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How to Use Masking in Fireworks CS5

You can mask in Adobe Fireworks Creative Suite 5, but you don’t use quite the same method as you use in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. The result is essentially the same, however.

A mask lets you choose which part of a graphic is exposed and which part is covered (by the mask).

Two vector shapes with masks applied to them.
Two vector shapes with masks applied to them.

To apply a gradient mask, follow these steps:

  1. Create a vector shape (such as an arrow).

  2. In the Layers panel, choose Add Mask from the panel menu.

    A blank mask appears to the right of the vector shape’s sublayer.

    Adding a mask to a sublayer.
    Adding a mask to a sublayer.
  3. With the new mask active, click and hold the Paint Bucket tool to select the hidden Gradient tool.

  4. With the Gradient tool, click and drag across the shape to make the gradient on the mask and create the transparency effect on the vector shape.

    Notice that where the gradient is darker, the image is less visible, and where the gradient is lighter, the vector shape is more visible.

    The arrow shows through more where the gradient is lighter.
    The arrow shows through more where the gradient is lighter.

You can experiment with this effect on other shapes. Also, you can try clicking and dragging the gradient until you get the depth and direction you want.

A gradient tends to work better as a mask if you use its default colors: black and white.

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