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Fireworks CS5 Pixel Grid and Compound Shapes

One thing that I have noticed since AdobeR has started integrating their software is that a new feature for one software will most likely be a new feature for the whole Creative SuiteR. This holds true for the new pixel perfect drawing feature with Snap to Pixel.

As we discussed, IllustratorR CS5 has the new Align to Pixel Grid option in the Transform dialog box. In FireworksR CS5, we have a comparable pixel grid feature. If you find that the stroke path of your shape is aligned between pixels, it's a simple fix to use the Modify Snap to Pixel command. Fireworks will nudge the stroke path to the next pixel.

Drawing and editing compound shapes in Fireworks is faster and easier with the new drawing enhancements such as the Compound Shapes tools in the Properties panel. With this new tool, you can temporarily group shapes into complex vectors. When you turn on the Add/Union option in the Properties panel as you draw your shapes, each new shape will be "added" together as one compound shape, even if they don't touch.

For example, if you want to draw a rectangle and circle that will become a candy sucker, you will first draw the circle. When you draw the rectangle next to the circle, it will automatically become grouped with the circle. To prove this, just click and drag the group with the Pointer tool. As you drag, both shapes move as one.

However, in the example, I've drawn the rectangle a little to far to the right. I can easily edit this without "ungrouping" the circle from the rectangle. This is because the rectangle is only "temporarily" grouped with the circle. If I switch to the Subselection tool, I can click on the rectangle and drag it to the left. Because I am using the Subselection tool, only the rectangle will be moved. To work with these two shapes as a compound shape again, I just need to switch back to the Pointer tool.

Another nice feature of the new Compound Shapes tools is that you can apply non-destructive styles and effects, such as punch, to overlapping vectors. Let's say I want to cut out a small part of the circle to make it appear that someone has taken a bite. The easiest way to do this is to duplicate the circle, overlap them and use Substract/Punch in the Properties panel.

With the Subselection tool, select the circle and click Edit Duplicate. Still with the Subselection tool, drag the second circle to overlap the first along the right edge. In the Properties panel, click the Subtract/Punch icon. Notice that the second circle has cut a hole in the first circle. But, this is non-destructive. To prove this, let's move the second circle off the first and see what happens. With the Subselection tool, drag the second circle to the right to reveal that the first circle is not permanently altered.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.



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