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Fireworks Article

Posted on: December 21st, 2006 by alemieux

Wow am I impressed. As a long time Photoshop/ImageReady user, I do all of my web graphics in Photoshop. Sure, I have Fireworks, it came with the Macromedia bundle I have, but I didn’t give it a serious nod until now. The Adobe website has a great 3 part series on “Taking a Fireworks comp to a CSS-based layout in Dreamweaver”. It’s an excellent tutorial because it takes you from start to finish.

What I’m really impressed with though is the nice little features in Fireworks, like textures, effects, filters and stroke options. It’s really fantastic what’s possible with this little program. I’ll have to dig more into it. Some of the interface is clunky and unintuitive. For example, the tutorial assumes you know how to create a gradient and manipulate it. Making the gradient was easier, but the gradient tool is buried in the Colors section of the toolbox.

Slicing was a really pleasant experience in Fireworks also. There are several options for working with slices available from context-sensitive menus. There’s an option to export a single slice from Fireworks.

Sheri German does a great job though in presenting ‘The Process’ of actually taking a prototype from an image editing program and converting that into usable chunks for CSS development. What’s really painful though, is chugging through all of the menus in Dreamweaver to create the style sheet. It’s so much easier to just type styles into a style sheet than selecting menu options.

PS CS3 Videos from Russell Brown

Posted on: December 20th, 2006 by alemieux

The wacky Russell Brown has produced some video tutorials on the new Photoshop CS3 Beta. You can find them here.

Photoshop CS3 Public Beta

Posted on: December 18th, 2006 by alemieux

Adobe has released Photoshop CS3 Beta for intel-based Macs (there’s also a release for XP). I discounted this Beta as something for that purpose alone, but after checking things out, I’m incredibly impressed at the direction Photoshop is going in.

The entire interface has been modified. It’s a flexible interface with docking capabilities. It feels more like a Macromedia product now. The Palette Well is gone and there are collapsible docking areas for placing palettes wherever you wish. Palettes, when collapsed, look like buttons and afford you a lot more room when working with high-res images. If you hide the palettes (Shift + Tab) they come back when you hover over the area that displayed them.

There is a new tool that will turn heads. The Quick Selection tool. Finally, Adobe has caught up on the science of selections. All you have to do with this tool is click and drag over an area with a brush and it’s selected! The results are remarkable. The Refine Edges button can help you re-define the edges of the selection and preview it on different backgrounds. You might never use the Extract Command again!

There are too many other features to mention so check out the NAPP Photoshop CS3 Beta Preview movies by the Photoshop Guys and Deke McLelland’s preview at Lynda.com.

Photoshop CS3

Posted on: December 14th, 2006 by alemieux

Adobe is set to release Photoshop CS3 as a Beta, according to many Adobe blogs. Martin Evening has a great preview here. There are some interesting enhancements to the interface and some cool new features and tools. PS CS3 is set to be released some time in the first quarter next year. This release is targeted to Intel based Mac’s, but Adobe is obviously taking the opportunity to beef up the king of image editing apps.

Dealing With Difficult Clients

Posted on: November 14th, 2006 by alemieux

A List Apart has an excellent article on dealing with difficult clients who are ignorant of web standards, accessibility, and general web practices. The client/developer discussion example is very funny and typical. I see tons of websites every day and I have to pick apart sites from our clients all the time. I still see so many non-standard sites and outdated conventions being used, its jaw-dropping sometimes.

But the web has developed its own conventions which, like it or not, are going to be around until the trends change and popular opinion turns towards standards. For example, using spaces between paragraphs as opposed to first-line indents. Using links that say “click here” to see something (which is mentioned in the article). Using image maps or entire web sites that are built with images. You get the picture. The fact remains that these practices will continue as long as people are used to web sites being developed this way.

The bottom line for a lot of CTO’s and CEO’s is that if it works who cares how its built.

Excellent StartDrag tip

Posted on: November 10th, 2006 by alemieux

Ever wonder why when you use the startDrag and stopDrag action on a movie clip that sometimes the movie clip gets stuck to the mouse? It’s because the mouse can move quicker than the movie clip, which is attached to a frame-based time and not real time. A quick tip that I just learned from Keith Peters’ ActionScript Animation (Friends of Ed) is to add a stopDrag action to the onReleaseOutside method. So your action might look something like this:

clip.onPress = function() {
clip.startDrag();
}
clip.onRelease = function() {
clip.stopDrag();
}
clip.onReleaseOutside = function() {
clip.stopDrag();
}

Very cool stuff.