possible.

To reverse a Gradient, first select the Vector Mask thumbnail, then open the Path Panel (Window > Other > Path) and choose the new Reverse Gradients icon command option (encircled in red below).