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What is Vector And Bitmap Graphics in Flash

Vector graphics

Bitmap graphics

About Flash drawing models

Overlapping shapes using the Merge Drawing model

About Flash drawing and painting tools

Using the Object Drawing model

Selecting objects

Combining objects

Drawing with the Pencil tool

Drawing straight lines, ovals, and rectangles

Drawing polygons and stars

Using the Pen tool

Setting Pen tool preferences

Drawing straight lines with the Pen tool

Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool

Adjusting anchor points on paths

Adjusting segments

Painting with the Brush tool

Reshaping lines and shape outlines

Reshaping using the Selection tool

Straightening and smoothing lines

Optimizing curves

Erasing

Modifying shapes

Snapping

Object snapping

Pixel snapping

Snap alignment

Specifying drawing settings

 

Vector graphics

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Vector graphics describe images using lines and curves, called vectors, that also include color and position properties. For example, the image of a leaf is described by points through which lines pass, creating the leaf's outline. The color of the leaf is determined by the color of the outline and the color of the area enclosed by the outline.



When you edit a vector graphic, you modify the properties of the lines and curves that describe its shape. You can move, resize, reshape, and change the color of a vector graphic without changing the quality of its appearance. Vector graphics are resolution-independent; that is, they can be displayed on output devices of varying resolutions without losing any quality.

 

Bitmap graphics

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Bitmap graphics describe images using colored dots, called pixels, arranged in a grid. For example, the image of a leaf is described by the specific location and color value of each pixel in the grid, creating an image in much the same manner as a mosaic.



When you edit a bitmap graphic, you modify pixels rather than lines and curves. Bitmap graphics are resolution-dependent, because the data describing the image is fixed to a grid of a particular size. Editing a bitmap graphic can change the quality of its appearance. In particular, resizing a bitmap graphic can make the edges of the image ragged as pixels are redistributed within the grid. Displaying a bitmap graphic on an output device that has a lower resolution than the image itself also degrades its quality.

 

About Flash drawing models

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Flash provides two drawing models that give you a great deal of flexibility when drawing shapes:

Merge Drawing model 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 permanently altered. For example, if you draw a square and overlay a circle on top of it, and then select the circle and move it, the portion of the square that overlaid the circle is removed.

Object Drawing model lets you draw shapes as separate objects that do not automatically merge together when overlaid. This lets you overlap shapes without altering their appearance should you choose to move them apart, or rearrange their appearance. Flash creates each shape as a separate object that you can individually manipulate. In previous versions of Flash, to overlap shapes without having their appearance altered, you had to draw each shape on its own layer.

When you select a shape created using the Object Drawing model, Flash surrounds the shape with a rectangular bounding box. You can use the Pointer tool to move the object by clicking the bounding box and dragging the shape anywhere you'd like to position it on the Stage.


NOTE : You can set preferences for contact sensitivity when selecting shapes created using the Object Drawing model. For more information,

 

Overlapping shapes using the Merge Drawing model

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When you use the Pencil, Pen, Line, Oval, Rectangle, or Brush tool to draw a line across another line or painted shape, the overlapping lines are divided into segments at the intersection points. You can use the Selection tool to select, move, and reshape each segment individually.

A fill; the fill with a line drawn through it; and the two fills and three line segments created by segmentation

When you paint on top of shapes and lines, the portion underneath is replaced by whatever is on top. Paint of the same color merges together. Paint of different colors remains distinct. You can use these features to create masks, cutouts, and other negative images. For example, the cutout below was made by moving the ungrouped kite image onto the green shape, deselecting the kite, and then moving the filled portions of the kite away from the green shape.

To avoid inadvertently altering shapes and lines by overlapping them, you can group the shapes or use layers to separate them.

 

About Flash drawing and painting tools

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Flash provides various tools for drawing freeform or precise lines, shapes, and paths, and for painting filled objects.

  • To draw freeform lines and shapes as if drawing with a real pencil, you use the Pencil tool.

  • To draw precise paths as straight or curved lines, you use the Pen tool.

  • To draw basic geometric shapes, you use the Line, Oval, and Rectangle tools.

  • To draw polygons and stars, you use the PolyStar tool.

  • To create brushlike strokes as if painting with a brush, you use the Brush tool.

When you use most Flash tools, the Property inspector changes to present the settings associated with that tool. For example, if you select the Text tool, the Property inspector displays text properties, making it easy to select the text attributes you want. For more information on the Property inspector.

When you use a drawing or painting tool to create an object, the tool applies the current stroke and fill attributes to the object. To change the stroke and fill attributes of existing objects, you can use the Paint Bucket and Ink Bottle tools in the Tools panel or the Property inspector.

You can reshape lines and shape outlines in a variety of ways after you create them. Fills and strokes are treated as separate objects. You can select fills and strokes separately to move or modify them.

You can use snapping to automatically align elements with each other and with the drawing grid or guides.

You can customize the Tools panel to change the display of tools.

 

Using the Object Drawing model

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By default, Flash uses the Merge Drawing model. To draw shapes using the Object Drawing model, you must click the Object Drawing button in the Tools panel.

To enable the object drawing model :

  1. Select a drawing tool that supports the Object Drawing model. The supported drawing tools are the Pencil, Line, Pen, Brush, Oval, Rectangle, and Polygon tools.

  2. Select the Object Drawing button from the Options category of the Tools panel, or press the J key to toggle between the Merge and Object Drawing models. The Object Drawing button lets you toggle between the Merge and Object Drawing models.

To learn about the Object Drawing model, see About Flash drawing models.

You can set preferences for contact sensitivity when selecting shapes created using the Object Drawing model.

To convert a shape created using the Merge Drawing model to an Object Drawing model shape:

  1. Select the shape on stage.

  2. Select Modify > Combine Object > Union to convert the shape into a unified object.

    TIP : You can also use the Union command to join two or more shapes into a single, object-based shape. For more information, see Combining objects.

 

Selecting objects

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You can select objects with the Pointer, Subselection, and Lasso tools.

The Pointer, Subselection, and Lasso tools let you select objects by clicking on them. The Pointer and Subselection tools let you select objects by dragging a rectangular selection marquee around the object. The Lasso tool lets you select objects by dragging a free-form selection marquee around the object. When an object is selected, a rectangular box appears around the object.

To set Pointer, Subselection, and Lasso tool contact options:

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash > Preferences (Macintosh).

    The Preferences dialog box is displayed.

  2. In the General category of the Preferences dialog box, do one of the following:

    • Deselect Contact-Sensitive Selection and Lasso tools if you want to select only objects and points that are completely enclosed by the selection marquee. Points that lie within the selection area will still be selected.

    • Select Contact-Sensitive Selection and Lasso tools if you want to select objects or groups that are only partially enclosed by the selection marquee.

 

Combining objects

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You can use the Combine Object commands in the Modify menu (Modify > Combine Object) to create new shapes by combining or altering existing objects. In some cases, the stacking order of selected objects determines how the operation works. The Combine Objects commands are:

Union The Union command lets you join to shapes two or more shapes into a single shape.

Intersect The Intersect command lets you create an object from the intersection of two or more objects.

Punch The Punch command lets you remove portions of a selected object as defined by the overlapping portions of another selected object arranged in front of it.

Crop The Crop command lets you use the shape of one object to crop another object. The front or topmost object defines the shape of the cropped area.

 

Drawing with the Pencil tool

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To draw lines and shapes, you use the Pencil tool, in much the same way that you would use a real pencil to draw. To apply smoothing or straightening to the lines and shapes as you draw, you can select a drawing mode for the Pencil tool.

To draw with the Pencil tool:

  1. Select the Pencil tool.

  2. Select Window > Properties and select a stroke color, line weight, and style in the Property inspector.

  3. Select a drawing mode under Options in the Tools panel:

    • Select Straighten to draw straight lines and convert approximations of triangles, ovals, circles, rectangles, and squares into these common geometric shapes.

    • Select Smooth to draw smooth curved lines.

    • Select Ink to draw freehand lines with no modification applied.

    Lines drawn with Straighten, Smooth, and Ink mode, respectively

  4. Click the Stage and drag to draw with the Pencil tool. Shift-drag to constrain lines to vertical or horizontal directions.

 

Drawing straight lines, ovals, and rectangles

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You can use the Line, Oval, and Rectangle tools to easily create these basic geometric shapes. The Oval and Rectangle tools create stroked and filled shapes. The Rectangle tool lets you create rectangles with square or rounded corners.

To draw a straight line, oval, or rectangle:

  1. Select the Line, Oval, or Rectangle tool.

  2. Select Window > Properties and select stroke and fill attributes in the Property inspector. See Using the Stroke Color and Fill Color controls in the Property inspector.

  3. NOTE : You cannot set fill attributes for the Line tool.

  4. For the Rectangle tool, specify rounded corners by clicking the Round Rectangle modifier and entering a corner radius value. A value of zero creates square corners.

  5. Drag on the Stage. If you are using the Rectangle tool, press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys while dragging to adjust the radius of rounded corners.

For the Oval and Rectangle tools, Shift-drag to constrain the shapes to circles and squares.

To specify a specific size of Oval or Rectangle in pixels, press the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Macintosh) with the Oval or Rectangle tool selected, and click the Stage to display the Oval and Rectangle Settings dialog box.

  1. For ovals, you can specify the width and height in pixels, and whether to draw the oval from the center.

  2. For rectangles, you can specify the width and height in pixels, the radius of the rectangle corners for rounded corners, and whether to draw the rectangle from the center.

For the Line tool, Shift-drag to constrain the angle of lines to multiples of 45.

Drawing polygons and stars

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Using the PolyStar tool you can draw polygons or stars. You can choose the number of sides of the polygon or the number of points on the star, from 3 to 32. You can also choose the depth of the star points.

To draw a polygon or star:

  1. Click and hold the mouse button on the Rectangle tool and drag to select the PolyStar tool from the pop-up menu.

  2. Select Window > Properties to view the Property inspector.

  3. Select stroke and fill attributes in the Property inspector.

  4. Click the Options button in the Property inspector.

  5. In the Tool Settings dialog box, do the following:

    • For Style, select Polygon or Star.

    • For Number of Sides, enter a number between 3 and 32.

    • For Star Point Size, enter a number between 0 and 1 to specify the depth of the star points. A number closer to 0 creates deeper points (like needles). If you are drawing a polygon, leave this setting unchanged. (It does not affect the polygon shape.)

  6. Click OK to close the Tool Settings dialog box.

  7. Drag on the Stage.

 

Using the Pen tool

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To draw precise paths as straight lines or smooth, flowing curves, you can use the Pen tool. You can create straight or curved line segments and adjust the angle and length of straight segments and the slope of curved segments.

When you draw with the Pen tool, you click to create points on straight line segments, and click and drag to create points on curved line segments. You can adjust straight and curved line segments by adjusting points on the line. You can convert curves to straight lines and the reverse. You can also display points on lines that you create with other Flash drawing tools, such as the Pencil, Brush, Line, Oval, or Rectangle tools, to adjust those lines.

 

Setting Pen tool preferences

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You can specify preferences for the appearance of the Pen tool pointer, for previewing line segments as you draw, or for the appearance of selected anchor points. Selected line segments and anchor points are displayed using the outline color of the layer on which the lines and points appear.

To set Pen tool preferences:

  1. Select the Pen tool, then select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash > Preferences (Macintosh) and click the Editing tab.

  2. Under Pen Tool, set the following options:

    Show Pen Preview previews line segments as you draw. Flash displays a preview of the line segment as you move the pointer around the Stage, before you click to create the end point of the segment. If this option is not selected, Flash does not display a line segment until you create the end point of the segment.

    Show Solid Points displays selected anchor points as hollow and deselected anchor points as solid. If this option is not chosen, selected anchor points are solid, and deselected anchor points are hollow.

    Show Precise Cursors specifies that the Pen tool pointer appear as a cross-hair pointer, rather than the default Pen tool icon, for more precise placement of lines. Deselect the option to display the default Pen tool icon with the Pen tool.

    NOTE : Press the Caps Lock key while working to switch between the cross-hair pointer and the default Pen tool icon.

  3. Click OK.

Drawing straight lines with the Pen tool

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To draw straight line segments with the Pen tool, you create anchor points--points on the line that determine the length of individual line segments.

To draw straight lines with the Pen tool:

  1. Select the Pen tool.

  2. Select Window > Properties and select stroke and fill attributes in the Property inspector.

  3. Position the pointer on the Stage where you want the straight line to begin, and click to define the first anchor point.

  4. Click again where you want the first segment of the straight line to end. Shift-click to constrain lines to multiples of 45.

  5. Continue clicking to create additional straight segments.

  6. To complete the path as an open or closed shape, do one of the following:

    • To complete an open path, double-click the last point, click the Pen tool in the Tools panel, or Control-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) anywhere away from the path.

    • To close a path, position the Pen tool over the first anchor point. A small circle appears next to the pen tip when it is positioned correctly. Click or drag to close the path.

    • To complete the shape as is, select Edit > Deselect All or select a different tool in the Tools panel.

Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool

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You create curves by dragging the Pen tool in the direction you want the curve to go to create the first anchor point, and then dragging the Pen tool in the opposite direction to create the second anchor point.

When you use the Pen tool to create a curved segment, the anchor points of the line segment display tangent handles. The slope and length of each tangent handle determine the slope and the height, or depth, of the curve. Moving the tangent handles reshapes the curves of the path.

To draw a curved path:

  1. Select the Pen tool.

  2. Position the Pen tool on the Stage where you want the curve to begin, and hold down the mouse button.

    The first anchor point appears, and the pen tip changes to an arrowhead.

  3. Drag in the direction you want the curve segment to be drawn. Shift-drag to constrain the tool to multiples of 45.

    As you drag, the tangent handles of the curve appear.

  4. Release the mouse button.

    The length and slope of the tangent handles determine the shape of the curve segment. You can move the tangent handles later to adjust the curve.

  5. Position the pointer where you want the curve segment to end, hold down the mouse button, and drag in the opposite direction to complete the segment. Shift-drag to constrain the segment to multiples of 45.

  6. To draw the next segment of a curve, position the pointer where you want the next segment to end, and drag away from the curve.

 

Adjusting anchor points on paths

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When you draw a curve with the Pen tool, you create curve points--anchor points on a continuous, curved path. When you draw a straight line segment, or a straight line connected to a curved segment, you create corner points--anchor points on a straight path or at the juncture of a straight and a curved path.

By default, selected curve points appear as hollow circles, and selected corner points appear as hollow squares.

To convert segments in a line from straight segments to curve segments or the reverse, you convert corner points to curve points or the reverse.

You can also move, add, or delete anchor points on a path. You move anchor points using the Subselection tool to adjust the length or angle of straight segments or the slope of curved segments. You can nudge selected anchor points to make small adjustments.

Deleting unneeded anchor points on a curved path optimizes the curve and reduces the file size.

To move an anchor point:

  • Drag the point with the Subselection tool.

To nudge an anchor point or points:

  • Select the point or points with the Subselection tool and use the arrow keys to move the point or points.

To convert an anchor point, do one of the following:

  • To convert a corner point to a curve point, use the Subselection tool to select the point, then Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Macintosh) the point to place the tangent handles.

  • To convert a curve point to a corner point, click the point with the Pen tool.

To add an anchor point:

  • Click a line segment with the Pen tool.

To delete an anchor point, do one of the following:

  • To delete a corner point, click the point once with the Pen tool.

  • To delete a curve point, click the point twice with the Pen tool. (Click once to convert the point to a corner point, and once more to delete the point.)

  • Select the point with the Subselection tool and press Delete.

 

Adjusting segments

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You can adjust straight segments to change the angle or length of the segment, or adjust curved segments to change the slope or direction of the curve.

When you move a tangent handle on a curve point, the curves on both sides of the point adjust. When you move a tangent handle on a corner point, only the curve on the same side of the point as the tangent handle adjusts.

To adjust a straight segment:

  1. Select the Subselection tool, and select a straight segment.

  2. Use the Subselection tool to drag an anchor point on the segment to a new position.

To adjust a curve segment:

  • Select the Subselection tool and drag the segment.

NOTE : When you click the path, Flash shows the anchor points. Adjusting a segment with the Subselection tool may add points to the path.

To adjust points or tangent handles on a curve:

  1. Select the Subselection tool, and select an anchor point on a curved segment.

    A tangent handle appears for the point you selected.

  2. To adjust the shape of the curve on either side of the anchor point, drag the anchor point, or drag the tangent handle. Shift-drag to constrain the curve to multiples of 45. Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Macintosh) to drag tangent handles individually.

 

Painting with the Brush tool

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The Brush tool draws brushlike strokes, as if you were painting. It lets you create special effects, including calligraphic effects. You can select a brush size and shape using the Brush tool modifiers.

Brush size for new strokes remains constant even when you change the magnification level for the Stage, so the same brush size appears larger when the Stage magnification is lower. For example, suppose you set the Stage magnification to 100% and paint with the Brush tool using the smallest brush size. Then, you change the magnification to 50% and paint again using the smallest brush size. The new stroke that you paint appears 50% thicker than the earlier stroke. (Changing the magnification of the Stage does not change the size of existing brush strokes.)

You can use an imported bitmap as a fill when painting with the Brush tool.

If you have a Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet connected to your computer, you can vary the width and angle of the brush stroke by using the Brush tool Pressure and Tilt modifiers, and varying pressure on the stylus.

The Pressure modifier varies the width of brush strokes when you vary the pressure on the stylus. The Tilt modifier varies the angle of brush strokes when you vary the angle of the stylus on the tablet. The Tilt modifier measures the angle between the top (eraser) end of the stylus and the top (north) edge of the tablet. For example, if you hold the pen vertically against the tablet, the Tilt is 90. The Pressure and Tilt modifiers are both fully supported for the eraser function of the stylus.

A variable-width brush stroke drawn with a stylus

To paint with the Brush tool:

  1. Select the Brush tool.

  2. Select Window > Properties and select a fill color in the Property inspector.

  3. Click the Brush Mode modifier and select a painting mode:

    Paint Normal paints over lines and fills on the same layer.

    Paint Fills paints fills and empty areas, leaving lines unaffected.

    Paint Behind paints in blank areas of the Stage on the same layer, leaving lines and fills unaffected.

    Paint Selection applies a new fill to the selection when you select a fill in the Fill modifier or the Fill box of the Property inspector. (This option is the same as simply selecting a filled area and applying a new fill.)

    Paint Inside paints the fill in which you start a brush stroke and never paints lines. This works much like a smart coloring book that never allows you to paint outside the lines. If you start painting in an empty area, the fill doesn't affect any existing filled areas.

  4. Select a brush size and brush shape from the Brush tool modifiers.

  5. If a Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet is attached to your computer, you can select the Pressure modifier, the Tilt modifier, or both, to modify brush strokes.

    • Select the Pressure modifier to vary the width of your brush strokes by varying the pressure on your stylus.

    • Select the Tilt modifier to vary the angle of your brush strokes by varying the angle of the stylus on the Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet.

  6. Drag on the Stage. Shift-drag to constrain brush strokes to horizontal and vertical directions.

 

Reshaping lines and shape outlines

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You can reshape lines and shape outlines created with the Pencil, Brush, Line, Oval, or Rectangle tool by dragging with the Selection tool, or by optimizing their curves.

You can also use the Subselection tool to display points on lines and shape outlines and modify the lines and outlines by adjusting the points. For information on adjusting anchor points, see Using the Pen tool.

To display anchor points on a line or shape outline created with the Pencil, Brush, Line, Oval, or Rectangle tools:

  1. Select the Subselection tool.

  2. Click the line or shape outline.

 

Reshaping using the Selection tool

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To reshape a line or shape outline, you can drag any point on a line using the Selection tool. The pointer changes to indicate what type of reshaping it can perform on the line or fill.

Flash adjusts the curve of the line segment to accommodate the new position of the moved point. If the repositioned point is an end point, you can lengthen or shorten the line. If the repositioned point is a corner, the line segments forming the corner remain straight as they become longer or shorter.

When a corner appears next to the pointer, you can change an end point. When a curve appears next to the pointer, you can adjust a curve.

Some brush stroke areas are easier to reshape if you view them as outlines.

If you are having trouble reshaping a complex line, you can smooth it to remove some of its details, making reshaping easier. Increasing the magnification can also make reshaping easier and more accurate.

To reshape a line or shape outline using the Selection tool:

  1. Select the Selection tool.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag from any point on the segment to reshape it.

    • Control-click to drag (Windows) or Option-click to drag (Macintosh) a line to create a new corner point.\

 

Straightening and smoothing lines

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You can reshape lines and shape outlines by straightening or smoothing them.

NOTE : You can adjust the degree of automatic smoothing and straightening by specifying preferences for drawing settings.

Straightening makes small straightening adjustments to lines and curves you have already drawn. It has no effect on already straight segments.

You can also use the straightening technique to make Flash recognize shapes. If you draw any oval, rectangular, or triangular shapes with the Recognize Shapes option turned off, you can use the Straightening option to make the shapes geometrically perfect. (For information on the Recognize Shapes option.

Shape recognition turns the top shapes into the bottom shapes.

Smoothing softens curves and reduces bumps or other variations in a curve's overall direction. It also reduces the number of segments in a curve. Smoothing is relative, however, and has no effect on straight segments. It is particularly useful when you are having trouble reshaping a number of very short curved line segments. Selecting all the segments and smoothing them reduces the number of segments, producing a gentler curve that is easier to reshape.

Repeated application of smoothing or straightening makes each segment smoother or straighter, depending on how curved or straight each segment was originally.

To smooth the curve of each selected fill outline or curved line:

  • Select the Selection tool and click the Smooth modifier in the Options section of the Tools panel, or select Modify > Shape > Smooth.

To make small straightening adjustments on each selected fill outline or curved line:

  • Select the Selection tool and click the Straighten modifier in the Options section of the Tools panel, or select Modify > Shape > Straighten.

To use shape recognition:

  • Select the Selection tool and click the Straighten modifier, or select Modify > Shape > Straighten.

 

Optimizing curves

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Another way to smooth curves is to optimize them. This refines curved lines and fill outlines by reducing the number of curves used to define these elements. Optimizing curves also reduces the size of the Flash document (FLA file) and the exported Flash application (SWF file). As with the Smooth or Straighten modifiers or commands, you can apply optimization to the same elements multiple times.

To optimize curves:

  1. Select the drawn elements to be optimized and select Modify > Shape > Optimize.

  2. In the Optimize Curves dialog box, drag the Smoothing slider to specify the degree of smoothing.

    The exact results depend on the curves selected. Generally, optimizing produces fewer curves, with less resemblance to the original outline.

  3. Set additional options:

    Use Multiple Passes repeats the smoothing process until no further optimization can be accomplished; this is the same as repeatedly selecting Optimize with the same elements selected.

    Show Totals Message displays an alert box that indicates the extent of the optimization when smoothing is complete.

  4. Click OK.

 

Erasing

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Erasing with the Eraser tool removes strokes and fills. You can quickly erase everything on the Stage, erase individual stroke segments or filled areas, or erase by dragging.

You can customize the Eraser tool to erase only strokes, only filled areas, or only a single filled area. The Eraser tool can be either round or square, and it can have one of five sizes.

To quickly delete everything on the Stage:

  • Double-click the Eraser tool.

To remove stroke segments or filled areas:

  1. Select the Eraser tool, and then click the Faucet modifier.

  2. Click the stroke segment or filled area that you want to delete.

To erase by dragging:

  1. Select the Eraser tool.

  2. Click the Eraser Mode modifier and select an erasing mode:

    Erase Normal erases strokes and fills on the same layer.

    Erase Fills erases only fills; strokes are not affected.

    Erase Lines erases only strokes; fills are not affected.

    Erase Selected Fills erases only the currently selected fills and does not affect strokes, selected or not. (Select the fills you want to erase before using the Eraser tool in this mode.)

    Erase Inside erases only the fill on which you begin the eraser stroke. If you begin erasing from an empty point, nothing is erased. Strokes are unaffected by the eraser in this mode.

  3. Click the Eraser Shape modifier and select an eraser shape and size. Make sure that the Faucet modifier is not selected.

  4. Drag on the Stage.

Modifying shapes

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You can modify shapes by converting lines to fills, expanding the shape of a filled object, or softening the edges of a filled shape by modifying the curves of the shape.

The Convert Lines to Fills feature changes lines to fills, which allows you to fill lines with gradients or to erase a portion of a line. The Expand Shape and Soften Edges features allow you to expand filled shapes and blur the edges of shapes.

The Expand Fill and Soften Fill Edges features work best on small shapes that do not contain many small details. Applying Soften Edges to shapes with extensive detail can increase the file size of a Flash document and the resulting SWF file.

To convert lines to fills:

  1. Select a line or multiple lines.

  2. Select Modify > Shape > Convert Lines to Fills.

    Selected lines are converted to filled shapes. Converting lines to fills can make file sizes larger, but it can also speed up drawing for some animations.

To expand the shape of a filled object:

  1. Select a filled shape. This command works best on a single filled color shape with no stroke.

  2. Select Modify > Shape > Expand Fill.

  3. In the Expand Path dialog box, enter a value in pixels for Distance and select Expand or Inset for Direction. Expand enlarges the shape, and Inset reduces it.

To soften the edges of an object:

  1. Select a filled shape.

    NOTE : This feature works best on a single filled shape that has no stroke.

  2. Select Modify > Shape > Soften Fill Edges.

  3. Set the following options:

    Distance is the width, in pixels, of the soft edge.

    Number of Steps controls how many curves are used for the soft edge effect. The more steps you use, the smoother the effect. Increasing steps also creates larger files and slows drawing.

    Expand or Inset controls whether the shape is enlarged or reduced to soften the edges.

 

Snapping

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To automatically align elements with one another, you can use snapping. Flash provides three ways for you to align objects on the Stage:

  1. Object snapping lets you snap objects directly to other objects along their edges.

  2. Pixel snapping lets you snap objects directly to individual pixels or lines of pixels on the Stage.

  3. Snap alignment lets you snap objects to a specified snap tolerance, a preset boundary between objects and other objects or between objects and the edge of the Stage.

    NOTE : You can also snap to the grid or to guides. For more information, see About the main toolbar and edit bar in Getting Started with Flash.

 

Object snapping

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Object snapping can be turned on using the Snap modifier for the Selection tool, or the Snap to Objects command in the View menu.

If the Snap modifier for the Selection tool is on, a small black ring appears under the pointer when you drag an element. The small ring changes to a larger ring when the object is within snapping distance of another object.

To turn object snapping on or off:

  1. Select View > Snapping > Snap to Objects. A check mark is displayed next to the command when it is on.

    When you move or reshape an object, the position of the Selection tool on the object provides the reference point for the snap ring. For example, if you move a filled shape by dragging near its center, the center point snaps to other objects. This is particularly useful for snapping shapes to motion paths for animating.

    NOTE : For better control of object placement when snapping, begin dragging from a corner or center point.

To adjust object snapping tolerances:

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash > Preferences (Macintosh) and click the Editing tab.

  2. Under Drawing Settings, adjust the Connect Lines setting. See Specifying drawing settings.

 

Pixel snapping

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You can turn on pixel snapping using the Snap to Pixels command in the View menu. If Snap to Pixels is on, a pixel grid appears when the view magnification is set to 400% or higher. The pixel grid represents the individual pixels that will appear in your Flash application. When you create or move an object, it is constrained to the pixel grid.

If you create a shape whose edges fall between pixel boundaries--for example, if you use a stroke with a fractional width, such as 3.5 pixels--keep in mind that Snap to Pixels snaps to pixel boundaries, and not to the edge of the shape.

To turn pixel snapping on or off:

  • Select View > Snapping > Snap to Pixels.

If the magnification is set to 400% or higher, a pixel grid is displayed. A check mark is displayed next to the command when it is on.

To turn pixel snapping on or off temporarily:

  • Press the C key.

When you release the C key, pixel snapping returns to the state you selected with View > Snapping > Snap to Pixels.

To temporarily hide the pixel grid:

  • Press the X key.

When you release the X key, the pixel grid reappears.

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Snap alignment

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You can turn on Snap Alignment using the Snap Align command in the View menu. You can select settings for Snap Alignment using the Edit Snap Align command in the View menu.

When you select Snap Alignment settings, you can set the snap tolerance between horizontal or vertical edges of objects, and between objects' edges and the Stage border. You can also turn on snap alignment between the horizontal and the vertical centers of objects. All Snap Alignment settings are measured in pixels.

When Snap Alignment is turned on, dotted lines appear on the Stage when you drag an object to the specified snap tolerance. For example, if you set Horizontal snap tolerance to 18 pixels (the default setting), a dotted line appears along the edge of the object you are dragging when the object is exactly 18 pixels from another object. If you turn on Horizontal Center Alignment, a dotted line appears along the horizontal center vertices of two objects when you precisely align the vertices.

To select settings for Snap Alignment:

  1. Select View > Snapping > Edit Snap Align.

  2. In the Snap Align dialog box, do any of the following:

    • To set the snap tolerance between objects and the Stage border, enter a value for Movie Border.

    • To set the snap tolerance between horizontal or vertical edges of objects, enter a value for Horizontal, Vertical, or both.

    • To turn on Horizontal or Vertical Center Alignment, select Horizontal or Vertical Center Alignment or both.

To turn on Snap Alignment:

  • Select Snapping > Snap Align.
     

Specifying drawing settings

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You can set drawing settings to specify snapping, smoothing, and straightening behaviors when you use Flash drawing tools. You can change the tolerance setting for each option, and turn each option off or on. Tolerance settings are relative, depending on the resolution of your computer screen and the current magnification of the scene. By default, each option is turned on and set to Normal tolerance.

To set drawing settings:

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash > Preferences (Macintosh) and select the Editing category.

  2. Under Drawing Settings, select from the following options:

    Connect Lines determines how close the end of a line being drawn must be to an existing line segment before the end point snaps to the nearest point on the other line. The available options are Must Be Close, Normal, and Can Be Distant. This setting also controls horizontal and vertical line recognition--that is, how nearly horizontal or vertical a line must be drawn before Flash makes it exactly horizontal or vertical. When Snap to Objects is turned on, this setting controls how close objects must be to snap to one another.

    Smooth Curves specifies the amount of smoothing applied to curved lines drawn with the Pencil tool when the drawing mode is set to Straighten or Smooth. (Smoother curves are easier to reshape, whereas rougher curves match the original line strokes more closely.) The selections are Off, Rough, Normal, and Smooth.

    NOTE :  You can further smooth existing curved segments using Modify > Shape > Smooth and Modify > Shape > Optimize.

    Recognize Lines defines how nearly straight a line segment drawn with the Pencil tool must be before Flash recognizes it as a straight line and makes it perfectly straight. The selections are Off, Strict, Normal, and Tolerant. If Recognize Lines is off while you draw, you can straighten lines later by selecting one or more line segments and selecting Modify > Shape > Straighten.

    Recognize Shapes controls how precisely you must draw circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, and 90 and 180 arcs for them to be recognized as geometric shapes and redrawn accurately. The options are Off, Strict, Normal, and Tolerant. If Recognize Shapes is off while you draw, you can straighten lines later by selecting one or more shapes (for example, connected line segments) and selecting Modify > Shape > Straighten.

    Click Accuracy specifies how close to an item the pointer must be before Flash recognizes the item. The options are Strict, Normal, and Tolerant.

You can specify the Selection, Subselection, and Lasso tool contact-sensitivity options when you create shapes using the Object Drawing model. By default, objects are only selected when the tool's marquee rectangle completely surrounds the object. By deselcting this option in the Preferences dialog box, you can select entire objects when they are only partially enclosed by the selection marquee of the Selection, Subselection, or Lasso tools.

To learn more about the Object Drawing model

To set Selection, Subselection, and Lasso tool contact options:

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash > Preferences (Macintosh).

    The Preferences dialog box is displayed.

  2. In the General category of the Preferences dialog box, do one of the following:

    • Deselect Contact-Sensitive Selection and Lasso tools if you want to select only objects and points that are completely enclosed by the selection marquee. Points that lie within the selection area will still be selected.

    • Select Contact-Sensitive Selection and Lasso tools if you want to select objects or groups that are only partially enclosed by the selection marquee.

    NOTE : The Subselection tools use the same contact-sensitive setting.

 

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