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Step 3: Applying the Mask

There are three ways we can apply the mask in this example. Do one of the following:

  • Select the wrench object by clicking on it once. Go up to Modify>Mask>Reveal All
  • Select the wrench object by clicking on it once. Go up to Modify>Mask>Hide All
  • Select the wrench object by clicking on it once. Click on the Add Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel

Note: For this example we'll add the mask by clicking the Add Mask icon. Reveal All and the Add Mask technique work the same as they both add a white (transparent) mask to the object meaning everything is being shown.

Layers Panel Add Mask

This next part relies on you to frequently switch between tools as well as Stroke colors (black and white). I strongly recommend you learn the shortcut keys for these tools as it will allow you to work more efficiently.

  1. Lower the opacity of the layer containing the mask to 50% (or any value that lets you see both the bottom object and the top object.) This will help you view the hand and hammer beneath the mask.
  2. Click the B key two times to select the Brush Tool (B). Clicking B one time will select the Pencil Tool (B)
  3. Click the D key to set the Stroke/Fill Colors to their Default settings: Black for Stroke and White for Fill. You can preview these settings by looking at the Stroke/Fill colors in the Tools Panel. We're doing this now because we'll be switching back and forth between the two stroke colors when we're drawing on our mask.
  4. Be sure the mask is selected by clicking on the mask thumbnail in the Layers Panel. The thumbnail will have a yellow border around it to indicate it's selected.
Mask Thumbnail

Step 4: Drawing on the mask to hide and reveal the object below

We're going to draw over the mask to Hide the parts of the wrench that would be covered by the hand. In Fireworks MX black hides and white reveals. That is the masking mantra. This means we'll draw in black over the masked object to hide it. When we want parts of the masked object to be revealed, we'll draw in white.

With the Brush Tool (B) selected, set the Edge to Soft Rounded with a low tip size. I prefer the soft edge most times to better anti-alias the edges of the image. There are times when a Hard Edge will work better so just keep that in mind.

The tip size can be increased and decreased during the process. Most often, I'll often start with the largest size I can to get the easy areas and then switch to a much lower setting to draw out the detailed areas.

Property Inspector

Begin drawing over the area of the wrench that covers the hand. Remember, you're drawing with the Stroke set to Black. As you draw, you'll see the wrench is being "hidden" while the hand is being revealed. Use the lowered opacity as a guide for where to draw.

Masking the objects

At some point you'll draw too far over the wrench and the hammer object below will be revealed. This is just part of the process. Click X on your keyboard to switch the Stroke to white and draw over the area to once again reveal the wrench.

You may want to Zoom in tight on the object to get the more detailed areas. Click Z to switch to the Zoom Tool (Z) and click over the area you want to zoom into. Return to your Brush Tool (B) by clicking B two times. At this point you may need to lower your brush size to get the detailed areas.

Continue drawing over the area while switching between the black and white colors (using the X key to toggle back and forth)

Mallet visible


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