Join Jim Babbage for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Compound Shape tool, part of Fireworks CS5 New Features.
Creating complex vector shapes is much faster and even more flexible now, thanks to the Compound Shape tool in the Properties panel. Now rather than creating a single complex custom path with the Pen tool, the Compound Shape tool allows you to temporarily group multiple vector objects together as they're drawn making it easy to move the objects around at the same time, yet also allowing for quick and easy editing of any shape within the compound group. You can also test effects such as punching, intersecting, cropping or overlapping vectors, and by using the Sub-Selection tool each vector is easily accessible and editable. Let's give this a try.
So I've got a file open here called logo_working.png and you'll see up in the upper left corner, we've got a completed logo. If I move my mouse over various objects in here, you'll see it's made up entirely of different vector shapes. Down below that I have another copy of the bridge. Now if I click on that bridge or even if I mouse over it for that matter, you'll see that there is a series of different vector points in here. What we have here is a compound shape. It's a bunch of simple vectors grouped together. So if I select it, if we take a look over in the right-hand side of the Properties panel, you'll see a whole series of different icons.
This is basically the Compound Shape tool. Now here's how this works. This is already grouped together, so let me just show you what we can do. I can move the entire object around as a single combined group, like so. So I'll just grab my Sub-Selection tool here, you can see I can select individual objects inside the group. They are all independent from each other in the sense that I can reposition things. I can change the size of the different shapes. I've got quite a lot of control over the shape in its individual parts. Now how do we get this thing put together? Well, let's take a look here. I'm going to go ahead and deselect my entire bridge.
I'm going to grab my Rectangle tool, and I'm just going to draw a rectangle on the canvas and about 36 pixels wide. There we go. Something along that size is good. Now as it stands at the moment, it's just a plain old regular rectangular shape. What we're going to do is we're going to add in the openings in that first part of the bridge. So I'm going to select the Subtract/ Punch icon from my Compound Shape tools and I'll move my cursor on top of the original rectangle. Now if I hold down the Shift key, I can click and drag, get a nice perfect square, and when I let go with the mouse you see it gets punched right through the solid rectangle.
I'll do this a couple more times here. Another one. There's one more. Again, we'll add in the fourth, like so. Now they are all, as I mentioned earlier, individual objects. So, I can grab my Sub-Selection tool. I can select each one of these rectangles by holding on the Shift key and clicking on them. And then I can go into my Align panel and I'm just going to align these guys to the center. I think I'll also reposition things a little bit too. So I'm going to click away from everything and I'll just move my bottom rectangle up a little higher.
Grab all four of them again and I'll space them evenly. So now I've got nice even spacing and nice even alignment, and I'll just use the Arrow keys to reposition the windows slightly inside that rectangle. So they are all separate elements but they are grouped together. Now let's add in one more piece here to see how we can tie-in different vector tools at the same time. So I'm just going to click away from that and then grab my Pointer tool again, select my tower, and I'm going to add in the roadway that runs along the bridge here. So, in this case what I used was my Pen tool and I'm going to choose the Add/Union option and I'll just start over on the left-hand side. I'll click once and I'll run this path right over top of the bridge.
You'll notice as I'm doing this, you'll see that the tower that I created earlier has all of its selection points visible now. So this is an indicator to me that once I'm done, these six different vectors would all be grouped together as a compound shape. So I'll click, hold my Shift key a little bit, come back over, get that forced perspective. There we go! So now I've got a series of elements that are all grouped together. In fact if I grab my Pointer tool, we'll see these guys are completely grouped together. So just to recap, you can use the Compound Shape tool to group together simple shapes, making it a whole lot easier to build much more complex vector designs.
And this is just one of many examples of how Fireworks CS5 speeds up your workflow.
- Using document templates
- Creating compound vector shapes
- Controlling, editing, and saving strokes
- Aligning artwork with the Snap to Pixel command
- Exporting Fireworks documents as FXG files
- Performing roundtrip editing between Fireworks and Flash Catalyst
- Integrating with Device Central
- Testing the mobile compatibility of Fireworks documents