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February 25 2014


February 17 2014

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February 06 2014


Time Lapse Videos: How to Quicken the Pace of Your Movies


You can choose between two equally great methods to let videos run faster than in real-time. One is doing it directly from your camera, the other is postprocessing them in a suitable software such as Adobe Premiere. Both methods reduce long hours to a mere few minutes or seconds, even, while needing a speedy eye. Yet, nothing falls through the grid that way…

January 31 2014


Not Up For Creative Cloud? 10 Professional Alternatives to Photoshop CC


Photoshop CC is no longer for sale. You can only rent it and pay a monthly fee to be allowed to use it. This does not appeal to everybody and I personally know more former Photoshop users who reject that licensing model than those who embrace it. As I was a regular updater anyway, the new mode of operation saves me money. But I can understand all those who only updated every three or four versions and would now have to shell out a lot more money than before. All of these will be eager to find a valid alternative to Photoshop CC. We took a look at ten of the best competitors…

November 26 2013


Marvel: Free Website Prototyping Tool for Photoshop-Dropboxers


If you are anything like me, you fire up your Photoshop to create a first visual prototype of your next client’s website. And if you’re anything like me, you’re not bound to change that in the foreseeable future. All the clients I had over the last 20 years wanted to see a visual prototype before coding started. If you could create a clickable one, the better. A fresh web app named Marvel enters the stage with the promise to achieve just that. Are you a user of Photoshop, Fireworks, Gimp or any other pixel-editor and do you rely on Dropbox? Great, still, if you don’t design websites, you need not read further ;-)

October 25 2013


October 03 2013


LightZone: Totally Free Photo Lab lets you Forget Adobe Lightroom


If you want to do quick everyday photo manipulations on a bunch of images, you will usually not go for Photoshop. Adobe Lightroom is what people inside the Photoshop universe will recommend you. A while ago, we already introduced you to a free competitor of Adobe’s commercial solution, Darktable (which is great). Today we have an even greater solution for you. The formerly commercial, now Open Source tool LightZone will really excite you. The most enthralling thing is, it works totally different from anything you know…

June 04 2013


Better than Photoshop Tutorials: 50 Free, Detailed PSDs with Open Layers (+ Tips)

psd-datei1 Today we are going to look over the shoulders of quite a few professional designers. Using their original PSDs with open layers, we will be able to exactly reconstruct, what has been done and how. If you are like me, this way of learning by doing proves more effective than working through step-by-step tutorials. The following files come with lots of layers to be examined, as we are going to dissect a camera, a sports shoe, a cell phone and lots more. Have fun looking through the eyes of the most able Photoshop professionals. Before I forget: watch out for some layer-related Photoshop tips, I may have left for you throughout the collection...

May 09 2013


The Fireworks Lament [IMHO]


A few days ago Adobe caused an outcry with its announcement to not develop Fireworks, their web design prototyper, further. Though they did not really call it quits, instead promised to make sure Fireworks would receive necessary updates in terms of security or OS adaptation, furious users started their campaigns to „save Fireworks“ from oblivion. Even a petition has been started to try and force Adobe to release Fireworks as Open Source or in the alternative at least promise to not stop development. These things are nothing new. Softwares come and go.

September 02 2012


Darktable: The free Alternative to Photoshop Lightroom goes Mac OS X


Photographers considering using a computer based on Linux not seldom have exactly one reason to do so: Darktable. Darktable is an open source project, best compared to Adobe Lightroom. It is a photo editor following the workflow of photographers, thus having them easily feel familiar with the app. Beginners will be overwhelmed by its feature richness. Now there is another option, if you don’t want to use a Linux-system. A few days ago, Darktable has been made available for Mac OS X

Darktable: Lighttable, darkroom, tethering

It almost sounds too good to be true. But the project Darktable doesn’t need to hide behind the functionality of its commercial competitor Lightroom. Some even say, that Darktable’s RAW Tools are even better than those Adobe has to offer. Adobe recently changed the name of its product to Photoshop Lightroom and dropped the price for the most recent version 4 to an affordable 149 USD. As the competitors show similarities in the look of the whole user interface, I wonder who got inspired by whom…

Darktable’s lightroom in standard view

Darktable, available in several languages, that are automatically invoked, according to the operating system it detects, follows a modularized workflow. Lighttable lets you do administrative tasks in the likes of Bridge or Picasa or … Lightroom. Meta-data can be viewed and changed. Categorization can be done from here, as well as sorting operations in a variety of ways.

The module darkroom is responsible for the manipulative work. As darktable is limited to tasks that real photographers would do in real darkrooms, we don’t have the opportunity to work on collages or other montages. All effects, corrections and related functionality can only be invoked on photographs. Darktable’s methods are powerful and very finely tunable. The results are often described to be better than what can be achieved using so-called professional software such as Lightroom. The last module, called tethering, is used to connect cameras to Darktable in a way that their contents can be imported automatically.

Darktable’s darkroom with an image opened

The product is comfortable and fast, the results are high-class. Moreover, Darktable is completely free. If you’re into one of the many Linux-derivatives, you probably know that the software has been available for quite a long time to the users of the open source OS. Ubuntu-users will even find a version of Darktable pre-installed. Be aware that these usually are older versions, so make sure you update soon as possible, using one of the many repositories available. If your OS carries names such as Fedora, Suse or Gentoo, the same applies to you. Fit as a fiddle programmers of course just compile their own version using the Sourcefourge- or Github-sources, just like Chuck Norris would do. Wait, probably with Chuck Norris sources compile themselves to avoid having Norris compile them. Anyway…

Freshest member of the family is the Darktable-version for Mac OS X, which is available as a DMG using this link. If you read the blog entry that announces the availability of the Mac-version, you’ll feel flooded with comments of users stating to have a wide variety of problems using, configuring, but also even installing the app.

Darktable for Mac OS X: a little self-test

Gotten insecure from the comments I mentioned before, I decided to give Darktable a spin, so none of our readers would run into trouble and probably blame me for having gotten their MacBooks damaged. I installed Darktable as is usually done using the downloaded DMG. Darktable went from a lean 15,5 MB DMG to a not so much fatter 52 MB app. And I did not experience any problem whatsoever. I imported over 1.000 pictures into lighttable and I was able to fire effects and filters at chosen pictures without any misbehaviour on the side of Darktable. Everything worked absolutely flawlessly, until I tried to connect my camera via the tethering-module. I couldn’t get that to work, but a workaround for this problem is already in existence. As I never use automatic importing of pictures, I didn’t give this workaround a spin, though.

The recent version of Darktable carries the number 1.05. The whole project is organized professionally und comes with a documentation, that leaves no stone unturned. You should definitely check out the project’s ressources-section.

People seeking a solution to professionally manipulate their photos, need not push out cash any longer. As cash always tends to vanish as soon as you look at it, Darktable might save you from premature bankruptcy and help you lead a happier life. You should have a 64-bit OS, though. It still runs on 32, but you know…

August 08 2011


On the Cutting Edge with Adobe’s Edge

One of the biggest sources of buzz this past week has been Adobe’s announcement of the Edge preview. People have been talking about it a lot but few seem to really grasp some of the ideas or technology behind this.

Today, I’d like to talk to you a little about the Edge preview and why you should be cautiously optimistic at this juncture.

A Little History

Creating content using a standards based approach is hard. This is where Edge comes in.

Flash’s birth and history can make for a very, very confusing read: it’s incredibly loved or hated depending on who you speak to. The undeniable fact is that Flash is one of the main reasons behind the proliferation of video and interactive media on the web. On the flip side, it’s criticized for its closed nature and performance issues.

While the platform itself isn’t going anywhere in the near future, you can’t help but notice that Flash’s hold on the web has been loosening lately.

Chalk it up the rise of HTML5 and an increasing number of developers embracing open standards or a certain fruit flavored company leading a crusade against Flash, the bottomline is that the web has been looking for an open, standards based alternative to Flash for sometime now. One of the big reasons for the arrival and rise in popularity of HTML5 along with libraries like jQuery can be attributed to antagonism and apathy towards the Flash platform.

Creating content with the new technologies though has been far from smooth. This is where Edge comes in.

What is Edge?

Edge is Adobe’s attempt at being relevant in the post-Flash world.

Edge is touted as an animation tool ideal for designers who want to create web content replete with animations but based on the open standards that prop up the web. According to their site:

Adobe Edge is a new web motion and interaction design tool that allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

Basically, Edge is your ticket to adding animated content without having to resort to external plugins like Flash or Silverlight.

Do We Really Need Another Tool?

In this case, oh, yes we do!

I certainly feel so. Before you look for your pitchforks, let me explain!

Flash developers have access to very mature and very sophisticated design tools. Want to create a simple animation? A few clicks here, some input there and you’re done! They really do enjoy the use of a complete environment when it comes to authoring their content.

What happens when you want to go the standards based way?

It’s not that easy, I can tell you that much. You have to poke around with code, learn a little JavaScript, get bored, learn to use a library like jQuery, get excited again and then find out that you still have to hand code every single animation.

While it’s ok for us dev types, it’s much more of a chore for the artsy designers. Standards based development really doesn’t have to be hard! I realize that enterprising developers have come up solutions for these but none have appeared from the bigwigs of big content.

Edge seeks to streamline this process by reusing common concepts of media creation such as timelines and stages to make the learning curve more gentler, easier and thus, more accessible.

Initial Impressions

The preview is a svelte 65MB download and installs quite quickly. Getting access to the download requires an Adobe account though. It’s free, sure, but adds an unnecessary step to the process. 1999 called, they want their frivolous signups back.

And oh, if you’re still lost as to where to download your copy, you can get it here.

The Interface

Adobe Edge

First impressions of the preview are quite positive. It looks clean, composed and uncluttered. If you’ve used GoLive in the past, or even Flash, the interface should look mostly familiar.

Adobe Edge

The stage or canvas acts as the first DIV and when you add elements to your canvas, they’re added hierarchically with the type of element being displayed on the side.

Adobe Edge

The timeline pane is one of the key portions of any animation suite and Edge doesn’t disappoint. The entire lower portion of the interface is dominated by the timeline pane.

You can view all the properties of the elements you’ve added so far to the canvas in the timeline. Creating an animation is as simple as adding a keyframe, supplying it with the info for the frame and Edge will fill in the rest — tweening works as expected, excellently.

Functionality of the Current Preview Version

This preview is obviously in alpha mode — the first preview’s main focus is on adding simple shapes and animations. That’s pretty much all there’s present in the interface as well.

Users can add text, images and simple shapes with relative ease — just point, click and drag. You can also customize assorted characteristics of the content including color, skewing, opacity, rotation and much more. Take a quick look at the image below to get an idea of what I’m talking about. If you’ve at all been introduced to animation software in the past, you should feel right at home.

Adobe Edge

You can also import premade assets, including images, into your current canvas.

Under the Hood

Since this isn’t really a tutorial on how to use Edge, I’m going to skip ahead and download a premade demo which you can get from here.

Let’s take a look at the directory structure of a sample Edge project:

Adobe Edge

No surprises here. Your animations are now created from your familiar trifecta of web technologies — HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

As opposed to popular opinion, Edge uses a mix of jQuery and CSS3 to animate the contents of its canvas. Yes, you heard that right – jQuery does a lot of the grunt work behind Edge.

Digging into the code with Firebug, you’ll notice that there are a lot of DIV elements being moved around with jQuery. For example, here is the actual code being injected in the example I linked above. Not entirely pretty.

Adobe Edge

Basically, any animation that CSS3 can do is left to it since all CSS3 effects are hardware accelerated, and thus will perform well. The rest is left for jQuery to handle.

Adobe Edge

Digging further into the code, you’ll see that all your element, their properties, tweening information and the rest are stored as a JSON file. I’m assuming the engine basically parses this information and constructs the DOM and attaches the handlers.

As a quick experiment, let’s look at what the browser sees:

Adobe Edge

Uh, oh. There’s literally nothing that makes semantic sense in there. Disable JavaScript and you’re left with a big blob of nothingness. Fans of graceful degradation, get your pitchforks.

Where the Heck is HTML5?

It’s being marketed as a HTML5 tool and well… this is not HTML5 powered. Yet.

I went in expecting to be dazzled by the splendor of canvas or SVG. After a look at the DOM, it’s quite apparent there isn’t even a tiny bit of either in there. Just to make sure, I did a quick search of the JavaScript files searching for the canvas related keyword, getContext . Needless to say, nothing turned up. The biggest blob of HTML5 here is the doctype. Sure, you can import SVG content but you can’t touch the markup so it’s a moo point.

It’s a little puzzling why Edge doesn’t use any of the modern technologies instead. If anything, it’s being marketed as a HTML5 tool and well… this is not HTML5 powered. Disingenuous marketing or signs of features to come? I’m leaning towards the latter whilst really, really hoping the former isn’t true.

Is this Approach the Best Option Moving Forward?


From a development perspective, animating DIVs is the equivalent of using tables for layout — it works but at the cost of elegance and semantics. Canvas and SVG are precision engineered to do exactly what Edge does here and make more sense in the long run.

Even if canvas performance is piddling on the current mobile devices, there’s no way for the performance to go but up and it really shouldn’t hamper the adoption of new technology.

While one would ideally like to see cutting edge apps actually make use of similar cutting edge technologies, keep in mind that this is still a preview, an early alpha version.

In the words of one of the engineers behind Edge regarding DIV based animation:

We started with DIVs because we wanted to get something out there quickly that folks could play with. I say we ‘started’ there because Edge will be evolving rapidly — the product is by no means feature complete.

That’s a little encouraging! While I’m disappointed with their initial, see what sticks approach, it’s good to know that this is just how they’re kicking off things, not how they plan to do things ultimately.

Remember, this is Still a Preview

The thoughts above may come off as a little negative but that’s not my intention. I, and the rest of the community, have high hopes for this tool and thus very high expectations.

And Adobe on their part isn’t lazing around. They’re already working on the feedback provided by the community so far and have a road map in place for future versions.

Adobe Edge

With Adobe embracing open standards and focusing on producing creative tools instead of boxed-in application platforms, I can’t help but feel they’re on the path towards becoming as relevant to the progress of the web as they were in the past during the height of Flash.

Let us know how you feel about the Edge preview in the comments and thank you so much for reading!

June 11 2011


What is the Future of Adobe Flash?

The fate of Adobe Flash is in a stir lately. Who wouldn’t talk about it when two Steve’s are out there to get it by the neck? Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer have decided that Flash’s reign is over. At least in the sense that Microsoft and Apple and other major technology companies have started shifting from Flash to different platforms.

What’s in store for developers and users? Users would wonder if they’re affected by this change. Depending on what they use their devices for, it might make or break a lot of things. Take for example gamers. There are major gaming websites that focus on Flash like Kongregate and Newgrounds, I guess Apple users won’t be able to play games anymore. For developers, this might be a problem (or a business) as they will have to rewrite their products.

Apple is a behemoth that does not support Flash. Two Steve’s are actually moving away from Flash, the other Steve is Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO. Imagine that? Two huge industry giants versus Adobe Flash!

Is the future of Adobe Flash grim? Before addressing the real issue here, let’s first look at why Flash is a target and not others.

Why is Flash Widely Used?


To begin, Flash has been used for a very long time and has widely revolutionized multimedia both online and on handheld devices. Why is it so? Because Flash has solved several problems that people experienced. From handling videos to fonts, to animation and cross browser compatibility, and adding to that the set standards on the web that are always changing. Cross browser and cross-platform compatibility with Adobe Flash is not an issue, unlike many web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

Another reason for its success is that Flash is mostly used for gaming and entertainment. The majority of internet users use the internet for entertainment.

Is it the End of Flash?

No. To say that it will die off because a new challenger appears is too sensationalist. Since the majority of PCs use it, websites with animations including those pesky advertisements, and thousands of Flash games, it won’t go away easily. It has served thousands of devices and websites; taught in multimedia classes and has produced a lot of creative content without even knowing scripting. Adobe Flash is still evolving, trying to keep up with the fast paced technology.

During college I took a multimedia class. There we used Adobe Flash and created several 2D animations and Flash games. I can say that even if I’m not that good with graphics and design, I can sure as hell create a Flash game and animate your stick man. Is it a useful skill? Maybe it can get you a few ladies to drink with, still it is a very useful skill especially for designers.

So, what can turn the tables? I, for one, loathe the bulky Flash websites (especially those Hollywood film promotional websites), but when it comes to interactivity I’m the first one to worship it. A lightweight competitor like HTML5 will do the trick; CSS3, HTML, PHP5, JavaScript and others would win when it comes to creating dynamic websites.

The problem with these technologies is that the standards aren’t really that standard for everyone. You think you know everything about CSS and HTML and now you can create a super website? Think again. In a few months or years you’ll have to read another manual telling you that there’s another standard. Even if they’re called standards, developers from all over the planet are having difficulties with cross browser and cross platform compatibility.

Websites including YouTube have began using HTML5. There has been a spur of HTML5 games and they are really lightweight.

The question now is, is HTML5 (and others) easy to learn? I can teach a 13-year-old to animate using Flash, but not HTML5 just yet. It still has a long way to go but I’m pretty sure that someday people will come up with drag and drop applications to create rich and dynamic content.

As said, Flash is well-established and can be used by almost anyone.

What about the people saying that Flash is already dead? Are they too optimistic about HTML5? Maybe, since HTML5 still has a long way to go and still has to establish credibility. Something which Flash has. But HTML5 has the ace up its sleeve, and that is the potential to grow further.

What Apple says vs. What Adobe says

When it comes to Touch

Apple claims that Adobe Flash wasn’t made to support touch screen devices. Any other Flash applications and websites will then be rewritten.

Adobe says that the Adobe Flash Player is actually made for the purpose of supporting tablets with multi-touch. And that Flash developers need not worry because mouse events are automatically converted to touch events for touch devices.

When it comes to Battery Life

Apple says that Flash uses too much battery life to be used on mobile devices when playing high-definition videos or games.

Adobe says it will not be an issue since Flash Player 10.1 supports hardware acceleration across mobile and desktop devices.

When it comes to Security

Apple takes a hold of Symantec’s word about Flash being one of worst in security.

Adobe says it is also important to note that Flash is one of the most widely used systems. Comparing it to a discussion I had during college, Microsoft OS is mostly targeted by computer viruses and crackers because the market is in there, many people use it as compared to Linux and Mac OS X.

(see links at article’s end for an in-depth explanation from Adobe and Apple)

Should You Learn Flash?

HTML5 is the next big thing after Flash but do not expect a wide support group for it just yet. If you want to do complex animations, Flash is your way for now. By all means learn how to use Flash, it is widely supported and has lots of features that anyone can use.

But if you are thinking of creating a website with animations and things, you might want to wait just yet. Flash websites were superstars of the past, now they’re just divas that want attention and many people loathe them.

Flash is compatible with almost any browser. You don’t have to worry about cross browser and cross platforms. Of course, we’re not talking about iPhone and iPads. Kidding, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 supports them now.

Now, if you are thinking of creating an HTML5 game, you might not find a very good marketplace for it. Flash still has the biggest audience and established marketplaces for games like Y8, Newgrounds, and Kongregate.

Should you learn HTML5? Well, you can start now. It has a bright future, but don’t expect it to come in a sweep anytime soon. People, like an immune system, are resistive to change. HTML5 is still far from achieving what Flash can do: games, videos, applications, flexibility, and audience.

Weighing Things Up

Photo by darktaco

Adobe Flash wins at:

  • Used by almost every PC user.
  • Creation of simple to complex animation.
  • Bundled up; learning curve is easier because it’s not as diverse as learning HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and other things.
  • Several thousand Flash games that can’t be played on Apple products.
  • Devices that allows Flash usage, in my experience, are more fun to deal with. My team and I once created a “hack and slash” game using Flash and we were stunned to learn that our professor saved it on his Nokia and played it there. Fully running. My point is, Flash is great with cross-platform compatibility.
  • Cross-browser compatibility too.

HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript wins at:

  • All of these are open standards, no more relying on third-party products like Flash does.
  • Can be used by most browsers without updating anything.
  • When YouTube was still a baby, I usually would see a page asking me to upgrade my Flash player. I haven’t seen it in a year now.
  • Adobe Flash wasn’t really built to support touch screen devices. With today’s technology, almost every surface is a touch screen. It doesn’t stop there; the juice of this all is on the web. Little by little desktop applications are leaving the mainstream and are replaced by web-based applications. Lightweight and accessible almost anywhere. This includes games, videos, and other applications.


It is not certain if Flash will be replaced, but it is certain that in the years to come there will be other technologies that will be on par with it. Flash was, and is still, hot because of PCs. In an era where PCs are common household items, Flash sure has found its place. But with today’s rise in mobile devices, lightweight devices, the hassles of using Flash applications will be its own funeral. Even though its future is gravely marked, it doesn’t mean it will fall overnight. There’s still hope for Flash developers out there.

Sources and for Further Reading:

Adobe - The truth about Flash

Apple - Thoughts on Flash

Tell us what you think!

September 29 2010


Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

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Office applications are getting very advanced these days offering all sorts of fancy features for data visualization. Graph generation is a standard feature in desktop applications like Microsoft Excel or Calc, but it can also be achieved in non-spreadsheet applications like Adobe Illustrator.

If you’re unfamiliar with the process of creating graphs in Adobe Illustrator, this article will help in giving you some insight into the work-flow. It might also help you decide whether Illustrator is the right tool for this kind of assignment.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that we are publishing a Smashing eBook Series? The brand new eBook #3 is Mastering Photoshop For Web Design, written by our Photoshop-expert Thomas Giannattasio.]

What Type of Graphs Can You Create in Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator offers 9 graph types to visualize data. You can choose from the following:

  • Column Graph
  • Stacked Column Graph
  • Bar Graph
  • Stacked Bar Graph
  • Line Graph
  • Area Graph
  • Scatter Graph
  • Pie Graph
  • Radar Graph

There is also the possibility for making combinations from the existing graph types to achieve greater diversity. The only graph type that can’t be combined is the scatter graph.

Creating graphs in Illustrator is as simple as selecting the Graph Tool (from the Tools panel), clicking on your Artboard and dragging and thus forming the area size of the graph. It is also possible to type in the width and height of the graph, which is useful if you want to create graphs with specific dimensions. If you decide to type in the dimensions of the graph, you should bear in mind that those dimensions are applied to the whole graph object (including labels, legend and x, y values), not just the graph chart.

Once you create this graph size and shape you will see that it’s available as a single element (layer) in the Layers panel, usually with the name <Graph>. This might seem confusing at first but you’ll get used to it very quickly.

The Two Faces of Illustrator Graph Functionality

Creating graphs in Adobe Illustrator is generally a straightforward task but once you get into advanced techniques of graph design, functionality can get quite annoying. You’ll be surprised to discover that basic tasks like scaling and aligning are not instantly applicable on graphs.

Face 1 (Graphs as Objects)

The reason for the initial exceptional lack of functionality of the graph objects in Illustrator is that they are quite simply, ‘objects’. That is to say, they are special groups of sub-elements that have a limited number of attributes the user can control. Graph objects are less flexible than usual Illustrator layers, layer elements and groups of layer elements.

Graph-layers in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

Here are most of the limitations of Adobe Illustrator’s graph creation functionality that are instantly noticeable:

  • Transform panel is not available for graph objects.
  • No transform controls are available for selected graph objects, thus no instant scaling or rotation is possible.
  • Graph objects cannot be aligned to other objects nor can other objects be aligned to them.
  • Two or more graph objects cannot be grouped.
  • It’s not possible to create a clipping mask from a graph object.
  • A graph object cannot be transformed into a symbol.

Maybe it’s not really wise to initially dig for limitations, as you may get the impression that you’re left with very few things that you can actually do to graphs in Illustrator. Of course, that’s the wrong impression. As noted, creating graphs in Adobe Illustrator is generally a straightforward task.

But through knowing the limitations of your tool can actually help you plan early and work smarter.

Face 2 (working with sub-elements of the Graph Object)

Illustrator Graphs have sub-elements. The sub-elements are the brightest aspect of the graph creation process in Adobe Illustrator. They are flexible and you can do all sorts of modifications to them. From repositioning, scaling, mirroring, adjusting opacity and offsetting paths to applying special effects like brush strokes, glowing edges, pixelation etc. Sub-elements are your true friends as long as you don’t make further changes in the graph data!

The appearance of the following sub-elements can be modified:

  • lines
  • labels
  • data points
  • graph legends
  • graph shadows
  • value axises
  • columns
  • pieces of pie graphs

However, if you make a change in the graph data, you instantly loose the control over the sub-elements’ appearance and reset it to the bare minimum – fill + stroke. Actually, you reset the appearance of sub-elements with any action that causes the graph object to regenerate. That’s why, as even Adobe advises, the sub-elements in graphs should always be styled as the final design process of a graph.

What about ungrouping Illustrator graphs?

Is it possible? Absolutely. As long as you’re aware that ungrouping graphs removes the possibility of further changes in the graph data. Having this firmly in mind, it is only useful to ungroup a graph object once you’re sure that you won’t have to revisit its “Graph Data”, “Graph Type” or “Graph Design” windows.

Graph ungrouping means simultaneously an increase AND a decrease in flexibility.

Ungrouping-graphs in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

Ungrouping the Graph Object means an increase in flexibility because it makes all graph sub-elements behave like usual Illustrator layers, thus unleashing the full power of layer editing in Illustrator.

It is at the same time a decrease in flexibility because it’s a one-way road. After the ungrouping, the graph object turns into a group of layer elements (as funny as this sounds), and looses its touch with the special graph creation functionalities.

So, it’s wise to use Adobe Illustrator for designing graphs one step at a time. First prepare graph data, than design the graph. This might seem too obvious, but it’s very, very easy to get carried away in the creative process, forgetting about the two faces (before and after ungrouping) of the graph object. I know, as I have made this mistake several times.

What if you want to modify several graphs at once?

That’s a very legitimate question and it deserves a decent answer.

You most certainly can select several graph objects at once, and apply various effects and transformations to them. With the help of the Group Selection tool, you can even select sub-elements from different graph objects and style them as you wish. Besides other things, you can also change the Graph Type of multiple graph objects at once.

Unfortunately, what you can’t do is change graph data on more than one graph object at once. It’s impossible and it’s a shame. Instead of being able to change the data of 50 various graphs in an instance, you will need to do 50 separate changes (and waste valuable time).

How do Graphs Perform in Legacy Illustrator Formats?

Graphs-in-legacy-formats in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

Every incremental release of Adobe Illustrator offers options for saving working files in legacy formats. This way you can ensure that your designs will work in older versions of Adobe Illustrator.

However, even though the possibility is there, the practical value of this Illustrator feature, for graphs, is minimal.

A personal example

While preparing the final release of “The Graphs2”, saving to legacy formats added extra “features” to my designs. For example, while working on a legacy AI file, after editing the graph data on a randomly chosen graph object, the graph object repositioned itself to false coordinates, and made the design appear to be broken. After testing this on other graph objects, I figured that it was a rule and not an exception. I wasn’t able to get rid of this “feature” until I decided to minimize the backwards compatibility of my designs and save into Illustrator CS4 format.

Adobe does warn about the consequences of saving in legacy formats, but this is certainly a feature for Illustrator Graphs that could be improved.

What Could Adobe Improve in its Illustrator Graphs Functionality?

It would be really nice not to have to worry about loosing touch with the graph data after graph ungrouping. Why do graph objects have to be limited? In fact, why do graphs need to be generated in the form of objects? Why not serve them in the usual way – as a group of separate layers?

Perhaps Adobe should spend more time modularizing the graph creation functionality and serve them throughout the whole Creative Suite. Data visualization is important and shouldn’t be treated as a gray zone, as a pending process in the development of the Creative Suite, especially not in the development of Adobe Illustrator.

Some ‘would be nice to have’ stuff for Illustrator graphs

In terms of flexibility and accessibility, Adobe Illustrator’s graph creation functionalities are not polished at all. The main features are very obvious, but a lot of small pieces are missing for a rock solid graph creation module.

  • Axes: Though it might be illogical for some, why isn’t there an option for generating graphs without value axes? Hiding them manually takes additional time and it’s specially annoying if you need to use the “Show All” option for hidden layers, while trying to exclude the value axes from reappearing. An extra option that will allow hiding and showing of value axes is needed in the “Graph Type” window.

No-soft-shadows-for-graphs in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

  • Shadows: Why would you implement a shadow sub-element for graph objects if you don’t provide proper options to control its appearance? And, who needs rough shadows these days when ray-tracing has spoiled us like children? We need realistic shadows for graph objects in Illustrator. We need to be able to control the light angle, the dens and the opacity of the shadow, the level of softness. We need all things that you normally get when applying a “Drop Shadow” layer style on a Photoshop layer. While saying this, there are manual ways of getting smooth graph shadows, like applying “Drop Shadow” effect on sub-elements or applying “Feather” effect on the default graph shadow sub-element.
  • Inter-object styling: What’s the point of providing styling options for graph sub-elements, when there’s no freedom in choosing when to apply them. The appearance reset for graph sub-elements has to go away! Data has to be separated from presentation. We need to be able to make unlimited changes to graph data regardless of the appearance of the graph object or its sub-elements. We need to be able to change things whenever we feel like we want to, not necessarily last.

Summary of Illustrator Graph Features

Here is a summary of the most important features of graphs in Adobe Illustrator.

  • Graphs are special groups of sub-elements and have a limited number of attributes you can control.
  • You can create 9 main types of graphs in Adobe Illustrator.
  • You can import graph data from external files.
  • You can copy and paste data from spreadsheet applications into graphs in Illustrator. You need to paste the data into Object → Graph → Data window for this to work.

Paste-data-from-spreadsheet-apps in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

  • If you ungroup a graph you cannot make changes to its data.
  • You can apply all sorts of effects to the sub-elements of a graph and not so much to the graph object itself.
  • Graphs and symbols do not get along quite well. A graph object cannot be converted into a symbol. However, there is an option for importing symbols into graph designs.
  • It is possible to create graphs with custom designs (by including images and symbols), but we won’t explore this in detail in this feature. Maybe you can write a great article on this topic?
  • You can copy and paste charts from Microsoft Excel or Calc into Illustrator.
  • Illustrator offers excellent support for exporting graphs in SVG file format. Graph data remains editable in Illustrator, for SVG files created with Illustrator.
  • If you require advanced graph creation features, make friends with spreadsheet applications in famous Office suites.

Save some time along the way!

Here are a few quick tips (shortcuts) that might come in handy for beginners or may act as a reminder for advanced Illustrator users. These are all obvious things that will help you from wandering aimlessly around Illustrator menus and the workspace.

  • Instead of going to Object → Graphs → Data…, anytime you need to access the data of a specific graph, select the graph object and double click the Column Graph Tool icon from the Tools panel. Or, you can achieve the same by selecting the graph object, choosing “J” from the keyboard and then pressing the “Enter” key.
  • Right click a graph and you will find another quick way to access specific options for graph objects, including:
    • Type…
    • Data…
    • Design…
    • Column…
    • Marker…

    Quickly-edit-graph-object-data in Creating Graphs With Adobe Illustrator

  • Instead of selecting graph sub-elements within isolation mode, use the Group Selection Tool to select them without isolating your view in the workspace.
  • Click and drag a graph while holding the “Alt” key on the keyboard, to quickly duplicate it.
  • Delete graph objects with “Backspace” or “Delete” from the keyboard.
  • If you want to create Line graphs with curved lines apply “Round Corners…” effects (Effect → Illustrator Effects – Stylize → Round Corners…) to line sub-elements.
  • If you want to create a Pie Graph with empty space in between pieces, apply an “Offset Path…” effect (Effect → Illustrator Effects – Path → Offset Path…) to the graph object, and a miracle happens!
  • If you want to create a 3D graph, apply an “Extrude & Bevel…” effect (Effect → Illustrator Effects – 3D → Extrude & Bevel…) to the graph object. If you don’t want to transform the whole graph object, apply “Extrude & Bevel…” effects to specific sub-elements you want visualized in 3D.
  • If you want to use “Offset Path…” effect together with “Extrude & Bevel…” on a single graph object or a single sub-element, make sure you place the offset effect below the Extrude & Bevel in the Appearance panel and you’ll be fine. Otherwise you’ll get the offset plane extruded also.
  • Don’t forget to use the “Drop Shadow…” effect (Effect → Illustrator Effects – Stylize → Drop Shadow…) as a replacement to the poor shadow feature that’s served by default for some graph objects.

Draw your conclusion

I used Adobe Illustrator to create “The Graps2” and I can say it was an interesting experience. It wasn’t as delightful as I would have liked it to be but it sure was challenging.

After reading the above article you may feel discouraged in using Illustrator for graph design. What I would certainly recommend is at least trying Illustrator for creating graphs. It’s the only way of getting in touch with the work-flow and making a personal judgment of whether Adobe Illustrator is mature enough for your graph creation needs.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that with Adobe Illustrator you’re creating vector art. Vector art can be re-sized infinitely, without any consequences in terms of graphics quality, thus can be fitted in almost any type of medium.

Further reading


© Goce Mitevski for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | Post a comment | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
Post tags: adobe, chart, create, Design, graph, illustrator, Tutorials, visualization

September 17 2010


The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?Spacer in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?
 in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?  in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?  in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Our recent article covering the new features of Adobe Fireworks CS5 provoked a very interesting and intense debate. But because comments ranged from “Fireworks is the best tool for screen design!” to “What exactly is Fireworks?”, we thought that another article on this topic might be very useful to Smashing Magazine readers.

However, this time the article will not focus so much on the tool itself, but rather on what can be achieved with it, and more specifically — what can be achieved with its visual/graphic design capabilities. We also hope that the following showcase of inspiring illustrations, created entirely in Fireworks, will not only be interesting to our readers, but will also help put an end to the common misconception that Fireworks is mostly a prototyping tool – and – that for “serious” design you must switch to other tools, namely Photoshop or Illustrator.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that there is a Smashing eBook Series? Book #2 is Successful Freelancing for Web Designers, 260 pages for just $9,90.]

…What Exactly Is Fireworks?

Finding the answer to this question is not so easy. Is it a prototyping or wireframing tool? Or is it a powerful graphics editor? Is it a Photoshop competitor, but for Web design only? Is it none of these, or all of the above?

Fireworks-cs5-splash-screen Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Perhaps presenting you with a quick overview of some of the key features of Fireworks will help you decide the answer to that question yourself.

What is it?

Fireworks is a bitmap and vector graphics editor formerly developed by Macromedia and since 2006 developed by Adobe. The main purpose of Adobe Fireworks is for creating expressive, highly optimized graphics for Web, screen and various devices (it should be noted that because of its main purpose, Fireworks has certain limitations: it supports only RGB/RGBa colors and the maximum canvas size of its files is approximately 10,000×10,000 pixels).

What is it good for?

With Fireworks you can make websites, user interfaces and rich Internet application (RIA) interfaces which are editable in both vector and bitmap modes. Fireworks has Pages/Master Pages, Layers, States and Symbols – all features that considerably speed up development of Web designs. You can also use it to create wireframes and interactive prototypes — you can apply behaviors to objects to simulate interactivity; you can add text, symbols, images and also import Illustrator and Photoshop assets; and once ready with the design you can export the files as clickable PDF mock-ups for approval.

Fireworks can turn a graphic design project instantly into an interactive Web prototype — simply export a Fireworks single-page or multi-page PNG file as HTML, CSS and images. You can then send such an interactive prototype to a client for approval; or you can further edit the exported code (which is almost standards compliant and uses an external style sheet) in Dreamweaver, Coda or any other code editor of your choice.

Export features

Fireworks can export to JPG, GIF/GIF-animated, PNG8/24/32, TIFF and a variety of other graphic formats. The Fireworks compression algorithms are on par with, or even better than, Photoshop’s. Not only this but Fireworks can also export graphics directly to PNG8 alpha+index transparency format with true cross-browser compatibility (this means the exported PNG files will display correctly even in Internet Explorer 6 and 7). This is one of the areas where Fireworks excels and Photoshop still lags behind. Fireworks also shows excellent compression options for the iPad and iPhone PNG formats.

You can also export Fireworks PNG files as Adobe AIR applications or FXG 2.0 files for development in Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder (FXG 2.0 also allows a much better integration with Illustrator and Photoshop). You can create skin components such as buttons, menu types and form elements for use in Flash Builder (previously known as Adobe Flex Builder).

Formats support

Because the native file format of Fireworks is editable PNG (it simply stores additional metadata for layers, animation, vector data, text, effects) and Fireworks is primarily a vector application, development for the iPhone is easy and effective in Fireworks. There exist a variety of toolkits and rich symbol libraries for Fireworks iPhone development and they can speed up your work measurably.

Fireworks can open/import native Photoshop (.psd) and Illustrator (.ai) files with high fidelity of layers, effects and blend modes; you can also import native Adobe Flash vector objects (you may first need to convert them to .ai, though). And from Fireworks you can readily transfer graphic assets back to Illustrator and Photoshop. You can also take your design into Adobe Flash Professional and preserve layer states and symbols for animation interactivity development.

Highly extensible

Fireworks is also highly extensible — this makes possible the developing of amazing extensions (such as TweetFire, which lets you instantly tweet the image/design you’re currently working on without leaving Fireworks), complex panels, commands and auto shapes.

The Showcase Of Fireworks Illustrations

So now that we know what Fireworks is capable of, let’s see what designers across the globe are actually doing with it!

The following selection of vector illustrations, logo and icon designs – created in Fireworks – is limited to 19 designers. To make the most of this article, we have made available some Fireworks editable PNG files (.fw.png) which you are welcome to download and deconstruct.

1. David Hogue

Dave Hogue is the Director of Information Design & Usability at Fluid, a design and development agency located in San Francisco. His areas of interest include user experience design, usability, interaction design and information design. Dave speaks regularly at the Web Experience Forum and Adobe MAX. He is very active in the Adobe Fireworks community and he regularly posts useful Fireworks tips and tricks on his Twitter account.

{01} Golden Compass illustration

Compass Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS4, all vectors, and inspired by this tutorial made for Adobe Illustrator (download editable PNG).

{02} Quartz Watches illustration

Quartz-watches Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS5, all vectors, and inspired by a photo of a real quartz watch (download editable PNG).

2. Matthew Inman

Matthew is a designer and illustrator who runs the highly successful comics, The Oatmeal. He lives in Seattle, Washington, and uses Adobe Fireworks to draw all the comic strips.

Fireworks is intended for web design, but it’s also a very capable vector editing tool and it works beautifully if your work is going to end up on a website. …I don’t use Photoshop and I’m actually pretty terrible with it. I also have Illustrator and I was using it for a few months, but I ended up going back to Fireworks simply because I’m more comfortable with it and it’s better for creating web content.

Following here is a very short selection of only 5 comic strips — all made with Fireworks (but of course you’re welcome to explore the full Oatmeal collection):

{03} 15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee

Theoatmeal-1 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{04} 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer

Theoatmeal-2 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{05} How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell

Theoatmeal-3 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{06} Why working at home is both awesome and horrible

Theoatmeal-4 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{07} Duck in Coffee illustration

Coffee-duck Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Matthew does not use Fireworks only for drawing his comic strips — for example, see this beautiful “There’s a duck in my coffee” vector illustration, created entirely in Fireworks (see screenshot from the process). Check Matthew’s portfolio if you’d like to see more of his works.

3. Ryan Hicks

Did you ever wonder what happens behind the closed doors of Adobe? How their design teams are working? What applications are creating the icons and splash screens of the various Adobe apps? Ryan could tell us a lot about this subject, since he’s currently working at Adobe as Design Manager, and prior to that he was Senior Experience Designer at Adobe and Experience Designer at Macromedia. His list of clients also include Polygram Music, Wired Magazine and many others (see Ryan’s portfolio).

Let’s take a look at some of his design and illustration work.

{08} XD Brownbag Poster series

Xd-fwcs3-poster Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

After posting it to the Adobe Developer Connection | Fireworks website, Ryan shared the following about this illustration:

This illustration is just one example of a series from the XD Brownbag seminars at Adobe (XD is the Experience Design team at Adobe). The poster art is drawn up at screen resolution and later scaled, because this enables me to build up the shapes more quickly and get into the “drawing light,” which is where the real magic of Fireworks comes in. Its incredibly intuitive gradient opacity controls and the Ellipse gradient’s multi-handle directional controls allow a drawing approach that mimics the real behavior of light. Solid objects have a primary base color and separate slices of cast light, bright highlights, and shadows to build up volume and surface.

After the illustration is completed, it is scaled up to print resolution in Fireworks (eat a snack during this process, as big resolutions is one thing Fireworks isn’t entirely happy with). This large Fireworks PNG illustration is then taken through Adobe Photoshop to output a transparent PSD, and finally into Adobe Illustrator for layout, typography, and output for the final, print-resolution 24″ x 36″ poster.

Download the Fireworks PNG file.

{09} XD Lunchbox poster

Xd-lunchbox Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{10} XD Beet poster

Xd-beet Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{11} XD Mackerel poster

Xd-mackerel-poster Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{12} XD Salad poster

Xd-salad-poster Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{13} XD Brownbag poster

Xd-brownbag-poster Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

4. Rogie King

Rogie King is the guy behind Komodo Media. He is a web designer, illustrator and blogger. Lately Rogie started a series of tutorials on Fireworks that are becoming more and more popular every day.

{14} personal site illustrations

Rogie-king-redesign Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Composed entirely of vector artwork in Fireworks, this is a piece of art for the new and upcoming tumblog for

{15} Logo for

Rainboxx-logo-1 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Rainboxx-logo-2 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Rainboxx-logo-3 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created for Matthias Dietrich for his PHP development shop, Rainboxx, this logo was created entirely in Fireworks as vectors. Matthias wanted an evolution to his brand and a professional 3D icon evolution of his current Rainboxx identity. You can view more info about the process, the related dribbble shot, and you can learn more about the particularly interesting brushed metal effect in this video tutorial.

{16} Mad Mimi Illustrations

Mad-mimi-1 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Mad-mimi-2 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Mad-mimi-3 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

These are just a couple of illustrations from a series created for the redesign of Mad Mimi. The illustrations are composed entirely of vectors with the additional use of Fireworks symbols for repeating shapes (such as the boxes).

{17} Adaptive UI icons

Adeptiv-ui-icons Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

A custom icon set designed entirely in Fireworks for andCulture who wanted an icon set that was smooth, silky and that fit in with the aesthetic of their Flex web application (see a screenshot from the work in progress).

5. Xiao Cai

Xiao currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He’s currently building his portfolio and preparing for the RMIT University. He does not have a personal website but you can check his profile in deviantart where he posts some of his works.

Xiao shared with me a bit more details concerning his very interesting technique, which he uses in Adobe Fireworks:

During my free time, I looked through a lot of online tutorials on the use of software like Fireworks, Photoshop and 3DS Max. It is quite amazing that you can learn pretty much anything yourself as long as you put theory and practice together. At the beginning, I created a few simple wallpapers using Fireworks, to get familiar with its tools and options. Then I read an article about creating Chinese painting-like pictures in Adobe Fireworks. I tried a few times and then came up with a style of my own, something like Digital Chinese Painting, and was quite happy with the results. Since then I went deeper and deeper with Gongbi (a meticulously detailed painting style) and Shuimo (a water color style) paintings and re-created them with Fireworks. I was trying different tools and effects to get the right one, then compared these pictures with real Chinese painting reference photos and modified them, until I was satisfied with the end result.

Sometimes, I am also using Fireworks to create icons and other design elements.

Next, you’ll see four of Xiao’s digital drwaings, each one has a short description added by the author.

{18} DCP2 Fireworks illustration

Dcp2-novelekehe Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

“My first complete painting by using Fireworks. I did everything piece by piece, from background to stamen, with the pen tool, then adjusted the colors and effects. Not really a technical one, but did take me a lot of time. This painting is also featured in “2 Faces Apart”, Vol.1, published by King Ink (ISBN: 978-91-85807-05-5).”

{19} DCP3 Fireworks illustration

Dcp3-novelekehe Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

“Created in Fireworks, in a bit different style. And with the experience from the previous one, it was finished easily.”

{20} DCP4 Fireworks illustration

Dcp4-novelekehe Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Dcp4-novelekehe-element1 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Dcp4-novelekehe-element2 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

“Here I tried to focus on the flower, and at the same time combine two different styles together (Gongbi and Shuimo). However, I think I still need to work on the composition.”

{21} DCP8 Fireworks illustration

Dcp8-novelekehe Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

“One more illustration in the same style; it also has a night version.”

6. Jon Hicks

Jon Hicks (, @hicksdesign) is a designer we need not introduce. Among other things, he is the maker of the Firefox, Thunderbird & Mailchimp logos and lately he was Senior Designer at Opera Software, before returning to freelance work this year.

{22} Mozilla Firefox logo

Firefox-logo-in-fireworks Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Firefox-logo-screens Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

The logo of Mozilla Firefox, one of the leading modern Web browsers, was originally created in Macromedia Fireworks in 2004. (Note: Later Jon Hicks re-created the logo also in Adobe Illustrator, so that it could be transferred to print more easily).

Currently, Jon Hicks admits that he both loves and hates Fireworks, one of the reasons for which was apparently Fireworks version CS4, which initially proved to be very unstable on MacOS X and Adobe were quite slow to release two stability patches for it.

When I e-mailed Jon a couple of days ago, he was kind enough to share the following with me:

Apart from the first version of the Mozilla Firefox logo, I do all my illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, rather than Adobe Fireworks. I would often use Fireworks for small icons and mocking up site designs, but anything larger and more complicated would be done in Illustrator. The next higher res [resolution] version of the Firefox logo was created in Illustrator — that’s not to say it’s impossible in Fireworks, but I find Illustrator easier for that kind of thing, and it’s then simple to create high res CMYK versions for print, as well as screen.

7. Fabio Sasso

Fabio is a graphic and web designer from Porto Alegre, Brazil. He’s the founder of Abduzeedo, a blog about design, and he and other designers have published there many tutorials on Fireworks. Fabio acknowledges that Fireworks is his favorite and most versatile tool for Web design with its amazing vector capabilities and good bitmap editing options as well.

{23} Apple Air banner

Apple-air Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Done entirely in vectors; there’s also a related tutorial as to how it’s done in Fireworks.

{24} Light Effects illustration

Abduzeedo-lights Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Done entirely in vectors; there’s also a related tutorial as to how it’s done in Fireworks.

{25} The Abduzeetles Rockband website design

The-abduzeetles Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Hilarious — this tutorial will teach you how to create a colorful and funny website design for the Abduzeetles Rockband — all with the power of Fireworks vectors! ;)

8. Lucian Dragomir

Lucian Dragomir from 2313 Studio is a 20-year-old freelance branding and web designer who is currently studying art and visual technology in Virginia. Graphic design is his passion and Fireworks is what feeds his hunger for design. He likes Fireworks for its user-friendly interface and advanced vector engine which, combined, create good results for fast prototyping, Web design and occasionally even print.

Lucian also loves to share his work at deviantart.

{26} Vectorizer illustration

Vectorizer-color-powered Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

This is an illustration that won first prize at the 2009 Fireworks Wallpaper Contest, organized by Adobe and FwZone. It was created in Fireworks CS4 and is 100% vector work. To see the full complexity of this illustration, you can download the Fireworks PNG file.

{27} Anger Management illustration

Anger-management-1 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Experimental 3D render of a fire extinguisher and a lighter using only vectors (Fireworks 8).

{28} iCry illustration

Icry Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Experimental characters and lighting/shadow/reflection simulation, 100% vector work in Adobe Fireworks.

{29} TakeOFF illustration

Takeoff Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks 8 with the help of the Alien Skin Splat plugin.

9. Fred Michel

Fred Michel is 30 years old and a freelance graphic and web designer, currently living in Montréal, Canada. He first made his way into the graphic design world through being inspired by Fireworks. An interesting fact is that he is color blind. So how does he manage to put the colors together? He says that this is a secret!

{30} Porsche Carrera illustration

Porsche-carrera Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Originally created in Fireworks in 2004 and is all vector work (download Fireworks PNG).

{31} Cadillac illustration

Cadillac Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks, all vector work (download Fireworks PNG).

{32} Mercedes SLA concept car illustration

Mercedes-sla Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Mercedes SLA concept car — originally created in 2005 in Fireworks, all vector work (editable PNG is available for download). A curious fact is that the concept of the Mercedes SLA car is as old as the year 2000, however, Mercedes did not yet create such a car — it only remains a concept till now.

{33} VW Tiguan illustration

Vw-tiguan Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS3, in 2010, and is all vector work (you may download the editable PNG). One of Fred’s most complex vector illustrations made in Fireworks.

10. Mikko Vartio

Mikko Vartio is a visual web designer from Helsinki, Finland. He uses Adobe Fireworks as a primary tool for creating websites, illustrations, for UI Design and wireframing. When he’s not working with Fireworks he’s reading old sci-fi books and cruising the streets with a longboard.

For Mikko, Fireworks is the perfect tool for delivering ideas destined for screen because of its extensibility, native .ai/.psd support and pixel-perfect accuracy. Mikko can be found on Twitter and Flickr (where he often posts Fireworks illustrations).

{34} Bears illustration

Bears Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{35} Sealife illustration

Sealife Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{36} Longboard illustration

Longboard Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{37} Surprise illustration

Surprise Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{38} Darth Android illustration

Darth-android Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Made in Fireworks CS5 in less than an hour, this funny Darth Vader + Google Android mashup can be also seen as a live design session recorded at 5x speed. Worth watching!

{39} Magic Mushroom illustration

Magic-mushroom Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

All 100% Fireworks vector work — the original Fireworks PNG file will be available for download as a freebie later at Mikko’s personal blog.

11. Angelo Sabal

Angelo Sabal works and lives in the Philippines. He’s been an avid freelance graphic designer since 2002, specializing in logos, layouts, digital art and multimedia presentations. Fireworks is his design tool of choice.

{40} Colt gun illustration

Colt-gun Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS4, all vectors (download editable PNG).

{41} Candle illustration

Nice-candle Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS3, all vectors (download editable PNG).

{42} Dragon shield illustration

Dragonshield Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS4, all vectors (download editable PNG)

{43} Iron Man 2 helmet illustration

Ironman2-helmet Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS5, all vectors (download editable PNG).

12. Craig Erskine

Craig Erskine was born, and is still working, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He has a passion for designing and building standards compliant, stylish and accessible websites.

Craig is using Fireworks on a daily basis and has also published quite a lot of Fireworks tutorials. You may find him on dribbbble and Twitter.

{44} Mac Mini illustration

Mac-mini Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS4, all vectors (download editable PNG).

{45} Apple remotes illustration

Apple-remotes Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS4, all vectors (download editable PNG).

13. Pete Lacey

Pete Lacey is an English graphic designer and artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s working in the field of graphic design, illustration, photography, video editing, motion-graphics, web development, art direction and even audio recording. When it comes to Web design, Fireworks is one of his programs of choice.

When not working with a computer, Pete can often be found behind a drum kit or a guitar instead. And on Twitter, too.

{46} Fireworks icons

Chopeh-fireworks-icons Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks for a client, 100% vector work.

14. David Brooks

David is a UX designer at Fellowship Technologies and also a photographer. He currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas (USA). You can find him on dribbble and Twitter.

One of his tools of choice is Fireworks.

{47} Camera-Phone illustration

Camera-phone-a Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks for pure fun; all vectors.

{48} Northward Compass website illustration

Northward-compass-site Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Everything (except the map, which is an imported bitmap), is done as vectors in Fireworks.

15. Tomas Gajar

Tomas Gajar is a senior user interface designer. He has been using Fireworks in his daily work for about 7+ years. All designs that you’ll see in his DigitalLabs Portfolio has been made in Fireworks. You can also find Tomas on Twitter and SofaSurfer.

{49} DigitalLabs website design

Digital-labs Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{50} Beck’s design concept

Digital-labs-becks Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{51} SofaSurfer website design

Digital-labs-sofasurfer Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

16. Vincent Tremblay

Vincent Tremblay is currently studying computer programming at Bois-de-Boulogne College in Montreal, Canada. He spends most of his free time coding desktop applications, but he also loves working with his favorite web design software, Adobe Fireworks. Vincent can also be found at deviantart.

{52} Neos Carbon 2 logo prototype (neOS Sapphire logo)

Neos-carbon2 Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS5, all vectors.

{53} iCompanion logo prototype (iTunes Companion logo)

Icompanion Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS5, all vectors.

17. Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor is a very active member of the FireworksGuru forum and he also runs a personal blog dedicated to Fireworks.

{54} Twitter icons

Twitter1a Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Twitter2a Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Twitter icons, all re-created in Fireworks vectors.

{55} The iPhone, in Fireworks PNG (.fw.png) format

Iphone-in-vectors Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

The idea to fully vectorize the iPhone is not new — for example, you may check this excellent tutorial on how to create the iPhone frame in Adobe Fireworks.

However, Mike went one step further and offered the iPhone in Fireworks full vector format for free download (download iPhone in editable PNG format). It should be fully compatible with Fireworks versions CS4/CS5 (and even lower).

18. Nick Isenberg

Nick is a Web and graphic designer who lives and works in Boise, Idaho (USA). You may check his portfolio and deviantart profile, where he publishes some of his illustrations made with Fireworks.

{56} Spiral Notebooks illustration

Spiral-notebooks Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS3, all vector work (download the Fireworks PNG).

{57} Le Petit Porcelet illustration

Lepetitporc Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS3, all vector work (download the Fireworks PNG).

{58} Safari Dock icon

Safari-dockicon Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

Created in Fireworks CS3, almost 100% vector work (download the Fireworks PNG).

19. Adobe CS5 Branding

Next you’ll see more details about the whole Adobe CS5 branding, which — it shouldn’t be actually a surprise — was not made in Photoshop, but mainly in Fireworks.

{59} The Adobe CS5 branding

Adobe-cs5-branding Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{60} The Adobe CS5 branding — the icons

Adobe-cs5-branding-icons Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

{61} The Adobe CS5 branding — the splash screens

Adobe-cs5-splash-screens Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

The Adobe CS5 Branding work was conceived and executed by Ryan Hicks (lead), Shawn Cheris and Dave Nelson. There’s a very interesting article at Veerle Pieters’s blog dedicated to the “making of”. I highly recommend reading this as well as Ryan’s thoughts on the matter too:

Producing assets for nearly a hundred separate software products takes enormous discipline. Discipline in what a few people can commit to executing in terms of fancy design, and discipline in coordinating and scheduling a hundred separate engineering development cycles and their deadlines. And to keep things interesting, Dave bails just before our production schedule was set to kick off. Shawn and I are now an army of two.

Our survival was dependent on the carefully-hewn master files we created for all the hand-built primary assets such as app icons and splash screens. The files leveraged clever layer structures and the attributes management Adobe Fireworks does best.

We have become, in so many words, an outrageously efficient icon factory, pumped up on caffeine, razor sharp pixels, and a couple AIR apps.

CS5 is my third iteration of Adobe’s product identity system. The project was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying I’ve had in my nearly seven years of working at Macromedia/Adobe.

All splash screens and many of the icons of the CS5 apps were made in Fireworks — and most of them exist in various formats including .fw.png and .ai.

So, how good is Fireworks for Web design?

Fireworks is a solid application for creating Web graphics and as John Nack from Adobe Photoshop team says: “Photoshop’s vector shapes & layer effects (strokes, gradients, etc.) are mainstays of Web & mobile design work, but they haven’t gotten updated in a while. If the Photoshop team were to improve this area of the app, what improvements would you find the most important?”

John then lists all features that could probably be added to the next version of Photoshop (CS6?). Let’s take a look at his list — I have marked the features that are proposed to be included in the next version of Photoshop but already exist in Adobe Fireworks (version CS5 or even lower) in italics.

  1. Enable “real” vector shapes (stroke & fill directly editable, without reliance on layer effects or a dialog box).
  2. Support dashed— and dotted—line strokes.
  3. Enable smart shapes — preserve corner roundness when scaling rounded rectangles; support other parameterized shapes (e.g. stars with an adjustable number of points; lines with arrowheads).
  4. Make various layer effects enhancements — apply effects at the layer group level?; re-order effects; duplicate effects (e.g. apply multiple strokes per layer); enable panel-based editing of effects (instead of relying on a dialog box); add/edit effects on multiple selected layers at once; make graphical styles “live” (i.e. if edit the style definition, all styled objects update).
  5. Enable layer search (i.e. type to filter by layer name or attributes).
  6. Improve snap-to-pixel behavior.
  7. Improve text rendering (this is possible in Fireworks with the ClearType Styles extension).
  8. Export text & graphical styles as CSS* (this is already partially possible in Fireworks – it can export a Web graphic design as HTML/CSS code and also can quickly “translate” some objects’ properties into CSS via extensions such as “Copy CSS Dimensions to Clipboard”).
  9. Support guide sets (e.g. for grid layouts).
  10. Support linked files (i.e. edit one file to update buttons, icons, etc. across multiple PSDs).

As can be seen, almost all future features for Photoshop proposed by John Nack are actually existing features in Fireworks and are used by many designers today. It’ll be certainly interesting to keep tabs on how Adobe develops both Photoshop and Fireworks in the future – and what designers will then achieve.


Adobe Fireworks is a powerful graphic design application that is used by many professional Web and graphic designers, UX designers, illustrators and visual artists. In the right hands, it can produce beautiful results with remarkable speed. You have seen some complex vector designs, various drawing techniques, logos and icons and simply cool illustrations.

Perhaps what is the nicest thing about Fireworks is that if you plan to create artwork in Fireworks, your project development is not limited to Fireworks only. You can easily import multi-layered .psd files, .ai files with multiple artboards and even visual assets from Flash. And then in the other direction, from Fireworks, you can transfer graphic assets to Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash Professional and Flash Catalyst. You can combine the Fireworks speed, vector power, Pages/Master Pages, Symbols and ease-of-use together with the options of both Photoshop and Illustrator and achieve all-round results, faster and with great flexibility.

In my personal opinion, there exists much more than 7 reasons to prefer Fireworks to Photoshop. While Fireworks may be not better than Photoshop, when it comes to designing for the Web and screen, it is faster, easier and can produce results as good as those that can be achieved in Photoshop, Illustrator, and other modern graphic design programs. Fireworks is very close to the real Web design application that Jason Santa Maria was discussing not long ago (although for this to happen, Fireworks would need much more intensive development from the part of Adobe).

{62} Adobe Photoshop CS5 splash screen

Photoshop-cs5-splash-screen Th in The Power of Adobe Fireworks: What Can You Achieve With It?

And there you have our final illustration. Next time you start Photoshop CS5, you may ponder that the “blue fish” splash screen you see was actually created in Fireworks — the lightweight, versatile design application that is responsible for most of the artwork across the Adobe CS5 suite.

If you think that I may have missed someone’s truly great (Fireworks) work, please let us know in the comments, thanks!


© Michel Bozgounov for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | Post a comment | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
Post tags: adobe, fireworks, illustrations, Inspiration

September 12 2010


Adobe Announces HTML5/CSS3/SVG Pack for Illustrator

Exciting news from Adobe; they’ve announced a new HTML5 Pack on Adobe Labs with support for HTML5, CSS3, and SVG:

Adobe is pleased to announce the availability of the Adobe® Illustrator® CS5 HTML5 Pack. This add-on for Illustrator CS5 15.0.1 provides initial support for HTML5 and CSS3, extends SVG capability in Illustrator CS5, and helps you easily design web and device content. In combination with the HTML5 features available in the Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 11.0.3 updater, these new tools allow web designers to take advantage of the latest advancements in HTML5.

While HTML5 and CSS3 will not be finalized for some time, and SVG support in browsers will continue to evolve, the extension provides support for a set of currently implemented features.

Some of the benefits of the HTML5 Pack:

  • Efficiently design for web and devices by exporting Illustrator Artboards for unique screen sizes using SVG and CSS3 media queries.
  • Create web widgets with Illustrator by generating dynamic vector art for data driven web work-flows.
  • Take advantage of the latest enhancements to SVG and Canvas to generate interactive web content.
  • Map artwork appearance attributes from designer to developer tools—export from the Illustrator Appearance Panel to CSS3 for streamlined styling of web pages.

Greg Rewis discusses it more in the video below:

Mordy Golding has a good description of some of the new features in this lab pack:

Parameterized SVG

You can designate certain attributes (i.e., fill, stroke, opacity) as variables right from the Appearance panel in Illustrator. When saved as SVG, developers can easily change the variable definition to “reskin” or modify the art. You can even create global variables.

Multi-screen SVG

You can create multiple artboards in Illustrator at various sizes, for example to design art for different screen sizes. You might do this to create different designs for mobile, tablet, and desktop versions of a design for example. You can then save your file as SVG and include all the different artboards. Illustrator creates an HTML file and a CSS file, along with separate SVG files for each artboard. The CSS uses media queries to detect the screen size and automatically serves up the correct SVG image.

Mark objects as canvas in SVG

You can select an object on the Illustrator artboard and then choose Object > HTML5 Canvas > Make. These elements are rasterized and included as canvas elements when saved as SVG, giving developers the ability to control the elements via JavaScript.

Export named character styles as CSS

You can define character styles in your Illustrator document, and then export those character styles as a valid CSS file. You can do this directly from the Character Styles panel.

Export artwork appearances as CSS

You can select an object in Illustrator and export valid CSS directly from the Appearance panel. Of course, if you mockup an entire page in Illustrator, you can simply select all of it and export it to a single CSS file. IDs are picked up from the Layers panel (so you want to name artwork carefully), and Illustrator can export Fill, Stroke, Opacity, and Absolute Position and Dimensions.

Include selected Graphic Styles as CSS in SVG

You can select styles from the Graphic Styles panel and choose to have them exported when you save your file as SVG. What’s really cool is that you can include styles even if they aren’t applied to your artwork. This would allow you to deliver multiple styles to a developer within a single SVG, and even programmatically swap styles.

Great work Adobe!

August 25 2010


Adobe Releases Web Fonts

Last week Adobe announced they are jumping into the Web Fonts game in a partnership with Typekit:

For this debut of Adobe Web Fonts, I think we’ve made some great choices. Everyone knows Myriad and Minion — pervasive workhorse sans serif and serif typefaces, respectively, which will prove to be as useful on the web as they have been in print. Thomas Phinney’s Hypatia Sans and Carol Twombly’s Chaparral are distinctive and versatile. Adobe Text is Robert Slimbach’s newest design which a lot of people haven’t even seen yet (so far it has only been available as a registration benefit for CS5 customers) but I’m certain it will quickly establish itself as a flexible and reliable text typeface, and I’m pleased it will now get a wider audience.

Richard Lipton’s classic Bickham Script is one of our most popular display typefaces and a distinctive addition to the Adobe Web Fonts collection. More of Robert Slimbach’s work now available for web use include Adobe GaramondCaflisch ScriptCronos, and the “display” designs for Garamond Premier (based on Claude Garamond’s beautiful Gros Canon type).

Speaking of which: You will find that we’ve included optical size variations for some of our typefaces. These designs are carefully crafted to look their best at small sizes (“caption”), medium- to large-size headings (“subhead”), or in headlines and other large sizes (“display”). On the web, these distinctions are less resolved than in print, but optical sizes will give you more options to find just the right font for your needs — and giving users better options for fine typography is what Adobe Originals are all about.

Remember, Adobe Web Fonts support the same languages and scripts as their desktop counterparts. Most are “Pro” fonts — meaning their character set supports Central European languages. Adobe Text, Garamond Premier, Hypatia Sans, Minion, and Myriad also support Greek and Cyrillic. (Select the “All Characters” Subset option in Typekit to use them.)

It’s exciting to see Adobe supporting web fonts!

August 16 2010


Adobe brings legendary typefaces to the web

I couldn’t say it better than John Boardley, “This is BIG!Adobe partners with Typekit to bring legendary fonts – such as Garamond, Minion, Myriad, Rosewood Fill and Trajan – to the web! In terms of web typography, this is a huge push forward.

June 29 2010


Add more value to Illustrator with Phantasm CS


Adobe Illustrator is a program from the Adobe Creative Suite that has an infinite amount of capabilities when it comes to vector graphics but have you ever felt limited with it’s ability to make color adjustments? Do you use illustrator heavily? Then Astute Graphics has an amazing plugin for you to tach on to Illustrator to make Illustrator more versatile then before. The plugin is called Phantasm CS Publisher.

Phantasm CS adds some amazing functionality to Illustrator to make it behave like Photoshop and in some cases In-Design this is a must have if you live in the vector world of Illustrator. Phantasm CS gives you:

  • Color Adjustment Tools (Curves, Levels, Hue/Saturation) These work directly in an Illustrator document on all embedded vector objects and images.
  • Halftones & Duotones and other creative tools
  • Print previews including quick and full separations and ink coverage (super helpful for that new t-shirt design vector you just made or anything of the sort)
  • Embedded image editing
  • Embedded image linking

Screen shot 2010-06-28 at 11.33.56 PM

Astute Graphics has several videos that give you a complete walk through on Phantasm CS. Their video’s include:

Several of these features will serve advertising agencies, graphic design studio’s, illustrators, print designers, printers or anyone that has to deal with any kind of printing, process colors or are involved in any pre-press processes.

Screen shot 2010-06-28 at 11.31.25 PM

Phantasm CS is compatible with CS2+ for Windows and Mac. If you need more information on what requirements are needed for plugin you can check the Astute Graphics site. Phantasm CS comes in three different flavors: Design ($75 USD) Studio ($137 USD) and Publisher ($214 USD).

If you use Illustrator at all you should go grab the demo from Astute Graphics and take it for a test drive. It’s a plugin that you don’t want to miss.

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Add more value to Illustrator with Phantasm CS

June 26 2010


Become Master of Text Effects With 40 Adobe Fireworks Tutorials

Adobe Fireworks is a bitmap and vector graphics editor. It is aimed at web designers for rapidly creating website prototypes and application interfaces. It is designed to integrate easily with other former Macromedia products, such as Dreamweaver and Flash.
While Fireworks CS5 packs a lot of new features, it is still possible to achieve completion of these tutorials listed below.

From my own experience, it’s hard to get started learning this program because you will face some obstacles. But take your time and be patient and you will master Fireworks in no time.

1. 3D Water Text Effect in Photoshop CS5


In this tutorial you will learn how to create realistic water text effect in Fireworks CS5.

2. Awesome Floral Type in Fireworks and Photoshop


Make your text look better with floral effect.

3. Creating an amazing Palm Pre icon on Fireworks


Create realistic looking Palm Pre icon in Fireworks.

4. LED Cinema Display in Fireworks


Create the new Apple Cinema Display 24 the easy way.

5. Fireworks Quick Tips – How to use QuickMask


Learn how to use one of the best functions in Fireworks – QuickMask.

6. Awesome Light Effects in Fireworks


Learn how to create this amazing effect you see in the image.

7. Abduzeedo Job Board banner in Fireworks


Create job board banner in Fireworks.

8. Colored Lights Header


Learn how to create this stylish looking header.

9. Classy personal portfolio in Fireworks


10. Grooveshark design style in Fireworks


11. Amazing Neon Lights on Fireworks


Title says it all. I followed this tutorial and ended up with a nice looking neon glow text.

12. Creating a cool website header in fireworks


13. Creating the iPhone Frame on Fireworks


Create a realistic looking iPhone from scratch.

14. Creating the iPhone Interface on Fireworks

These two tutorials are not same. In the first one you will learn how to create iPhone frame and in this one – iPhone interface.

15. Light Painting in Fireworks


16. Apple Air Banner in Fireworks


A must tutorial for every apple fan.

17. Creating the IE7 logo effect in Fireworks


In this tutorial you will learn how to make IE7 logo effect for any letter.

18. Twist and Fade Technique


19. Highway Sign


20. Create a Night Scene


21. Page Curl in Fireworks


22. Create a Digital Collage


23. Scotch Tape Tutorial


24. Dot Matrix Effect


25. Gel Cap / Plastic Button


26. Circular Shadows and Highlights


27. Reflective Glass Effect in Fireworks/Photoshop


This is a simple tutorial showing you how to add reflective effect to any text by using Fireworks or Photoshop.

28. Creating Grunge Text Using Adobe Fireworks


29. Barcode tutorial


30. Transparent Text


31. Danger sign


32. Crystal buttons


33. Glossy Web 2.0 button


34. Glossy Badge


35. One Dollar Coin Tutorial


36. Human Iris


37. Simple Orbs Tutorial


38. Text Wrapping


39. Canned Pineapple Slice


40. Recycling Button


May 19 2010


HTML5 tools from Adobe; HTML5 pack available and a future sneak peak

Our reptilian brains often like to lump an entity in one bucket. We see a lot of folks asking "Is Adobe friend or foe to the Open Web?" Of course, life is much more about nuance. Adobe has a large investment in Flash, but they are also a tools company.

Adobe has mentioned HTML5 tooling in the past, and we have often surmised that there is a HUGE opportunity in HTML5 tooling (which is very much lacking).

Well, now we get to see some meat to the bone as Kevin Lynch is on stage at Google I/O showing off how Adobe is getting big into HTML5.

First, Kevin is showing the HTML5 pack for Dreamweaver. It augments Dreamweaver with code hinting, an updated WebKit for the live view, the fun multiscreen demo that Adobe has been sharing for awhile, and starter layouts for HTML5.

Then we see Kevin use a new prototype tool that allows him to create a rich ad (of course! :) using CSS3 transforms and animations. This is a design tool folks. Think timelines, layers, and more.

It is still early days for these tools, but Adobe said they wanted to get them out to folks as soon as possible to start a discussion with the community. What would you like to see? Going from the world of static-ish pages to rich applications using HTML5 technology... we could sure use some help from tooling.

Update: Kevin announced that Flash will ship the WebM project codecs.

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