Software Review: Fireworks CS5

With this upgrade to the web-graphics tool, Adobe focused on improving performance and tweaking existing features more than adding new ones.

Many of the improvements are found in the Properties panel, which now lets you perform tasks that previously required hunting through menus and opening dialog boxes. For example, you can use the panel to create custom strokes and align strokes to the center, inside or outside of the path. And when scaling an object in the Properties panel, you now have the option of constraining the height or width to match the current aspect ratio.

New gradient options in the Properties panel let you reverse gradients with a single button click or apply a dithered gradient to avoid banding. The new Snap to Pixel command, similar to the Align to Pixel Grid feature in Illustrator CS5, adjusts vector graphics so edges so they won’t be anti-aliased when converted to raster images for the web.

When importing PNG files with multiple pages, you can now preview each page, choose which one opens as the active page and insert a selected page into an open document. And a new FXG export option lets you use Fireworks to prepare graphics for use in Flash Catalyst, Adobe’s new program for creating interactive Flash presentations. FXG is an XML-based file format that preserves pages and layer settings in the original Fireworks project.

This is also the first version of Fireworks that works with Adobe Device Central, a module previously available in other Adobe products that lets you preview your artwork in simulations of handheld devices such as smartphones.

The revamped Properties panel in Fireworks CS5 now provides access to features previously accessed through dialog boxes:

Stephen Beale has been writing about computer technology since before many current Adobe employees were born. His first computer was an Osborne 1 powered by steam turbines and illuminated by gaslight, though his memory is somewhat hazy on this point. He’s the author of seven books on computer applications in the graphic arts and a former news and reviews editor for Macworld.  He’s currently editor of a website for public relations professionals in health and medicine. For more information, see his website.

Other CS5 reviews:

Photoshop CS5
Illustrator CS5
Flash CS5
Flash Catalyst CS5
Dreamweaver CS5
Back to Creative Suite 5 Overview

Adobe Evangelists, including Russell Brown, will be on hand during the HOW Design Conference,  June 6–9 in Denver, to demonstrate the new Creative Suite 5 tools. 




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