The Pencil Tool is used to draw lines and shapes in any given frame of a scene and at first glance operates much like a real pencil. (A frame is the basic unit of a Flash creation. But a deeper examination reveals that unlike a real pencil the Flash Pencil Tool can be set to straighten lines and smooth curves as you draw. It can also be set to recognize or correct basic geometric shapes. Or, you can use the Pencil Tool options to create specific shapes. In addition, you can modify lines and shapes manually.
When the Pencil Tool is active, one option appears in the Options Tray. This is the Pencil Mode pop-up menu, shown below, which sets the Pencil Tool’s current drawing mode. Users of prior versions of Flash might inquire about the disappearance of the controls for Stroke Weight and Line Style these now reside in the Stroke Panel, where they are referred to as the Line Style and Stroke Height controls.
The Pencil Tool and the Pencil Mode option are shown here with pop-up, which reveals the Straighten, Smooth, and Ink processing options.
Using the Pencil Mode pop-up options
The Pencil Mode pop-up menu has options that control how Flash processes the lines that you draw. That’s right, unlike any other program we know of, Flash can p-r-o-c-e-s-s the lines that you draw, as you draw them! We call this line processing it’s a kind of shape recognition specific to the Pencil Tool that may make drawing easier for artists who are draftsmanship challenged. It also has the benefit of generating drawings that are simpler and less complex (meaning that they are described by fewer points). As a result, the drawings transmit across the Web at greater speed because they require less data, which means a smaller file size, to describe them.
The Pencil Tool has three processing options. Two are Straighten and Smooth; the third, for those who prefer the characteristics of hand drawing, is Ink Mode. Working in Ink Mode lets you turn off all line processing.
Understanding line processing
So, what is meant by processing the lines? Processing differs from shape recognition in that it i automatic and occurs while the line is in the process of being drawn.
This differs from shape recognition with the Arrow Tool because that occurs after the line is drawn in fact, it can be done at any time after the line is drawn.The Straighten, Smooth, and Ink processing options of the Pencil Tool control the degree to which automatic processing occurs. Each of these options is detailed in subsequent sections of this discussion of the Pencil Tool. These options are also affected by the settings in the Drawing Settings Panel of the Editing tab of the Preferences dialog (choose Edit➪ Preferences and click the Editing tab).
Drawing with the Straighten option processes your drawings while taking into account line and shape recognition. This means that separate lines are automatically connected, lines that approximately straight are straightened, and wobbly curves are smoothed. In short, approximate shapes are recognized and automatically adjusted.
Drawing with the Smooth option reduces the zeal with which Flash automatically processes your drawings. With Smooth option, line straightening and shape recognition are disabled. You can draw curved lines, and they will be smoothed slightly. Additionally, a line that ends near another line will be joined to it.
Drawing with the Ink option turns off all Flash processing. You’re left with the lines as you’ve drawn them. Your lines are not smoothed, straightened, or joined. You can also choose to smooth, straighten, or join lines and shapes that have been drawn with the Ink option simply by using the Arrow Tool to select what you’ve drawn and then using either the Arrow Tool’s Smooth or Straighten options. Or, for maximum control, manually edit extraneous points with either the Pen or the Subselect Tool.
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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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