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Win users opinion on most stable ver. - Macromedia Freehand

Hello, Curious about the FH version people have had problems with such as crashes, unexpected behavior,etc. Anyone think Win FH8 or FH9 more consistant or less trouble? We're a screenprint co. that's used FH since v.3 on Macs up to OS9. We decided to finally update the computers and WinXP seemed to make more sense but FH11 seems to add very little to FH8 (mac). We've already noticed some unconsistancy opening Mac FH8 files in Win FH11 in regards to fonts. Thanks, for your opinions! Dan...

  1. #1

    Default Win users opinion on most stable ver.


    Curious about the FH version people have had problems with such as crashes,
    unexpected behavior,etc.

    Anyone think Win FH8 or FH9 more consistant or less trouble?

    We're a screenprint co. that's used FH since v.3 on Macs up to OS9. We
    decided to finally update the computers and WinXP seemed to make more sense but
    FH11 seems to add very little to FH8 (mac). We've already noticed some
    unconsistancy opening Mac FH8 files in Win FH11 in regards to fonts.

    Thanks, for your opinions!


    Danprtr Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    Hi Dan,

    I've been using FHMXa in a screen print environment for some time, and I can't honestly say that there have been any improvements in usability for my purposes since FH9. Many neato web-related features have been piled onto the old engine, but if anything, later versions are slower, more bersome and less intuitive than 8 or 9, and they are noticably more quirky. The addition of live, non-flash anti-aliasing is a plus, but it's a cosmetic plus. The newer raster effects are worse than useless from a print standpoint, much less a spot-color print standpoint. Bottom line is that although Freehand MX continues to be usable as a screen print design and separation application, it isn't more capable in that arena than it was at version 9, it's less reliable, and it is arguably slower to use and to learn. Don't bother with version 10 at all. It was a disaster, full of bugs that never got fixed.

    Your biggest hurdle in migrating to PC will likely be with font substitution. Unless the text in each of your doents have been converted to paths, you will have to find replacement fonts, or a font conversion program. I understand that Fontographer was recently purchased away from Macromedia. It has the capability of creating TrueType copies of Mac fonts. When I switched to PC (circa FH8), the copy of Fontographer that came in My Freehand 7 Graphics Studio package was a virtual lifesaver.


    On Fri, 03 Jun 2005 13:59:35 -0700, Danprtr <com> wrote:
    Bill Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    Danprtr wrote: 

    I can't comment on the Win/Mac issues, except to say that there are issues
    with FHMX on the new Tiger Mac OS, and we don't know if MM or Apple with be
    forthcoming with a patch. With the Macromedia/Adobe merger pending, the
    future of FH is unknown.

    If someone else does all of the drawing and you simply layout and print
    artwork for screen printing, you won't find anything new in the print
    commands compared to FH8. In fact, printing to Postscript printers was
    simpler under Mac OS9 than OS X.

    However, on the topic of new drawing features since FH8, I have plenty to
    say. This might sound like an infomercial, which is not my intention. ;-)

    I draw, draw, draw, so I enjoy having a box full of drawing tools. There are
    a whole bunch of features added since FH8 that I would not want to live

    The new multi-attributes take some getting used to because they change
    select and subselect methods for groups, but they add capability at the same
    time. Add several strokes to the same path. Place strokes behind fill. Stack
    strokes and fill in any order. Very handy for logotype creation and those
    sports logos with multiple thick outlines.

    Adjustable rounded corners on rectangles (just click and drag together or
    independently) live ellipse sections, closed pie-shaped sections or open
    arcs. Option-drag to change angle, shift-option-drag both points to swing
    the section around. Polygon tool rounded corners, interactive star-point
    depth and twist. At first, I thought the tool enhancements were useless
    gimmicks, but now I use them all the time.

    I use FHMX Vector effects extensively, which work fine with spot inks. All
    Vector Effect settings can be saved as Styles. I use a hairline stroke with
    Expand Path Vector Effect, no fill color, as a measuring tool to examine
    artwork (especially small text) for stroke width and fill tolerances.

    When designing to precise dimensions, instead of wide strokes I use several
    levels of fill with Expand Path Vector Effect/'Inside only'. This way, the
    border width sits inside the path and doesn't add to object size. It's very
    handy for objects in multi-up layouts that must be precisely sized and

    The Ragged Vector Effect is handy because settings are interactive.
    Smooth/uniform makes a lovely wavy path. Rough/uniform makes a zig-zag line,
    I use a base path for deep tiger-teeth shading. Adjust parameters and
    separate attributes when the settings are just right.

    The Duet Vector Effect/Reflect is great for drawing symmetrical shapes. Both
    sides grow together as you draw, so you can get instant feedback on the
    correct proportions. Just draw a wide anchor segment at the beginning of the
    path so the center point can't slide around as you draw.

    The Transform Vector Effect is like Power Duplicate in older FH versions,
    but you can adjust settings interactively. No need to undo and try over
    again many times until you get it right.

    Brushes work perfectly well with spot inks. They're great for freewheeling,
    brush type artwork, borders, repeat patterns -- rope, chain, etc. A line of
    text made into a brush bends like rubber. You do have to release brushes
    before F&RG can find colors.

    Very handy for changing page size, arranging pages, duplicating and deleting
    pages. No need to use that tiny doent inspector window.

    Simplifies perspective drawing. Select a straight-on vector group, snap to
    the grid and presto, it's all uniformly 'perspectified'.

    While the Extrude tool doesn't work directly with spot inks, it's possible
    create a high-contrast extrusion, convert to grayscale, and then use F&RG to
    replace Black ink and tints of Black with a spot ink and tints thereof.

    I've found the Extrude tool (a 3-D tool) useful in making foundation
    drawings of anything lathed, twisted or beveled. Extrude an object, convert
    to image, and use that as a tracing image. The Extrude tool can be used on a
    group of objects or a composite path to make complex shapes such as DNA
    spirals or gears.

    There are more Blend options available since FH8. You can now blend
    composite paths and groups. I don't think FH8 had the Envelope, but if you
    currently use KPT Vector Effects, you have an excellent warp tool.

    Toolbars and keyboard shortcuts are more extensive and customizable than
    ever. Anti-aliased preview is easy on the eyes but not essential. You can
    display an entire library of spot inks, such as Pantone Solid, in a color
    cube for quick access from the fill and stroke inspectors.

    Bug fixes for spot ink users: Graphic hose items now carry the correctly
    named spot inks into the doent. 'Convert to grayscale' now makes true
    tints of Black ink.

    Hope this helps in your decision making.

    Judy Arndt

    Judy Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.


    Frankly I do not get this crash stuff. Since WinXp there has not been anything I could call a crash. Except I once lost TCP/IP and had to format and reinstall all. That I'll blame on Microsoft.

    I think that most of the crashes are caused by all freeware stuff, games, etc. people install not necessarily by OS (Mac & Win) or FreeHand.

    Both may be fairly reliable but you have to install the update package because both had a major print bug in the first release version. In FH8 PS printing took ages and FH9 did not print upper ASCII characres at all. !!!

    Armadillo Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    Judy said

    Thanks for your insight. As printers, it's great to see how designers/
    illustrators minds work regarding their software tools.

    Do you notice inconsistancies or have difficulty getting expected results when
    using these newer FH features? Do you have to be aware when using one or more
    of these features that eps's won't work as a file submission format?

    Bill said, 
    intuitive than 8 or 9, and they are noticably more quirky

    Same thing noticed here. Font Reserve seems to work better with FH8 in that
    fonts auto load more often and when they don't, the missing font dialog allows
    correct font replacement (with equivalent PC font). FHMX dosen't show the
    replaced font (form missing font dialaog box) correctly unless you reselect the
    font name with each type box selected after the file is open.

    Your reply's are a great help, Thanks a bunch!


    Danprtr Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    Danprtr wrote:

    I print directly to a Postscript printer or print to PS file and distill. I
    know to avoid FH features that won't output to spot inks such as lens fills
    and raster effects. Other than the radial grad problem noted below, the
    Postscript output has been correct. EPS files are correctly written. Acrobat
    Pro 6 Separation Preview always shows my spot inks correctly named and

    FHMX has new options using handles to control gradients. I had a problem
    with spot ink output when I used two spot inks in radial gradient set to
    *Normal* with the gradient handles moved. I still have the screen shot
    online here:

    When I rebuilt the object with an *Auto-size* radial grad, which is
    equivalent the traditional FH gradient, it separated correctly.

    Occasionally when adding a second or third stroke to an object that already
    has a stroke behind a fill, and then moving or editing the object, the
    strokes revert back to their previous colors and/or stacking order. I always
    notice this this immediately and am able to fix it, so it hasn't caused any
    problems other than a few wasted moments. I haven't been able to pinpoint
    exactly what triggers this, but if it happens, it happens only during the
    edit immediately following the addition a new stroke. Once a file is saved,
    the multi-strokes stay put.

    To make the object inspector correctly display attributes for groups of
    subselected identical objects, you have to disable the preference, 'Changing
    object changes defaults'. I miss not being able to work with this pref
    enabled. I make extensive use of the Select/Subselect command, to which I've
    assigned a custom keyboard shortcut.

    Very complex vector art containing hundreds of nested groups containing
    hundreds of objects will slow FHMX redraw to virtual standstill. Unlike
    previous versions, I believe the FHMX database and redraw routines track a
    group-level attribute for every group, even if no group-level attribute is
    assigned. If, for example, you were doing multi-up printing of many very
    complex labels you could expect to see redraw issues.

    My work is not that complex. I use layers rather than nested groups during
    the design phase, so redraw is plenty quick for me.

    FHMX RGB Raster Effects will slow down FH. Since there's no way to use them
    for spot ink output, it's a non-issue for spot ink work.

    I'm using FontAgent Pro and have no trouble at all with auto-activation of
    fonts in FHMX when opening in any of my files FH4 through FH11. I would say
    you have a font manager issue, not a FHMX issue.

    Judy Arndt

    Judy Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    In article <BEC73E17.2ED27%ca>,
    Judy Arndt <ca> wrote:


    FH8 does have an Envelope Xtra, which works OK except that the editing
    window & preview are of a fixed (small) size, which can make it
    impossible to select the point or handle one wants -- especially when
    the object to be distorted is much wider than it is tall, e.g. a
    headline. Another drawback is that saved envelope settings adapt
    themselves to the bounding box of the selected object, meaning that you
    can't get consistently proportioned effects on objects of different
    shapes -- and there are no numerical controls at all; everything has to
    be eyeballed. (I recently struggled with this tool for quite a while,
    trying to make a logo look like it was painted on a cylindrical pipe; I
    eventually gave up and did the shaping in Adobe Dimensions, bringing it
    back into FH _via_ Illustrator format.)

    Odysseus Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Win users opinion on most stable ver.

    I work with many computers in several shops as well as on a PC and Mac at
    home. I have stayed with ver 10 and have had very few problems. I hate the
    interface on MX. 9 was probably more stable, but I like 10 better.


    Jobob Guest

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