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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

Fireworks versus Illustrator

 9:31 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)


Before this becomes a political debate hehe, I want to restrict the arguement to my intended usage.

I am a web programmer, and I want to get a little more versed in web graphics. So I am not looking for this software to edit photos, draw portraits of peoples faces etc.

I need something that I can build icons, logos, buttons and other web page related graphics (professional looking as it can be, just trying to restrict my intended use).

So which is more suitable for someone like me?

Can someone outline a few major features that I will be missing if I choose Fireworks?

[edited by: AffiliateDreamer at 9:32 pm (utc) on Feb. 7, 2008]



 9:12 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

For just producing web graphics, fireworks is excellent. Its main plus is the pixel based vector tools it has. Unlike Illustrator it is not a true vector program but works on the assumption you are only going to use the programme for web graphics, so all it's vector objects are rendered as you might find in a raster object + it combines images with text and vector objects inside PNG's. So the native format is very web friendly.

However I much prefer to use Illustrator. Simply far more portable for me. This is because I like to be able to move graphics between medium, so having logo's, icons and layouts saved as EPS files makes the design process more durable + the native ability to save as PDF very useful for sending out wireframes and process graphics.

Both tools have great export for web features.

Price wise there's no competition - FW is far cheaper. For breadth of tools Illi wins hands down IMO.


 10:22 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Doesn't Illustrator do only vector and not web graphics, like .jpg and .gif?


 12:11 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Illustrator does pretty much anything these days. Even applies pixel based filters if I remember correctly. Whether that's the best use of the program is another question.

I actually design all my web pages, buttons and graphics in Photoshop. Unless you are going to use Flash (or print design), there is no need to use vectors anyway. Computer screens deal with pixels not vectors.

Fireworks has always been an interesting tool, but I feel it is let down, like all ex Macromedia programs, by its appalling interface quirks and bugs.

But horses for courses.


 2:32 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Doesn't Illustrator do only vector and not web graphics, like .jpg and .gif?

You design in vectors - export to web. You can be pixel perfect with it.


 3:48 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've been using Fireworks since it first launched. I'm an avid supporter of it. I'm also an Adobe user too. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. are all part of the process. Each has its strengths. These days, the blending of program features has spread across all Adobe products and everything is "friendly".

Photoshop - Conceptual Design
Illustrator - Vector Design (if needed)
Fireworks - Final Preparation

After talking with my Art Director the other day, I may consider eventually moving everything over to InDesign. I'm a Quark user from way back in the early 90s. Since I've left the corporate environment a while ago, I didn't realize that the trend was moving towards InDesign and that Quark has lost a little steam in that area.

I should also add ImageReady to the mix too. :)


 12:01 am on Feb 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Since I've left the corporate environment a while ago, I didn't realize that the trend was moving towards InDesign and that Quark has lost a little steam in that area.

Indeed it has, although I believe that Quark has recovered some ground since then.

Without taking the thread too much off-topic, one does need to be careful about InDesign and hype. So many people fell out with Quark the company that when Adobe released InDesign, graphic arts forums were full of 21 year old designers singing its praises and calling anyone who expressed a preference for QuarkXpress a 'n00b who knows nuffin bout desine'. (I'm not suggesting your art director is one of these BTW).

I actually think QuarkXpress is still the better program, much more stable, faster and implements the same features as InDesign in an often more intuitive and 'real world' way. What's more, Quark the company has come full circle and actually give pretty decent customer support.

Having said that I use both programs interchangeably. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses. Funnily enough, even though Quark has a mode specifically for designing online content, I have never used either program for web design.

Must try it one day.


 2:11 pm on Feb 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can make any kind of vector web graphics with FW. It is less expensive and easier to learn and use. AI would be overkill.


 3:44 am on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)


I'm beginning to agree with you. I just went through about 3-4 hours of video tutorial with Illustrator. I like it ALLOT, but I find it is a complicated beast.

Mind you whatever I have learned it seems there is ALLOT of similarities with fireworks.

Is it just a 'cool' thing to use Illustrator for web design or is there something that fireworks just can't do (or it can but not easily).



 9:34 am on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

To be honest fireworks is great but personally I feel I have more freedom in Illustrator & I love to work with true vectors during the design phase.

Fireworks treatment of type has always been poor - illustrators is second to none.

Print quality + conversion to PDF is easier and better in Illi - lot's of clients still like to be able to take home 'flats' after meetings. A well present set of A3 spreads aren't going to look good printed from Fireworks - the pixelation is awful.

To counter my own arguement, I love the quick and honest way I can create system-wide graphics using fireworks pixel based vectors when I get into the CSS stage - stepping into pixels really helps at that point.


 7:26 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Fireworks all the way, cheaper and one hell of alot easier to learn, slice tools are excellent too. I've used Fireworks since the MX days and have layed out dozens of complete sites with it, never ever let me down. Like others have said AI would be overkill. Unless you really need advanced vector tools Fireworks is the right choice IMHO.

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