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  Freehand 9
Introduction:

"Freehand 9 software is the print and Web publishing solution. Design with Freehand and export small Flash.SWF files with animation and hyperlinks, then use Flash 4 to add interactivity and sound. Design with 3 dimensional perspective grids, vector transparency, and multi-page layout. Save time with powerful productivity features, including blistering performance and integration with Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Quark Express, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat."

- Macromedia


Installation:

The version being reviewed here is from the Freehand 9/Flash 4 Studio. The two different programs are able to be installed separately. In typical Macromedia fashion, the installation on a PC was flawless not to mention quick. In checking out some newsgroups and other websites, I have yet to come across any major install issues.

The Freehand 9 version installs into it's own directory and does not overwrite any previous versions. This allows a user to keep an older more familiar version installed while getting used to the new features of version 9.


New Features:

Freehand 9 features all of the tools graphic designers are used to, therefore we find it pointless to cover all of the features. The reason why software companies release new versions is because of new features or improved features. This being the ninth generation of Freehand, it is no exception. We would like to introduce you to the new features of Freehand 9. After all, that is why you would upgrade, isn't it?

1: The obvious choice here is it's heavy integration with Macromedia Flash.

- Design and produce superior Flash files, with animation, common symbol library, and wide range of export formats.
- Create Flash content right in Freehand
- Publish Flash files directly to the Internet
- Easily import .SwF files from Freehand 9 to Flash 4
- Flash style 'Symbols Library'
- Flash style 'Anti'alias display in the workspace
- Open external applications, such as Flash, directly from Freehand to preview your work and animation
- The new URL editor allows for placement of URLs and hyperlinks directly into the image or animation.
- Animation with release to layers
- New Page Tool puts the task of page management directly on the pasteboard
- Protect from Import ensures that copyrighted material cannot be reused

2: Add a new dimension to your work with the Perspective Grid.

- Attach any vector object to the grid, automatically creating accurate perspective views
- Live perspective grid editing and updating. Once an object is attached to the grid, simply adjust grid and all objects adjust with it.

3: Workspace enveloping and other creativity features

- New Envelope Tool: Live enveloping allows designers to warp and distort graphics right in the work space.
- Custom scaling and new units of measure
- Interactive transform handles: Users can now skew or resize from the center of the image.
- Improved blending environment and tools

4: My choice as the best new feature is the integrated and improved Autotrace.

- Auto trace is now combined with the magic wand for precise selecting.
- Twice as fast as Freehand 8 tracing with less memory required.
- Trace in RGB, CYMK or Grey Scale

5: Tight integration with Adobe Photoshop

- Photoshop 5.x exports with layers
- Copy and Paste Special: Copy then paste in any format

6: Integration with Adobe Acrobat

- PDF export/import
- PDF Multipage capabilities
- Embed Fonts
- Set Hyperlinks
- Include PDF Notes

Of course these are just some of the reasons to purchase or upgrade to Freehand 9. For a full featured presentation of the new Freehand 9 application - we have included a Macromedia designed Flash formatted demonstration.


Cost Value:

While Freehand 9 is a steal at it's suggested retail price, it is also available in a studio format with Flash 4. If you are serious about web design, that would be the way to go. Get Freehand 9 and Flash 4 for one great price.

If print is your market, I don't know of another vector based application that is as powerful as Freehand - at any price!

Review ID Number: 381
  Product Details
Macromedia
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 9 out of 10
 
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  Photos / Screenshots
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