Red Watch Rebound

After I published my today’s daily design, Dave showed some interest to the original file, so I shared the Fireworks PNG with him.

Lo and behold! an hour or two later, he sent to me the Red Watch Rebound:

Daily Design
[ download Fireworks PNG ]

As you can see, everything is in the details, and I must admit, I like his variant much more. Cool job, Dave, and thanks for sharing it! ;)

Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?

Long-time readers of my modest blog know that I am big fan of Fireworks — my favourite design app of all times. When it comes to design for Web and screen, it combines for me the vector and bitmap power of Photoshop and Illustrator, so I very rarely use either Ps or Ai. In fact, I most probably use Adobe Fireworks 90% of my time, and the rest 10% are almost equally divided between Ai, Ps and Flash.

I am also a long-time reader of Smashing Magazine and have enjoyed quite a lot of their extensive articles about design and development.

Today, these two favourites of mine combined into one, so I am very happy and proud to announce that my first article for Smashing Magazine — an extensive review of Adobe Fireworks CS5 — has just been published!

Fireworks CS5 is better, faster, more powerful than ever, and I enjoy using the new version almost 24/7 now. I am glad the readers of Smashing Magazine will be able to read my in-depth review of Fireworks — I hope it will be useful to many design professionals! ;)

Adobe Fireworks CS5 is out…

…and I recommend it to you with all my heart!

This time, the Fireworks version is much better than the previous one (CS4), and I think the Fireworks Team has done a fantastic job!

Fireworks CS5 is fast, stable, with a minimum of bugs, it starts fast, it works fast, and doesn’t require so much memory. It works equally well under latest MacOS X versions, as well as under Windows XP/Vista/7.

Adobe Fireworks CS4/CS5 (logos)

Quick list of improvements:

— the tools in version CS5 are almost the same, but now you can also create/edit Compound Shapes — special groups of vector objects that give you even more creative vector power;
— the .ase color swatches are now supported by Fireworks (this is Adobe Swatch Exchange format, which is supported by Photoshop and Illustrator, too);
— the text engine has some new features that will allow you to work with text even easier and faster than before (multi-selection of words in one text block, “select similar” option, better text undo-redo, and many other tiny improvements);
— export to FXG 2.0 is now possible;
— importing of vector (and bitmap) objects from Illustrator CS5/Photoshop CS5 is almost perfect;
— gradients in Fireworks CS5 (linear and radial types) now have also a dithering option, which fixes any possible “banding” issues;
— the PI (Property Inspector) panel “refresh” times have been reduced, and now the PI works much faster (this applies especially to the Windows version of Fireworks);
— the PI panel is also much more powerful now, with new Stroke options built-in, and a new “lock proportions” option for modifying any object on the canvas;
— new Snap-to-Pixel option (just apply ctrl/cmd+K shortcut to any object or group of objects that may appear blurry on the canvas, as a result of some complex transformation, and the blurriness is gone!);
— possibility to create and open new files from pre-built templates (plus, you can now create your own templates and share them in a small team);
— integration with Adobe Device Central;
— better integration with Flash Catalyst, Illustrator and Photoshop;
— and many, many more!

Bruce Bowman, the Product Manager for Fireworks, already announced the new Fireworks version, and then also published a detailed article on the new Fireworks features and improvements (if you’re wondering if you should make the switch to CS5 — read the article — it will answer your questions thoroughly!).

Not only this — currently the Fireworks Team also works on a new bugfix patch for version CS4, which will also improve the older version of Fireworks.

There are already some reviews/articles to be found online, about Fireworks CS5:
Top 5 Fireworks CS5 Features,
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Brings Sexy Back,
…and overall, the reviews are quite positive up to now. I hope I will write a more detailed article about Fw CS5, too (this is just a quick look, an overview).

My personal opinion is: If you are using currently Fireworks CS4, don’t even think, but upgrade to Fireworks CS5 right away!

It’s worth it!

Finally, let’s not forget to mention that Fireworks is better than Photoshop — especially when working with vectors and doing any kind of design job for Web/screen, and also for prototyping/wireframing! ;-)

(NOTE: You’ll have still to wait at least a month, before you can order or download the 30-days trial of Fireworks CS5. The Adobe CS5 apps will be available to the public officially in mid-May 2010. So hold your breath till then!)

FireworksZone Fireworks contest, 1st place (and more cool wallpapers)

This illustration is made in Adobe Fireworks:

Fireworks illustration by Lucian Dragomir
(click to open in full size)

All you see is pure Fireworks power, all vectors and symbols and live effects!

This amazing work was created by Lucian Dragomir, a talented Fireworks designer, and has won the 1st place in a recent Adobe Fireworks contest, run by FWZone and Adobe.

If you’re curious, you can download the original and de-construct it in Fireworks:
[ download original Fireworks PNG file (6.5 MB, .fw.png) ]

There were some other very good contributions in that contest, too — take a look at the other winners:

Fireworks illustration by Angelo Sabal Fireworks illustration by Zsolt Szekely

Fireworks illustration by Mikko Vartio Fireworks illustration by Karol Orzel

…but 1st place is really my favourite!

And it also perfectly shows that the creative possibilities with Fireworks are almost endless! (Some time ago, I have shown a few other good Fireworks examples here:-)

Finally, if you sometimes wonder, is Fireworks better than Photoshop (for screen/Web/UI design), wonder no more! :)))