Macromedia, Inc. a provider of cross-platform software tools for Web publishing, multimedia and graphics, today announced the FreeHand Graphics Studio 7, featuring the new FreeHand 7 and three new graphics products optimized for the Web and print. The Studio features four seamlessly integrated 2D and graphics tools for creating stunning designs that support powerful Internet graphics standards: Shockwave, transparent GIFs, progressive JPEG, VRML 3D imaging and URL embedding for hotlinks, along with advanced Shockwave Internet compression tools and server-side streaming support for images.
"The FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 is the industry's only solution that meets the needs of today's hottest graphic designers," said Bud Colligan, chairman and CEO of Macromedia. "Using Web standards like Shockwave and VRML, the Studio makes it easy for designers to bridge the gap between the print and online world." Each application in the Studio -- which includes major upgrades to FreeHand 7, new Macromedia xRes 3 and new Extreme 3D 2, as well as Fontographer 4.1 -- showcases new features and tools that enhance performance, printing, ease-of-use, integration and creativity. Web designers, graphic artists, design boutiques and service bureaus now have new and improved tools to create stunning graphics at the lowest cost possible.
Studio Expands Support for Shockwave Content The Studio's support for Shockwave enables FreeHand designers to instantly transform Web pages with beautiful, compact, resolution-independent vector graphics -- downloadable in one third the of comparable bitmaps. Shockwave offers user interactivity through controlled zooming and scrolling of up to 25,600 percent, allowing viewing of the finest details of images and graphics within any size Web page. Shockwave also simplifies cumbersome mapping techniques, enabling users to create "hot links" or add URLs to any graphics. For added creative flexibility without taking significant bandwidth, designers can use Shockwave to put existing content from other illustration packages on the Web -- saving valuable creative time and money. And now, with this update Shockwave, designers can embed anti-aliased fonts to their graphics. "New Shockwave functionality in FreeHand 7 lets us repurpose our detail-rich graphics for the Web," said Terry Laupp, systems manger at Phoenix Creative in St. Louis, MO. "We're also developing dynamic new content for the Web by leveraging new FreeHand 7 capabilities, directly embedding FreeHand graphics onto Web pages, providing unique and interactive features for our customers." New Internet functionality is also included in the new Macromedia xRes 3, enabling designers to create exciting Shockwave content and allowing surfers to view large, hi-res photographic and bitmap files on the Internet with no delay. Shockwave's new streaming and progressive rendering features enable users to pan and zoom into sections of beautiful, detailed, multi-megabyte (100 MB+) images without having to download the entire file or compromise image quality.
Developers can use the new Extreme 3D2 to create VRML 2.0 3D content, allowing Web surfers to view and interact with stunning 3D worlds. E3D leading cross-platform tool for creating cutting-edge VRML 2.0 content for the Internet, and includes geometry, materials, lights and cameras, and supports associated URL addresses for anchors, inlines, and textures. Studio Integration Offers Unprecedented Power, Ease-of-Use Macromedia's FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 is built on a foundation of cutting-edge technologies, letting design professionals push the limits of their creativity for more powerful and impactful graphics. The Studio is the first product suite to deliver on Macromedia's technology initiatives announced at last year's User Conference, providing a fully integrated set of tools sharing a common interface, extension, data interchange and open architecture. Enhancements to the Studio user interface make the work environment more intuitive, consistent, productive and customizable. Users can quickly and easily move between applications, taking advantage of hundreds of Studio features at every stage of the design process. In addition, the Studio supports a range of third-party Xtras for excellent extensibility. For example, Australian developer Go Man Go demonstrated at the Macromedia User Conference how it uses all FreeHand Graphics Studio tools together, as well as Director and SoundEdit 16, to create ESHA Robot, a 3D interactive CD-ROM game. It used Fontographer to create a specialized font to be imported into FreeHand; FreeHand to design all storyboards -- from hand-drawn sketches to the final version; xRes to add textures, blends and filters to the FreeHand Robot; and E3D to bring the Robot to life in with special lighting and application of materials effects.
The FreeHand Graphics Studio for Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh 68K and PowerMac will be available this Fall for an estimated street price of $449. Registered FGS and registered users of any version of any product in the Studio can upgrade for US $199. For customers of Adobe Illustrator CorelDraw, Macromedia is also offering a competitive upgrade to the Studio for $199. Each product in the FGS is also available separately (see attachments for standalone pricing).
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