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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.
Correcting problems in bitmap images, specifically photographs, is something you'll probably find yourself doing on a fairly regular basis. In this lesson, we are going to look at one of the main corrective tools inside of Fireworks, the Rubber Stamp tool. Now, I've got a couple of files open up here: Lemon image and also a landscape from Tahoe. We are going to start off easy with our Lemon image. You'll notice that it has a bit of a blemish. I am just going to hold down my Spacebar and scroll down a bit. So we can see there is our problem area right there. Now, we are going to work with the Rubber Stamp, sometimes referred to as the Clone Stamp, tool to correct this area.
The way the Rubber Stamp works is it samples pixels from a different location, and literally paste them or copies them into the area you want to fix. So it's important with the Rubber Stamp to make sure you are locating an area that's got similar coloration and brightness and detail. So I am going to zoom in a little bit more. So I can see that fairly well. Maybe that's a bit too much. We'll zoom out just a little bit. There we go. I'll select my Rubber Stamp tool. In the Properties panel, you'll see we've got different controls of the Rubber Stamp.
We can control the Size of the Brush. We can control the Edge, very much like we did with the Brush tool. We also have some specific Rubber Stamp type tools: Source Aligned and Use entire document. Now, Source Aligned means that the area that you are sampling from is always going to stay on track with the area you are painting. If you deselect Source Aligned, your sampling point will go back to the original area you were sampling from. Now, we are going to leave it as Source Aligned for the time being. Use Entire Document, pretty self-explanatory there. If we had a multilayered file, we could actually sample from other layers inside the document for doing our retouch work.
We've also got options for Opacity and for Blending modes. You might find the Opacity setting helpful if you are trying to reduce but not eliminate, for example, some of the wrinkles and some clothing or something like that. You just want to soften up the effect. But in our case here, we want to totally eradicate that little blemish. So we're going to keep our Opacity set at 100%. All right! So before I do my sampling, I am just going to go ahead and increase my Edge Softness to 100. That gives me a nice, soft, feathered edge for blending with pixels around my retouch work.
I am going to hop into my image area. The first thing I'll see is this little crosshair. This is a sampling crosshair, basically Fireworks saying whatever underneath this icon is what we are going to sample from for your retouching work. Now, using the Rubber Stamp is a two-step process. You find an area that has the detail that you want to use, hold down the Alt key on the PC or the Option key on the Mac, and just click once to set the sampling point. When I let go of the mouse, I'll see that I have now two cursors.
I have a crosshair and a circle. The crosshair represents the current sampling point, the circle represents my actual brush. Now, if I move that circle over my blemish area, I'll notice that it's a bit smaller than the problem. So I am going to go into my Properties panel, and I am going to change the size of that Brush a little bit, maybe about 22 pixels, in that range. That's a little bit better. Then all I have got to do is click and drag. Now, ideally, I find it most useful for things like this.
If I start to click and drag, and I don't let go of the mouse until I am done, you can see how the Soft Edge is helping blend the pixels around the outside. Within a few seconds, problem gone, just like that. So that worked out fairly well. Now, if I go back out to 100%, you'd never know there was a blemish on that lemon. Now, I've got one other file here that we are going to try out. That's a little more involved. So once you feel you've mastered that concept of getting that one spot removed, let's take a look at something that's probably a little more challenging.
We have here a landscape image from Lake Tahoe. What we have in the foreground here is a rather unattractive dead tree. While it does give us a sense of depth because it's a foreground element, it's not particularly, pretty. So what we are going to do is we are going to remove this tree from the scene. Again, we are going to use our Rubber Stamp tool to do this. This will take a few extra steps, because we have to plan this out a little bit more. But it will be worth in the long run. So first things first: I am going to zoom in a little bit.
When you are retouching, it's always a good idea to zoom in fairly close to what you are working on, so you get a really good sense of what it is that you are doing. I am going to grab my Rubber Stamp tool. If I move my cursor over beside the tree, what I'm trying to do here is I am locating an area and the reflection of the trees and the water, and I am kind of tying in my sampling point with the same location as the treetops. You can see, if you run a horizontal line across the image, my sampling point is basically at the same vertical position as my treetop.
I'll hold down my Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click once. Let go of the mouse, and there is my Brush. Now, I mentioned in the previous example, you want to keep your Brush size similar to the dimensions of what you are working on, what you're trying to retouch. This is a little bit too big. So we are going to change the size of the brush, maybe a bit more than that, maybe about 14 or 15 pixels. There we go. Now, I am basically lining up my Brush with the same coordinates as my sampling point.
I am going to click, and start to drag. Fairly quickly, I am able to resolve that part of the tree that's in the reflected area of the lake. Now, what you want to watch for when you continue down is you may find that you end up adding sampling elements that you don't really want. So don't be afraid to stop retouching. Let go of the mouse and resample in a different area. So I am just going to go ahead and hold down my Alt key again, just over in this area here, beside the tree in the gray part of the water.
I'll start sampling again, like so. I'll just, again, Alt+Click, do a couple of more spots there. I am getting into a much larger part of the tree. So I am going to pick a bigger Brush, and I am going to, again, resample. And in relatively short order, we are able to get rid of the offending little tree.
So one more time: just paint across, get rid of the branch, and continue on down. Now, I am going to stop when I get to the other trees because I am going to end up cloning in parts of trees that I don't really want. This is a little more challenging, this area here. Again, I am going to work with a smaller Brush. I want it to be no bigger than the tree trunk. So a little bit of some eyeballing here for that, and I am going to resample. I am going to pull my sampling point up into the water, and position my Brush right on top of the part of the tree I want to continue to remove, and just start painting away.
Now, you notice in this case, I got into an area that was a little too bright. So I'll undo that, and I'll resample again in a darker area of the water. It takes a little bit of testing out before you get it exactly the way you want. I am not worried about the branches going through the other pine trees. That's something I'll deal with in a minute. I'll let go over the mouse, and then I'll start to paint again. Every time you let go over the mouse, you can start resampling from the point where your resampling cursor is.
So if you find that you're painting along and you start copying parts of something you don't want, just release the mouse and then try either resampling or just start the retouching over again. So we've got most of that out of the way. Now, in the tree areas, same kind of idea: smaller brush size, and I am going to resample, and just come over to that edge there.
So we end up removing the branch running through the tree on the one side, do the same thing elsewhere. Now, I am trying not to be in exactly the same spot for this retouching. So I don't look like I am creating a carbon copy, because that can be a problem when you are using the Clone Stamp or Rubber Stamp tool. It can look like you've got two lines of the same thing just copied above each other or below each other. So there are those elements dealt with. One more here, and I am going to resample a couple of times.
The more random you are with the sampling, the more realistic things are going to look. Now, we still have a little issue with this, sort of strong vertical line of our tree. But we can fix that as well. We still have a bit of a stump down there to deal with, but let's deal with the top part first. I need to have a continuing edge for this tree. So I am going to move over to this larger tree over here. I am going to pick a slightly larger Brush, hold down my Alt key, and I am just going to click around the edge of the tree. So I am back over and then start to clone in additional tree information from the other tree.
This is a pretty common thing that gets done for retouching like this. That worked out fairly well. We've got little more work to do on the tree. Hold down my Alt key again, and grab a little bit more of the evergreen tree. I have to watch when I start getting into the other tree line that I don't start copying the wrong thing.
So now that I am down that low, I can do one or two things. Now, the quick and smart thing to do would be to crop the image at this point so we don't have to worry about the rest of it. But again, the same process I have been demonstrating here in terms of sampling and in painting over, if you take a bit of time with it, we will get you to the point where the entire tree is indeed gone. All right! Last little bit here is our trees. Again, we are going to play around with the Brush size a little bit, make it a little bit larger. I am going to sample in my little dwarf evergreens over here, right about there I think.
Then continue on with my retouching work. Again, you've got to keep very careful about what you are doing, so that you don't start pasting things in that don't belong. Now, you may think this is a bit of an arduous process, and I wouldn't argue with the fact. But keep in mind that this is the sort of grandfather of all retouching tools. There was a time when we didn't have a lot of sophisticated cloning tools available to us, and this one still does the job.
You have to take a little more time with the Rubber Stamp tool than with some of the more advanced retouching tools you might find in Photoshop, but the attention to detail, if you take your time, and study what you are doing, you'll end up with a pretty reasonable result. So there is the last of it. I am going to zoom back out to 100%. That's always the tell tale. If you can zoom out to 100% and not really see where the problem was, you did a good job. Now, there are a couple of little tweaks I'd might want to do. There is a little ripple in the water here I might want to clean up. But I am 98% of the way there.
And a little more time with this, and you'll have it to the point where you never even knew there is a piece of dead tree sticking up in the middle of the photo.
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