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Sailing the Wine Dark Sea With Macromedia Fireworks MX

A Fireworks masking project

Adding a Better Highlight
One last thing to adjust is the highlight on the wine bottle. This image was photographed with a diffused hot light, and the circular highlight is a mirror reflection (also called a specular highlight) of the light source. I'm partial to a nice long, clean highlight, so we'll add one that appears to follow the contour of the bottle.

  1. Create a new layer and call it "highlight."
  2. Start by drawing a rectangular vector shape that's close to the width of the circular highlight, and that runs in height from the middle of the original highlight right down to the label on the bottle.
  3. Fill this shape with white, and set the Feathering to "2" in the P.I.
  4. Ungroup the rectangle by pressing CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+G.
  5. Using the Pen tool, add three more control points: one in the middle of the top path of the rectangle, the other two on the side of the path about 70 pixels from the top. Figure 11 shows the arrangement of the control points and the position of the rectangle.
  6. Select the Sub-Selection tool and move the top center control point so that it is at the top of original highlight. You will have a pointed end now. Grab the Pen tool again, and click and drag the center control point horizontally. This will extend the Bezier control arms for the center control point. Drag the right handle down slightly so the curve of our new highlight matches the original circle. To reposition the control point itself, switch back to the Sub-selection tool. You can temporarily toggle between the Pen tool and the Sub-Selection tool by holding the Control/Command key down.
  7. Set the Bezier handles for the two control points on the right side of the highlight, and make minor adjustments so the highlight appears to curve following the shape of the wine bottle.
  8. Set the Bezier handles for the lower control point on the left of the highlight to have it curve slightly. This is delicate work so you may want to zoom in while you are doing this. Figure 12 shows a close up of the finished highlight.
In the case of a couple curves, I found it useful to use only ONE Bezier arm. To get rid of one arm, use the sub-selection tool to click and drag the unwanted control arm back to the actual control point. Don't be alarmed if your remaining Bezier arm goes a little crazy; you can bring it back in line once you have the other one disabled.

And there you have it; we have set sail on the roseate sea, creating an interesting and relatively believable photo-illustration.

This Fireworks project may take you a little longer than some others, but I believe the results are worthwhile. We've done some pretty cool masking, and touched up an original image to boot. Techniques like this have multiple uses, limited only by your imagination. The completed file is above. You can click on it to see a larger version.

More Stories By Jim Babbage

Jim Babbage (contributor from CommunityMX) comes from the photographic world, and has spent many years as a professional studio photographer. His involvement with the Web began in the mid-90s when the company he worked for had just gotten online. Born and raised in Toronto, Jim teaches imaging, Web design, and photography at Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communications ( He is a partner in Newmedia Services (, a small communications company, specializing in the things he teaches. He is a regular contributing partner to Community MX (, where he's written many articles and tutorials for Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and other general Web topics. He has been a guest speaker at TODCON for several years.

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