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Masking objects with vector shapes

From: Fireworks CS5 Essential Training

Video: Masking objects with vector shapes

Vector Masks give you a different type of control than Bitmap Masks. Some would argue they are more accurate, but in my opinion, it really depends on what you're trying to do. So let's have a look at a couple of different ways to apply vector masks to a couple different images. We are going to produce some significantly different effects in both cases. And we are going to start with our little Monthly Specials sidebar. Remember this from previous movies: we've stretched this out so that it basically contains all of our different monthly specials. What I'd like do with it now is fade it out a bit at the bottom so it blends in with the Web page's background color.

Masking objects with vector shapes

Vector Masks give you a different type of control than Bitmap Masks. Some would argue they are more accurate, but in my opinion, it really depends on what you're trying to do. So let's have a look at a couple of different ways to apply vector masks to a couple different images. We are going to produce some significantly different effects in both cases. And we are going to start with our little Monthly Specials sidebar. Remember this from previous movies: we've stretched this out so that it basically contains all of our different monthly specials. What I'd like do with it now is fade it out a bit at the bottom so it blends in with the Web page's background color.

So the first thing you need to do is select the shape. There we go. It's now selected. And if we take a look over in the Layers panel here, I'll just expand my monthly specials layer, and you'll see there it is down at the bottom of that monthly specials layer. But applying a fade to an image, vector or a bitmap, is not that difficult to do in Fireworks. In fact, we've got a really cool little command that does most of the work for us. So I am going to go up to my Commands menu. I am going to choose Creative and select Auto Vector Mask, and what we get is a little dialog box popping up.

And you can see, we have got about eight different choices here. This window gives us the opportunity to change the direction of the fade. So we can go from transparent to solid or solid to transparent, either top to bottom or left to right. And we can also choose different vector shapes to apply that gradient. In our case, what I really want is a vector mask that's going to fade from solid up at the top down to transparent down near the bottom, and that's the fade that's currently selected in the Auto Vector Mask dialog box. If you take a look on the canvas, you'll see that we're getting solid color at the very top fading down to basically invisible at the bottom or blending in with our background.

Anytime I change these, I can actually see a different effect. So I can get a good idea of what result I'm going to have before I actually end up applying the effect. So solid from top to transparent at the bottom is the one I want. I am going to click Apply, and you'll notice that our shape now has a couple of different things going on. We have this vertical black line running from the top to the bottom. That's actually controlling the distance of the gradient. So it's controlling the fade effect. And you might also notice some little green squares. Now, the green squares indicate what's currently selected is the vector mask.

Now, if we take a look over in the Layers panel, you'll see that our little monthly specials graphic now has a vector mask applied to it. And we can tell it's a vector mask and not a bitmap mask, because at the very bottom right corner of the vector mask we see a little Pen icon. So that's your indication that this is a vector mask. Now, if I click on the actual object itself, my original monthly specials box, you'll notice that my little solid line disappears and my green control handles disappear. So if I want to edit the effect of the mask, I have to make sure that the mask is selected. I am going to zoom in just a little bit, grab my Pointer tool again.

And by the way, you might notice when you choose different tools, like the Zoom tool in that case, I lost my vector control arm. It's disappeared from the view. I have to reselect my Pointer tool to bring that vector control arm back. So what's happening here as we are going from solid down to transparent at the very bottom. What I'd like is to have this fade occur a little bit earlier so we end up with no color at the very bottom. So all I have got to do in order to change this fade is grab that ending point, that little square, and drag upwards. And as I drag upwards, I am going to hold down the Shift key to keep myself in a straight line.

You'll notice that the fade is also changing. So you can determine where you want it to actually go. And I think right about there is pretty good. As I mentioned, it can work on vectors. It can work on bitmap images. It can work on groups. It's a really cool, fast, little feature. Now, the other effect we are going to work with is masking a bitmap image with an existing vector shape. So in this case here, I want to import an image into my design. I have got this gaping hole here where I need to have the photograph.

So I am going to choose File > Import, and I've got this really nice shot of Tahoe, and that's the image I want to use to drop into my Web design. So I am going to click on Open, and remember, I'm importing. So I get the chance to actually scale the image at the time that I am bringing it in. So I am just going to go into my upper- left area, and just going to drag out. I'm more concerned about making sure I fill the vertical space, and you'll find out why in just a minute. Now, there is my image. Okay, now obviously, it's too big for our design.

I don't want to scale it down any further. What I do want to do is give this image a bit of a different treatment. So I am going to hop over to my snowgear file, and this has a whole bunch of vector artwork that, in this case, is all themed for snowboarding. And the image that I want is this one here of the tree line. So I am going to select this, and I am going to press Ctrl+C to copy or Command+C on the Mac. I am going to hop back over to my original Web page, and I am going to press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac. And you can see the image drops in, and it's pretty tiny.

But keep in mind this is a vector shape. So I'm not stuck with it at this size. I am going to choose my standard Scaling tool, and I'm going to drag it from one corner, and I am going to drag from the other corner till I get something that's roughly the size that I need it to be, something along that range I think will worked out quite nicely. And that's good. So I am going to double-click, and that'll lock that scale vector in place. You notice we have no image breakdown. The quality is just fine the way it is, and it was scaled from a very, very tiny size.

So here is what we are going to do. We are going to make sure that that vector is selected. I am going to press Ctrl+X to cut it out of the document. You may be wondering well, gee, we just got it in there. What's the deal? Well, the deal is we are going to paste it in as a mask. So I am going to select my photo, and I am going to go to Edit > Paste as Mask and check that out. I've now got this really neat stylized photographic image here. I have got the vector of the trees handling the overall outline of the image, and the great thing about this is I am not stuck with the design exactly the way it is.

I can reposition that photo inside of my mask. So I am just going to slide over a little bit. And you eventually will run out of room because the photo has a certain limitation to its size. If you find that the size isn't quite working for you, and the mask is maybe little bit too large, no problem at all. We're just going to over to our Layers panel again. I am going to select the mask, and I am going to scale the mask. Now, if you do find your images a little bit too small for the mask or you want to change the size of a mask, not a big deal. We don't even have to ungroup anything.

I am just going to go over to my Layers panel. I am going to deselect the link between the two objects, my photograph and my mask, and then I am going to select the mask. So the mask is now independent of the photo. I am going to go over to my Scaling tool, and I'm just going to rescale this a little bit smaller. Now I'm only scaling the mask here. I'm not touching the photograph, which is pretty cool. So I've resized the mask a little bit. I can re-link these two together. I'll grab my photo, and that means I have a little more play with the image inside of my mask.

So I can move this guy around. It was mostly a hype thing I was worried about. I think I like that kind of idea, something like that. And there we go. These two techniques only scratch the surface of what you can do with masks, especially vector mask. But they are techniques I think you'll find yourself using quite often.

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This video is part of

Image for Fireworks CS5 Essential Training
Fireworks CS5 Essential Training

92 video lessons · 29495 viewers

Jim Babbage
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 42s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. What is Fireworks?
      1m 59s
    3. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 1h 27m
    1. Creating and opening documents
      7m 36s
    2. Understanding the interface
      9m 43s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 18s
    4. Setting up rulers, guides, and grids
      10m 7s
    5. Using tooltips and Smart Guides
      5m 40s
    6. Working with panels
      9m 29s
    7. Working with pages
      8m 59s
    8. Working with layers
      13m 13s
    9. Working with states
      4m 35s
    10. Using the Properties panel
      4m 38s
    11. Using the Preferences panel
      7m 34s
  3. 52m 39s
    1. Understanding the Fireworks PNG format
      2m 11s
    2. Saving and exporting files
      5m 11s
    3. Importing files
      5m 34s
    4. Opening Photoshop files
      6m 7s
    5. Opening Illustrator files
      3m 58s
    6. Exporting a single file
      9m 57s
    7. Using the Image Preview window
      1m 52s
    8. Using the Export Area tool
      3m 10s
    9. Creating PDF files
      4m 16s
    10. Saving Photoshop files
      5m 48s
    11. Using Fireworks files for Illustrator
      4m 35s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Understanding bitmaps
      1m 32s
    2. Resizing images
      3m 48s
    3. Using the selection tools
      8m 0s
    4. Using the drawing tools
      8m 19s
    5. Retouching with the corrective tools: Rubber Stamp
      12m 16s
    6. Using the bitmap effects tools: Blur, Sharpen, and Replace Color
      7m 33s
    7. Using more bitmap effects tools: Dodge and Burn
      7m 1s
    8. Improving images using the Levels filter
      8m 15s
    9. Creating a bitmap mask with a selection
      6m 2s
  5. 1h 10m
    1. Looking at the vector toolset
      6m 53s
    2. Using the Pen tool
      7m 32s
    3. Editing vector shapes with the Freeform and Reshape Area tools
      4m 35s
    4. Filling shapes with patterns and live filters
      3m 17s
    5. Using Auto Shapes
      7m 24s
    6. Using shapes as image elements
      4m 16s
    7. Scaling shapes
      5m 28s
    8. Masking objects with vector shapes
      7m 13s
    9. Applying strokes
      5m 52s
    10. Using Vector Path and Path Scrubber
      6m 9s
    11. Using the Compound Shape tool
      7m 40s
    12. Using Snap to Pixel
      2m 15s
    13. Using Gradient Dither
      1m 46s
  6. 51m 18s
    1. Understanding symbols
      5m 41s
    2. Creating graphic symbols
      13m 11s
    3. Creating button symbols
      10m 22s
    4. Creating animation symbols
      5m 4s
    5. Sharing symbols with the Common Library
      1m 37s
    6. Editing the instance of a symbol
      3m 46s
    7. Adding component symbols to a design
      8m 46s
    8. Exporting and importing symbols
      2m 51s
  7. 17m 34s
    1. Creating GIF animations
      9m 31s
    2. Animating with Twist and Fade
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a tweened animation
      4m 16s
  8. 26m 46s
    1. Using text in Fireworks
      7m 19s
    2. Understanding text properties
      3m 14s
    3. Adding text in a path
      4m 43s
    4. Adding text to a path
      4m 31s
    5. Using text as a mask
      3m 35s
    6. Maintaining crisp text in web images
      3m 24s
  9. 28m 35s
    1. Having fun with filters
      8m 44s
    2. Working with Styles
      4m 10s
    3. Using Blend Modes
      4m 40s
    4. Converting bitmap selections to paths
      3m 50s
    5. Working with Adobe Swatch Exchange files
      2m 33s
    6. Using the Kuler panel for color inspiration
      4m 38s
  10. 1h 14m
    1. Understanding the web toolset
      1m 51s
    2. Creating hotspots
      6m 22s
    3. Using the Slice tool
      8m 57s
    4. Using a master page
      5m 20s
    5. Sharing layers across pages
      4m 49s
    6. Sharing web layers across pages
      3m 30s
    7. Using HTML component symbols
      3m 15s
    8. Creating choices and showing design options to clients
      7m 7s
    9. Importing pages
      2m 47s
    10. Previewing the mockup
      4m 17s
    11. Using HTML prototyping
      5m 22s
    12. Improving the workflow
      20m 30s
  11. 33m 19s
    1. Optimizing images for export, part 1
      15m 36s
    2. Optimizing images for export, part 2
      13m 36s
    3. Generating a CSS-based layout
      4m 7s
  12. 22m 20s
    1. Integrating Fireworks, FXG, and Flash Catalyst
      3m 56s
    2. Integrating Fireworks and Flash
      3m 46s
    3. Using roundtrip editing between Dreamweaver and Fireworks
      5m 52s
    4. Copying and pasting objects to Dreamweaver
      2m 57s
    5. Integrating Fireworks and Device Central
      4m 13s
    6. Working with Bridge
      1m 36s
  13. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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