Building on the workflow features that debuted in version 3, Macromedia has announced an upgrade to version 4 that adds more creation tools, enhanced workflow features and introduces a revamped user interface. Aimed at professional Web designers, Fireworks is Macromedia's Web-graphics application, geared at users looking to design, edit and animate graphics for the Web.
Version 4 sports new tools and animation features, including a new Layers panel, refined Adobe Photoshop support, selective JPEG compression and live animation features.
The new Layers panel offers an expanded thumbnail view of each layer's objects, as well as masking capabilities. Better import and export support for Photoshop means version 4 can open and save Photoshop files with improved fidelity, layer mask handling and a new Color Fill Live Effect. Selective JPEG compression first debuted in Photoshop 6, and lets users selectively compress portions of an image compared to other regions of an image, maintaining clarity of parts of the image while reducing file size. Live animation features include controls for creating and editing small animations across several frames.
Workflow enhancements include the introduction of the Macromedia User Interface - essentially bringing all of Macromedia's creative products into line - and a pop-up menu creator. This lets designers quickly add graphical pop-up menus in a step-by-step wizard environment, says the company. Other features include drag-&-drop rollovers, batch processing of images and tighter links to Dreamweaver 4. Support for WBMP (WAP bitmap graphics) and the ability to import EPS files also features.
While UK prices are not yet available, Fireworks will cost $299 (around £200) with prices starting from $149 (£100) for upgrades. It is due to ship in December.