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In Fireworks CS5 Essential Training, author Jim Babbage gives a detailed overview of Fireworks CS5, Adobe's software for creating and optimizing web graphics and interactive prototypes. This course includes a detailed tour of the interface, the enhanced PNG format, and the image editing toolset in Fireworks. Critical concepts, such as prototyping for HTML applications and working with symbols, the heart of an efficient workflow in Fireworks, are covered in detail. Exercise files are included with this course.
If you're still coming to grips with the Pen tool but also want to edit or customize vector shapes, then the Reshape Area and Freeform Path tools may be just what you need. Now onscreen, I've got a file called peppers_working.png. And it has a couple of samples of the finished work here, the green and red peppers that we see here. And beside that I've got a much simpler version of the pepper. We're going to use the Freeform tool to adjust the shape of this and make it a little more similar to what we're seeing in our finished samples.
Now, these tools are all located in one location in the Vector tool set down in the bottom-left corner. If I click and hold, you'll see I've got the Freeform tool. I've got the Reshape Area tool. I've also got the Path Scrubber tool - additive and the Path Scrubber tool - subtractive. The Path Scrubber tools are something we'll look at in a different lesson. So, I've got my Freeform tool selected, and the Freeform tool works with a brush size. So if you take a look down in the Properties panel, you'll see currently the size is about 5 pixels, which is actually a fairly small circle. We're going to increase the value here to about 60.
And this is the kind of thing you'll probably have to do with a bit of trial and error. I know 60 will work for me because of some testing. Now, if I move my cursor into my vector shape, notice I don't even have to have the vector shape selected, I'm going to click once and hold the mouse button down, and you'll see right away, we have all these control points all over the shape that weren't there before. These are all going to be used to help us to distort, or reform, or reshape the vector path. Now, when I start to move the mouse, you'll see that I get a brush size, it's that fairly big circle here, and that's fine. I just want to round off that left side of the pepper, and it takes a little bit of practice to get comfortable with this, and the idea here is we still want to retain the nice smooth curve.
Now, if I click away, we'll see how we did. That's not too bad. It's a little dip in there. But again, we're not - we want something that looks a little more organic. If I want to continue editing that, I'll just go ahead and grab the Reshape Area tool again, and because I'm working with a fairly big brush, it's a good idea to put your brush somewhere where you know it won't touch any of the sides immediately. There we go. Because of this little effect, any path that it touches. I can also go from the outside in, so I'm not stuck with just pushing out. I can also push in. There we go.
And I'll just reselect, and that's not too, too bad. We can certainly play around with that more. We actually now have more control points to experiment with this. So, I could use my Subselection tool to go in there and tweak those individual control points a little bit more as well. Now, the other spot that I want to adjust is down here at the bottom of the pepper. I want to take a little bit of the sharpness off of that, sort of hook in the pepper. And we're going to use the same tool, again, for this, and we're going to work with it from the inside and from the outside. I'm going to grab my Freeform tool again, and I'm going to reduce the size, in this case down to quite a small amount, somewhere around 10 to begin with.
And you might notice you have to get somewhat close to your object before the Freeform tool becomes available. Now, I think what I'll do, as well, is I'll zoom in a little. There we go. That's a little bit better. I'm just taking some of the sharpness off of that corner. And then if I zoom back out again, and click away from the pepper, you'll see I've got a little bit of a softer curve there. It's still a bit longer of a point than there are other samples here, and we can certainly play around with that as well, but we're getting the idea, and the point here is you can experiment with this and adjust things as you need to.
The Reshape Area tool is a little bit different. It's kind of like finger painting with the vector. You can literally push the pixels in the path around, customize your own shapes in that manner too. Again, I'm just going to check and see, my brush size is fairly large at the moment. So, I'm just going to go ahead and reduce the size of this down to about 10. There we go. And this gives me the ability to literally paint. I'm sort of pull and push the pixels around. It's a slightly different kind of effect than we had with the Freeform tool.
And just to give you more a exaggerating example of what this will do, I'm going to up to the top of my pepper here, and I'm going to just start from the inside out, and we'll see what happens if I really sort of push the limits of this tool. I think I'll make it a little bit bigger, and it's kind of like just sort of smushing everything around. Now, not really what we want there, but you can see you can do quite a few things with this to distort the overall image quite a bit. So, I'll zoom back out. We're seeing a little bit of redraw issue here. That's nothing to worry about. Now, basically you've got a couple of different tools here that can help you make an existing shape a little more natural-looking, a little more organic-looking.
So, if you're looking for a more of visual answer to making your shapes a little more realistic, then the Reshape Area, and the Freeform tools may be the way to go.
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