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This chapter is from the book

Modifying Shapes: Bézier Tools

The subselection tool lets you work with the anchor points of a path, moving them and manipulating their Bézier handles. Flash has two styles for displaying anchor points: hollow (the default) and solid. To set an anchor point style, from the Flash menu (OS X) or the Edit menu (Win), choose Preferences. From the Category list, choose Drawing. In the Pen Tool section, select/deselect the Show Solid Points checkbox, and click OK.

Note: The tasks in this book assume that Show Solid Points is selected.

To view a path and anchor points

  1. In the Tools panel, select the subselection tool il-subslctntool.jpg, or press A. The pointer changes to a hollow arrow il-subslctnpntr.jpg.
  2. On the Stage, click the line or curve you want to modify. Flash selects and highlights the path and anchor points. To manipulate a particular point, you must select it directly.

To select an anchor point

  1. Using the subselection tool, move the pointer over the path you want to modify.

    A small solid square appears next to the hollow arrow when the pointer is above a curve or line segment. A small hollow square appears next to the hollow arrow when the pointer is directly above an anchor point red-circle-b.jpg.

    04-44-b1_slctfullpth.jpg

    red-circle-b.jpg A solid square appears next to the hollow arrow when the subselection tool is ready to select the entire path (top). When a hollow square appears (bottom), the tool is ready to select and manipulate a single anchor point.

  2. Click an anchor point. Flash highlights the selected point and displays its Bézier handles.

To move a corner point

  1. Use the subselection tool to highlight the path and anchor points of the element you want to modify.
  2. Position the pointer over a corner point.
  3. Drag the desired corner point to a new location. Flash redraws the path red-circle-c.jpg.
04-45-c1_befdrganchrpnt.jpg

red-circle-c.jpg Using the subselection tool, drag a corner point to reposition it.

To move a curve point

  1. Use the subselection tool to highlight the path and anchor points of the element you want to modify.
  2. Position the pointer over a curve point. The anchor-point icon appears.
  3. Drag the point to a new location red-circle-d.jpg. Flash previews the new curve as you drag.
04-46-d1_ovranchrpnt.jpg

Image When you select an anchor point (1), Flash highlights the entire path (2). You can drag the anchor point to modify the path (3). The path and anchor points remain highlighted when you’re done (4).

After you move a curve point, the path remains selected, and the Bézier control handles extend so you can further manipulate the curve.

To reshape a curve with the Bézier handles

  1. With the subselection tool, click the curve you want to modify.
  2. Click one of the anchor points that define the curve you want to modify. Bézier handles appear.
  3. Drag one of the Bézier handles. The pointer changes to a solid arrowhead as you drag.
  4. To modify the curve, do one or more of the following:
  • To make the curve bulge in the opposite direction, move the Bézier handle past the existing curve, opposite to the direction of the current bulge.
  • To make the curve deeper, position the Bézier handle farther from the anchor point.
  • To make the curve shallower, position the Bézier handle closer to the anchor point.

Flash previews the new curve as you manipulate the Bézier handle red-circle-e.jpg.

04-47-e1_origpth.jpg

red-circle-e.jpg When you select anchor points, their Bézier handles appear (1). Leaning a Bézier handle away from a curve makes that curve segment more pronounced (2). Dragging the Bézier handle away from its anchor point makes the curve deeper (3).

To convert a corner point to a curve point

  1. Use the subselection tool to highlight the path and anchor points you want to modify.
  2. In the Tools panel, from the Bézier-tool submenu, select the convert anchor-point tool red-circle-f.jpg, or press C. The pointer becomes an upward-pointing caret il-cnvrtptcaret.jpg.
    04-48-f_beztoolmen.jpg

    red-circle-f.jpg In addition to the pen tool, the Bézier-tool submenu offers three other tools for modifying the anchor points and Bézier curves of a path. Click the current Bézier tool in the Tools panel to access a submenu showing all four tools.

  3. Position the caret pointer over a corner point.
  4. To activate Bézier handles, click the point, then drag away from it.

Flash converts the corner point to a curve point that has Bézier handles red-circle-g.jpg. As you drag, the handles extend and move, modifying the curve.

04-49-g1_cnvrtpticon.jpg

red-circle-g.jpg To change a corner point into a curve point (with Bézier handles), use the convert–anchor-point tool (top) to drag out a corner point. You pull Bézier handles out of the point instead of relocating the point (middle). When you release the mouse button, Flash redraws the curve (bottom).

To convert a curve point to a corner point

  1. Using the subselection tool, select the path you want to modify.
  2. In the Tools panel, from the Bézier-tool submenu, select the convert–anchor-point tool, or press C.
  3. Click a curve point on the selected path. Flash converts the curve point to a corner point, removing the Bézier handles and flattening the curved path red-circle-h.jpg.
04-50-h1_befcnvrtcrvpnt.jpg

red-circle-h.jpg Clicking a curve point with the convert–anchor-point tool (left) reduces the point to a corner point (right). Flash redraws the path accordingly.

To delete an anchor point

  1. Using the subselection tool, select the path you want to modify.
  2. In the Tools panel, from the Bézier-tool submenu, choose the delete–anchor-point tool, or press – (minus sign). The pointer becomes a pen with a minus sign il-delanchrpt.jpg.
  3. Position the pointer over an anchor point and click. Flash removes the anchor point and reshapes the path to connect the remaining points red-circle-i.jpg.
04-51-i1_befdelanchrpnt.jpg

red-circle-i.jpg Click an anchor point with the delete–anchor-point tool to remove the point. Flash redraws the path accordingly.

To add a point within a path

  1. Use the subselection tool to select the path you want to modify.
  2. In the Tools panel, from the Bézier-tool submenu, choose the add–anchor-point tool, or press = (equals sign). The pointer becomes a pen with a plus sign il-addanchrpt.jpg.
  3. Position the pointer over the path and do one of the following:
  • Click between two corner points to create a new corner point.
  • Click between two curve points to create a new curve point.
  • Click between a corner point and a curve point to create a new curve point.

Flash adds a new point red-circle-j.jpg.

04-52-j1_befaddanchrpnt.jpg

red-circle-j.jpg Position the add–anchor-point tool between existing anchor points (left). Click the path to add a new point (right).

To extend an existing path

  1. In the Tools panel, from the Bézier-tool submenu, choose the pen tool, or press P.
  2. Position the pointer over the anchor point at either end of the path (a terminal anchor point). The pointer becomes a pen with a small slash il-extndpth.jpg.
  3. Click the terminal anchor point. The pen links to that point as if you’d just placed it red-circle-k.jpg.
    04-53-k1_befextndpth.jpg

    red-circle-k.jpg A slash appears when you position the pen pointer over a terminal anchor point (the first or last point in an open path). Clicking the point links the pen tool to that path. Then, clicking on the Stage creates a new point that extends the existing path.

  4. Click to add points as you learned in Chapter 2.

    To create a single unified path, the pen tool and the existing path must be in the same drawing mode. If the existing path is a drawing-object and the pen is set to Merge Drawing mode (or vice versa), Flash places the points, but the segments remain separate.

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