Adobe® Fireworks® CS5 Classroom in a Book: Using the Compound Shape Tool
Note: This excerpt is from a draft manuscript and may not be representative of the final published work.
You have one last task for this file. Notice the skyline scene? The client has asked that the entire width of the design be filled with a skyline, so you need to add one more building.
Rather than creating a single complex custom path, you will use the Compound Shape tool to temporarily group multiple vector shapes together as you draw them, making it easy to move the objects at the same time, yet also allowing for quick and easy editing of any shape within the compound group. You can also test effects such as punching, intersecting, or cropping overlapping vectors. When you use the Subselection tool (), each vector is easily accessible and editable.
Working with compound shapes
Before you begin, take some time to study one of these compound shapes.
- Lock and hide the foreground layer, then unlock and expand the skyline layer.
- Select the Pointer tool and click on the leftmost building. Notice that it is made up of multiple shapes.
- Select the Subselection tool and click on any of the windows in the building. Notice that only the selected window remains active; none of the other shapes remain selected.
- Press Delete. Only the one shape is removed.
- Press Ctrl/Command+Z to undo the deletion.
- With the window still selected, look to the right side of the Properties panel.
- Change the condition of the selected rectangle from Subtract/Punch to Intersect. The entire building fill color disappears and only the single window (with its solid shadow effect) remains visible. In fact, if you click away from the building, you will see only the one rectangle, floating on the canvas.
- Make sure the window is selected and change the shape’s condition back to Subtract/Punch.
The Compound Shape tool consists of six controls: Normal, Add/Union, Subtract/Punch, Intersect, Crop, and Combine. Normal is the default setting; each drawn shape is a single independent object. When you draw a vector shape such as a rectangle, ellipse, or polygon, or use the Pen tool, you can use the other tools to group shapes together.
The rectangles that make up the windows are set to Subtract/Punch, which means they literally punch a hole through the larger rectangle of the building.