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Repurposing Fireworks Web Design Comps for Extra Dollars

Adapt Your Design Comps, Use PowerPoint Design Templates

Have you ever wondered what to do with all those web site design comps - even the ones the clients rejected? Are you looking for new ideas and ways to use your design skills with Fireworks? It's time to break free of the browser and HTML restrictions, unleash your creativity, and let the graphic power of Fireworks take you in a new direction: PowerPoint Design Templates. It only takes a few modifications and enhancements to the original PNG files, export as a PNG, and import into PowerPoint. Even Fireworks-generated button images import into PowerPoint to use as customized bullet points, action buttons, and graphic design elements.

When you create a web site design, you consider several criteria such as monitor resolution, wide format, on-screen color, and navigation between pages. These also apply when you design a PowerPoint presentation. In a PowerPoint presentation the action buttons help navigate from one slide to another and from one presentation to another. You can also add hyperlinks to web sites. As you begin to explore the similarities, you can start to envision that it will take just a few changes to adapt your Fireworks web design comps and turn them into a PowerPoint Design.

Basic Web Site Design Comp
A design comp is a simple layout of a web site page that consists of basic shapes. You start with a canvas sized for a web page, add wire frames (simple basic shapes), develop a color scheme, and add a few basic elements.

Now, let's examine the process to create a simple design comp for a fictitious web site for a plant nursery company called JQ Plants and Gardens:

  1. In Fireworks, start with a new canvas and the appropriate dimensions for a web page.
  2. Now draw some rectangles and other basic shapes to block in your design (see Figure 1).
  3. Develop a color scheme and add color to the basic shapes (see Figure 2).
This basic block approach serves as the basic design comp for the web page. The basic page can be modified for different pages of the site. For example, to create an interesting home page add a graphic to the top and add a 50% Grass texture to the main color block (see Figure 3).

In the next stage of the design comp, add more basic elements such as the corporate logo and the navigation button images (see Figures 4 and 5). Now the design comp is ready to transform to a design for PowerPoint.

Modify and Enhance for On Screen Presentation
At this point in the process, you can add artistic enhancements for the on screen presentation without browser or HMTL restrictions and make some slight modifications to the layout. Be creative and have fun.

  1. Increase the canvas size for a full screen presentation and if needed adjust the placement of the graphic elements. The example canvas size is 1024 by 768 pixels.
  2. Add enhancements such as a changing the solid rectangle for the side bar and the top horizontal rectangle to a gradient with less than 100% opacity.
  3. Add a vertical gradient rectangle that gives it a three dimensional look (see Figures 6 and 7).
Export as PNG
When your design is complete, choose Optimize from the Window menu to prepare your file for the PNG export (see Figure 8). The numbers, 8, 24, and 32 refer to the color bit depth. Generally you would choose either 24 or 32 as most all modern projection systems can display 24bit. The PNG 32 includes the extra color channel to handle transparencies. The PNG export format is a good choice to use with PowerPoint for better presentation performance and the small file size. Now the file is ready to export using the Images only option in the Export dialog window. Be sure to save your original enhanced Fireworks native PNG files if you need to make any changes.

PowerPoint
For the fictitious company, JQ Plants and Gardens, the enhanced design comp for the home page will become the Title Slide template and the other enhanced design comp will become the Slide Template. Please note that the example in this article uses Windows XP PowerPoint 2003.

  1. In PowerPoint, open a Blank Presentation and choose the Slide Master View.
  2. On the Slide Master View Toolbar, click the Insert New Title Master button.
  3. On the Title Slide Master select Background from the Format menu.
  4. In the Background window, select Fill Effects from the pop-up menu (see Figure 9).
  5. On the Picture tab, click select picture and locate the exported PNG file. Click OK. Click Apply.
  6. Make adjustments for the position of the text placeholders.
  7. Repeat the same process for the Slide Master (see Figure 10).
  8. Close the Master Slide view.
When the design is complete, you can save the file as a PowerPoint template (.pot) in the Templates folder. Now the new template will appear in the Apply a design template window of the Task Pane (see Figure 11). Note: If you do not see your design appear (the list is in alphabetical order) either browse to the file or quit the program and restart.

The new template for the fictitious company is now ready to use for an eye catching presentation that has the same look as their web site (see Figures 12 and 13).

As you explore this new direction from Fireworks web design comps to PowerPoint design templates, here are a few additional PowerPoint tips:

  • For Best results use the exported PNG as a background image.
  • Use your button images created in Fireworks for customized bullets and other graphics.
  • To make a bounding box area of an imported PNG graphic transparent, click the opaque area with the Set Transparent tool located on the Picture toolbar.
  • To assign PowerPoint actions over buttons of the imported PNG background image, select a blank action button from the Action Button menu located with the AutoShapes, draw a rectangle over the image, and change the fill and line to none.
  • You can add hyperlinks to both imported graphics and ones created in PowerPoint that to go web pages.
  • Add Fireworks animated GIFs to the presentation.
With these ideas, a few steps, and tips, you can turn those Fireworks web design comps into PowerPoint Design Templates for additional money makers or as an extra bonus for your web site clients. Now, go look for those comps, unleash your creativity with the power of Fireworks, and create unique, one of a kind PowerPoint templates.

More Stories By Joanne Watkins

Joanne Watkins is a featured instructor for Hewlett Packard's Online
Learning Center. She is also an Associate Professor in the Applied Graphic
Design Technology department of Collin Community College and teaches in the
Senior Adult Education Program of the Business Studies Division at
Brookhaven College in Dallas, Texas. Her classes include Introduction to
Computer Graphics, Desktop Publishing, Business Presentations, and Web
Design. Her expertise in the major print, graphics, and web software comes
from over 15 years of experience as a free-lance graphic designer and
instructor. While at Macromedia she served as a DevNet technical editor, web
producer, technical support engineer and technical editor for nine
Macromedia Press Books about Fireworks and FreeHand. She can be contacted
at joannew@imagetechinfo.com.

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