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The Wonderful World of Fireworks MX Live Effects

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With Fireworks MX, you can add effects to both vector and to bitmap artwork. Enhance effects, emphasize, and add dimensionality, punch, and pizzazz to your artwork in Fireworks with this article from Abigail Rudner.
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It wasn't too long ago that creating and adding effects to images and artwork was domain inhabited by only a few handfuls of computer graphic-arts wizards. Creating effects, such as drop shadows, glows, bevels, and the like, were a fairly complex and detailed process. If you have been around awhile in the computer graphics and web graphics field, you know what I'm talking about. If you are just coming online recently in this field, you are one of the lucky ones.

Fireworks MX Effects

Currently, there are eight major effect types, and to find them, you simply select an object on the canvas and click the Effects button on the Property Inspector.

Within each of these categories are variations on the Adjust Color theme. Within Adjust Color, you can apply auto levels, brightness/contrast, color fill, curves, hue/saturation, invert, and levels:

Bevel and Emboss—Includes Inner Bevel, Inset Emboss, Outer Bevel, and Raised Emboss

  • Blur—Includes Blur, Blur More, Gausian Blur

  • Other—Includes Convert to Alpha and Find Edges

  • Shadow and Glow—Includes Drop Shadow, Glow, Inner Glow, and Inner Shadow

  • Sharpen—Includes Sharpen, Sharpen More, and Unsharp Mask

  • Eye Candy 4000 LE—Includes Bevel Boss, Marble, And Motion Trail

  • Alien Splat—Chock-full of edges options


    Eye Candy 4000 LE and Alien Skin Splat are filters created by a company called Alien Skin Software. This private company is dedicated to creating easy-to-use plug-ins for designers. It has graciously arranged to let us preview a few of these awesome effects. To learn more about the company and buy some products, check out:

Applying Effects

To apply an effect to an object or an image, simply select the object, whether it's a bitmap, vector, or text. Then, click the Add Effect button in the Property Inspector. This logs the Effects panel.

Initially, when the Effects panel is launched, it contains no effects and, therefore, appears empty. As effects are added to your objects, they appear in the Effects panel as a list.

Here's how to apply an effect to a vector object:

  1. Open the jack.png file from the files that accompanying this article. (See Figure 1.)

    Figure 1Figure 1 The vector object jack.png.

  2. Select the drawing of the jack.

  3. In the Property Inspector, click the Add Effects button to display the Effects panel. (See Figure 2.)

    Figure 2Figure 2 The Add Effects button in the Property Inspector.

  4. Using the Effect pop-up menu, apply the desired effect to the jack artwork.

    After you select your effect, another set of controls are displayed in the Effects panel. Specific aspects of that effect can be controlled with various panels. Continue reading for a discussion of these panels.

  5. When you finish tweaking your desired effect, hit Enter or click in the Document window to close the Control panel.

    After the effect is applied to the artwork, notice that it appears as a list item within the Effects panel.

  6. Save your file.

Within the Effects panel list, each effect contains an On and Off check box in the left-most column and an Edit Effects icon represented by a blue circle with a white letter "i" in it (see Figure 3). Clicking the check box turns the effect on and off. The default of the object is the effect turned off. The "i" is the Information subpanel for that effect. You can adjust the effects properties there.

Figure 3Figure 3 The On and Off check box within the effect's Property Inspector.

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