Using FOTO with Fireworks MX : Pencil Sketch

In this tutorial, you will learn how to harness the power of one of the members of the new command set from Phireworx. Pencil Sketch is a powerful command, and is one of five of the members of FOTO.

Pencil Sketch converts photographic images into pencil sketch like images. Using Pencil Sketch you can turn any photograph into line art in no time, while leaving intact the original image, being the effect created on a separated layer.

Before launching straight into the tutorial, if you haven’t yet purchased FOTO 1.0, now is an excellent opportunity to do so.

Setting up the Workspace

1 Open an image of your choice in Fireworks MX. It is preferable that the content of the image is either a portrait or other such photograph.
2 Select the Marquee tool from the Bitmap section of the Tools Panel.

Creating line art

1 From the Commands menu, select Aftershape > Pencil Sketch. You should be presented with the interface shown below.Try playing with the interface and watch the preview window to get a feel for what Pencil Sketch can do for your image. Choose the Hardness/Softness of the pencil by either entering into the text input below the Pencil dial or moving the dial from left (9H – hardest) to right (9B – softest). To help you achieve better results, Pencil Sketch feature a Contrast dial which permits to additionally tune the final result. When you are happy with your selection, press ok.NOTE: The preview window only gives an approximate preview of the effect.

Paper doll

The Pencil Sketch effect is for sure the FOTO’s command which will require you more time to get confident with. The changes between the softest and the hardest pencil may appears subtle, but they can do the difference when applied in conjunction with the right amount of contrast. In addition to this, be aware that part of the final result will depend on the picture you have chosen to convert into line art too; best results are achieved applying Pencil Sketch on even toned photographs.


1 Open an image in Fireworks MX.
2 You aren’t forced to apply the effect to the whole of an image. Choose the Lasso tool in the Bitmap section of the Tools Panel and select the subject of your image.


3 Soften the edge of the pixel selection. Choose Select > Feather and enter a value between 5 to 10 pixels.
4 Select Commands > Aftershape > Pencil Sketch

5 Choosing a pencil hardness near the 9H pencil and combining it with a vast amount of contrast will result into a pencil sketch with more defined lines and a bigger amount of bright regions. Vice versa, a softer pencil (near 9B) and a lower contrast, will result into a more fuzzy, but even so amazing, drawing.


Pencil Sketch is a powerful command for converting photographs into line art alike and, as you have seen during this tutorial, experimentation is the key to getting the most out of it.