Creating a Vector Mask
By using a vector mask, you maintain editability of the mask at all times. You can create a vector mask by drawing a vector object through which part of the document will show while hiding the rest of the document. To finish creating the mask you can use either Paste as Mask or Paste Inside on the Edit menu.
Using the Stroke panel, you can create a feathered edge to soften the mask's outline, or use a hard or anti-aliased edge for a sharp mask outline. Using the Fill panel, you can set a gradient transparency. You can also set the canvas color to determine whether the masked-out parts appear as transparent (the default), black, white, or another color.
Open or create a document in Fireworks. You can use a document that contains vector objects, bitmap objects, or a combination of both. I am using the same picture of my dog Cracker to show unique ways to display photos using masking techniques:
Optionally, choose Modify > Canvas Color, choose a color from the Canvas Color dialog box, and click OK. I choose a green from the antlers.
Choose a drawing or painting tool and draw an object to use as the mask. There are so many new shapes packaged with Fireworks 8. I am going to choose the Rounded Rectangle from the shapes menu located on the main toolbar:
Optionally, set the object's stroke attributes on the properties panel. I choose a stroke of about 8 to make it resemble a photo frame and a color from the photo. The color I choose was red.
A fill color is not necessary. However, to create a gradient transparency, choose a Gradient fill from the the Fill panel and choose the fill color combination Black, White.
Place the mask object directly over the area you want to show through the mask. Set the stroke color to some color in your photo.
Select the photo you want to mask. I usually choose it from the layers panel. Click Edit > Cut, then click back on the mask object and click Edit > Paste Inside. Here is my finished product: