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Flash Catalyst Familiar Tools and Editing Features

FlashR CatalystTM is built upon the existing features of other successful AdobeR products such as PhotoshopR, IllustratorR, InDesignR and, of course, FlashR Professional. Because of this, many tools will feel familiar when working in the Catalyst workspace. As we take a look at some of Flash Catalyst's layout and editing tools, you will notice that they work much like those tools with which you are already familiar.

The text features in Adobe products have evolved into very refined tools. If you click on your Catalyst project artboard with the Text tool, you will see that you have many of the familiar options available in the Properties panel including font, size, position, stroke, fill, color, opacity/transparency, and filters. You can customize the text components in your Catalyst project with the same options available in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

You will also find that the layout tools in Catalyst work like those in other Adobe products. For example, we can select several components on the Catalyst artboard. In the Modify Align menu we have the familiar options for aligning these objects.

But there is more to this duplication of features and tools in Catalyst and other Adobe products. Because of the FXG file format, we can move easily between Catalyst and other Adobe products. Any editing done in Photoshop or Illustrator will be automatically updated in your Catalyst project. Let's see how this roundtrip editing works.

We will begin in your Catalyst workspace and select a component to be edited in Illustrator. Once we select the component, we can choose Edit in Adobe Illustrator CS5 from the Modify menu. Illustrator automatically opens and displays the component that we had selected in Catalyst for editing. It also displays an "onion skin" snapshot of our Catalyst project behind the component. This is all controlled in the Layers panel. You will find the snapshot on the background layer and the component on a layer or layers above. For example, if this component was a button, each state for the button would be on its own layer in the Layers panel.

Once we have made our changes to the component, we go to the Editing from Adobe Flash Catalyst bar (gray bar at top of Illustrator workspace) and click Done to return to Catalyst. This opens the FXG Options dialog box where we have several options for saving our edits. Catalyst automatically pops open again and our component has been automatically updated to reflect the changes we made in Illustrator. But more importantly, the interactions applied to the component in Catalyst are untouched.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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