[MD1] Fireworks by Macromedia
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[MD1] Fireworks by Macromedia

For Immediate Release

MACROMEDIA INTRODUCES FIREWORKS
Next-Generation Tool Provides the First Unified Environment for Creating
and Producing Web Graphics

San Francisco, Calif -- March 10, 1998 -- Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR) today
introduced Fireworks, the first production tool to provide a unified
environment for creating, optimizing and producing high-quality graphics
for the Web. Engineered from the ground up to address the needs of
professional Web designers, the new tool incorporates such advanced
features as a visual export preview, complete control over compression and
color palettes, automatic generation of button states and JavaScript
rollovers, as well as text and effects which are editable all the time.
Fireworks allows designers to create the most compact graphics and GIF
animations in the fewest steps.

"Fireworks inaugurates a new category of Web graphics production tools,"
said Norm Meyrowitz, executive vice president and chief technical officer
at Macromedia. "Just as Dreamweaver was the first visual Web authoring
tool for professionals concerned about preserving the quality of their code
and Flash pioneered delivery of compact vector-based Web animations,
Fireworks is the first graphics tool which specifically addresses the issue
of creating images for the Internet."

New Medium, New Tools

The current workflow for creating Web graphics is complex and
time-consuming. To create a simple animated GIF banner, a designer uses
several tools, laying out text in a vector illustration tool, compositing
the text with images in a bitmap application, and then optimizing the size
of the graphic in yet a third program. Adding image maps and animation
requires additional utilities. Finally, the designer previews the image in
a Web browser. Developers often undertake multiple iterations of this
process, attempting to balance image size and quality.

Moreover, if the client requests a change, today's artist must start the
process over since graphics are not readily editable in existing imaging
tools. Fireworks solves both the workflow issue and the problem of
editability by allowing designers to complete the entire process of
creating and producing Web graphics in a single, unified
environment-keeping everything editable, all the time.

Focused Product for Web Graphics Production

Throughout the Fireworks development cycle, Macromedia's engineering team
worked closely with an advisory board of professional Web designers to
create a tool that addresses the real-world needs of Web graphics
production. Fireworks provides Internet-focused innovations such as a
visual export preview window, where designers can consult side-by-side
views of a graphic while experimenting with different compression schemes
and color palettes. To help designers balance image quality and bandwidth
requirements, Fireworks displays file size and download time data, updating
these dynamically as the user optimizes the graphic. Designers can also
optimize and preview GIF animations in Fireworks, controlling properties
such as frame rate and tempo. Compression settings can be saved as presets
for use in subsequent export operations or in batch processes.

"Fireworks is the fastest way to produce virtually any type of image or GIF
animation for Web pages, from simple ad banners to more complicated
animated image maps," said Manabu Inada, art director for MTV.com. "The
program is easy to use, and is loaded with special effects -there is a lot
of functionality just one click away."

Other Web-focused Fireworks features include the ability to "slice" an
image for faster downloading, then export the component graphics plus the
HTML table to re-assemble them in the viewer's browser. Fireworks provides
a built-in "Image Map layer" to facilitate assignment of URL links, as well
as a button generation feature which automatically produces up, down,
rollover, and hit states for button graphics, along with the JavaScript
code to control the button behavior. Color picking in Fireworks is tuned
for Web designers, defaulting to the Web-safe palette.

Everything Editable, All the Time

In addition to its production strengths, Fireworks offers a rich
environment for creating Web graphics. One key Fireworks innovation is the
concept of "Live Effects." These include Web-staple drop shadows, bevels,
embosses, and glows. Unlike effects in traditional applications, Live
Effects are properties of the object to which they are assigned -if that
object changes, the effect updates automatically. This highlights the
revolutionary nature of Fireworks' graphics creation environment: in
Fireworks, every object is editable, all the time. Editability extends even
to properties such as image maps, which retain their associated URLs when
reshaped or moved.

Fireworks further features a text window which provides capabilities
expected of high-end illustration applications, including precise control
over kerning, scaling, and leading as well as the ability to attach text
and even paragraphs to paths. Text, like any Fireworks object, is always
editable. Fireworks provides the shape creation and path editing tools
found in vector illustration applications such as Macromedia FreeHand,
along with the ability to edit and composite bitmaps as in imaging
applications. For example, artists can retouch images at a pixel level,
clone them, and apply filters such as a Gaussian blur or an unsharp mask.
They can brush with effects such as charcoal, pencil, and air brush, then
precisely reshape those brush strokes using Bzier controls.

Familiar and Integrated

Users of current graphics applications will quickly be proficient with
Fireworks, since its user interface adheres to the industry standards.
Fireworks is designed to work as a companion application to Macromedia
Dreamweaver-Dreamweaver users will be able to launch Fireworks as an image
editor from within the application. Fireworks is also tightly integrated
with Macromedia FreeHand 8 and Adobe Photoshop.

The Macromedia Family

Fireworks is the latest Macromedia application created from the ground up
for Web developers. The first, Macromedia Flash, has changed the look of
the Web by enabling crisp, anti-aliased layouts and compact vector
animations. The second, Macromedia Dreamweaver, is the first visual page
design tool geared to professional Web developers. Dreamweaver provides the
efficiency of a graphical environment while preserving the quality and
editability of the underlying HTML code. And now, Fireworks presents the
first unified environment for creating and producing GIF images and
animations for the Web. Until now, designers have had to switch between a
host of applications to create simple GIF graphics. Fireworks radically
simplifies this workflow, allowing users to create the smallest possible
images in the fewest steps, in a single tool.

Pricing and Availability
A pre-release beta version of Fireworks is currently available for download
at no charge at (http://www.getfireworks.com). Fireworks for Windows 95,
Windows NT and Macintosh PowerPC will be available Summer 1998 for an
estimated street price of US $299. It will be available for purchase online
through Macromedia at www.macromall.com, directly from Macromedia at (800)
457-1774, and through traditional software distribution channels.
Interested parties outside North America should contact their local
Macromedia distributor for pricing and availability. For the name of a
Macromedia authorized reseller in your area, call (800) 326-2128 or visit
www.macromedia.com.

About Macromedia
Headquartered in San Francisco, Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR) is a leading
provider of software products, each designed to help make creativity and
interactivity more possible in the new technology ecosystem. Macromedia's
award-winning products for Windows, Macintosh and the Internet are
available to business, education, and government customers worldwide.
Additional information on Macromedia is available on the Internet at
www.macromedia.com.

For more information, contact:

Macromedia
Schwartz Communications
Andrea Coffey Dita Pecen
acoffey@macromedia.com ditap@schwartz-pr.com
(415) 252-2260 (415) 512-0770

 

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