Modifying Bitmap Images

There are two ways that an image can be transformed:

Using the bitmap selection tools available in the Tools panel, the rose in your practice file will take on a life of its own as you crop the image to exclude the areas of the image that are unneeded and then modify the image in other ways as well. This is fun, so let's go ahead and get started.

1. Working in bitmap mode requires that a portion of the image first be selected. Unlike vectors, as you’ll learn in Module 13, you can’t simply use the Pointer tool to select an object on the canvas. You must first define the bitmapped area that you want to work with and then perform your operations. Luckily, there are some great tools available at the top of the Tools panel to help in this process.

Download the picture of the rose we will use for the tutorial here.

2. The first tool you’ll try is the Marquee tool, and it’s the simplest to use. This tool will create either a rectangular or oval selection area on the image based on the option you choose. Try an oval marquee first, drawing an oval marquee around the rose blossom as you see here. Once an area is selected, you will see the “marching ants” dashed line that dances around your selection.

Tip: Hold down the Shift key while dragging any oval tool in the Tools panel and you will draw a circle with equal height and width rather than an ellipse.



3. Now that part of the image is selected, you can create a new document that will only include the oval cutout of the rose. Fireworks has a slick method for getting this done. To see it in action, choose Edit | Copy to copy the selected area onto your computer’s clipboard. As the image is copied, Fireworks will automatically record the exact canvas size that is necessary to hold this image.

4. To create a new image document to hold the rose blossom, choose File | New and notice that the canvas size has already been set. Accept the default canvas size and click OK. Pasting the copy of the rose you created earlier is a simple matter of choosing Edit | Paste (or right-clicking the canvas and choosing Paste from the context menu) and placing the copy onto the new canvas. Your finished product should appear as you see here.

5. To delete an object on the canvas, use the Pointer tool to select the entire image of the rose by clicking it, and then press the Delete key. You can also try moving the image around the canvas by using the Pointer tool. Notice how it will snap into place as you near the edge of the canvas. When you’re finished, you can save this document or close it without saving the changes.

6. Use the rectangle Marquee tool and repeat the process covered in steps 3 and 4 to select, copy, and then paste the rose blossom into a new document.

7. Marquee tools are great when you want to select a portion of a bitmap image in a rectangular or circular shape. To capture an irregularly shaped area, the tools to use are the two Lasso tools for selecting regular or polygon shaped areas of the document.

8. Return to the original copy of the rose_1.jpg file and select the regular Lasso tool.

9. With the regular Lasso tool selected, you can draw a freehand selection area around an object. Try it now by drawing around the outside edges of the rose blossom. Be sure that you close the circle you are drawing by returning to the starting point and overlapping the selection lines. When you are finished, release the mouse button to stop selecting areas of the image. As you’ve done previously, copy the selection and paste it into a new document that you create. Your finished project should appear as you see here.

10. The Polygon Lasso tool is also used to select areas of an image, but rather than dragging the mouse to draw a circle, the Polygon Lasso tool is used by clicking the mouse button to define a series of points, which allows Fireworks to draw selection lines between the points. Just as with the regular Lasso tool, be sure to end your selection area as close to the starting point as possible. In this illustration, you see an example of how the Polygon Lasso tool might be used to create an unusual selection area.

11. Next up in your bag of tricks is one of the most interesting tools available—the Magic Wand. As the name implies, what it does can seem a little magical at times because the effects that can be created by using this tool are often very interesting. Essentially, the Magic Wand is able to discern areas of an image based on their colors, and then selects those with similar colors automatically.

12. Deselect any previously selected regions of the rose_1.jpg image you have been working on. Remember, to deselect all regions of an image, you need only click the Stop button at the bottom of the Document window. Using any of the bitmap tools with the image will then automatically take you back to bitmap editing mode.

13. Choose the Magic Wand tool and place your cursor on top of the rose blossom in the image. Click once and notice how the tool selects an irregular area that corresponds to the color of the area of the flower the tool is over when clicked. The image is magnified here for clarity.

14. Hold down the Shift key and select another area of the flower. The original selection remains while the new selection area is added. As long as you hold down the Shift key, you can move around the flower selecting multiple areas of the image. Try this now by selecting as much of the rose as possible. The result of this selection area when copied and pasted into a new document would appear as you see here.

15. Changing the tolerance for color selections will allow a larger area of the image to be selected. To increase the tolerance of the color settings for the Magic Wand tool, you will need to access the Options panel for the Magic Wand. This panel is opened by double-clicking the magic wand icon in the Tools panel, or by choosing Window | Tool Options. Set the tolerance for the tool to a value of 60 by moving the sliding bar up or by typing in 60 in the Tolerance box of the Options panel.

16. Return to the picture of the rose and try the Magic Wand again. Notice how a much larger portion of the image is selected when the color tolerance is changed. Once again, hold down the Shift key while making your selections to add selected regions of the rose. Once the object is pasted into a new document, the difference becomes even more noticeable.

Tip: You can drag a selected object directly from the source canvas onto a new canvas by using the pointer tool. While the original selection remains in place, a copy of the selected area will be pasted onto the other canvas.

17. Try changing the color of the canvas now by choosing Modify | Canvas Color and seeing what kinds of effects you can create just by changing the background color of the canvas that contains the rose blossom. By using the Eyedropper tool and selecting one of the colors on the rose itself, you can achieve a nice effect like the one shown here. If you wish, you can save this file or continue practicing on your own.