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Foundation Fireworks CS4 (Foundations) Paperback – 26 Mar 2009

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x980e59d8) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9882d540) out of 5 stars A bit variable but contains some gems 29 April 2009
By M. Potter - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is not a beginner's guide to Fireworks, nor is it an advanced reference. Instead, it is a selection of various topics about Fireworks. Early sections that present an overview of the various Fireworks bitmap and vector tools are rather straightforward, but with creative examples. Later sections, such as creating Flex skins and AIR applications are for more advanced users. The fact that the book has several authors is rather evident as you read the somewhat disjoint topics in each chapter.

However, even with this variability between the different chapters, there are plenty of "gems" hidden in this book. I've used Fireworks for many months, and I still didn't completely understand how some of the different tools worked until I saw some of the excellent examples in this book. One problem with Fireworks is that some very important features are often hidden within extensions in the Commands menu, or hidden in some far-off panel that needs to be enabled. This book helped me discover some of those hidden gems within Fireworks.

This is not intended to be a Fireworks reference book. But as a stroll through various features of Fireworks (especially those features that make it unique compared to Photoshop or Illustrator), it was a pleasant journey. Reading this book while Fireworks is open so you can try some of the interesting examples will help you better appreciate the features that the authors are trying to highlight. If you just read the book without trying the examples, you will be missing much of the fun.

One downside with this book is that the various images were obviously intended to be published in color, but they are only in black-and-white in this book. If you look at the sample images at the top of the back cover, you can see how some of the images were intended to be shown. By printing these images in black-and-white, many of the examples loose a lot of their value. Another reason to be trying the examples within Fireworks yourself to see how they really look. If the images had been printed in color, I probably would have rated this a 4 instead of a 3.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x981f8060) out of 5 stars Great for someone moving from photoshop to fireworks for web design 4 May 2009
By Brian Artka - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd like to add a good review for this book after seeing the low stars by others.

I have primarily been using Photoshop for all my web design comps, but many of my friends and peers use fireworks for their own work. I heard Fireworks CS4 had some newer features that caught my attention so I looked into them. I was sold and wanted to start using Fireworks.

This book answered many questions I had about certain situations, and also had some great examples that helped my workflow. It may be too basic for a Fireworks veteran, but for a transplant like myself, It was worth the read.

You might find all the info you need about Fireworks on the web, but that holds true for almost anything these days. When I can, I prefer to read a book and learn rather than the screen. Foundation Fireworks CS4 brought me up to speed, taught me some new tricks, and gave me some great ideas for future comp/protyping of websites. I'm happy with this purchase, and Friends of Ed (the publisher) has satisfied my learning needs again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x979b5654) out of 5 stars A good book for any Firework user 30 Jun. 2009
By Marlon Ceballos - Published on
Format: Paperback
Like all the books in the Foundation series, this book is an good resource for those who want to start using Fireworks and even for those who have already used who will find valuable information within its pages.

This book is divided into three parts:

Learning Fireworks: This part shows the most basic concepts of this application as the implementation and integration with other applications CS4, the work with bitmaps and vectors and the optimization process and export for web.

Using Fireworks: This part explains the creation of common tasks such as using filters and creating animations. A big surprise of this chapter are the most advanced topics as creating and editing skins for Flex, the development of prototypes using AIR, the use of extensions and the use of JavaScript and Flash to automate tasks and extend Fireworks.

Fireworks in Action: This part shows step by step 3 of interesting case studies: a blog, a navigation system that uses CSS and a website prototype for e-commerce.

In general I like about this book:

- The explanation of all the concepts are very clear.
- Use large images which is very important for the screenshots since it facilitates the reading of menus and commands.

I do not like failure to include sample files which is of great importance since it facilitates and encourages them to practice the concepts read.

Marlon Ceballos
Colombia Adobe User Group Manager
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x979b58e8) out of 5 stars Unhelpful to those who know Photoshop and Illustrator but not code. 27 May 2009
By feline fan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first time I have posted a negative review, but because there are so few reviews on this book and so few books on Fireworks CS 4, I felt it was important for people to understand what they were getting with this pricey and thin book. This book will not help you unless you already know how to write code (maybe not even then, since I can't get past the code speak and other assumptions this book makes). The author should not have named this book Foundation Fireworks CS4.

What you do get: a basic overview of the graphic tools within Fireworks - not such big news for people already familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator.

What you don't get: helpful basic information about how to use Fireworks as a Web Tool - not even how to create a button. Sure, they give you an overview, but this is so vaguely described that one would not be able to do it, unless they already knew how to do it... They do go into great detail about how to apply effects, filter, gradients etc to a button, but what about how to actually create one?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x979b2aa4) out of 5 stars If you know Photoshop/Illustrator, this book can help you switch to web design tool 14 Jun. 2010
By Ivan Ilijasic - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are not so many books about Fireworks and this is really a shame because Fireworks is a really good tool - take some Photoshop , add some Paintshop Pro and Illustrator and you get an excellent tool for web design.
This book is meant for anyone who already entered in the world of web design and had experience with Photoshop or Illustrator. This book can be really useful to all interaction designers and Flex/AIR developer because it can help them improve visual experience of their' web applications.
When you start reading this book you'll realize this book is not for dummies. First chapters give an overview what can you do with Fireworks and which tools/palettes/effects can be used for improving your working skills. Don't expect many details about these tools, you will get guidelines where to find a solution for your problem".

As I said, this book is dedicated to web designer and how to improve your work with bitmaps and vectors, how to create a page header, how to use pickers and selectors for both types of graphics. There is a quiet interesting chapter about creating standard please wait"- Ajax animation. I'm sure this chapter can help you build your own image for this purpose.

It the next few chapters you will learn more about creating visual prototypes of Flex/AIR application, Flex skinning and exporting and preparing your design for web developers. Since latest Fireworks CS4 version and CS5 version support FXG export, you can try experimenting with new information and how to use it in this new environment.

Overall, it's not bad idea to learn more about setting your graphics for final web layout. Flex skinning topics are little bit out-dated because new Flex 4 component framework (Spark) has a different architecture but you can use these fresh information for creating layout protypes, exporting them to FXG and creating new Spark skins in just a few minutes.

Since there's Fireworks CS5 on the market, I expect we will have a new edition of this book available in our bookshops.
I have to say, this book has three really good case studies - how to create a web layout for your blog, how to create a web design and how to refactor it for typical CSS template. Third case study is about creating a decent web shop layout - pretty useful tutorial.
Summary - really useful book for all web designers who want to use a tool for web designers.
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