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Macromedia Ships Latest FreeHand

Macromedia Inc. Monday released FreeHand 9, its design and layout software that was created specifically for cross-media publishing.

Macromedia (MACR) hopes that FreeHand 9 will change the way designers approach their work by providing a toolset for vector graphics for both print or Web.

New features and enhancements include Flash integration, increased productivity, and new creative tools. With over 200 million users, The Macromedia Flash Player has over 200 million users, making it "the standard for creating vector graphics displays." Support for the Macromedia Flash file format within FreeHand allows designers to create high-impact, low bandwidth Web animations and graphics. Productivity enhancements include an improved visual management environment for multi-page documents and dozens of workflow features. New illustration features include three-dimensional perspective grids and live enveloping.

Flash 4 FreeHand 9 Studio provides designers with a cost-effective method of integrating FreeHand 9 and Macromedia Flash 4, and publishing high-impact designs to the Web. Flash allows designers to add Web-based motion, sound and interactivity to their content. FreeHand users will appreciate the newly-announced Macromedia Flash printing technology, allowing intelligent printing from Web applications. Freehand allows designers to export animated Macromedia Flash files from within FreeHand or import them into Flash 4 to add sound and interactivity.

Additional features for Web graphics production include:
  • "Release-to-layers" feature creates animations and other motion effects without a timeline, letting designers rapidly deploy animated Flash content
  • Integrated HTML publishing with URLs, embedded Flash files, and Macromedia Dreamweaver formatting for easier cross-media publishing
  • The Macromedia Symbol Library, enabling designers to use master elements across multiple pages and designs
Current FreeHand or Flash users can upgrade to the Flash 4 FreeHand 9 Studio for $199. The product is priced at $499 and FreeHand 9 is priced at $399. The studio and stand-alone versions are expected to be released in March. For additional information, visit the Macromedia FreeHand Web site.