Debbie’s Evaluation of Fireworks Tutorials

I started out with the the CBT café tutorials. Turns out that was not a great move on my part, but I learned a lot from the mistakes I made. My first experience was with changing colours on an image, found at CBT Café: Changing the colour of a bitmap image. It was an MX tutorial, but eventually I made my spots change colour. And I learned how significant it is to increase the image size if you take this chore seriously. I have a lot more to learn about texturing flat colour – an artist I am not. I did not enjoy the CBT Café experience – there simply were too many instructions that didn’t match Fireworks8.

My next attempt was the Perspective Shadow/MX from CBT Cafe but I see Chris already talked about that one. After I fixed up my cookie and removed the excess background shadow, I was looking around in the same site, and noticed Removing an Image from a Solid Coloured Background and Putting it on a New Background. I thought about my cookie, and this is what I came up with, complete with handdrawn artwork: Changing Cookie Size Perspective.  I don’t even know if I finished the tutorial, because by then I was just trying to master the few icons I recognized and ignore the instructions. And I needed a sharper image to start with. What CBT Café did do for me was to give me ideas about what was possible. I’m starting from scratch, so it’s nice just to cruise around in the tutorials and see what people do with this software. To me, CBT Café had the best graphics and images to spark the imagination, even if they did have mismatched versions.

After cruising around in several other CBT Cafe tutorials and trashing a bunch of half-done, didn’t-work projects, I moved over to the Joyce Evans tutorials, and tried out 6 or 7 different projects. The one I’m most proud of was called Gel Button Tutorial – and here are my gel button results. Now that I know how to do this, sort of, if I had time I would go back and decrease the amount of shadow and make it crisper, like Leanna’s glass ball.

 Beautiful! Again, the step by step instructions in the tutorial did not produce the colours, crisp edges, or shadows that matched the illustration, so I didn’t know if I was doing something wrong, or if the difference was in versions.

I did also do the Joyce Evans Header/Sidebar with Curved inside corner,  which was relatively simple, (see here).

What I can say about the pedagogical approach of any of these tutorials is that as a complete beginner, I found it frustrating just to follow a series of steps without knowing why I was doing something in particular. For example, I have no idea what an alias, or a batch, or a mask are, so I didn’t know why I was setting the parameters as instructed. If I had understood what I was doing, I would have been able to troubleshoot, and progress in my skill much more quickly.