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Modifying Shapes: Natural Drawing Tools

You can edit all the strokes and fills you create in Flash after you’ve drawn them. You can edit deselected merge-shapes and drawing-objects in Flash’s natural-drawing style, using the selection tool to change the path that defines the shape; or you can work directly with the path’s anchor points and Bézier curves by using the subselection tool, and the various Bézier tools. (See “Modifying Shapes: Bézier Tools” in this chapter.) You can modify primitive-shapes by dragging their control points with the selection tool, or you can change their properties in the Property inspector.

Note: For the following tasks, make sure the item you want to modify is deselected. These techniques all deal with modifying strokes, but the same techniques work for modifying fills by reshaping their paths. (See “About Fill Paths” in this chapter.)

To activate the end of a segment with the selection tool

  1. Position the selection tool’s pointer over the end point of a deselected line segment.

    The corner-point icon il-19_crnrpnticon.jpg appears.

  2. Click the end point. The end of the segment becomes active.
  3. Drag the end point to a new location red-circle-b.jpg.
    04-39-b1_befextndcrv.jpg

    red-circle-b.jpg Drag away from the existing curve or line segment to lengthen it (top). Reposition the end point to change the direction of the line (middle) or curve segment (bottom).

    As you drag, the end of the line changes to a small circle, showing that the line is active for modifications. Flash previews the modified segment as you drag.

  4. Release the mouse button. Flash redraws the line segment.

To reshape a curve with the selection tool

  1. Position the selection tool’s pointer over the middle of an unselected curve segment.

    The curve-point icon il-20_crvpntpntr.jpg appears.

  2. Drag the curve to reshape it red-circle-c.jpg. Flash previews the curve you’re drawing.
    04-40-c1_crvptroverstrk.jpg

    red-circle-c.jpg Click the middle of a curve (1) to activate the curve segment for editing (2). Drag to reshape the curve (3). When you release the mouse button, Flash redraws the curve (4).

  3. Release the mouse button. Flash redraws the curve.

To turn a straight-line segment into a curve segment with the selection tool

  1. Position the selection tool’s pointer over the middle of an unselected line segment. The curve-point icon appears.
  2. Drag the line to reshape it red-circle-d.jpg. Flash previews the curve that you’re drawing.
    04-41-d1_befrdrwcrv.jpg

    red-circle-d.jpg Although this line doesn’t look curved (top), Flash treats all its middle points as curve points. Drag one of those points to create a line that looks like a curve (bottom).

  3. Release the mouse button. Flash redraws the line, giving it the curve you defined.

To create a new corner point with the selection tool

  1. Position the selection tool’s pointer over the middle of an unselected line or curve segment. The curve-point icon appears.
  2. Option-click (OS X) or Alt-click or Ctrl-click (Win) the line. After a brief pause, the arc changes to the corner-point icon il-19_crnrpnticon.jpg, and a circle appears where the pointer intersects the line. You’re now activating a corner point.
  3. Drag to modify the line or curve segment and add a new corner point red-circle-e.jpg.
04-42-e1_befoptdrgln.jpg

red-circle-e.jpg Option-click (OS X) or Alt-click or Ctrl-click (Win) to create a new corner point for editing your line. Dragging a corner point from a straight-line segment creates a sharp V (top). Dragging a corner point from a curve creates a V with curving sides that comes to a sharp point (bottom).

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