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Now that you’ve had a good amount of experience in working with Photoshop, you will be required to go and find an essay on the web or in a trade journal, which talks specifically about using Photoshop as a web design tool. Once you locate and digest an article you are interested in, write a short, 1‐2 page paper detailing your findings and your opinion of the authors conclusions.

Photoshop vs. Fireworks:  A Review

I had a difficult time finding an article to review that discussed Photoshop as a web design tool.  Most articles were reviews of the product, or how-to lessons.  However, I finally came upon a discussion of using Photoshop vs. Fireworks for web design, and it really piqued my interest, because I have often pondered which tool to use in which circumstance.

The article is called “Photoshop vs. Fireworks,” and was written by Nathan Smith.  The article contains a discussion amongst eight web designers, four of whom are Photoshop fans, while the other four prefer Fireworks for web design.  Each camp brings compelling reasons for recommending its favorite application, while the consensus is to choose one and become fully immersed in it.

The Photoshop supporters cite its ability to work with textures and pixel-level detail as its strengths.  Other benefits of Photoshop are its ability to handle vector graphics, which is a relatively new feature, and its robustness. SmartObjects is specified by two members of the panel as time-savers.  Finally, many source images for web sites come from many sources, and learning to use an application which can edit these source images will be beneficial.

The Fireworks fans, on the other hand, say that Photoshop is too difficult to use, especially when managing layers.  They use Fireworks because it was developed from the beginning as a web design tool, instead of being a photo-editing tool that has been modified to do web design.  Its strength is user interface design and vector graphics.

I learned a lot from this article, because it contains tips and techniques for managing layers in Photoshop, and suggests learning all you can about your preferred tool in order to produce the best output.  I have used Fireworks a little bit, but I am planning on spending our holiday break learning how to use it, as well as refining my Photoshop skills.  I find it reassuring that even the experts are torn between two separate tools that can be used for web design!  My personal theory is that it is best to become at least moderately skilled in using any application which can help me create the best web pages possible, so that I have a broad range of tools in my skill set. 


Smith, Nathan.  2008.  Photoshop vs. Fireworks.