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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.
We're going to take a look at three more vector tools here. We're going to try out the Vector Path tool for adding a bit of an illustrative effect to a photograph and also the Redraw Path tool and the Path Scrubbers. So we'll start off with our Vector Path tool. Now again, over in the Vector toolset, you'll find this tool underneath the Pen tool. So click and hold on the Pen tool icon and choose Vector Path. Now, the idea behind the Vector Path tool is, rather than using the Pen tool where you're always clicking on points to just change direction, the Vector Path tool is kind of like sketching your drawing with the vector shape instead of using say, for example, the brush.
The advantage to this is that you've got complete control over it after the fact. Because it's a Vector Path, it's going to remain editable. Try doing the same kind of thing with the paintbrush in the Bitmap tools, it gets applied permanently to the image or to the layer you're working with. So I've got my Vector Path tool selected and down in the Properties panel, we see we've got some control here. I want to change the color to begin with. I'm going to select a color from my image I think. Grab that kind of greenish brown, and I also want to increase the size of this.
I want to create kind of an illustrative effect where we're going to use some angle strokes, and we're going to reverse the angles and stuff like that, and create a nice little crosshatching effect. So I'm going to bring this up to about 20. Now, I also want to play around with the Stroke category here. I want something that has a little more texture to it. So I'm going to go into my Charcoal settings here, and I've got a few different ones here. I think I'm going to go with Pastel, and I also want to adjust the Edge of my stroke. I'm going to bring this up to 100%. I like to have a softer edged stroke. Now this will take me a couple of tries to get right, and the thing about this Vector Path tool is it does take a bit of experimentation here.
You're going to try something and see if it works, and you may decide no. I've got to do more work with it, and that's the key. It's experimenting with it and having some fun with it. So I'm going to start over here on my left-hand side, and all I really want to do is just some strokes, just like that and see how they're going in and creating different effects. Now right away I can see the result's kind of what I want, but the color is not really there, and the size of the brush isn't perfect. So I'm going to undo those. Press Ctrl+Z and get rid of them. That's the beauty of this. I can get rid of them really easily. And I think I'm going to brighten up my stroke.
So I like the color range, but I do want to make it a bit brighter, and again, I think I'm going to increase the size, and then basically I'm going to do the same kind of thing again. I'm going to see that I'm basically creating these little curved art strokes, like so. Now I don't need to do a lot of them because if I like what I've got, I can just replicate them. So I've got half-a-dozen or so of these individual strokes, and if I look over my Layers panel, you'll see a whole bunch of paths. I'm going to select all those paths by first clicking on the top one, holding down the Shift button and clicking on the bottom one, so all my strokes get selected.
And before we move on, just take a look at these strokes. You'll see that there is a whole bunch of different control points that have been applied. Depending on how fast I move the mouse or how much of a curve I put into the stroke, additional control points were added based on what I was drawing. So it's kind of a little more intuitive type of way of working with strokes and if you are in Illustrator, you may find this a lot more handy than working specifically with the Pen tool. All right! So I've got my Stroke selected. I'm going to go up to my Edit menu and choose Clone. That'll give me an exact set of copies. You'll see that there are more additional paths have been put in.
I'm going to hold down my Shift key, and press my right-arrow key about six or seven times. I'm going to do the same thing again. I'm going to add in additional copies. Now I've got a couple of ways I can do this. I can go back to my Edit menu and clone them again and then use my Shift key to move them over. But let me show you a little bit of a time saver here. I'm going to go to my History panel, and the History panel records every step that you do. Down at the bottom here you see I've got Clone, and I've got Move. So I'm going to select Clone and then Shift+Click to select Move.
What I can do with these two steps is I can then replay the steps. There's a little button here that says Replay, and it's added in another set of those strokes for me. I'm going to go ahead and reposition them. They're still all selected. So I think I'll just move them around a bit again, something along that line, and maybe stagger the heights a little bit too. I don't want them to look exactly the same. Okay, now I've got that one set. I'm going to bring in one more set in the same way. Rather than redrawing these things, I'm just going to make sure that my Clone and Move options are still selected.
I'm going to click Replay, and there's another set, and I'm going to add to this from here. I want to flip these around, so they're going in the other direction. So all I need to do in order to achieve that is to go up to my Modify menu and choose Transform, and choose Flip Horizontal, and now I've got the strokes running in the opposite direction. I can just use my Pointer tool and reposition those guys on the canvas. I'll do that again, and notice I have got my option here for Transform. So I'm going to go ahead and select Play Steps this time, and Transform.
Let's see what I get. I've got another set. It didn't actually flip it around for me unfortunately, but I got them moved. So I'll go ahead and flip them. So Modify > Transform > Flip Horizontal and add those ones in as well. I can certainly experiment more with the Redraw Path tool. I can change the size of the brush. I change the speed at which I move, and create different effects. But if I kind of like what I've got and don't want to start from scratch again, I've got a couple of other options and they fall under the category of the Path Scrubber tools.
We've got the Additive and Subtractive. We're going to start with the Subtractive tool. I think I'm going to move in a little bit closer on this there. The way this works is you literally draw across a path, and you affect the overall thickness of the stroke that was applied over the Stroke Category and I just click and drag a little bit, and it actually fades, in this case, the stroke out a little, and I can adjust the impact by changing the rate. So if I knock it down to about 50% and just continue on, you can see I get slightly different results.
So I can choose the Additive Path Scrubber, and I can paint it back in. So I can do either one. So maybe you've got a couple of more vector tools to add to your creative arsenal. They do take a little bit of work and a little bit of practice. But I think if you take the time to get used to them, they're going to be well worth the effort.
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