Macromedia, Inc. announced the availability of FreeHand Graphics Studioî 7, featuring four seamlessly integrated 2D and 3D graphics tools for creating stunning designs optimized for the Web and print. The new Studio is the industry's first graphics suite to ship simultaneously on Macintosh and Windows, offering major productivity benefits for cross-platform customers. The enhanced Studio applications enable designers to smoothly move their designs from one application to the next during creation and then output to print, Internet or multimedia.
"The new FreeHand Graphics Studio pushes graphics to the next level," said Ron Okamoto, senior director, graphic products marketing at Macromedia. "We firmly believe that the features, performance and price of the new studio give graphic designers the most compelling reason to switch from competing products."
"I am as reluctant as anyone to change or upgrade software, but if you design graphics for print or the Internet, take a look at FreeHand 7.0. It combines power and all the right features with a delightful new interface that should make jaded old Illustrator users happy," said Roger Black, Creative Director, @Home Network.
"What we like about FreeHand is its seamless ability to work on Macintosh and Windows-based systems. There's no need to worry about compatibility," said Brent Carey, senior analyst, MapArt S.G.A. Ltd. "The best new feature for my business is the search and replace feature. In mapping, symbols are repetitive and when you have to change one, you have to change them all. We now can change 1,000 map symbols in a little as 30 seconds."
Expanded Shockwave Support The FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 is Shockwave-enabled, allowing developers to create vector and bitmap art for the Web. With more than 12 million players downloaded, Shockwaveî has quickly become the worldwide standard for viewing multimedia and graphics on the Web. This latest release of Shockwave features the ability to embed fonts in documents and display true, anti-aliased fonts, even if the fonts are not installed on the viewer's machine. Cyber viewers can pan and zoom on selected artwork and magnify by as much as 25,600 percent without sacrificing resolution and clarity. Shockwave also allows users to create "hot links" or add URLs to any graphics, eliminating cumbersome mapping techniques. In addition, the Shockwave Afterburner compression feature reduces file size by approximately 50 percent, allowing for faster download and display times.
The Studio supports common Internet formats such as GIF, JPEG, VRML and Acrobat PDF. Designers can now also embed true, anti-aliased fonts into their designs. This helps designers overcome traditional font limitations on the Web.
New in FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 With enhanced Shockwave support, FreeHandî 7 enables designers to leverage existing FreeHand files to deliver resolution-independent vector graphics to the Web. Users designing for the Web can now also work in RGB color mode. Featuring excellent integration with leading graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia xResî, FreeHand enables virtually seamless workflow among applications-including drag and drop, copy and paste, file open, launch and edit features-and can open native file formats >from many other programs directly within FreeHand. Other new features include a new full-color autotrace tool for converting bitmaps into fully editable line art, find and replace graphics features, color sync compatible color management, new effects tools and new print output features.
Macromedia xRes 3 provides new support of Shockwave, enabling users to dynamically publish and view streamed hi-res images on the Web without having to download the entire file. Macromedia xRes 3 also offers a complete set of creative tools; cutting-edge hi-res compositing; and integration with the most popular graphics programs, enabling copy and paste between FreeHand and Macromedia xRes. Other features include the ability to open multi-layer Photoshop files and to add URLs to objects on a Shocked Web site.
New support of VRML lets Extreme 3Dî 2 users bring 3D to their Web sites, print designs and multimedia productions. E3D 2 offers integration with leading graphics and multimedia programs, new modeling and animation functionality and new 3D hardware acceleration for workstation-level interactive rendering performance.
The FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 ships with Fontographer" 4.1-the industry-standard font creation tool-as well as 10,000 clip art images, 500 FreeHand templates, 500 TrueType and PostScript Type 1 fonts, 250 MB of high-resolution photography, and dozens of 3D models.
The FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 is available immediately for Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh 68K and Power PC for an approximate street price in North America of US $449. Registered users of FGS or any of the software applications in the Studio can upgrade for US $199. For customers of Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Canvas and Micrographx Designer, Macromedia is offering a competitive upgrade to the new FGS 7 for US $199. All applications in the Studio are also available separately at the following estimated street prices: FreeHand 7 for US $399/US $149 upgrade, xRes 3 for US $399/US $99 upgrade, and Extreme 3D 2 for US $399/US $149 upgrade. Fontographer 4.1 for US $349/US $99 upgrade. FreeHand 5.5 for Macintosh and FreeHand 5 for Windows 3.1, 95 and NT will continue to be available for US $99. Interested parties outside of North America should contact their local Macromedia distributor for information on pricing and availability of all international versions.
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