Photoshop is the most popular graphic design tool for web designers, and for good reason, it is feature rich and quite powerful. However, with the evolution of technology, new and improved applications for designing web sites have been developed. The best among them is undoubtedly, Fireworks. This software has taken the web design industry by storm and provided functionality that allows for improved ways of developing a site. Here are the top eight reasons Fireworks out-shines Photoshop.
Fireworks is perfectly oriented for web design
In comparison to Photoshop, Fireworks is more concise and oriented towards the graphical enhancement of web sites. Photoshop, on the other hand, provides a number of tools that are useful for photo manipulation, editing and much more, which are not required for web design. Further, Fireworks is faster and easier to work with. When it comes to web design, it is advantageous to use a program that focuses on the task at hand rather than having to dig into layer after layer of tools as in Photoshop.
Better image manipulation and size adjustment features
One of the best features of Fireworks is the provision to set exact picture sizes and make precise manipulations in the image. All you have to do is enter the pixel value in the given box and you are good to go. Unlike Photoshop, you do not have to adjust scales and set values. This not only makes the task easier and faster, but also allows for a high level of precision for the graphics you use on your web site. It is also not necessary to drag and drop, all you have to do is enter the appropriate the pixel value and your graphics are formatted how you want them.
Multiple layers for multiple pages
Fireworks hosts a unique feature that is very desirable for a web designer, one that offers multi-page design. Photoshop houses this feature in a different manner, but is lacking. While in Photoshop you can design multiple layers under one page, you cannot have multiple layers in multiple pages. Fireworks allows you to have multiple layers or multiple pages in each page and several such pages in a single platform, this makes it much easier to design a multi-page site.
There are several function involved in web layering, some of which are selection of output file type and image slicing. The Image Ready option in Fireworks is a very useful feature in this case. With Fireworks, you can perform a lot more functions such as setting roll over, links and different rapid prototyping functions.
Easy and quick grouping
Grouping is another very interesting and useful function that is possible using Fireworks. It allows you to quickly select objects and put them into a group. This feature is also available in Photoshop but is a very cumbersome process. It is much harder to organize and takes longer because you have to move each element manually into the layer. With Fireworks, all it takes is a few clicks. This feature not only saves a lot of time, but also allows you to concentrate on the more important elements of designing without the distractions posed by laborious organization and manual grouping of individual elements.
The Learning Curve
Fireworks is a lot easier to work with from a beginner’s point of view. Photoshop on the other hand, has a much higher learning curve. Although Fireworks is is an advanced tool, it is easier in comparison to Photoshop. Since the tools and features provided are more oriented towards web design and do not contain a variety of tools that you have to plunge into like in Photoshop, it is easier to find your way through the application. With limited features that are oriented towards web design and without features that have nothing to do with the same, Fireworks is less confusing and less daunting. In short, the user interface of Fireworks is much better than that of Photoshop.
Fireworks also beats out Photoshop when it comes to vectors. You can edit the images faster and with enhanced ease. The task can be done without the need of using Illustrator at all. The choice you have in vector graphics in Fireworks program is reasonable. All the basic vector shapes such as polygons, cogwheels, speech bubbles and other geometric shapes are all available. Each of them has a handle that can be used to control them in any way possible. To make it easy and more adaptable to web page format, all the elements are provided in 72 DPI. In Photoshop, this resolution is disregarded. The amount of control that you have on manipulating the shapes and sizes is awesome in Fireworks. Vector elements can be directly exported just as they are since the resolution is already fixed to make them suitable for a web page. This is one of the biggest advantages of Fireworks and it does give it an extra edge over Photoshop. It also saves time and effort.
Fireworks is cheaper than Photoshop
Apart from all the technical elements, the other important consideration that usually comes into the debate is cost. In this regard, Fireworks wins hands down because it is much cheaper than Photoshop.
Photoshop is no doubt excellent software that is still preferred by a majority of web designers. It is more comprehensive and can do a lot more things than web design. Finally, it all boils down to personal choice. While people prefer Fireworks due to ease of usage, others prefer Photoshop. Despite being excellent for webs design, Fireworks has certain drawbacks, although minor and negligible, such as masks. For those who are used to working with Photoshop, Fireworks seems less solid. A lot of designers nowadays are partial towards Fireworks but for best results, use a combination of both Photoshop and Fireworks. Further, Photoshop has been around a long time and is a solid tool while Fireworks is being developed. It would not surprise me to one day see Fireworks being used by the majority when it comes to web design.
What is your preference? Please share with us the reasons in the comments, it will be interesting to see what others think.