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How to Create Killer Graphics in Flash 8

When you start creating graphics in Flash, you should notice some familiar tools. Nearly every graphics program uses rulers, paint brushes, and pens and Flash is no exception. In this sample chapter, you'll learn to use these familiar tools and more to create killer graphics within Flash.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What You’ll Do

  • Change Drawing Settings
  • Draw Lines and Shapes
  • Use the Selection Tools
  • Zoom In and Out
  • Move Around with the Hand Tool
  • Use Rulers, Grids, and Guides
  • Modify Grid and Guide Settings
  • Use Snap Align
  • Change Stroke and Fill Colors
  • Create Custom Colors
  • Edit Strokes with the Ink Bottle
  • Edit Fills with the Paint Bucket
  • Edit Strokes and Fills with the Eyedropper
  • Create Gradients
  • Use the Fill Lock
  • Use Paint Brush Modes
  • Draw with the Pen Tool
  • Modify Shapes
  • Use the Free Transform Tool
  • Use Transform Options for Shapes
  • Work with Graphics on Different Layers
  • Distribute Graphics to Layers


Flash offers a full suite of tools for creating and editing graphics. When you draw in Flash, you create vector art. Vectors are mathematical descriptions of lines and points that, when connected, form shapes and objects. Vector-defined art is not limited by resolution like bitmaps are so they can be scaled to any size without a loss in quality or increase in file size. This is the basis of Flash; the main reason Flash files are so small and why they can be deployed on so many platforms. Vector graphics are also fully editable after they are created so you can continue to adjust their properties. Included in Flash are many of the drawing tools and procedures familiar to the seasoned user of vector drawing programs. It is also a good place for the beginner to learn. Sketch naturally with the Pencil and Brush tools or use vector-based objects, such as the Rectangle or Oval tools or the Polystar tool. Use the Pen tool to create lines and shapes with Bézier curves. Whatever is drawn can be edited and modified with a variety of tools and palettes. When you select an object or graphic on the Stage, the Property Inspector displays the attributes of that object that are modifiable, such as fill and stroke color, position, and scale.

You can draw shapes in Flash using two drawing models: Merge Drawing and Object Drawing. The Merge Drawing model, the default (like previous versions of Flash), automatically merges shapes that you draw when you overlap them. If you select a shape that has been merged with another, and move it, the shape below it is moved too. The Object Drawing model (new.gif) allows you to draw shapes as separate objects that do not automatically merge together when you overlap them. This lets you to work with the shapes without changing them. Previously in Flash, you had to draw each shape on its own layer to overlap shapes without changing them. Now Flash creates each shape as a separate object that you can individually manipulate.

Changing Drawing Settings

The Drawing category on the Preferences dialog box contains a number of drawing settings that control the sensitivity and behavior of Flash’s drawing tools. Make changes to the tolerance levels for smoothing or straightening, set the sensitivity for line and shape recognition, or fine-tune snapping. You can exercise greater control over your drawing or allow Flash to perform corrections and adjustments as you draw. you can customize the way you use Pen tools, draw connecting lines and smooth curves, and recognize line and shapes.

Change the Drawing Settings

  1. Click the Flash (Professional) (Mac) or Edit (Win) menu, and then click Preferences.
  2. Click the Drawing category.
  3. Click any of the Drawing Settings to adjust options:
    • Pen Tools options. Select check boxes to show pen preview, solid points, and precise cursors.
    • Connect Lines. Determines how close the ends of any two lines need to be before Flash connects them. It controls when a line is converted into a perfectly straight line.
    • Smooth Curves. Determines the amount of smoothing applied to a drawn line. The lower the smoothing applied, the closer the line appears to what you have drawn.
    • Recognize Lines. Defines how a straight line drawn with the Pencil tool must be before it’s converted into a perfectly straight line.
    • Recognize Shapes. Sets how precise simple geometric shapes must be drawn before they are detected as shapes.
    • Click Accuracy. Determines how near to a shape the pointer must be before Flash recognizes it.
  4. Click OK.
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