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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.
Blending modes are a hidden gem in Fireworks. We have got a total of 45 of them to experiment with. And Blend modes can be applied to layers or to objects in Fireworks, and the impact of a Blend mode is controlled primarily by the colors in the images being blended, but also by the opacity of the layer or the object. So let's have a look at this from a couple of different perspectives. Now, Blend modes can be used as a corrective tool or they can be used as a creative tool. In this case, here, the photo of the two cyclists, it's a little bit on the bright side, a little bit over exposed. Now, I could experiment with levels and so on. But a real quick way to make a very simple adjustment to contrast and density would be to work with the Blend mode, and I'll show you how we're going to do this.
I'm going to go into my background layer here where the current Bitmap is located, and I'm going to create a duplicate. I'm just going to drag it down to the New or Duplicate Bitmap Object, and that gives me essentially a copy. So I've two versions of the same thing. Now, on the uppermost of these two, I'm going to change the Blending mode. By default, when you start with a new object your Blending mode is always set to Normal. Now, if I click on that dropdown list though, you'll see we have got quite a few to pick from. The one I want to work with though to darken things down and make things a little bit richer is the one called Multiply. If I select this option, you'll see, right away, a significant difference to the overall image, and that's just by working with this Blending mode.
If I hide that object, you can see we've got the original, nothing has been changed. If I bring the object back, we get that extra density and contrast. Now, I'm not just stuck with it as it is. I can also alter the Opacity. That gives me a little control over the impact of the Blending mode. While this has really helped the image overall in terms of punch, it's added a bit more contrast than I like. So I'm going to go to my Opacity setting here, and I'm going to change the Opacity to about 80%, and you'll see that has an impact on the overall effect. Just by adjusting that opacity, I'm still getting a little more punch like let's see the original again.
There is the original. There is the new one with the blended version of the image on top. I'm still getting a bit of exposure correction. But I'm not getting the really huge amount of contrast that I was getting earlier. So that's one thing you can do with Blending modes, as a corrective tool. Now, I've got another image here. We'll just play around a bit with Blending modes in terms of little more creative options. I've got my cyclist. He's done his tour. He's happy. He's done, and I've got my California logo sitting here, and we're going to play with the Blending mode on the logo. So again, right now, the Blending mode is set to Normal.
So if I pass it on top of my cyclist, it just covers them up. What I'm going to do though is I'm going to change that Blending mode. Now, I can change it from the Layers panel. We saw it earlier. I can also change it from the Properties panel down below. And again, there's my whole list of different options. I'm going to choose Soft Burn, and see what happens. You'll notice as I move this around, take a look at what's happening behind the logo. You notice how it's blending in with the background. We're seeing some of the detail of the background scenery, and I can continue to play around with this. I think I'll try - Stamp looks kind of interesting.
And as I move it around again, you'll see I'm gaining basically sort of a semi-translucent look. If I bring it on top of my cyclist, especially in the areas that aren't white, we're getting some really interesting effects going on. So working with Blending modes can open up a lot of options for you creativity-wise. One more note on how Blending modes work with Symbols. Well, they don't. Just to give you an idea here, I have a set of objects that have been grouped together. They have Blending modes applied to them. In fact, if I grab my Sub-selection tool, I can see that the top snowflake has a Darken Blending mode, and the bottom snowflake has a Negation Blending mode.
And if I spend a lot of time experimenting with Blending mode to get just the right effect, and then I decide to convert this to a symbol, we run into a bit of a problem. So I'm going to select my whole object again and choose Modify > Symbol > Convert to Symbol. I'll just call it snowflakes. And you'll notice when I'm returning back to the canvas and my instance is sitting on the actual canvas, the Blending modes are gone. So there is an issue with Blending modes. They aren't supported in the actual instance. Now that's not to say I can't use a single Blending mode on the instance.
But the individual Blending modes I had in the original symbol are no longer available. So just to give you a quick idea, I'm going to increase my canvas size here, and just reposition the one instance and create a copy, and just drag them around so that I have some overlap. Now, with this particular instance, I can go and choose a single Blend mode, and that will actually work. Notice that everything basically is blending with the background and with the other objects. As I move it around, you'll see that the Blending mode works. But the actual Blend modes that were applied to the original symbol, if I double-click on it to edit it, you'll see, there is the original Blending modes.
They are not being applied at the instance level. Just something to be aware of so you don't spend a lot of time doing something like this, and then it trips you up in the end.
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