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Software Review:Macromedia Fireworks Part 2

Well, what about those GIFs and JPGs? standard file format Technically, therefore, everything else other than PNG must be imported, which in fact happens transparently when the file is opened. Fireworks can import FreeHand files, native Adobe Illustrator files, layered Adobe Photoshop files (PSD), GIF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, Corel 7, and PICT on the Macintosh. It exports files in PNG, GIF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, and PICT on the Macintosh. In any case, our only complaint about file preview is that you can't preview thumbnails of even simple formats such as GIF or JPG in the "open file" dialog box, the way you can with PNG files. On the other hand, if you create a new "canvas" to work on, you can explicitly import any graphic, or series of graphics to that canvas. They "float" over the canvas until you place them, and the canvas then holds them all: instant compositing (making one big image out of smaller ones) made easy. The fact that GIFs and JPGs must be exported rather than "saved as" has other implications, specifically that a great many operations take place in the export dialog. Here's where you can optimize the output file size, as well as seeing an actual GIF vs. JPG next to each other for direct comparison. This is also the only place you can "play" an animated GIF, which could be a bit annoying if you're designing it in the main screen and then forced to preview it in the export dialog, but the export dialog is where you actually set the frame durations, so perhaps it's more logical this way. The number of configurable options (palettes, slicing, formats, etc.) is quite large, so the Export Wizard really helps, but if you're willing to configure things by hand, you can have as much control over the process as you like...although you're going to have to work pretty hard to beat their Wizard, from our tests!


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