Using the bitmap effects tools: Blur, Sharpen, and Replace Color
Using the bitmap effects tools: Blur, Sharpen, and Replace Color
Fireworks has a whole series of Bitmap tools you can use to create special effects. We are not going to get into all of them in this lesson. But I want to show you a few of them. We are going to apply them all to this specific image. So we are going to do three different things here. We are going to blur the bicycle in the foreground here to make it a little less distracting in the photograph. We are also going to sharpen up the little tool in the back here, the pedometer or speedometer for the cyclist sitting on the handlebars here. The other thing we are going to do is we are going to change the color of the handlebars on this bicycle in the foreground, and we'll get really adventurous and try to do the same thing with our cyclist's gloves over here.
So let's get started. We are going to go into our Bitmap tools. The first thing we are going to do is select our Blur tool. Now, the Blur tool, like a lot of the tools in the Bitmap tools section, has a set of attributes that you can change in the Properties panel. So you can change the Size, and the Edge, make it a softer or a harder edge. You can change the Intensity. The higher the number, the more blur you are going to get, the lower the number, the more subtle the effect is going to be. You can also change the shape of the Brush. I am going to stick with my Round Brush Tip.
I'll move my cursor into my canvas here for a second just to see how big the Brush currently is. At 13 pixels, that's not really big enough for what I want to do. So I am going to go and change that. I am going to increase the size. Let's try about 40. That looks pretty good. I am also going to zoom in a bit. Like I said before, when you are doing any kind of detail work like this, zooming in is always a good idea. I essentially want to knock this bicycle out of focus a bit, so it's not distracting visual element. I think actually I am going to go with a slightly larger brush now that I've zoomed in a bit. There we go.
Now, as I mentioned, the Intensity affects just how much affect the Blur tool is going to have. So we'll start off with 50 and just see what we get. We're probably be making some changes to that. Actually 50 is not too bad. You can see how it's softening up all the lines in the bicycle. I am going to go right into the water bottle, kind of blend this stuff in with the background, so it's not nearly quite as distracting visually. We're basically sort of enhancing the depth of field in the image, giving us a false sense of shallow focus. There we go.
In short order, we've kind of knocked out that bicycle in terms of its sharpness. So not a bad job, even at 50%, and we don't want it go too heavy. Now, if I look a little higher up in the handlebars, here we've got this little speedometer sitting on the bicycle handlebars. I am going to zoom into that area, switch to my Zoom tool by pressing the Z key, and then just click and drag over that area, so I can zoom in a bit. In this case, I want to sharpen this up a little bit. We have a tool here called the Sharpen tool.
The Sharpen tool basically adds additional pixel contrast. Now, it's not a tool you use in a very heavy-handed manner, and it tends to work better on areas that already have a certain amount of contrast to begin with. So I am going to reduce the size of my Brush a bit. I am definitely going to reduce the Intensity. It's very easy to overdo it with this particular tool. All I am going to do is paint over the edges of that device.
I'll zoom back out to see if the effect looks realistic. It looks like we went a little bit overboard there. So I am going to undo that. The nice thing is it did it all in one run. So one Ctrl+Z and I get rid of the effect. So I am going to reduce the Intensity a bit more. I'll zoom in a little bit, and I'll just try that one more time. All I want is a little bit more contrast. There.
We'll back out to 100%. That's not bad. It's standing out a little bit more. If I undo the effect, you can see it's a subtle change. But we are not going for massive dramatic changes here. We just want to see a subtle change. So that worked out fairly well. The last tool we are going to work with here is the Replace Color tool. Now, you can think of this as a corrective tool. You can think of it as an effects tool. It's found in with the Rubber Stamp tool. You'll see it right here. The idea behind it is it allows you to take one color and replace it with another.
Again, if I take a look down in the Properties panel, we see some controls here. We can set the Size of the Brush. We can set the Source of the Color. Now, what I am going to do here is choose Image. I want to sample from the actual image. This is an important distinction here. I don't want to pick just a generic color. I want specific color values in my image to be replaced. I am going to change the color from red to a nice bright blue. Now, I am going to also increase the size of my Brush a little bit.
The idea is once I click, the Replace Color tool samples from the area I've clicked on and then starts replacing any similar colors. Now, before I start, just one more bit I forgot to mention. Over in our Properties panel, we have some other controls here: Tolerance, Strength and Colorize. Tolerance, you can almost think of it like the Magic Wand tool, in a sense that the higher the number, the less particular the brush is going to be. Strength gives us sort of the saturation of the color, and Colorize allows us to literally create kind of a tinted version.
So we are going to keep the settings as they are for the time being. I am going to put my cursor over the handlebar, and I am just going to start to paint. The great thing about this is you can say well, Yeah! Jim, just painting over the handlebar is big deal. But what's really interesting about this is I am only painting over the areas that are red. Just to give you an example, if I go into the white area here, I still have my finger on the mouse, nothing is happening. That's because of the sampling point that I started with, the red handlebar.
I go back into the handlebars, and I am just going to look again to affect just the red of the handlebars. If I reduce the Tolerance setting, I could be a little more specific with what I am doing. But I think, overall, this is doing a pretty good job - and one more spot down there. Now, I am going to zoom in. I missed out one little spot on the handlebars, and I am going to make sure that I have a much smaller brush. So I don't want to pick up the red from the logo on his pants.
There we go, something like right there, and just finish filling that in, and I'll zoom back out. So that's not too bad. We could touch that up a little bit probably, be a little more accurate with the sampling to begin with. But that's, overall, not too bad. One more quick example of the same tool: We'll go over to our racer's gloves here, and do the same thing. Pick a bigger Brush, and I can literally just color in the gloves.
Notice that the white areas in the gloves aren't being affected. So it's a pretty quick and easy tool to use for this kind of thing. There we go. So there you've got the Blur tool, the Sharpen tool, and the Replace Color tool all inside of one image, making some changes to overall effect the entire look of the image.
Using the bitmap effects tools: Blur, Sharpen, and Replace Color provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Jim Babbage as part of the Fireworks CS5 Essential Training
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