A Look at Pattern Fills
Pattern fills are another option for stylizing your vector or bitmap object's fills in Fireworks. Fireworks ships with 44 different pattern types.
To experiment, explore, and tinker with the pattern types, follow these steps:
Open the pattern_types.png file from the Exercises/05 folder on the accompanying CD-ROM (see Figure 5.23).
After it is opened, you can click the swatches that I have preapplied the various pattern types to and modify them.
With the Pointer tool, select a vector object that contains a pattern. You can notice that handles project out of the tile.
You can click the anchor points of the handles and modify how the pattern fills the tile. For example, you can change the angle of a pattern or gradient and the scale or distance of the pattern of gradient.
You can also click the "round handle" origin and drag the position of the pattern within the fill of the tile to change its effect.
Figure 5.23 Pattern types.
The handles appear only if the Pointer or PaintBucket tools are the currently selected tools. If you apply a pattern or gradient fill to a bitmap, you can change its angle and aspect by clicking and dragging the Paintbucket tool over the pixel selection.
Textures and patterns might seem like a clever and quick way to add dimension to your Fireworks art files, and they are. Be careful not to overuse these, however, because your artwork can look canned or very "I've seen this before-ish." The key phrase for designing using pattern and texture types is "less is more," and, if possible, use your own custom patterns and textures.
Custom Patterns and Textures
You can create your own patterns and textures by using bitmap files that you created. File formats, including PNG, GIF, JPEG, BMP, TIF, and PICT (for a Mac), all work as pattern and texture file formats.
To add a preexisting texture of your own creation to the Texture pop-up menu in Fireworks, copy the texture file to the Fireworks MX/Configuration/Textures folder in your Fireworks MX Application folder.
To use your own external pattern or texture file, follow these steps:
In the Fill panel, choose a fill type from the Fill pop-up menu.
If you haven't added the texture to the pop-up menu, choose Other from the Texture pop-up menu and navigate to the texture file.
Set your percentage preference from 0 to 100.
If you want to make the lighter areas of your texture transparent, select Transparent.
You can also select the texture from the Texture pop-up menu if you have already added the texture or pattern and restarted Fireworks. You must exit and restart to initialize textures and patterns in Fireworks.
Creating Gradient Fills
Gradient fills are fills that blend from one color to another. Fireworks contains 11 gradient fill types. To see these 11 types, open the file Gradient Types from the Fills folder (see Figure 5.24).
Figure 5.24 The Gradient Options pop-up.
Applying Gradient Fills
Fireworks ships with 13 preset color combinations. The gradient appears in the selected vector object and becomes the active fill for vector objects as you create them:
Select the object by using the Pointer tool from the Tools panel.
From the Property Inspector, choose a gradient fill from the Fill Category pop-up menu.
From the Preset Gradient Color Sets menu, select a color combination.
Editing a Gradient Fill
You can change the colors of gradient fills in the following way:
Select an object that contains a gradient fill.
Click the Fill Category pop-up button on the Property Inspector.
Select the last item in the list, which is Fill Options.
Click the Edit button to reveal the Gradient Color Ramp and Preview (see Figure 5.26).
To change the color of an existing gradient, click one of the Color boxes within the Color Ramp area. Choose a color from the Color box pop-up window by clicking a color swatch or selecting the None button, clicking the Color Picker button, or selecting a color from your computer screen using the eyedropper.
To add a new color swatch to your gradient, click the area beneath the Color Ramp where the Gradient Color boxes are (see Figure 5.27). Follow the previous procedure to change the color of that Color box.
To control and edit the transparency of your gradient, click one of the Color boxes within the transparency control and adjust the Opacity slider (see Figure 5.28).
The Edit Gradient panel displays with the current gradient in the Category field, color name in the color preset field, edge type, texture type and amount, and the Transparent check box (see Figure 5.25).
Figure 5.25 The Edit Gradient panel.
The Color boxes above the Color Ramp control the transparency of your colors. The Color boxes below the Color Ramp control the actual colors that make up the gradient.
Figure 5.26 The Gradient Color Ramp and Preview.
To remove a box from your gradient, click the box and drag it away from Color box area below the Color Ramp.
Figure 5.27 The Swatch panel pops up when you double-click to select a Color box on the Gradient Ramp.
Figure 5.28 The Opacity slider panel pops up when you double-click to select a transparency box on the Gradient Ramp.
Gradient fills, like pattern fills, contain handles that allow you to move, rotate, skew, and change the width of an object's gradient. When you use the Pointer tool to select an object with a gradient fill, handles appear. Click and drag these handles to adjust the position of the gradient fill. Or you can also click the round handle and reposition the starting point of the gradient.
Saving Fills as Styles
After you create a gradient, you might want to save it to use again. You can save your gradient fill settings as a style and use it on objects within any document you create. To do this, follow these steps:
Select the object that contains the gradient, pattern, or texture that you set.
From the Styles panel Options pop-up menu, select New Style (see Figure 5.29).
The New Style dialog box appears, allowing you to name your style and select options for properties, including fill type, fill color, effect, stroke type, and stroke color.
Give your style a name and click OK (see Figure 5.30).
Figure 5.29 The Assets panel with the Styles Options pop-up menu displayed and New Style selected.
You can also notice options for text font, text size, and text style. You can choose these when applying stroke, fill, and effect attributes to a text object.
Your style now appears in the Styles panel for any document that you create in Fireworks.
To learn more about saving effects and working with styles, check out Chapter 7, "The Wonderful World of Live Effects."
Figure 5.30 Saving a custom gradient as a style.
Setting Transparency Using Layers
You can modify the opacity and transparency of objects in Fireworks in the following way:
Choose Window, Layers to open the Layers panel, if it is not already showing.
Select an object whose transparency you want to adjust.
Look at the Layers panel (see Figure 5.31). You can notice the object is selected within its layer in the Layers panel.
To adjust the object's transparency, click the Transparency slider at the upper left of the Layers panel.
Pull the slider down to decrease the opacity and thereby increase the transparency of objects within layers.
Figure 5.31 The Transparency field and slider in the Layers panel.
The default setting for layer transparency is 100 percent.
You can also type in the Transparency field to set the transparency to a specific percentage.