Here is the first part of the tour I’ve announced earlier.
I’m going to use Photoshop CS4 and Fireworks CS5 and hope there will be no significant differences if you are using other versions. Also, my way around PS could be different from yours, so please don’t take any of my advise as immediate call to action, be flexible.
What I’m trying to do here is to get most of our PS experience to FW. Since we are not switching to FW completely — I’d recommend you not to use FW features full throttle yet, at least not all of them. And to keep the balance — same goes for PS. We’ll try to avoid using some specific stuff in both applications to make our files reasonably compatible and switching back and forth as easy as possible.
OK, a little less conversation, a little more action.
The one and only thing I recommend adjusting there for now is to turn mouse highlight off in Edit section of FW (it will show you object boundaries when you mouse over). It’s the first thing that will make FW interface feel alien to you comparing to PS and we don’t want that, do we? I guess It could be handy while exploring a file of your colleague’s creation to overview the structure, but you should well know what is where in your own, so it looks a bit excessive to me.
You can select “Photoshop” shortcuts from the “Current set”, but if you are anything like me you have a lot of shortcuts remapped to easy use with one hand and a bunch of your own exclusive ones for frequent operations — this option can’t get you covered completely. So transit as much of your PS shortcuts to FW as you can and create new ones as you explore FW.
- There is a useful, in some cases, tool – the Select Behind tool that hides under the Pointer tool, but since there is no such thing in PS and I’ve selected it by mistake a few times–you may consider removing a hotkey from it or assign a separate one.
- Same goes for the Vector Path tool and the Redraw Path tool — those go in pack with the Pen tool and we can put them aside for now. I can tell you that working with shapes is way more convenient and advanced in FW, but we will get to it later.
- There are a lot of cool vector shapes in FW, but we are trying to use stuff that we are already familiar with, so let’s stick with rectangle, round, polygonal and rounded rectangle.
- If you are using “save for web” in PS — map your shortcut for it to file/image preview, it’s a close enough analogue.
Everybody has own panel arrangement, so pull familiar ones, add Pages, States, and both Libraries. Arrange them the way you’ve used to in PS. Notice the Properties panel on the bottom — it’s the important one, leave it there and map a hotkey to show/hide it so it won’t be in your way in some cases. Now give your layout a name and save it. Btw, if you are on Windows and know how to remove the top panel — let me know. It’s useless for me, now it’s there and I didn’t find a way to hide it properly.
Now open a new document, turn rulers on (they are always in pixels — nice, huh?) and try to sketch something basic. I hope you’ll feel at home. Btw, here is a feature that I never used in PS, but found it in FW — by click and drag from the rulers corner you can move “zero” mark, so that it can be where your bleed ends and actual artwork begins. How cool is that?
Next time we will wireframe using libraries, pages, states and some more FW features that PS-only users can only dream about! Stay tuned!