Flash - Online Article

In this movie, I review the Pen tool. The Pen tool creates more complex shapes by combining both straight and curve lines in the same shape. You create straight lines by simply clicking on the stage. Curved lines are created by clicking and dragging. The shapes created with the Pen tool consists of paths, which you can see in black, anchor points, which are these green squares, and tangents handles, which are these handles that come out of the curved line segments. Use the Selection tool to select the line, and then the Sub-selection tool to work with these tangent handles. You can see the tangent handles here in black, those are the black circles. If you've used other vector based drawing programs such as Free Hand or Adobe Illustrator, you'll be instantly comfortable with the Pen tool in Flash, because it works the same way. If you haven't used a Pen tool before in any program, it can take some getting used to. It'll probably require a good deal of practice on your part before you become real comfortable with it.

One of the things that will take a little bit of getting used to, let me delete this whole shape here and start over again, is getting control over the curved line segments. The straight line segments are pretty straightforward, but the curve line segments which I create by clicking and dragging on the mouse take a little bit of getting used to. One exercise that I do with my students is to have them try to mimic the shape of a wave, an ocean wave, draw several of these using various combinations of straight and curved line segments by clicking to create the straight line segments and clicking and dragging to create the curved line segments. So inevitably you'll need to use the sub-selection tool to modify these nodes which I'll be covering in more detail in the next section of the tutorial. So use the Pen tool to draw precise paths as straight lines or smooth flowing curves, and also convert curved to straight lines and the reverse, and display points on the lines that you create with other Flash drawing tools such as the Pencil, Brush, Line, Oval, or Rectangle tools to then adjust those lines. The pen tool provides feedback about its current drawing state. It has quite a few drawing states and it provides feedback by displaying different pointers. Here, this is the Initial Anchor Point pointer. This is the first pointer you'll see when you select the Pen tool.

It indicates that the next mouse click on the stage will create an initial anchor point right here, which is the beginning of a new path. All new paths begin with an initial anchor point. Any existing drawing paths are then terminated. Notice that this drawing path has been terminated. This pointer is a Sequential Anchor Point pointer. This indicates that the next mouse click will create an anchor point with a line extending back to the previous anchor point. This pointer is displayed during the creation of all user defined anchor points except the initial anchor point of the path. Here is another pointer indicator, this open circle indicates that I'm going to close that path there so that I've completely filled up that object. Notice that when I've done that I get the Initial Anchor Point icon there that indicates that I can create another line segment. So there's again the same zero that I saw there. Now the negative right there indicates that I'm going to delete that point. Notice that if I move my cursor over an existing anchor point I get that negative sign which means that I'm deleting that point, like so. There's an interesting one there. That little carrot sign indicates that I'm going to be converting that curved line segment into a straight line segment. The plus that you see right there indicates that I'm going to add an anchor point to the line. And again the negative is deleting.

So there's various clues that Flash will give you to tell you what's going on with the Pen tool, and you'll want to pay close attention to what it's telling you is happening. I'll be talking more about the various feedback that the Pen tool gives you when you're reworking your lines in the next section of the course on modifying Flash graphics. But for now, go ahead and practice drawing or creating shapes with the Pen tool. Again I recommend trying to draw out some kind of shape such as these waves, something that combines both curved line segments and straight line segments, so you get the hang of how this tool works. Again, if you used this type of tool in Illustrator or Free Hand, then this tool will be pretty familiar to you, so you can quickly refresh some of the nuances in Flash. Notice that's not a very good wave right there, so what would be involved here is taking the Sub-selection tool and modifying the shape of that wave there. But that'll be the topic of the next section. Let me now move onto the next movie, and cover one of the more important tools here in the tool panel, and that's the Text tool.

The line tool is looks like this, when you click on the line tool and draw on stage you can go any direction, but if you want to draw a square lets say, you can draw a straight line downwards, you will see that by default the snap tool is selected and the line will snap in place, when it is perfectly straight, like wise to the right, up and left you will join the first point, you can draw a 45 degree line, and it will snap in place. This is a very important drawing tool in flash CS4.

The same way you can draw with pencil tool, when clicked on the pencil tool which looks like this below, You will see that the property setting are just a stroke color, you can draw a zig zag on stage and notice that you can only select a color which is of stroke, and may not give you the option of the fill color.

In the option menu box you have two options like this below The top one is a smooth curve and the bottom one is a straight line, assuming you have drawn a zig zag on stage with a color red, selecting the drawing on stage, as you click on the smooth button the shape of the zig zag will smoothen, and the other straight button works differently than the smooth button, when selected the drawing, and clicked on the straight line, it will straighten the line to a virtual straight line running downwards.

The next tool is the brush tool, which looks like the one below, As you click on the brush tool, you will find that in your properties panel, you have only a fill color and not a stroke, this tool works very much like the pencil tool, with the smooth option tool and the straight option tool working with the brush tool very similarly like the way it works with pencil tool.

Another important tool is the pen tool, this tool looks like this below, As you take the pen tool to the stage you will find that it make a dot with a florescent green, and once you release your mouse and make the second mark on stage, you will find a second point, and the first and second connect, this will happen till you finish all your drawings on stage and touch the start point, when pressed escape you will find the shape you drew, and accordingly fill the color of your choice, this pen tool will draw straight lines, if you want curved strokes, you can simply drag the mouse with the cursor moving either ways and then connecting the points to the starting point.

In this movie, I review the Pen tool. The Pen tool creates more complex shapes by combining both straight and curve lines in the same shape. You create straight lines by simply clicking on the stage. Curved lines are created by clicking and dragging. The shapes created with the Pen tool consists of paths, which you can see in black, anchor points, which are these green squares, and tangents handles, which are these handles that come out of the curved line segments. Use the Selection tool to select the line, and then the Sub-selection tool to work with these tangent handles. You can see the tangent handles here in black, those are the black circles. If you've used other vector based drawing programs such as Free Hand or Adobe Illustrator, you'll be instantly comfortable with the Pen tool in Flash, because it works the same way. If you haven't used a Pen tool before in any program, it can take some getting used to. It'll probably require a good deal of practice on your part before you become real comfortable with it.

One of the things that will take a little bit of getting used to, let me delete this whole shape here and start over again, is getting control over the curved line segments. The straight line segments are pretty straightforward, but the curve line segments which I create by clicking and dragging on the mouse take a little bit of getting used to. One exercise that I do with my students is to have them try to mimic the shape of a wave, an ocean wave, draw several of these using various combinations of straight and curved line segments by clicking to create the straight line segments and clicking and dragging to create the curved line segments. So inevitably you'll need to use the sub-selection tool to modify these nodes which I'll be covering in more detail in the next section of the tutorial. So use the Pen tool to draw precise paths as straight lines or smooth flowing curves, and also convert curved to straight lines and the reverse, and display points on the lines that you create with other Flash drawing tools such as the Pencil, Brush, Line, Oval, or Rectangle tools to then adjust those lines. The pen tool provides feedback about its current drawing state. It has quite a few drawing states and it provides feedback by displaying different pointers. Here, this is the Initial Anchor Point pointer. This is the first pointer you'll see when you select the Pen tool.

It indicates that the next mouse click on the stage will create an initial anchor point right here, which is the beginning of a new path. All new paths begin with an initial anchor point. Any existing drawing paths are then terminated. Notice that this drawing path has been terminated. This pointer is a Sequential Anchor Point pointer. This indicates that the next mouse click will create an anchor point with a line extending back to the previous anchor point. This pointer is displayed during the creation of all user defined anchor points except the initial anchor point of the path. Here is another pointer indicator, this open circle indicates that I'm going to close that path there so that I've completely filled up that object. Notice that when I've done that I get the Initial Anchor Point icon there that indicates that I can create another line segment. So there's again the same zero that I saw there. Now the negative right there indicates that I'm going to delete that point. Notice that if I move my cursor over an existing anchor point I get that negative sign which means that I'm deleting that point, like so. There's an interesting one there. That little carrot sign indicates that I'm going to be converting that curved line segment into a straight line segment. The plus that you see right there indicates that I'm going to add an anchor point to the line. And again the negative is deleting.

So there's various clues that Flash will give you to tell you what's going on with the Pen tool, and you'll want to pay close attention to what it's telling you is happening. I'll be talking more about the various feedback that the Pen tool gives you when you're reworking your lines in the next section of the course on modifying Flash graphics. But for now, go ahead and practice drawing or creating shapes with the Pen tool. Again I recommend trying to draw out some kind of shape such as these waves, something that combines both curved line segments and straight line segments, so you get the hang of how this tool works. Again, if you used this type of tool in Illustrator or Free Hand, then this tool will be pretty familiar to you, so you can quickly refresh some of the nuances in Flash. Notice that's not a very good wave right there, so what would be involved here is taking the Sub-selection tool and modifying the shape of that wave there. But that'll be the topic of the next section. Let me now move onto the next movie, and cover one of the more important tools here in the tool panel, and that's the Text tool.

The line tool is looks like this, when you click on the line tool and draw on stage you can go any direction, but if you want to draw a square lets say, you can draw a straight line downwards, you will see that by default the snap tool is selected and the line will snap in place, when it is perfectly straight, like wise to the right, up and left you will join the first point, you can draw a 45 degree line, and it will snap in place. This is a very important drawing tool in flash CS4.

The same way you can draw with pencil tool, when clicked on the pencil tool which looks like this below, You will see that the property setting are just a stroke color, you can draw a zig zag on stage and notice that you can only select a color which is of stroke, and may not give you the option of the fill color.

In the option menu box you have two options like this below The top one is a smooth curve and the bottom one is a straight line, assuming you have drawn a zig zag on stage with a color red, selecting the drawing on stage, as you click on the smooth button the shape of the zig zag will smoothen, and the other straight button works differently than the smooth button, when selected the drawing, and clicked on the straight line, it will straighten the line to a virtual straight line running downwards.

The next tool is the brush tool, which looks like the one below, As you click on the brush tool, you will find that in your properties panel, you have only a fill color and not a stroke, this tool works very much like the pencil tool, with the smooth option tool and the straight option tool working with the brush tool very similarly like the way it works with pencil tool.

Another important tool is the pen tool, this tool looks like this below, As you take the pen tool to the stage you will find that it make a dot with a florescent green, and once you release your mouse and make the second mark on stage, you will find a second point, and the first and second connect, this will happen till you finish all your drawings on stage and touch the start point, when pressed escape you will find the shape you drew, and accordingly fill the color of your choice, this pen tool will draw straight lines, if you want curved strokes, you can simply drag the mouse with the cursor moving either ways and then connecting the points to the starting point.

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