After I posted this, I found this link
which is an add-on to a CAD program. As you can see
creating a wavy curve is very easy.
So I am thinking something native to Fireworks or maybe some extension to Fireworks?
The auto shape you referenced is already installed in my Fireworks CS5. I have played around with it for a few days
and let me show you the problem.
The image above is close to what I want but the problem is what you see above is the result
of the stroke being set to 7 and no fill color. I was hoping since I have exactly what I want
there was a way to change the stroke to a gradient. So imagine a stroke of say 200 pixels
and then your choice of radial or linear gradients or any gradient. If you mess around with the
fill color with a gradient and no fill color you get this below:
This again is not what I want.
So then I tried what you see below:
The above is the result of a single wave with stroke of 3 and no fill color. And then
duplicated and then finally using the line tool to close it off. So there are 4 pieces
total. The problem with the above is I cannot get a fill color assigned to the interior
of the shape.
Fun with vectors!
I have CS3, so the menu items may be in different places for you.
Turn on your grid and add snap to grid (it helps).
Put in a long, narrow rectangle.
Go to Modify > Alter Path > Simplify (this makes the rectangle a "regular" path).
Select the pen tool and click along the top and bottom of the rectangle to add points at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4.
Use the sub-selection tool (white arrow) to move the points at 1/4 up and the points at 3/4 down.
Now you have a sawtooth line, but it can be made curved.
Go to Windows > Others Path.
Under Point: Edit: there's an icon that is a curved line with a point.
Click each of the points you moved up or down, and this icon.
Depending on how much you move the points, you may want to tweak the inner points so the peaks are narrower. Adjust from the inner part of the curve on both sided.
Here's what I got (FW doc), inner curves are not tweaked, so you can see the peaks appear wider than the center. You'll want to experiment with how many grid squares you move the points. You can also adjust the handles on the points.
Hey! Those are really nice!
I'm glad you got something you like. Fireworks' vector drawing tools are rather minimal. If you need to do more stuff like this, and don't have or want to invest in Illustrator, you might check out Inkscape (freeware).
With vector drawing software you can usually make a single simple line and apply a stroke of the right shape. If needed, you can then change the stroked line to a shape. Drawing programs are really better suited for more advanced drawing than Fireworks. (Er... )
Also, depending on what you need you could look for dingbat or ornament fonts. Check dafont and FontSquirrel. Characters can be converted to shapes and edited, too.
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You can create perfect curves just with the pen tool. The key to smoothness is simplicity. Create your curves with the least number of points possible.
This was created with the pen tool and just two points (one on each end).
1. Select the pen tool and create a straight line. Do this by clicking a first point, then double clicking a second point. You should end up with something like this...
2. Select the sub-select tool. Click on the first point you created, then hold down Alt and drag. A curve point should automatically appear and create a nice curve from your first point.
3. Now do the same thing with the other point, but drag up instead of down. Your line should be parallel to the line you created from your first point. What you will find with the second point is that the first time you select and drag, a handle will appear, but nothing will change from your underlying shape. This is because from each point, there are two curve handles, and their selection follows the direction your shape was created. If there's only a connection on one side of the point (as there is with this particular shape), one of the handles is essentially redundant. You can safely drag the redundant handle without it having an adverse effect on your shape.
4. Now you have a nice curved shape with the minimal number of points. This simplicity ensures a nice smooth result. Now, just apply a fancy stroke to it... in this case, I chose Calligraphy > Basic. I went into the editor (Stroke Options > Edit Stroke > Shape) and changed the default angle until it created the shape I was looking for.
There are numerous other things I could have done, including Modify > Alter Path > Expand Stroke which will give me a shape I can fill and use many styles on. For example...
Apologies for the long post... wish I had some capture software like Camtasia (but cheap or free). If anyone knows of any that works with Windows 7 64 bit, please let me know.
Don't be scared of the pen tool. It's functionality is really simple. That's a strength, not a weakness.