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Title: Macromedia: Shockwave for FreeHand

Industry Pulse

Shockwave for FreeHand

Dynamic vector-graphics for the World Wide Web!

1. What is Shockwave for FreeHand?

Shockwave for FreeHand will provide the capability to display native FreeHand graphic files within Web pages displayed in the Netscape Navigator 2.0 browser. Web authors can use a special Xtra, which has been created for FreeHand, to create interactive hot spots of virtually any shape or size, which provide links to different URL addresses. Now graphic artists and illustrators can incorporate vector images and designs into their Web pages, and have them look just like they did when they created them on their own systems!

Shockwave for FreeHand is essentially a new graphic file type that can be incorporated into Web pages (as an alternative to the existing bitmap formats like GIF, JPEG, etc.)

2. How does this announcement relate to Shockwave for Director, which Macromedia announced earlier?

Macromedia is the leader in digital arts, multimedia and Web publishing software. Macromedia's new Shockwave products are designed to bring high-impact multimedia and digital arts content to the World Wide Web. Shockwave adds "web-ready" capabilities and optimization to all of our products and Director and FreeHand are the first of many and extend our leadership position in the Web publishing world. Whereas Shockwave for Director provides the capability to deliver dazzling, interactive multimedia content (with sound, animations, motion), Shockwave for FreeHand provides the capability to incorporate compact, dynamic, scalable vector graphics into Worldwide Web pages.

3. What are the benefits of using Shockwave for FreeHand?

    A. With Shockwave for FreeHand, you can create high quality, exciting graphics once and deliver them on the Web or anywhere.

    • With this software, designers can incorporate vector graphics into web pages that are true representations which suit the illustrators' desires! A key advantage of vector graphic designs is scalability or the ability to zoom very closely in, or very far out, on images within Web pages without compromising the integrity of the image. FreeHand's zoom feature (up to 25,600%) is provided as part of the Shockwave for FreeHand plug-in. Consequently, users can zoom in very close to crisply-defined details in a geographic map, illustration or technical drawing. This capability would not possible at all with current bitmap graphics formats for the web (such as GIF and JPEG) which do not provide functionality for zooming.

    • Web authors can create nicely designed graphics for their Web pages. These can include text on a path, text wrapped around graphics, text in columns, and more.

    • FreeHand files (*.FH5) are binary cross platform files which can be loaded on all Macintosh and Windows systems.

    B. With Shockwave for FreeHand, you can easily repurpose existing illustrations from FreeHand, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw.

    • With this software, designers can incorporate vector graphics into web pages that are true representations which suit the illustrators' desires!

    • Creating many of these kinds of graphic and design effects before Shockwave for FreeHand was considerably more difficult.

    • Web authors can use an already familiar tool (FreeHand) for their web projects.

    • Web authors can repurpose vector illustrations that were created in FreeHand, Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw since FreeHand can easily import files from these other applications.

    • Using Shockwave for FreeHand, Web authors can create effects that previously would have required a number of different tools. Consequently, they can cut down on their overall development time.

    C. With Shockwave for FreeHand, you can design graphics that will download quickly and display crisply in Web pages.

    • FreeHand vector graphic files can be very small and space efficient.

    • For many kinds of art pieces, a vector file will be much smaller than an equivalent bitmap format, and will download and display much more quickly.

    • Bitmaps (such as GIFs) are described pixel by pixel. The larger the image, the longer the download. With Shockwave for FreeHand graphics are described as shapes... instructions, not description. Graphics can be small or large on your page with no additional download costs.

    D. With Shockwave for FreeHand, Web graphics can now incorporate hot spot links of varying shapes.

    • Web authors can easily create hot spots of varying shapes and sizes simply by attaching a URL link to vector graphic objects while working in FreeHand, a familiar design application. This is currently a challenge with other Web tools and eliminates the need for image maps for these graphics.

    • For example, a designer could attach links to different states on a map of the U.S., and link to Web pages that provide details of those states. Alternatively, a Web author could attach hot links to different portions of a technical illustration, and create links which jump to graphics that show detailed schematics of this piece.

4. How does it work?

Authoring Process:

  • Authors can start today, using the current shrink-wrapped version of FreeHand to create their graphics!
  • Use existing hardware, content and Macromedia FreeHand software (both Macintosh and Windows versions) to produce dynamic artwork for the Net.
  • Macromedia will also provide a special Xtra, which Web authors will use within FreeHand to attach a URL link to FreeHand elements. This is made possible by Macromedia's Open Architecture, which enables many new kinds of plug in extensions such as this one.
  • The FreeHand graphic is then embedded within the Web page on a Web server.

Browsing Process:

  • Users will download the Shockwave for FreeHand plug-in from Macromedia's Web site and place it into their Netscape Navigator 2.0 plug-ins folder.
  • Users will place the Shockwave for FreeHand plug in into their Netscape Navigator 2.0 plug-ins folder.
  • As users browse, FreeHand graphics will load as the page is displayed.

    Macromedia will provide both the authoring and browsing components FREE of charge from its Web site (http://www.macromedia.com).

6. Which browsers will support Shockwave for FreeHand?

Macromedia is currently developing a Shockwave for FreeHand plug-in for Netscape's Navigator version 2.0 for Macintosh and Windows. It is considering support for other third party browsers which offer an open API.

7. When will Shockwave for FreeHand be available?

  • Macromedia is planning to post beta software on its Web site in early February, 1996.
  • Final software release is scheduled for later this quarter.

8. What platforms will be supported in the first release?

68K Macintosh, Power Macintosh, Windows 3.1 (with Windows 32s extensions), Windows 95 and Windows NT (this is a 32-bit application.)

9.How does a Web author get the Shockwave for FreeHand product?

The beta software will be available free of charge from Macromedia's Web site beginning in February.

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