Fireworks and Animation
Creating animations for the web in Fireworks is
a lot more fun to think about than to do. The best animation tool
is obviously Flash because the program was designed for the job of
That being said, however, Fireworks can be used
to build simple animations. In fact, there are three different
you can use to create animations: frame-by-frame, tweened,
and animation symbols. Each has its own pros and cons and is
discussed later in this chapter. Before you start tweening away to
full-feature animation, you should take a look at
what's involved in building a good animation.
Motion on the web, or on film, is an illusion.
Animation is a series of still images, each with a
appearance from the previous image, that are
the viewer. The human eye processes these images and blends them
into a smooth motion. If the images move too slowly, the illusion
is gone. This speed is measured as frame rate. Frame rate is
per second (fps). Most movies and television
shows shot on film have a frame rate of 24 fps. Most shows shot on
video have a frame rate of 30 fps.
Moving to the web, there is another concern to
throw into the mix. The higher the resolution of a pixel-based
image, or the more points in a piece of vector artwork, the higher
, which results in a longer download time. Increasing
the frame rate in an animation also
the file size.
Bitmap animations have a sequence of bitmap
graphics. Each bitmap graphic is added together to complete the
animation in terms of file size. Although file compression helps
reduce the file size, bitmap graphics can get large quickly. The
most common bitmap animation type is the Animated GIF.
Vector animations have vector graphics on each
frame. Vector animations just change object parameters from frame
to frame and are
smaller in file size than bitmap
animations. The most common vector animation type is Macromedia's
Flash SWF format.
Before you build an animation, however, there is
another issue we need to discuss: What is the output format for the
An Animated GIF typically has a large file size,
compatible with nearly all browsers. This type
of animation is restricted by the GIF file format's limited
palette, and it cannot
sound or any other
interactivity. In addition, blends and complex patterns often lose
their smooth transitions because of the palette limitations. The
Animated GIF is, however, a piece of cake to implement.
The Flash SWF, on the other hand, typically has
a small file size, can incorporate both pixel and vector-based
artwork, and is compatible with all browsers with the Flash player
installed. Currently the player penetration is rated at about 94%
of all browsers for the Flash player. The Flash SWF offers the
capability to add sound as well as complex interactivity. Mastering
Flash, however, takes some expertise that you might wish to acquire
by reading the Flash chapters in this book.