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Modifying Fills and Strokes

Flash provides two methods for modifying existing fills and strokes: you can apply new attributes with a tool (the paint-bucket tool for fills, the ink-bottle tool for strokes), or you can select the fill or stroke on the Stage and choose new attributes in an appropriate panel. For fills or strokes that contain a gradient, you can also modify the way the gradient fits in the shape by using the gradient-transform tool.

To change fill color with the paint-bucket tool

  1. In the Tools panel, select the paint-bucket tool, or press K.
  2. Select new fill attributes (see Chapter 2).
  3. Click the paint bucket's hot spot (the tip of the drip of paint) somewhere inside the fill you want to change.

    The fill can be selected or deselected. The fill changes to the new color (Figure 4.38).

    Figure 4.38

    Figure 4.38 Clicking a fill with the paint bucket applies whatever color is selected in the Fill Color control. Use this technique to change existing fills.

To change stroke color with the ink-bottle tool

  1. In the Tools panel, select the ink-bottle tool, or press S.
  2. Select new stroke attributes (see Chapter 2).
  3. Click the ink bottle's hot spot (the tip of the drip of paint) in one of the following ways:
    • Click directly on the stroke.
    • If a shape has both stroke and fill, and both are deselected, click the fill.
    • If a shape has both stroke and fill, and both are selected, click the fill.
    • If a shape has both stroke and fill, and only the fill is selected, click the stroke.
    The stroke takes on its new attributes (Figure 4.40).
    Figure 4.40

    Figure 4.40 You don't have to select a stroke to change its attributes; just click the stroke or the unselected fill with the ink bottle. Warning: If the fill is selected, you must click the stroke itself; you can't click the selected fill to change an unselected stroke.

To change a gradient fill's center point

  1. In the Tools panel, from the transform-tools submenu, select the gradient-transform tool (Figure 4.41).
    Figure 4.41

    Figure 4.41 Flash pairs the free-transform tool and gradient-transform tool in a submenu of the Tools panel; select the gradient-transform tool to manipulate the way gradients appear within fills and strokes.

  2. Position the pointer over the graphic element whose gradient you want to modify; the gradient can be located in a fill or in a stroke.

    The pointer changes to the gradient-transform pointer.

  3. Click.

    Handles for manipulating the gradient appear (Figure 4.42). You can rotate the gradient or change its size and/or center point.

    Figure 4.42

    Figure 4.42 Handles for transforming gradients appear when you click a gradient with the gradient-transform pointer.

  4. Position the pointer over the gradient's center-point handle, the circle icon.

    The move icon appears.

  5. Drag the center-point handle to reposition the center point of the gradient (Figure 4.43).
    Figure 4.43

    Figure 4.43 Drag the center-point handle to reposition the center of the gradient within your shape.

To change a radial gradient's focal point

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 in the preceding task.
  2. Position the gradient-transform pointer over the focal-point handle, the triangle.

    The pointer changes to a triangle.

  3. Click and drag the focal-point handle to a new location (Figure 4.44).
    Figure 4.44

    Figure 4.44 This gradient blends from white (in the leftmost gradient pointer) to black (in the rightmost). This arrangement puts white at the center of a radial gradient, giving the illusion of highlighting on a three-dimensional object. By moving the focal point, you can mimic changes in the way light hits the object.

    The focal point, where you have the most concentrated amount of the gradient's central color, shifts to the new location.

To resize a gradient in a fill or stroke

  1. With the gradient-transform tool selected in the Tools panel, click the graphic element that contains the gradient you want to modify.
  2. To change the way the gradient fits inside the fill or stroke, do one of the following:
    • To change the width of a linear gradient, drag the square handle (Figure 4.45).
      Figure 4.45

      Figure 4.45 With a linear gradient selected, use the gradient-transform tool to drag the square handle inward and create a narrower rectangle for a gradient.

      The pointer changes to a double-headed arrow. Dragging toward the center of your shape squeezes the transition into a narrower space; dragging away from the center of your shape spreads the transition over a wider space.
    • To change the shape of a radial gradient, drag the square handle (Figure 4.46).
      Figure 4.46

      Figure 4.46 With a radial gradient selected, use the gradient-transform tool to drag the square handle inward to create a narrower oval for a gradient.

      The pointer changes to a double-headed arrow. Dragging toward the center of your shape creates a narrower oval space for the transition; dragging away from the center of your shape creates a wider oval space.
    • To change the radius of a radial gradient, drag the circular handle next to the square handle (Figure 4.47).
      Figure 4.47

      Figure 4.47 With a radial gradient selected, drag the first round handle outward to create a larger radius.

      The pointer changes to an arrow within a circle. Dragging toward the center of your shape squeezes the transition into a smaller circular space; dragging away from the center of your shape spreads the transition over a larger circular space.

To control overflow

  1. Follow the steps in the preceding task to create a gradient that is narrower than the shape it sits in.
  2. In the Color panel, from the Overflow menu (Figure 4.48), choose one of the following:
    • To extend the colors in the leftmost and rightmost gradient pointers, choose Extend (the first menu item).
    • To repeat the gradient, but with the colors in reverse order, choose Reflect (the second menu item).
    • To repeat the gradient with colors in the original order, choose Repeat.
    Figure 4.48

    Figure 4.48 When you're set to publish your movie to Flash Player 8 or later (see Chapter 17), the Color panel's Overflow menu is active. You can choose how Flash fills out a gradient that you have made narrower than the shape it sits in.

    Note that to view the Overflow menu, your Publish Settings must be set to publish for Flash Player 8 or above (see Chapter 17).

To rotate a gradient fill

  1. With the gradient-transform tool selected in the Tools panel, click the fill or stroke containing the gradient you want to modify.
  2. To rotate the gradient, do either of the following:
    • To rotate a linear gradient, drag the round handle (Figure 4.49).
      Figure 4.49

      Figure 4.49 As you drag the gradient's rotate handle with the gradient-transform tool, you spin the gradient around its center point.

    • To rotate a radial gradient, drag the round handle farthest from the square handle.
    The pointer changes to a circular arrow. You can rotate the gradient clockwise or counterclockwise.
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