The Paint Bucket Tool Flash

The Paint Bucket Tool is used to fill enclosed areas with color, gradients, or bitmap fills. Although the Paint Bucket Tool is a more robust tool than the Ink Bottle, and can be used independently of the Dropper Tool, it’s often used in conjunction with the Dropper Tool. That’s because, as was discussed earlier in the section on the Dropper Tool, when the Dropper Tool is clicked on a fill, it first acquires the fill attributes of that fill and then automatically swaps to the Paint Bucket Tool. Because this acquire and swap function of the Dropper Tool readily facilitates the application of acquired fill attributes to another fill, the Bucket Tool is frequently used in tandem with the Dropper. When the Paint Bucket Tool is active, as shown below, four options are available from the Toolbox: Lock Fill, Transform Fill, Gap Size, and Fill Color. The Gap Size drop-down, which is shown at the right, offers four settings to control how Flash handles gaps when filling with the Bucket Tool.

The Paint Bucket Tool and its options

The Paint Bucket Tool and its options

When the Dropper Tool is used to acquire a fill that is a broken-apart bitmap, the Dropper Tool is automatically swapped for the Paint Bucket Tool and a thumbnail of the bitmap image appears in place of the Fill Color Option chip. This procedure also automatically engages the Paint Bucket Lock Fill Option.

Like the Ink Bottle, the Paint Bucket can be especially useful for applying custom fill styles to multiple items. You can build a collection of custom fill styles either offscreen or in a special, saved, custom-fills-palette, single-frame Flash movie. You can then acquire these fills whenever necessary. If you click with the Paint Bucket Tool on one of several selected fills, all of the selected fills will be changed with the new fill.

Using the Paint Bucket Gap Size option
As shown in Figure below, the Gap Size option drop-down offers four settings that control how the Paint Bucket Tool treats gaps when filling. These settings are Don’t Close Gaps, Close Small Gaps, Close Medium Gaps, and Close Large Gaps. These tolerance settings enable Flash to fill an outline if the end points of the outline aren’t completely joined, leaving an open shape. If the gaps are too large, you may have to close them manually.

Using the Paint Bucket Lock Fill option
The Paint Bucket’s Lock Fill option is the same as the Brush Lock Fill option it controls how Flash handles areas filled with gradient color or bitmaps. When this button is turned on, all areas (or shapes) that are painted with the same gradient will appear to be part of a single, continuous, filled shape. The Lock Fill option locks the angle, size, and point of origin of the current gradient to remain constant throughout the scene. For further information, please refer to the earlier discussion of the Brush Tool.

Using the Paint Bucket Transform Fill option (a.k.a. the Reshape Arrow cursor)
The Transform Tool option button is used to adjust the size, angle, and center of a gradient or fill, including bitmap fills. When the Transform Tool option is selected, the Paint Bucket Tool automatically becomes a Reshape Arrow cursor. (This Reshape Arrow cursor is different from either of the Arrow Tool’s Rotate or Scale options.) This is a lot like scooting, rotating, or skewing a larger piece of material so that a different portion is displayed within a smaller frame. To use the Reshape Arrow to transform a fill, first select the Transform Tool option, and then simply click an existing gradient or fill. A set of three or four adjustment handles appears, depending on the type of fill. With this option, three transformations can be performed on a fill: adjusting the fill’s center point, rotating the fill, and scaling the fill.

Adjusting the center point with the Reshape Arrow
To adjust the center point, follow these steps:

  1. Deselect the fill if it has been previously selected.
  2. Choose the Paint Bucket Tool.
  3. Choose the Transform Fill option.
  4. Click the fill.
  5. Bring the Reshape Arrow Cursor to the small circular handle at the center of the fill until it changes to a four-arrow cursor, pointing left and right, up and down like a compass, indicating that this handle can now be used to move the center point in any direction.
  6. Drag the center circular handle in any direction you want to move the center of the fill.

Below shows the Reshape Arrow cursor (A). It transforms into a compass point when it’s brought near the round center handle of a gradient or fill (B). Click the center handle and drag to move the center point (C).

Repositioning a gradient fill’s center

Repositioning a gradient fill’s center

Rotating a fill with the Reshape Arrow
To rotate a gradient or bitmap fill, find the small circular handle that’s at the corner of the fill. (In a radial gradient, choose the middle circular handle.) This circular handle is used for rotating a fill around the center point. Click the handle and four circular arrows appear, indicating that this handle will rotate the fill about the center point.

Below it shows how the Reshape Arrow cursor becomes a Rotate cursor when it is brought near the circular handle at the corner of a gradient fill (A). Click the circular handle with the Rotate cursor and rotate the gradient fill (B).

Rotating a gradient fill

Rotating a gradient fill

Skewing the fill with the Reshape Arrow
To skew a bitmap fill horizontally, find the small round handle at the middle of the right-hand border. This round handle is used to skew the gradient or fill. Click the handle and arrows appear, parallel to the edge of the fill, indicating the directions in which this handle will skew the fill.below shows how the Reshape Arrow cursor changes to the Skew Arrow cursor when it is brought near a small round horizontal skew handle (first image).

Click and drag the round horizontal skew handle with the Skew Arrow cursor to skew the bitmap fill (second image). Release the skew handle to view the result (third image). Note that the skew procedure is still active, meaning that the skew may be further modified this behavior is common to all functions of the Reshape Arrow. To skew a bitmap fill vertically, locate the vertical skew handle. Vertical skew is functionally equivalent to skewing horizontally.

Skewing a bitmap fill

Skewing a bitmap fill

Below hones in on radial gradients. A radial gradient has slight variations from a linear gradient, mostly as regards the placement of the handles. So here’s a quick tour: The Reshape Arrow cursor (A); Center Point cursor (B); Skew cursor (C) and Skew handle (G); Radius cursor (D, F) and Radius handle (H); and, finally, the Rotate cursor (E) and Rotate handle (I).

Symmetrically adjusting the scale with the Reshape Arrow
To resize a bitmap fill symmetrically, find the small square-corner handle, which is usually located at the lower-left corner of the fill. This square-corner handle is used to resize the fill while retaining the aspect ratio. The Symmetrical Resize cursor, shown below, has diagonal arrows, and appears when the Reshape Arrow cursor is brought into proximity of this square-corner handle, indicating the direction(s) in which the handle will resize the fill. Click and drag the square-corner handle to scale the fill symmetrically.

Adjusting radial gradients: The final skewed, scaled (with the Radius handle), and rotated gradient is shown in the lower right.

Adjusting radial gradients

The Symmetrical Resize cursor appears when the Reshape Arrow cursor is the square-corner handle.

Symmetrical Resize cursor appears

Asymmetrically adjusting the scale with the Reshape Arrow
To resize a bitmap fill asymmetrically, find a small square handle on either a vertical or a horizontal edge, depending whether you want to affect the width or height of the fill. The Asymmetrical Resize cursor, which has arrows that appear perpendicular to the edge, appears when the Reshape Arrow cursor is brought into proximity of any one of these square-edge handles, indicating the direction in which this handle will resize the fill, as shown below. Click and drag a handle to reshape the fill.

The Asymmetrical Resize cursor appears when the Reshape Arrow cursor is brought into proximity of the square-edge handle.

Asymmetrical Resize cursor appears

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