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Conversely, bitmaps are made up of pixels. The main benefit of using vector artwork in Flash projects is that they can be scaled larger and smaller without a loss in fidelity. And, depending on their complexity, vector graphics may download a lot faster over the Internet. To learn more about creating graphics, see Chapters 2 and 3. To learn how to import artwork, see Chapter 5. See Chapter 4 to learn about working with text. These objects can be Graphics, Buttons, MovieClips, sounds, and videos. Copies of your symbols that are used in your Flash movie are called instances.


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No matter how many instances you create, the symbol is only compiled into your movie once. On the Web, this is very powerful, because a hundred instances will download just as quickly as a single instance. You can scale, rotate, and modify other properties of an instance without affecting the base symbol. But, if you edit a symbol, all of the instances inherit your changes. To learn more about working with symbols and instances, see Chapter 8.

Frame-by-frame animation is used primarily for creating movements that cannot be achieved in Flash by other methods. For more on creating animations, see Chapters 8 and 9. To learn how to animate using ActionScript, see Chapter First, you can draw, erase, and add or remove instances on one layer without affecting another layer. Second, you can hide layers make them invisible and lock layers make them uneditable. Also, you can use layers for organization in a more complex Flash document.

Many Flash developers use one layer at the top of their document exclusively for actions, and another exclusively for labels. To learn more about working with layers, see Chapter 6. The simplest is by using the Button object. Buttons have built-in rollover and click states. With a small amount of ActionScript, you can create a vast range of interactivity, from simple rollover effects to triggering complex animation.

For more on adding interactivity to your Flash movies, see Chapters 10 and Flash movies can also be exported as QuickTime movies, animated GIFs, and a variety of image sequence formats. For more on how to publish your Flash movies, see Chapter Click here to see the fighter plane in action! Take time to familiarize yourself with the on-screen elements. If you use Flash on a Windows-based computer, the program elements may look a bit different than those displayed in the following example, which was done on a Mac. Contains all the frames, layers, and scenes that make up a movie.

The tab at the top of the work area represents the current file. If two or more files are open, you can switch from file to file by clicking a tab. It is the same as clicking Window, Workspace from the main menu. Anything placed on the work area does not appear in the movie. Displays the name of the scene on which you are currently working.

If you are inside instances or groups, it allows you to navigate up the object hierarchy. They are all dockable to the main Flash window. So now any panel can also be a part of any of the tab sets. You can also create new tab sets. The tab is also the portion of the panel that you click and drag to dock, move, or break away from other tabs. Flash documents are the base file type you use to create your Flash movies. The Open dialog box appears. All of the documents you selected open in tabs in Flash. Flash has a tabbed interface that allows you to have many files open at the same time and provides an easy way to switch between files.

If you open multiple files, switch between them by clicking the tabs. There is no keyboard shortcut on a PC. Flash does not automatically save your work periodically, so it is essential to save early and often — every time you make a significant change. How do I close all of the open documents at once? Flash gives you an opportunity to review any unsaved changes, but it is preferable to not rely on the Review Changes dialog box.

Fas t Car Yes, although when you work on s a project with multiple people it is better if everyone uses the same version of Flash. This saves your FLA file in the older format. Sometimes you may want to experiment in the middle of a project without fear of not being able to get back to your last stable version. So, before experimenting, you can save a copy and always go back to it. You can now work with the newly saved version of your file. You can create a new document in Flash to design artwork, build an animation, or begin a larger interactive project.

Flash movies are saved in the. A blank document appears in the Flash authoring environment. You may want to save a few different workspaces, each specifically laid out for designing, programming, or debugging. Release the mouse button. The History panel appears. How do I rename and delete a workspace that I have created?

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Can I hide and show all of the open Flash panels? Click Window, Workspace, Manage Workspaces. A dialog appears that has options to rename and delete your workspaces. Flash does not allow you to delete or rename the built-in workspaces, so if you have not yet created your own, the dialog will be empty. After hiding the panels, you can make them all appear again by.

Many times, you will want a workspace for working on a laptop to be more sparse than a workspace for larger or multiple displays. The New Workspace Save Workspace dialog box appears. Type a name for your workspace. Your workspace is saved. Click Window, Workspace, and then click Essentials Default. Your windows and panels are restored to their default positions. I moved around my windows and opened other panels, and now I want to get back to the workspace I have saved.

You can also click Window, Workspace, and then click the item that says Reset followed by the name of your current workspace. The most common way to move around the work area is to use a combination of the Zoom tool, and to use the keyboard to toggle on the Hand tool for moving. Zooming and moving your view merely changes the scale and placement of the work area. It does not affect the size and placement of your objects and artwork. Flash zooms in on your view of the work area. Flash zooms out of your view of the work area.

Flash moves your view of the work area. Release the mouse button and the when you finish moving. How do I zoom to a specific magnification? In the upper-right corner of the work area there is a magnification text field that displays the current zoom level.

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There are three ways to do this. Rulers and grids do not appear in your exported or published movie; they are just tools to aid your design. You can repeat steps 1 and 2 to turn off the rulers. You can repeat steps 1 to 3 to turn off the grid lines. How do I change the size of my grid squares? Click on View, Grid, and then Edit Grid. A dialog box appears that allows you to change the vertical and horizontal spacing of the grid lines. It also allows you to change the color of your grid, adjust snapping, and determine whether the grid appears above or below elements on the stage.

Guides are lines you can drag onto the Stage to help you as you move items and control positioning. You can turn on the Flash guides as another tool to help you position objects on the Stage. To display the guides, click View, Guides, and then Show Guides. You must also turn on the Flash rulers in order to use guides. To add a guide to the Stage, drag a guideline off of the ruler and onto the Stage. To remove a guide, drag it back to the ruler.

Many of these templates are for creating content for online advertising, mobile phones, and slide shows. You can also create your own templates or download other templates from the Internet. Open a Flash Template 1 1 Click File. You can add content to create the new file. Can I make my own templates in Flash? How do I save a file I create with a template? Type a unique name for the template, select a category to save the template to, and type a brief description.

Click Save and Flash saves the file and adds it to the templates list. After you finish working on the template, you can save it as a regular Flash file. Click File and then Save, and assign a unique name for the file in the Save As dialog box. The Properties inspector changes to reflect the properties associated with the object you select on the Stage. If you have no objects selected, the Properties inspector displays the general properties of your Flash document.

The Properties inspector acts as a panel that you can collapse, hide from view, or move. By default, Flash places the Properties inspector at the right of the program window, in a tab set that includes the Library panel. This also minimizes any other panels that are a part of the same tab set, and collapses them to icons. This example shows the document properties listed in the Properties inspector panel. Flash opens the Properties inspector. Can I move the Properties inspector around like a normal panel?

Prop er ties Fl Yes. If you click and drag the Properties tab, you can move it anywhere. If you release the mouse button while another part of the Flash window is highlighted, it docks there. If no area is highlighted, the Properties inspector appears as a regular panel. Can I rearrange the tabs where I have many panels docked? You can rearrange any tab set s ter in Flash by dragging tabs to me a r ry the left and right. Flash Pa irsyto o H t s isy automatically moves the tteoHr F Hils other tabs to make room for your dragged tab while you are dragging, so you know where everything will be when you release the mouse button.

Sometimes, your animations or scripts behave differently than you expect after a change in frame rate. And it can be labor intensive to move all of your objects on the Stage to accommodate a new Stage size. The Publish Settings dialog box appears. Your Publish settings are stored in your Flash document. This example shows a frame rate of Then, when you create a new document, you can choose your saved template as a starting point.

Most of the time you should stick with conventional 31 frames per second for Flash, unless you have a compelling reason to use a different frame rate. Your Flash movie is now set to your desired dimensions.

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Can I change my document setup at any time? When you work on a file and Size: Again, changing your frame rate and Stage size in the middle of a project may require you to rewrite scripts, edit animation, and reposition all of the objects on the Stage, so be careful. How do I change all these settings in a single panel?

Click Edit next to the stage size in the Properties inspector. Most of the changes made in this section and a few extras can also be accomplished in the resulting dialog box. For Flash-based Web pages, there are a few settings that you can adjust to make your previews and tests more representative of the final output. You can always increase or decrease the JPEG quality for better image fidelity or smaller file sizes, respectively. In this example, Flash Only is chosen. The Detect Flash Version option only allows for versions 10 and above.

If you want to detect for a version lower than Flash Player 10, click on the Flash tab of the Publish Settings window, and change your player to a lower version. F lasb l sh Pu li You can set up Flash to publish your movie as a Web page. See Chapter 15 to learn more about publishing Flash movies. If you want your Flash movie to remain a fixed size, choose Match Movie; if you want your Flash movie to scale, choose Percent. Or, if you want to change the dimensions of your exported SWF, choose Pixels and enter in your custom dimensions.

Your Publish settings are now set.


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Can I publish many formats at the same time? How do I save a set of publish settings so that I can use them in future projects? Flash asks you to name your profile. Any settings you change become part of your current profile. You can switch between profiles by clicking the Current Profile menu at the top of the Publish Settings dialog box. You will probably find that every time you complete a task in Flash, you will want to test it to see how everything works out. Flash previews your movie in the selected format. The help system contains information and tutorials on each feature of Flash, a complete ActionScript reference guide, and a place to get additional help from the Flash community.

Flash opens your Web browser and loads the Flash help system. To go directly to the help system without. These tools are similar, if not the same, as other professional-grade drawing applications like Adobe Illustrator. By default, it appears docked on the far-right side of the program window. You may want to move it to the far left if you are used to other drawing programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. This tool shares space with the Gradient Transform tool on the panel.

This tool shares space with the 3D Translation Tool. This tool also shares space with tools to modify your Bezier curves. This tool shares space with the Spray Brush tool. Inverse kinematic objects are manipulated based on bones and joints like a skeleton for an animated character. It shares space with the Bind tool. Both are used in character animation.

It shares space with the Ink Bottle tool, which is used to apply strokes. You can temporarily access the Hand tool by holding down the Spacebar. This area of the Tools panel displays those options when each tool is activated. They also make moving around multiple parts of a drawing easy. Understanding the nature of Groups also helps you understand more complex topics like symbols and nesting of symbols. Essentially, anything you draw that overlaps anything else is merged together. This can be an asset when drawing shapes within shapes or trying to cut a shape out of another.

You can also combine shapes to create new and more complex ones using this model. These groups are self-contained and are not overwritten by drawing on top of them. Flash gives these groups a bounding box when selected. You can still use groups when in the Merge Drawing model; you just need to explicitly group items on the Stage. For example, if you have a drawing of an apple, your apple group might contain a fruit group and a stem group. You might also have another group nested in your apple group that contains only highlights and shadows. Arrange Groups Because groups do not overwrite other groups on the Stage, you can arrange them.

Arranging allows you to place things on top of each other, much like making a sandwich, in the order that you want them to appear. Limitations of Groups in Flash While groups are fantastic for creating illustrations and user interface elements, Flash does not allow you to do certain things. You cannot animate a group with a tween. You also do not have nearly as many properties to choose from as you would with a MovieClip, graphic, or button symbol.

For drawing precision curves, you should use the Pen tool. Lines are also called strokes in Flash, particularly when they form the outline of a shape or illustration. Your line appears on the Stage. Drag vertically for a vertical line, horizontally for a horizontal line, and at an angle to create a perfect degree line. Your vertical or horizontal line appears. If you click View, Snapping, Snap to Objects, you can also draw precise vertical and horizontal lines by dragging close to vertical or horizontal. How do I control the line thickness and style? To adjust the thickness of a line, click and drag the Stroke slider.

You can also use the Style drop-down menu to select a dashed, dotted, or other line style. The Cap style refers to the shape of the ends of your line segment. If you draw thick lines you will notice the ends either being semicircles or square. Modifying the Cap property allows you to control which type of line ends you get.

The Join property allows you to adjust how multiple lines are connected, either as rounded, square, or mitered junctions. Mitered junctions create an angle opposite to the angle that the lines are connected. It can be very helpful if you want an illustration to appear to be hand drawn or if you want to write script that looks like it was written on a piece of paper. If your line does not automatically smooth, click on the Pencil Mode modifier and click Smooth. First, you must click the Selection tool. Clicking once on a freehand line only selects a single line segment or curve.

But if you double-click on a line segment, all intersecting and connecting lines are selected. Can I draw perfectly straight lines with the Pencil tool? You can try this by using the Pencil tool while pressing and holding. The Brush tool differs from the Pencil tool in that it creates fills rather than strokes. Fills are contiguous blocks of color, while strokes are comprised of curves and line segments.

Your fill appears as you draw. You can choose from five brush modes by clicking the Brush Mode menu on the Tools panel. Paint Normal paints your literal brush strokes anywhere on the Stage over white space, strokes, and fills. Paint Fills paints white space and fills, but does not paint over strokes. Paint Behind the same layer. It is probably the most-used drawing tool for creating vector illustrations.

You draw lines, or paths, by clicking to create anchor points, and then dragging to adjust the curvature of your line. Your shape is closed.

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How can I edit points on a curved line? Use the Subselection tool to make changes to a curved line you created using the Pen tool. Move the cursor over a handle on the line or over an endpoint of the line. Click and drag any of these points to reposition and reshape the line or curve. How do I make them curves? Then click and drag any anchor point on your line to create the handles and curve your line. Although you can use the Pen tool or Line tool to create these shapes, it is much faster to use the dedicated shape tools.

Flash draws your rectangle on the Stage. Flash completes the shape using the color you selected to fill the oval. How do I draw a rectangle with rounded corners? You can use the Properties inspector to modify the corners of a rectangle shape. Change the Rectangle Corner Radius setting to create the type of rounded corners you want for the shape. Click and drag the slider control to the right to designate how much curvature you want for the corners, or drag the slider to the left to create inverted corners. You can also type the radius for your rounded corners in the text field.

The Fill open, press and Stroke options are very similar to the options for the Line tool and are adjusted the same way. You can fill objects with a color, a gradient effect, or even a picture. The Flash color palette comes with numerous colors and shades as well as several premade gradient effects from which to choose. Flash fills your shape with the new color. See Chapter 3 to learn more about creating new gradient effects.

Release the mouse button; your gradient fills the shape. What is a gradient effect? A gradient effect is a fill that is composed of multiple colors with a gradual transition from one color to the next. With Flash, you can create a linear gradient effect that blends color shading from left to right or top to bottom, or create a radial gradient effect that blends color shading from the middle to the outer edges, or vice versa. When you select the Paint Bucket tool, the Gap Size modifier appears at the bottom of the Tools panel.

Click the Gap Size modifier to display four settings. Selecting the other options fill shapes that are not closed to varying degrees. This chapter shows you how to edit, apply new fills, change line styles, and align elements to perfect your drawing. It is also useful for erasing portions of a fill and creating transparent areas or highlights. Using the Eraser Tool 1 Click the Eraser tool. To quickly erase entire lines or fills, you can click the Faucet modifier and then click the item you want to erase. You can use one of five modifiers with the Eraser tool: Lets you erase over anything on the Stage: Erases inside fill areas but not lines: Does just that — erases only the selected fill: There are two main ways you can select art.

The most common is to use the Selection tool and click the element you want to select. The second is to use the Lasso tool to draw a shape that encircles everything you want to select. You can move, delete, or edit the selected elements together. How can I select complex shapes? Drawing around irregular items with the Lasso tool can be difficult. You can alternately hold down the Option key when using the Lasso tool to enter Polygon mode. How do I select just a fill and not its border? Using the Selection tool , simply click the fill to select it.

To deselect a fill or border at any time, just click anywhere outside the selected object. When you want to replace the color of many elements at once, it is easiest to select the items you want to change and choose new colors from the Color panel. Your selected fills change to the new color. There are many ways to use custom colors. One way is to click and drag in the rainbow gradient in the Color panel; another is to type RGB values into the panel; a third is to type a hexadecimal color value at the bottom of the Color panel or at the top of the swatches.

How do I create colors that are translucent? Click and drag the Alpha slider in the Color panel to adjust the percentage of transparency. You can also type an alpha value into the text field. Basically, you choose a new set of properties that you want to apply to strokes in your artwork. Then you apply new properties to already drawn strokes. The appearance of your lines change to reflect the new properties. How can I quickly switch to a tool that is hidden behind another tool? Each tool in Flash has a key on the keyboard that corresponds to it.


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  • You can press to activate the Ink Bottle tool. You can use the Selection tool to modify lines by clicking and dragging when a special icon appears. You can also use the Subselection tool to modify anchor points and handles of lines and curves. The curvature of your line is changed. You can click an empty area of the Stage or work area to see your edits completed.

    If you click and hold the Pen tool, you see the additional Pen tools. You can use these tools to simplify or add complexity to your illustration. Copying attributes rather than reassigning them one at a time can save you time and effort. The Eyedropper tool copies fill and line attributes and enables you to apply the same formatting to other fills and lines. Copy Attributes 1 Click the Eyedropper tool.

    Flash immediately applies the fills. Flash applies the copied line style. When copying line attributes with the Eyedropper, you cannot paste those attributes with the Ink Bottle on grouped lines. Be sure to ungroup the lines first and then try copying and pasting the line attributes to each line. Using custom swatches is a great way to keep your palette consistent. You can also save your favorite color sets to use in other Flash movies. The Color panel appears. Can I add gradients to my color swatches? Click Window, and then click Swatches to open the Swatches panel.

    In the upper-right corner of the Swatches panel, click and select Save Colors. This saves your colors as a CLR file. You add a gradient to the palette the same way you add a solid color. Gradients, however, appear at the bottom of the panel. Designers use the swatches they create to maintain consistency across their designs. You can use your swatches to create a consistent look throughout your design or illustration. The Colors panel opens. How do I create a gradient that transitions through multiple colors?

    How do I remove a color from my gradient? When you click between the two swatches of the gradient in the Color panel, your cursor will have a plus next to it. Clicking when the plus is visible adds another color swatch to your gradient, and you can edit that color the same way you changed the other gradient colors.

    You can click and drag any color swatch in the gradient and drag down to remove a swatch from the gradient. However, you must have more than two colors in your gradient to remove one. It allows you to rotate and scale your fill. This tool is hidden behind the regular Transform tool in the Tools panel. Click a gradient fill. Click and drag on the stage with. The transform handles appear that allow you to rotate, scale, and move the center point of your fill.

    Click an empty part of the Stage to see your results. Can I edit my gradient after it has been transformed? If you select your gradient fill and edit its parameters in the Color panel, your changes are applied to the selected fill. How do I view the edit points to transform the fill? Click the Zoom tool. Then, click the Zoom out modifier , and click the Stage to zoom out. You can also click the View menu, click Magnification, then click a zoom level to zoom out and see more of the work area.

    The default behavior of the Free Transform tool allows you to scale, rotate, and skew. There are modifiers at the bottom of the Tools panel that restrict the tool to one type of transformation. Your gradient fill rotates. How do I change the center point that my transform is based on? Press and hold the key while scaling with the Free Transform tool to constrain to the proportions of your group or object.

    You can click and drag the small white circle that appears in the middle of your transform to reposition the center point. Groups are also very handy for drawing because they allow you to draw on top of another element without erasing what is behind it. You can double-click on your group to go inside your group. The individual elements are editable there. Doubleclick an empty area of the Stage to return to the normal editing mode. How can I convert my group back to its raw elements? The first way is to select your group and click Modify and then Break Apart.

    Breaking your group apart removes all selected groups. You can also click Modify, and then Ungroup. By grouping items, you can then use the Arrange menu to adjust the depth of any group or symbol on the same layer. The Object Drawing modifier automatically draws your rectangle as a group. The frontmost rectangle is now in the back. To send the back rectangle forward, click the Selection tool.

    Click the rectangle that is on the bottom to select it.

    Click Modify, Arrange, and Bring to Front. The back-most rectangle is now in the front. What are the other ways to arrange groups? Arranging objects and groups on the Stage only works when they are on the same layer. Make sure all the elements you want to arrange are not on different layers. See Chapter 6 for more information on layers. This is especially useful when you design buttons or icons that you want perfectly aligned. You can also evenly space objects on the Stage using this tool. Align Shapes 1 Select several objects or groups with the Selection tool.

    The objects and groups line up perfectly. The objects and groups are spaced evenly. Distribute evenly spaced objects based on their centers or edges. When you have elements that are different sizes, sometimes the results appear irregular. To fix this, you can click the Space buttons on the Align panel, which create an even amount of space between each element. Can I align objects relative to the Stage? They will align to the Stage. Many interaction designers use a grid system to lay out their interfaces.

    Snap to Grid 1 Click View. An item that is clicked and dragged snaps to positions along the grid. Snap to Objects 1 Click View. In this chapter, you learn how to add text to your illustrations and interactive projects. In Flash, text fields have many properties, and can be formatted a number of ways. To start, you can create your text fields to be either fixed width or dynamic width.

    You can make further adjustments in the Properties inspector to get your desired look. Your text appears on the Stage as you type. To edit your text, you can click on the text with the Text tool or doubleclick with the Selection tool. How can I turn a fixed-width text box into a dynamic-width text box, or vice versa? Select the text box by clicking on it with the Text tool or double-clicking with the Selection tool.

    To switch from dynamic width to fixed, click and drag any corner of the text box to your desired width. To switch from fixed width to dynamic, simply double-click the square in the upper-right corner of the text box. Your text box automatically resizes and becomes dynamic width again. You can use the paragraph options in the Properties inspector to change text orientation. Click the Orientation button , and select the orientation you want.

    If anything other than the default is selected, a button appears that allows you to change the orientation of the text in the box. You can align your text left, center, right, or justify. There are also options to set margins, line spacing, and indentation. Won un at 7: Flash formats your paragraph to the desired alignment.

    How can I change the units of measurement for hes margins and Inc ls indentation? You can, however, change it to inches, inches decimal , points, centimeters, millimeters, or pixels. Click Modify, and then click Document. How do I get my pixel font to render cleanly? Pixel fonts can be tricky in Flash because Flash is based on vectors rather than pixels. To get clean pixel fonts, make sure your text box is located on a whole pixel. You can set the position to a whole pixel by entering non-decimal numbers to the X and Y values of the Properties inspector.

    If your pixel font is still not crisp, make sure your letter spacing, or kerning, is set to zero. You can also turn off anti-aliasing in the Properties inspector by setting the Anti-alias property to Bitmap Text in the Properties inspector. This includes options for changing color, font, size, and more. To change the entire text box, you can select it with the Selection tool. To format only some of the characters, select them with the Text tool.

    Drag to the left to make the characters closer together; drag to the right to space them farther apart. Your text changes to the new color. Is there a faster way to change my font than to use the menu in the Properties inspector? What are the anti-aliasing options for? If you click the name of the font in the Properties inspector, you can delete it and start typing the name of the font you want to use. Flash automatically completes the font name after typing just a few characters. When you see the name of the font you want, press and your font changes.

    It results in very crisp type unless it is scaled or rotated. Anti-Alias For Animation makes your text ignore kerning and spacing information, but renders well at any size. This option is not recommended if you plan to animate your text. You can use the Eyedropper tool with text boxes to automatically copy all properties from a text box and create new text boxes with the same properties. Copy Text Attributes 1 Click the Eyedropper tool.

    By creating a new text box after using the Eyedropper tool, your text will have the same formatting. Yes, you can copy attributes from lines and fills as well. The Eyedropper tool changes its icon depending on what you roll the tool over. Moving your mouse over a fill displays a small paint bucket next to the Eyedropper. Strokes show a miniature ink bottle, and text displays a small letter A. Chapter 3 demonstrates how to copy attributes of lines, strokes, and fills.

    How do I copy a fill color to my text without changing its formatting? You can copy a fill color from any other fill and apply it to your text using the Eyedropper tool. Click on your text box with the Selection tool and then click the Eyedropper tool or press. Then click on any fill on the Stage to apply a copy of that color to your text. Drag to the left to make your letters closer together; drag to the right to space them farther apart.

    Drag to the left to decrease the space between lines; drag to the right to increase the space between lines. You can also choose to kern a single letter. Repeat these steps to hand kern each letter of a type treatment. How can I select a single word in a paragraph more easily than clicking and dragging? How can I create superscript and subscript text? You can also press and hold down and click the starting and ending points of the text you want to select.

    There are two buttons in the Character portion of the text properties panel. Click for superscript, and click for subscript. You can also resize your text boxes without affecting your formatting properties. For more on this, see Chapter 3. Your text area is positioned in the new location. The text box is resized.

    Select the text box with the Selection tool. Then click the Free Transform tool. Move the mouse pointer over the corner until the Rotate icon appears. Click and drag to rotate. To skew your text area, move over the top or bottom of the text box until the Skew button appears. Click and drag to the left or right to skew your text. You can find out more about transforms in Chapter 3. What does the Gap Size modifier do? When you select the Paintbucket tool , the Gap Size modifier appears at the bottom of the Tools panel.

    Click the Gap Size modifier to display a menu list of four settings. These settings determine how the Paintbucket tool treats any gaps that appear in the shape you are trying to fill. For very large gaps, you may need to close the gaps yourself before applying the fill color. Flash uses two stages of breaking apart. The first time you use the command, your text is split into editable, single character blocks. The second time, your text becomes filled shapes. After you fully break apart text, you can no longer edit it with the Text tool, change the font, or modify the formatting.

    Flash considers broken-apart text as nothing more than a series of fills. Use these to create dynamic-looking text like waves, exaggerated scaling, and other cool effects. Transform Text 3 1 Select your text area. Flash allows you to import bitmaps and vector graphics from many other applications, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. In this chapter, you learn about vector art and bitmaps, and how to use them within your Flash projects. In many instances, vector graphics have smaller file sizes, and can be ideal for delivery over networks.

    Now, with broadband being practically ubiquitous, Flash can deliver a combination of many types of media, including video, audio, and bitmap images. What Is a Bitmap? Most images you see on a computer are bitmaps, such as pictures from a digital camera or images on a Web site. Essentially, a bitmap file stores the color information of each pixel.

    A vector graphic uses the geometric equation for a line, curve, or shape in combination with additional attributes to describe that shape. For example, a line segment, in vector graphics, consists of two endpoints, and perhaps a color, thickness, and style. First, their file size is smaller in many cases. The second is scalability. If you scale up a piece of vector art, there is no pixellation, or loss in edge quality. Benefits of Bitmaps In certain situations, bitmaps can be substantially smaller in file size than vector graphics.

    Photographs and very complex illustrations are generally smaller files as bitmaps than vectors. There are occasions where a complex illustration is better suited as a bitmap, and times when a bitmap should be traced into vectors. But, a general rule of thumb for Flash is to use bitmaps for photographs and vector graphics for everything else. Creating Vector Graphics When you use the Flash drawing tools, you are creating vector graphics. You can also create vector graphics that Flash can import using a more complex illustration program, like Adobe Illustrator.

    Creating Bitmaps Most images on your computer are stored as some form of bitmap. You can create bitmaps in programs like Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks, and use those bitmaps in your Flash movies. You can then manipulate imported images with Flash commands. In addition to importing graphics, you can also use the Paste command to paste graphics you cut or copy from other programs.

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    Flash places the graphic on the Stage as a group. Flash also places the bitmap symbol in the Library. You can also press to paste a selection. What graphic file types does Flash CS4 support? Can I reuse the bitmap graphic? When you import a bitmap graphic, Flash immediately adds it to the Flash Library for use in other frames in your movie.

    See Chapter 8 to learn more about using the Flash Library. You can use the Break Apart command to make your bitmap editable. Break Apart a Bitmap 2 1 Select the bitmap image. The Threshold value indicates how similar a color must be to the color you clicked in order to be selected. A higher threshold usually selects a larger area; a smaller threshold, usually selects a more precise area. The Smoothing menu allows you to choose how Flash should make the selection. Pixels will have no smoothing at all. Rough, Normal, and Smooth settings create varying levels of curvature to your selection.

    Sometimes bitmap fills are used for patterns; other times you can use them to put photographs inside a nontraditional shape. Depending on the size of your bitmap, it may repeat in order to fill your shape completely. Create a Bitmap Fill 1 1 Click File. You can use the Gradient Transform tool to transform your bitmap fill just like you would a gradient fill.

    To quickly edit your bitmap fill, select the fill and press. The transformation handles appear as though you are working with a gradient. See Chapter 3 to learn about transforming fills. This command is usually applied to logos or simple art with a few colors, though you can also create some interesting painterly effects when using Trace Bitmap on photographs. When you apply the Trace Bitmap command, you have an opportunity to adjust several parameters that define the rendering of the image, including how Flash handles the color variances, pixel size translation, and the smoothness of curves or sharpness of corners.

    For more on selecting objects on the Stage, see Chapter 3. A smaller value results in many vector shapes; a larger value results in fewer vectors. This value determines the number of surrounding pixels that Flash considers when assigning the pixel color. Can I preview my settings before I trace my bitmap? Just click Preview in the Trace Bitmap dialog box, and you can adjust your settings before committing the trace. How can I change the color of my traced bitmap? There are two ways. One way is to adjust colors and saturation of your image in Photoshop and then import it and trace again.

    The other way — which can be tedious if your image is complex — is to use the Paintbucket tool and fill each shape that your trace created. Illustrator is a great tool for drawing complex artwork and has many more options for drawing than Flash. Flash can import your Illustrator files entirely, or you can select specific parts of an illustration and build your Flash project with the pieces. How can I set my preferences for importing Illustrator files? You can then tell Flash how you normally prefer to import text, paths, images, groups and layers, as well as set general importing preferences.

    My import window has an incompatibility warning. If your Illustrator file contains items not compatible with Flash, the Incompatibility Report button appears in the import window.

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