two vector paths creating boundaries for fill

I don't know what I'm doing wrong here, but I'm frustrated as all get out. Full points to whoever gives me a COMPLETE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD ANSWER. Please don't make an assumption that I'll know what you mean when you say some graphic greek stuff like "convert the vector map into a bitmap frame" or something -- I don't. Not real proficient on Fireworks, just trying to stumble through.

I have an image that someone provided me, jpeg. The original image is a cartoon-like item so this shouldn't be that difficult. I wanted to make a 'cleaner' version of it to allow some manipulations. the first thing I wanted to do was to separate out this nice little irregular shaped star -- it's got black borders, and yellow fill. So, I traced a vector path on top of this image (in a separate layer) aligned with the outside and inside edges of the star. Imagine this:

|    black      |
|  |---------|  |
|  |  yellow|  |
|  -----------  |
|                  |

So I have two vector paths, one inside the other, and I want to fill the area between the two vector paths with black, and the very inside of  the interior vector path with yellow.

Several issues come up. First and foremost, the starting/ending points of each of my 'star outline' vector paths don't align perfectly well. i can't figure out how to 'snap' them together and make it one perfect conjoined star.

Second... I can't figure out any way to fill the space BETWEEN these paths. I've tried join/intersect/etc. I've tried combining paths. I've tried everything. i just want to be able to fill the paths I drew out with color.

HOW DO I DO THIS?  thanks for your assistance.

Who is Participating?
freeman118Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Ok, first off, to close your path, u can just grab the loose end with the Subselection tool, located on the tool bar at the very top, under Select, it is the white mouse pointer. Now select your open path and grab the loose end and drag it over the open start point/node of your star, they should snap together. Deslect and the reslect the node, u should be able to move it as one now.

Another point to note, just in case, is that a node/point cannot have more than two line/path segements attached to it, eg:
_____._____ is correct _____._____ not possible.
Now for colouring your star:
Select your outer star, using the black select cursor from the top of the toolbar. Find the Colors section of the toolbar, near bottom of tool bar. Now you will see two pallette boxes, next to the first one is an icon of a pencil, and the other the icon of a bucket. These are your foreground, or stroke, colour and your background colour. The first one defines the colour of the stroke/outline of the shape you have selected or are drawing. The second one defines the colour of the fill of the shape u have selected or are drawing, when the boxes have a red diagonal line in them, that means there is no colour for the stroke or fill for the shape u have selected or are drawing. To fill your star with black simply select the star and choose a background colour (black) from the pallette with the paint bucket icon. When u click on it a pallette box pops up with a selection of colours.

Do the same for your other, inner star(with yellow obviously). There is no need to do a join or intersect. When u drew the two star shapes, they are actually two seperate objects, and u are not actually filling the area between them with black, rather u just fill the bigger(outer) star with black and place the smaller(inner) star on top of it in the center. If u look in the layer pallette, the two shapes should have their own "shape layer" under layer1, or what ever u called your layer. U cannot have two shapes on the same "shape layer" with out them affecting each other, and by that I mean one shape subtracts its self from or adds its self to the other shape(or u can also create an intersection of shapes).

I hope that sorted your prob, if it did not, or I misunderstood something please dont hesitate to ask.
Havin_itConnect With a Mentor Commented:

I'll take a run at this and you let me know if you want me to back up on anything, kay?

1 - Making the stars. There are two ways you could do this, either by drawing it freehand with the Pen Tool, or by creating a generic star with the Polygon Tool and then adjusting its shape to fit the original.

Pen Tool: this is better if your star is very irregularly-shaped.  I'll assume for now that the edges are all straight - if not, let me know and we'll discuss the dreaded Bezier Curves.
Select the Pen Tool (looks like a fountain pen) from the Vector toolbox. Click on the first point of the star, and work round the shape by clicking on the corners.  When you've done this and you move the cursor over the first point, a small circle indicator appears just below the cursor. This means if you click here, you will close the path.

Polygon Tool: if your star is nearly a perfect geometric shape, try this one, accessed by click+holding on the Rectangle Tool in the vector toolbox (you will see the tools 'stacked' below the Rectangle appear in a menu).
In the Properties panel at the bottom of the workspace, you can change the shape from a polygon to a star-shape in a dropdown menu, and change the number of points in another.
Create the star by click-dragging on the canvas approximately from the centre of your original, and releasing when it nearly matches.  Then you can use the Subselect Tool (white arrow) to select points on the star and drag them around individually until the shape matches your original.
Again, if any curving of the lines is required, we can do that - but I'll save that discussion for unless it's needed.

2 - So, you want one coloured star inside another coloured star, combined into one path? Not gonna happen I'm afraid. Each path can only have one stroke-colour and, if it's a closed path, one fill-colour.  You can, however, group the two paths together, and this grouping will be maintained should you want to export as a EPS, AI or other vector format file.

To group two paths, get them positioned together and layered how you want them, select one, then Shift+click to select the other one too.  Then Right-click > Group (or Ctrl+G) to group them into one object.

On a sidenote, since you were asking about how to knock one path out of the other, here's how:
When one (closed) path is layered above and enclosed within the area of the other, first select the outer path, then Shift+click the inner one.  Then select Modify > Combine Paths > Punch.  As you'll see from the results of this operation, it doesn't suit your purposes because you can only fill the in-between area.

...Whew! Hope that gives you enough to go on. If anything is unclear, please do ask and I'll clarify.
nonesuchAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your comprehensive answers. THAT DID IT! THANKS! I have been stumbling on this for several days. I appreciate it very much. You both provided the solution, in a clear helpful way -- I picked the first response as accepted answer but they were both equally accepted. Thanks again.
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You're welcome. When I submitted my post and saw SkyvanMan was ahead of me I was, 'Aw Dang!' but on reading it, we both presented different sets of tips, so I'm glad you saw fit to spread the love ... err points, even. Cheers!
SkyvanMan? Try freeman. Last time I looked I posted first, anyway thanks for the points, glad to help.
AAAAGH! Sorry freeman! I must be getting a bit tired and emotional today ^_^  too much speed-surfing I guess.
No worries, amigo, i know sucks when ur typing a post, u hit submit, only to find some sucker beat u to the punch.
Well, this is the rub of my (and your) habit of doing REEEEALLLYY LOOOOONG answers ;)
Ha Ha, ur so right, this has happend to me a couple times in the graphic sections, just get carried away, like now, better stop before an admin sees this.
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