By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

You can mask in Adobe Fireworks CS6, 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).

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To apply a gradient mask, follow these steps:

1Create a vector shape.

Choose any shape you like. An arrow is used in this example.

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

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

3With the new mask active, click and hold the Paint Bucket tool.

The hidden Gradient tool is now selected.

4With 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.

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.