Macromedia has announced FreeHand 9, the latest version of its illustration and layout software for print and Web designers.
Offering tighter integration with Macromedia Flash 4 and support for the native SWF file format, version 9 offers designers more control in the creation of Web graphics.
Other key new Web features include support for animations and motion effects, a Symbol Library for common Web page elements and support for Dreamweaver formatting.
On the illustration side, FreeHand 9 now comes with a Perspective Grid feature with snap-to-grid guides and customizable vanishing points, which allows users to create 3D images with greater ease. A live enveloping tool sees images warped and distorted in real-time and the integrated autotrace option speeds up the creation of vector objects from bitmaps. Other features include more colour management options, blending enhancements and a new vector lasso tool for the quicker selection of areas and objects. Multi-page documents are now easier to work with in FreeHand 9, thanks to a new tool that manages pages directly on the pasteboard.
Shipping in March, FreeHand 9 costs £279, with upgrades from FreeHand 8 costing £99. A Studio suite consisting of FreeHand 9 and Flash 4 is available for £399. Upgrades to the Studio from FreeHand, Flash, or Design in Motion Suite cost £139.