Nuggets: Freehand gets Flash friendly

Print and online collide with Macromedia's FreeHand
Written by Justin Pearse, Contributor

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Realising that most designers nowadays are working across print and online, design supremo Macromedia is launching a Webbed-up version of its FreeHand design and layout software.

FreeHand 9 now has Flash integration, allowing you to output Web animations and graphics, or input files into Flash to add sound and interactivity.

Features include a release-to-layers option that creates animations and motion effects without a timeline; integrated HTML publishing with URLs; embedded Flash files; Macromedia Dreamweaver formatting; and a Symbol Library that allows you to use master elements across multiple pages and designs.

Other new features include the Perspective Grid, for representing 3D media in a 2D drawing environment; a live enveloping tool that lets you warp and distort graphics in real-time; an integrated autotrace feature for converting bitmap graphics to objects; and a magic wand tool for automatic tracing of unique sections within an illustration.

In an effort to streamline the design process, there's an intuitive visual management environment for layout control of multi-page documents, a fully-customisable user interface, new page management features -- such as Web site storyboards and graphic-intensive brochures -- and a new vector lasso tool to select areas or objects within an illustration.

Which should all be more than enough for you.

If you already own FreeHand or Flash, you can upgrade to Flash 4 FreeHand 9 Studio for £139. The standalone Studio is £399, or you could get just the Freehand 9 package for £279. Out in early March.

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