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Fireworks CS5 Review Properties Panel

Many digital artists overlook AdobeR FireworksR, another graphic software that is included in the AdobeR Creative SuiteR. However, Fireworks does have many great features for creating screen-based graphics, comps and interactive designs. It has many non-destructive editing tools for both vector and raster images, as well as great image optimization. At first glance Fireworks might look like a simpler version of Illustrator. However, its simplicity goes hand-in-hand with its expandability via custom JavaScript commands. With Fireworks CS5, we have many enhancements that will help to make your tasks easier.

The Properties panel has new procedures for old tasks, reducing the number of steps to perform these tasks. For example, you can now resize vectors faster via the Properties panel. In previous versions of Fireworks, resizing was part of the Modify Transform command and the Numeric Transform dialog box. Now, the numeric controls are conveniently in the Properties panel and when using the Constrain Proportions option, Fireworks will automatically maintain the correct height and width as you resize an object.

The Properties panel also has enhanced controls for working with gradients. For example, as you pass your mouse pointer over the options in the Fill Category menu, you can view a preview for each gradient option and the new Gradient Dither option helps smooth out troublesome banding for some gradients. The new Gradient Editor, accessible from the Properties panel, contains several options in the Presets menu and a Reverse Gradient option for reversing gradients in one step.

The Edit Stroke dialog box has been moved to the Properties panel along with three simple icons for quickly switching the stoke alignment between inside, centered and outside of the path. As you can see, by aligning the stroke to the inside results in square corners but switching to outside the path results in rounded corners. While choosing a style for your stroke from the Stroke Category menu, you again have a preview of each style. Then, in the Edit Stroke dialog box, you have several content-sensitive (style-specific) tools to further control the appearance of the stroke. Once you build your custom stroke style, you can save it as a preset and it will added to the Stroke Category menu.

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

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