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#35 Creating a Custom Shape

You might be wondering how I created that L-Shape panel. No? Well, humor me, it’s my first book. There is an L-Shape Auto Shape, but except for the upper-left corner, it lacks control for corner roundness.

The shape in Technique #34 was made using two standard rectangles, each with the same corner radius.

  1. Draw one corner. Set the rectangle roundness.
  2. Duplicate the shape by pressing Ctrl/Command+Shift+D.
  3. Using the Pointer tool, move the duplicated shape so that it only covers the area you want to remove from the rectangle.
  4. Select both shapes.
  5. Open the Path panel.
  6. Choose Punch Paths to delete the duplicate shape and the section of the other shape it overlapped (Figure 35a). You now have a nice inner corner, but the two outer corners are sharp. Converting them to rounded corners use to be a real pain, but not anymore.
    Figure 35a

    Figure 35a Two vectors must be selected to use the Punch command.

  7. Click the Subselection tool and use it to select either of the two sharp corner anchor points.
  8. Go to the Path panel again and choose Fillet Points (Figure 35b). A dialog prompts you for a corner radius. Set the same value as you had for the other corners (20 pixels) and click OK. Instant rounded corner!
    Figure 35b

    Figure 35b The Path panel offers many features not available before in Fireworks, including the Fillet Points command, to easily curve a hard-corner point.

  9. Repeat the process for the other corner.

The Path panel opens up many possibilities for creative design, even if you are not a whiz with the Pen tool. You can punch out corners, punch out holes in a shape, and apply a combination of patterns, textures, or Live Filters for a realistic look, and suddenly you aren’t just dealing with a plain old vector any more (Figure 35c).

Figure 35c

Figure 35c Punching out shapes and applying patterns and Live Filters can totally transform a plain vector.

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