MITC 2010: Adobe Fireworks — What is it? What can it do?

Presenter: Mark Pennycuick

I already use Fireworks CS4 for a number of projects for EdTech, but I thought I’d stop by this presentation just to see what is possible. I certainly don’t use Fireworks to its maximum potential (few people do as it is a fairly complex piece of software).

I prefer Fireworks over Adobe Photoshop because it is much more intuitive for me to use. Photoshop, like most Adobe products, seems completely backwards to me.

Mark gave us a CD with the sample images, but I don’t have Fireworks installed on my tablet PC so I won’t really be able to follow along in a “hands-on” way. I suppose I could try to remote into my work machine, but that would be very slow over the network here–not recommended! Yep. It’s slow to do a remote desktop with MOREnet’s wireless network here.

It was so slow I eventually had to shut down my machine. Oh well.

Most of the information I already knew about, though there were definitely a couple of minor tips that may come in handy.

Mark did provide a useful description of Fireworks as a “hybrid” application that is part photo-editor (a la Photoshop) and part web-page creator (a la Dreamweaver). There are a number of things you can do with Fireworks to help simplify the web page creation process, such as creating mockups of web pages. A long time ago, I used a much older version to create a pretty slick mockup of a web site Mark Bookout and I were trying to create for our BrainTrax Project. As long as I clicked the Fireworks mockup in just the right place, it functioned very similar to our vision. It even had a version of the Algebra Brain in the web page.

Nowadays, I mostly use Fireworks as a simple image editor program for signs and other images that I create to support documentation. For instance, all of our Blackboard documentation was originally created in Word. The images were screenshots enhanced with Word’s own image functions (arrows and boxes). I then copied the combined screenshots, arrows, and boxes into Fireworks and saved them as GIFs so that they could then be uploaded into Documentum for final publication on the web. It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.