To learn Flash, it’s essential to know how to create simple shapes and items with the drawing tools, as described in Part I, “Mastering the Flash Environment.” Drawing simple shapes with Flash has always been easy, but with the addition of the Pen Tool in Flash 5, drawing has become even easier. Individually, these basic drawing tools are quite powerful, but when used in combination, they enable you to create an endless variety of complex shapes.
In Flash, it takes little effort to draw most primitive shapes such as circles or rectangles. But what happened to the Triangle Tool? And how do you create irregular shapes? Creating complex shapes requires adding or removing parts. If you’ve already been playing around with shapes, you may have noticed that by joining or overlapping two shapes of the same color on the same layer, a brand new shape is created. (To pull the pieces apart you need to use the Undo [Edit➪ Undo] command a few times.) This feature is used to create irregular and complex shapes.
Creating shape combinations
Add a rectangle to a circle of the same color (on the same layer) and you’ll combine them into a new shape. This can be accomplished by either drawing the second shape directly over the first, or by selecting the second shape elsewhere on the stage and then dropping it over the first shape. If you find that this doesn’t seem to work, be sure that you aren’t trying to combine shapes that have been grouped. Remember that even single shapes can be grouped, and thereby protected from shape combination.
Using shape combinations to generate a complex shape from primitive shapes.
Creating shape cutouts
Another effect that can be created by playing around with shapes is a cutout, by combining shapes of different fill colors. For example, add the same circle to a rectangle of a different color, and the circle acts like a cookie cutter, creating another brand new shape. A similar result is obtained by drawing a shape of a different color directly over the top of an existing shape: the one drawn last (or dropped) acts as the cutter. Drop a collection of selected lines on a rectangle, then deselect, and then reselect and move them away and you’ll create a filigree knockout.
As shown below, a moon shape is achieved by drawing the cutout shape, then dragging it over the top of the background shape, and then deleting the cutout, as follows:
The full moon and the shape cutter
Dragging the shape cutter over the full moon
Here’s how to use grouping so that items won’t cut out the shapes that occur beneath them. In the previous example, cutting into the full-moon shape with the gray shape cutter created a sliver of moon. In such cases, there’s always a potential for problems if the shape cutter is accidentally deselected. The potential for problems is increased if more than one shape is being used as a cutter. However, if the cutter shape (or shapes) is grouped before it is placed over the shape that’s being cut, the problem is eliminated. Furthermore, the group enables you to nudge and align until the cutter is precisely where you want it. And you don’t have to decide immediately, either. If you choose the appropriate color for the cutter shape(s), you can wait until later to commit to the cut. When you’re ready to make the final cut, simply ungroup the cutter shape(s), and then deselect before selecting and finally deleting them.
With the shape-cutter circle dragged away, the original circle is cut, leaving a crescent moon shape.
Drawing a triangle
The easiest way to create a triangle is to take the Pencil, draw three lines to outline the shape, and then fill it in. However, you might be interested in drawing a more precise triangle, as follows:
Draw a line from the top-left corner of the rectangle to the bottom-right corner.
Here’s how to draw a similar triangle using the Line Tool and the Grid with Snap enabled:
This triangle was created with the Line Tool, using Snap to Grid, with the Grid’s visibility enabled with View➪Grid➪Show Grid.
Drawing a polygon
A polygon is a flat shape with four or more sides. Polygons are more complicated to make than triangles, but they’re not difficult. A five-sided polygon, drawn directly in Flash shows below.
This polygon was created with the Line Tool, and is about to be filled with the Paint Bucket.
The simplest way to draw a polygon is to use the Line Tool to draw an outline, and then fill it in with the Paint Bucket Tool. Another method is to draw several rectangles, rotate and adjust themn using the Scale and Rotate Tools and then place them on top of each other. Yet another method is to draw a rectangle and then chop its corners off by drawing intersecting lines, as demonstrated in the earlier section on Drawing a Triangle. Furthermore, the shape of any polygon can be modified and perfected using:
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Understanding The Flash Framework
Exploring The Interface: Panels, Settings, And More
Using Tools For Navigation And Viewing
Working With Selections And The Pen Tool
Working With The Drawing And Painting Tools
Working With Text
Exploring The Timeline
Checking Out The Library: Symbols And Instances
Drawing In Flash
Animating In Flash
Using Bitmaps And Other Media With Flash
Designing Interfaces And Interface Elements
Understanding Sound For Flash
Importing And Editing Sounds In Flash
Optimizing Flash Sound For Export
Understanding Actions And Event Handlers
Navigating Flash Timelines
Controlling Movie Clips
Sharing And Loading Assets
Planning Code Structures
Creating Subroutines And Manipulating Data
Understanding Movie Clips As Complex Objects
Sending Data In And Out Of Flash
Understanding Html And Text Field Functions In Flash
What Is Generator?
Revving Up Generator
Working With Third-party, Server-side Applications
Working With Raster Graphics
Working With Vector Graphics
Working With Audio Applications
Working With 3d Graphics
Working With Quicktime
Working With Realplayer
Creating Full-motion Video With Flash
Creating Cartoon Animation With Flash
Planning Flash Production With Flowcharting Software
Working With Authoring Applications
Publishing Flash Movies
Integrating Flash Content With Html
Using Players, Projectors, And Screensaver Utilities
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