In this movie, I demonstrate in more detail how to create and work with Fireworks bitmap masks. If you're a Photoshop user, you're probably familiar with layer masks. Fireworks bitmap masks are similar to Photoshop layer masks in that the pixels of a masked object affects the visibility of underlying objects. That's why I'm including this topic in this section of the tutorial on layers, because layers have an effect on the way these masks will overlay and work with other underlying layers. However, with Fireworks, bitmap masks allow you to easily change how they're applied, whether using their grayscale appearance or their own transparency, making them much more versatile. For example, if I take this bitmap and I go down here to the Layers panel and click on the Add Mask button, notice that I get a green border around that thumbnail and I've added a mask to this layer. If I open up the Properties Inspector, notice that I have two options for how my mask is applied: Alpha Channel, and Grayscale. These will have dramatic impacts in this example on the way that this mask will be applied. If I choose grayscale and I take my Gradient tool, right here, notice that I have my linear, edge options, texture options, as well as my mask options, and now I draw a gradient on here. Notice that the gradient grayscale affects how much of my underlying image there shows through. However, if I change this to Alpha Channel, not much really is done there. So this is an example of how Fireworks facilitates the using and learning of masks, since everything here is a little bit more visible and accessible. You can apply bitmap masks in two ways. You can use an existing object to mask other objects. This is similar to the way that you'll apply a vector mask. The second way is to create what's known as an Empty Mask. Empty masks start out as either totally transparent, or totally opaque. A transparent or white mask, shows the masked object in its entirety, and an opaque or black mask, hides the masked object completely. You can then use the Bitmap tools to draw on or modify the masked object, revealing or hiding the underlying masked objects. That's the technique that I just demonstrated. Let me go back and undo this. Open up my Layers panel again, and let's take out that mask there by choosing from the Main menu, Modify, Mask, notice I can disable or delete it. Let's go ahead and delete that mask, and discard any modifications that mask produced, and now let's start with a new one and let's choose from the Main menu, Modify, Mask, and let's choose the Hide All option. This is the one where I'm going to create an empty mask and now I can create my gradient tool. I've already set up my gradient, and now draw a gradient on my canvas, and there is the underlying image that's revealed. The other way to do that, let's go ahead and turn off, or delete the mask, discard the changes, let's add another mask. Oh, I need to select the object there. Let's undo that. There's my gradient. Let's select the bitmap object, notice that everything was grayed out, and Modify, Mask, let's Reveal All. This time when I take my bitmap editing tools, I'm going to be hiding areas on the mask. Let's Undo that, and let's change my opacity here setting of the Eraser. Change that to 54. Now notice that it's removing just some of that image, and my mouse is going crazy there. Let's Undo that. There we go. You can see that I'm just removing parts of the image, so those are the techniques known as Working with an Empty Mask. Let's Undo all of my changes. Let's go back and turn off the mask. Let's open up my Layers panel, let's go ahead and now work with an existing object to mask another object, and for that I'll just draw a marquee here, an oval marquee selection on my bitmap, and now let's copy that. Now I can go over to another image, like so, and now let's choose, Edit, Paste as Mask, don't resample, and you can see that my image there has been used as a mask, giving me an interesting effect on that mountain photograph. Let's Undo that, and let's choose the other option, Edit, Paste Inside, will give me a different effect, like so. I'm masking that wine bottle, and the image right on there, onto the image, I have that feathered look there because when I chose my selection I had a feather setting of 63. That's pretty important. Otherwise it doesn't really feather and composite against that other image very well, whereas this one here, I get that nice feathered look that's feathering out and blending with that photograph. It makes it look a lot better. Now if you used other vector illustration applications like Adobe Free Hand, or Illustrator, you may be familiar with vector masks, which are sometimes also called clipping paths, or a path's insides. Let me now move on to the next movie and demonstrate in more detail how to work with vector masks in Fireworks CS3.
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