Best Buy
  • Price: 249 . 129 . 699 . 299

  • Pros: Excellent export and import options, and faster workflow with an easy-to-use interface. Great CSS support and interoperability with other Web software products.

  • Cons: Efficiently running more than two Studio applications at the same time requires maximum oomph from your system.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Macromedia’s upgrades to its Studio applications are stuffed full of enhancements, and Fireworks 8 is no exception. There are user-requested improvements, as well as helpful tweaks to creativity and workflow.

With the imminent merger of Adobe and Macromedia, there are massive opportunities for the two graphics application developers to collaborate on improving the integration and efficiency of their flagship products. This is already apparent looking at Macromedia’s work on Fireworks 8 – streamlining of workflow between products seems to have been a priority. Version 8 can now import QuickTime image, MacPaint, SGI, and JPG 2000 formats.

It also remembers recently used settings for fonts, as well as Web graphic optimization formats, making production times for multiple projects more efficient. Macromedia has re-thought its batch processing system in Fireworks 8 with the introduction of a log file and status bar – always a handy option when working with many files at once. Fireworks now recognizes ActionScript colour values when transferred from Flash to ensure colour consistency.

You can now create interactive pop-up menus using CSS in Fireworks 8, producing customizable code that can be integrated into Dreamweaver site files, making it much simpler for designers with no coding experience to create Web pages. The Appearance panel lets you chose font colours and the shape of the menu.

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Macromedia has added numerous blend modes to help designers achieve the best creative results in Fireworks. These include Colour and Inverse Dodge, Soft Burn, Soft light and Soft Dodge, Reflect, Subtract, Soft, Fuzzy and Hard Light, Freeze, Exclusion, and Overlay. 
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