So, as notes to my future self, I thought I'd write out just what I had to go through to make up the basic white-rectangle-with-drop-shadow images... in particular, how to use Fireworks to slice it into the top,middle, and bottom the final example used.
Here are those notes:
- make a new image: ctrl-n, 500x500...
- On toolbar stroke would be null (red line X, fill to white...), fill would be white
- on the toolbar under vector, make the shape tool do rectangles not ellipse tool
- draw the shape then handfix the W and H under Properties at the bottom (mostly the width)
- Under Properties|Filters, Shadow and Glow | Drop Shadow
- This pulls up some Filter properties. (By default the dropshadow is to the Southeast)
- so Filters is a list of effects added to this selection, you have to be careful not to make extra ones...
- the arrows is distance, how far away the center of the shadow is from the center of the item... I want this at zero, centered, not off to one side
- (which means I can ignore the angle for which direction it should go)
- I set the fuzziness bigger than 4, like 10 or so
- you don't see changes applied 'til you close the filter mini-properties box
- Make sure the canvas itself has the null background selected (indicated with the red line) and you can see the gray and white boxes
- Here I could select the rectangle with the selection tool, ctrl-c copy, ctrl-n (which autodefaults to the size of the thing in the clipboard), paste, then save. But of course I wanted my 3 slices...
- now we need to use the slicing tool. You draw bounding boxes (including the dropshadow) and rely on the AI thing to find the right edges for you... I draw one for the top, bottom, and middle. At my first attempt I tried to close-crop the top and bottom without interior padding, but that messed up the shading of the corners, and I had to redo it.
- Then I go to Export... the settings are QUITE a bit fiddly, what the helpful designer helped me figure out I wanted was "Export:Images Only" "HTML: [None]" "Slices:Export Slices" "Pages:Curent Pages" and "Include Areas without Slices" left unchecked
And that was it!
Sometimes I dispair of ever deeply learning Adobe stuff. It seems like such a different, non-engineery, don't-try-to-understand-everything-we're-doing / intuitive system... or maybe the designers are just more used to. (GIMP. in contrast, is pure-Engineer, we-don't-give-you-any-convenient-defaults, no matter how logical it might be.)