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Home : Tutorials : Flash 5 : Part 2

Flash 5 Tutorial
Part 2 - Drawing

Introduction

In the last part I showed you the Flash interface and explained exactly what Flash is. In this part I will show you how to use Flash's drawing and painting tools to put something into your animation. At this point there will be no interactivity and nothing will move but once you know the basics you can develop this futher.

Basic Drawing

The first thing you need to learn how to do is to draw basic shapes in Flash. We will start with the most basic shape, the circle/oval. Before you start you might want to move some of the floating pallettes so that you can see enough of the stage to work on.

Firstly, choose the Oval tool from the Tools bar on the left:


Then, draw the oval or circle you want on the stage (just as you would in a normal graphics program). Holding down shift will force the object drawn to be a circle. Once you have drawn your circle you will now notice a few things about it. Firstly, there is a line around the circle and a fill inside it. These are changed using the colors section of the Tools bar:


The first option (set at black in this example) is the line colour and the bottom option (blue in this example) is the fill colour. To change them click on the box filled with colour. You will get a menu with a selection of colours. If you want to match the colour to a colour on your screen click on anything on the screen and its colour will be used.

Now, try drawing another circle or oval, but this time change the fill and line colours.

The next tool you will use is the rectangle tool:


As with the circle tool, this works in exactly the same way as in any standard grapics program, you can drag out a rectangle you want to draw and hold down shift to force a square. Like the circle, the rectangle's line and fill colours are set using the colors section of the Tools bar.

The rectange tool, unlike the oval, has some options which can be set. These appear in the Options section of the Tools bar:


There is only one option for the rectange, the Round Rectangle Radius. This creates rectangles with rounded corners like this:


Click on the option. A box appears asking for the radius in pixels. The example above used a radius of 20 pixels but it is best to experiment to find the best setting for what you want. After you have set this draw another rectangle. This one should have rounded corners. Remember: Flash will remember this setting so before you draw another standard rectange you should set it back to 0.

Like any other drawing program, Flash also has a straight line too:


This works in exactly the same way as the line tool in graphics software.

The objects you have drawn can also be moved. You must be careful, though, as Flash treats the fill and the line separately, so to move both together you must double-click in the object before dragging it if you want to move them both.

Drawing Or Painting?

Flash is a very strange program for editing grapics. It is really a cross between a drawing and a painting program with some special features of its own. It is like a drawing program because you can move and change objects once you have drawn them but it acts like a painting program with fills etc. For example if you drew two circles, a large one with a black line and a blue fill and a small one with a black line and no fill, then moved
the small one on top of the bigger one. You could then use the fill tool to fill in the middle of the small circle, changing only part of the big one.

Flash also allows you to break up graphics using other ones. If you now moved the small circle away from the larger circle it would leave a white space behind where it used to be. This feature can be extremely useful.

Special Fills

AS well as filling a shape with a single colour you can also use Flash's premade fills. They are found at the bottom of the fill box. There are three gradient fills but the best are the radial fills. These allow you to fill in any shape with a radial gradient (going from light to dark). The special thing about them is that the lightest part will be where you click your mouse when using the fill option:


so you can very effectively make 3D looking circles, which are excellent for buttons.

Part 3

In the next part I will show you some more of the tools and how to use text in Flash.

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