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Ron Rockwell

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Top Stories by Ron Rockwell

These days it's a slippery slope we wander between graphics for onscreen viewing and graphics designed for printing. Depending on your own background, you may be more prepared for one application than the other. Working with FreeHand and Fireworks can be slightly daunting, but immensely rewarding. Macromedia defines Fireworks as "the easiest way to create, optimize, and export interactive graphics in a single, Web-based environment." FreeHand is described as a vector-based drawing application used to "create print and Web graphic illustrations such as logos and advertising banners." If I may, I'd like to add a little information to those descriptions. Fireworks works primarily and ultimately in bitmaps, or rasters as they are also called. By definition, these files are created for viewing on a computer monitor in one way or another, usually via the Internet. Vectors a... (more)

Sparkling Text Effects

Sometimes you just need to have a little sparkle on your pages. If we're talking about Web pages, then those sparkles better shine and twinkle! You can use FreeHand MX to create the right amount of "bling" in a few simple steps. When you want a smooth, slick extrusion, FreeHand's Extrude tool will certainly do the trick. The problem is, however, that you end up with more or less flat coloring on the extruded sides. The 3D effect is correct, but it lacks realism. In this article we'll deal with that situation and kick up the action by creating an animation for the Web. Along the ... (more)

40 Freehand Tips

There are dozens and dozens of time - saving things you can do in freehand. Following is just a brief selection. 1.  Create a custom default page. Set up a page the way you like it (fonts, styles, colors, page size, guides) and save it as a FreeHand template in FreeHand's Settings folder. While in FreeHand, open the Preferences/ Document panel and choose your new template. 2.  Create personal keyboard shortcuts. FreeHand allows you to make your own keyboard shortcuts for virtually every tool and function (Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts). You can start with shortcuts from other programs su... (more)

The Tricks to Tracing

Many casual users of FreeHand MX ask how to turn a bitmap or photograph into vector art. Naturally, the hope is that there¹s a button to click and the job is done. There's not, but it's close. Each image will be different in terms of both its content and the look you have in mind for the final artwork. That makes it pretty tough to create a cut-and-dried tutorial, but there are a few basics that you can follow. The Trace Tool The Trace tool is one of those areas in FreeHand where nothing is cast in stone. There are three or four main variables, and thousands more within them. The... (more)

Typography in FreeHand

Type, text, copy, words, and (ugh!) even print - whatever you call it, it's the art and science of typography. FreeHand has an extremely robust text-handling feature set. It's easy to learn, and quite flexible and tough enough for anything from business cards to Web pages to small newsletters. FreeHand's Text Handling When Macromedia FreeHand and Adobe Illustrator were first introduced, I chose FreeHand simply because of its stronger text handling. The gap has narrowed over the last 15 years or so, but I'm still happier with the way FreeHand handles text. Here's how it works: Tex... (more)