Activity 9


  • Students will learn how create 3D designs using vector tools and gradients.
  • How to download and install third-party filters


  • Download this sketch
  • Create a canvas:
    • 600 X 600,
    • 150 resolution,
    • transparent background
  • import the above image by using File/Import or Ctrl + R.   Lock the layer.

Vector Unit, activity 9 part 1 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

  • The sketch will be used as a guide to create the different pieces and not an exact replica for the final results.
  • Using the rectangle tool (U), create a rectangle over the top of the bolt.
  • Now skew, distort, rotate using the free transform tool Ctrl + T, make a rectangle as shown. Again remember you will use your judgment to create a rectangle as you see fit.
  • To get the smaller piece, duplicate the top rectangle,  Ctrl +C  (copy) and than Ctrl + V (paste), call it small rectangle and give it a green colour. Now nudge down a bit and using the Scale tool, re-size it to  how you see fit matching the sketch.
  • Using the Pen Tool (P), start at the top rectangle right end, draw the side part. Make sure when you reach the small rectangle that it matches the edges around. Name this piece side3D and side3Da.  Assign a fill of  red.
  • now create the front of the lightning bolt using the pen tool


  • now create the front of the lightning bolt using the pen tool.
  • align all the vector anchors so they are close to each other BUT NOT slightly overlapped,  You do not want large gaps.  Use your zoom tool to get in nice and close.

Vector Unit, Activity 9 part 2 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

  •  Now it is time to adjust the fill colours.  Here are the colour hex codes for each item:
  • the top rectangle:
    • radial gradient,
    • first colour stop: #ffcc00,
    • the last colour stop: #ff6600


  • now create a duplicate of the top rectangle and apply a radial gradient.  Place this rectangle under the previous rectangle.  You may want to turn the visibility off on the orange rectangle.  We want to add a glow to the orange gradient layer. Set the length of the gradient vertically in the middle of the rectangle.  The length should be from the bottom left corner to the top right corner.  Set the gradient stops to:
    • radial gradient,
    • first colour stop: #8791a4,
    • second colour stop: #f4f4f4,
    • third colour stop: #eceecc,
    • fourth colour stop #ced1d9,
    • fifth colour stop: #ffffff
    • sixth colour stop: #d1d5dc
    • the last colour stop:#8791a4,


  • Now for the front of the lightning bolt, it will be the same as top rectangle but with a different gradient as shown
    • linear gradient,
    • first colour stop: #ffcc00,
    • the middle colour stop: #ff6600
    • he last colour stop: #ff9900


  • To give the front of the lightning bolt more impact.  Duplicate the front layer and apply gradient and settings as shown:
    • Blend Mode:  Freeze,
    • Opacity: 44%,
    • Filter Blur:  Gaussian Blur: 2.5


Vector Unit, Activity 9, part 3 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

  • Now duplicate the small rectangle and combine with  the “3Dsides” and the “small rectangle.”  Combine paths/union, remove the stroke and apply:


  • Now time to add a highlight to the side.  and the “small rectangle” and apply:
    • radial gradient,
    • first colour stop: #ffcc00,
    • the last colour stop: #ff6600


  • For the piece called side3D apply the gradient and add a highlight.

lightening_10 3d side

  • At this point the lightening needs some smoothing at the corner. To do this draw a section as shown and apply the settings given:
    • FillWhite Solid White
    • Blend Mode  Normal
    • Opacity 50%
    • Filter Blur Gaussian Blur  1.8


The Background:

  • To create the background we will need to use the “DBS Filters”.
  • The Sunburst effect is not a built-in filter in Fireworks, you will have to use a third party filter compatible with Fireworks. So, first of all, download the free and fireworks compatible DBS filters with 8BF extension here:


  • Save the “zipped file” in your activity 9 folder.
  • Select the zipped file and Extract All to this folder,
  • Now copy and paste the Sunburst plugin to the Adobe Fireworks plugin folder.
  • Restart Fireworks. From the 21 filters we will just use the Mirror Center filter.

Vector Unit Activity 9 part 5 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

file location

  • Lock all the other layers.   Turn off the viability of each layer.
  • Create a new Sunburst layer and shift to the bottom of the layers.
  • To create the Gradient Fill, select Rectangle Tool and draw a rectangle then fill it with a radial gradient going from white to to the light blue in your sunburst.
  • Set the white colour stop to 0% opacity and the blue colour stop to 80 % opacity



final view

Teacher Work-file:

activity 8 example.fw


Posting your work:

Post your file. In the text box insert your name and activity 9.  Choose files and upload your file to the Unit 1 work Post:

adapted from: