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Working with Frames

Animations are created by putting artwork on sequential frames of a document.

To open the Frames panel:

  • Choose Windows > Frames. The Frames panel appears (Figure  1).

    Figure 1

  • The Frames panel. Every new Fireworks document has a single frame.

Each document contains at least one frame. You can add more frames at any time.

To add individual frames:

  1. Click the New/Duplicate icon in the Frames panel. A new frame appears in the Frames panel.

  2. Click the name of the frame to make it the active frame. Any artwork created appears only on that frame.

To add multiple frames:

  1. Choose Add Frames from the Frames panel menu. The Add Frames dialog box appears (Figure 2).

  2. Figure 2

    The Add Frames dialog box allows you to add many frames at once.

  3. Use the number control to set how many frames to be added.

  4. Click one of the four radio buttons to choose where to insert the new frames.

  5. Click OK. The new frames appear.

To select and delete frames:

  1. Click to select one frame.

  2. Hold the Shift key and click another frame. All the frames between are selected.

  3. or

    Hold the Command/Ctrl key and click individual frames.

  4. Click the Delete frame icon.

  5. or

    Choose Delete Frame from the Frames panel menu.

You may find it easier to create objects on a single frame and then create new frames for each of the objects.

To distribute objects onto individual frames:

  1. Create a file with all the objects on a single frame.

Tip

  • Group objects that you want to stay together on a single frame.

  1. Select all the objects and choose Distribute to Frames from the Frames panel menu (Figure  3). New frames are created with each of the objects in the selection on its own frame (Figure  4).

    or

    Click the Distribute to Frames icon at the bottom of the Frames panel or Layers panel.

    Figure 3

    The Distribute to Frames command.

    Figure 4

    Distribute to Frames sends each of the objects onto its own frame.

Tips

  • The number of objects determines the number of frames.

  • The Distribute to Frames command does not work if objects are on shared layers (see below).

Fireworks also gives you a shortcut in the Layers panel to move from frame to frame.

To control frames in the Layers panel:

  1. Open the Layers panel.

  2. Use the Frame pop-up list (Figure  5) and choose the frame you want to move to.

    Figure 5

    The Frames pop-up list in the Layers panel allows you to target a specific frame.

Tip

  • Use the animation controls to preview the animation.

When you create animations, you may want an image to appear on all the frames. One way to do this is to share a layer across the frames.

To share a layer across frames:

  1. Select the layer that you want to share.

  2. Choose Share Layer from the Layers panel menu. The Shared Layer icon appears next to the layer name (Figure  6).

    Figure 6

    The Fence layer has been set to a shared layer.

Tips

  • You can also double-click the name of a layer to open the Layer Options dialog box to share a layer across frames.

  • When a layer is shared across frames, editing the original object changes the object's appearance on all the frames.

You can also copy an object onto all the frames of a document.

To copy an object onto frames:

  1. Create a file with multiple frames.

  2. Create an object on one of the frames that you want to appear on all the frames.

  3. With the object selected, choose Copy to Frames from the Frames panel menu. The Copy to Frames dialog box appears (Figure  7).

    Figure 7

    The Copy to Frames dialog box.

  4. Choose All Frames to copy the selected object onto all the frames of the image.

    or

    Use the other selections in the Copy to Frames dialog box to copy an object to a specific frame or a range of frames.

Tip

  • After you copy an object to frames, editing the object changes its appearance only on the frame where you make the changes.

Although Fireworks has a robust set of drawing tools, you may find it easier to create artwork in programs such as Macromedia FreeHand or Adobe Illustrator (Figure  8) and then import the artwork onto frames in Fireworks.

Figure 8

A blend made in FreeHand can be imported into Fireworks to create an animation.

Tip

  • Use FreeHand's Release to Layers command to divide its blends onto individual layers.

To distribute vector layers onto frames:

  1. Choose File > Import and find a vector file with objects on separate layers. The Vector File Options dialog box opens.

  2. Use the Layers pop-up list (Figure  9) to assign objects on each layer to frames and then click the OK button.

    Figure 9

    The Layers pop-up list lets you move objects in a vector file from layers to frames.

You can also use FreeHand's multiple pages to create animations in Fireworks.

To distribute pages onto frames:

  1. Choose File > Import and find a vector file with objects on separate pages. This opens the Vector File Options dialog box.

  2. Use the Pages pop-up list (Figure  10) to assign objects on each page to frames and then click the OK button.

    Figure 10

    The Pages pop-up list lets you move objects from pages to frames.

To duplicate frames:

  1. Choose Duplicate Frames from the Frames panel menu. The Duplicate Frame dialog box appears (Figure  11).

    Figure 11

    The Duplicate Frame dialog box.

  2. Use the number control to set how many times the frame is duplicated.

  3. Click one of the four radio buttons to choose where to insert the new frames.

  4. Click OK. The duplicate frames appear.

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