Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Adobe Flash

10 Minutes with Flash: Graphics Tablets and Flash MX 2004

📄 Contents

  1. Step Away from the Mouse with your Hands Up
  2. Getting Even with Your Tablet
  • Print
  • + Share This
Step away from that mouse right now! In 10 minutes, Robert Hoekman, Jr. shows you how to make the best use of your graphics tablet while working with Flash.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

About a million years ago, someone invented the graphics tablet and gave designers everywhere the ability to draw in a more natural way. Photoshop users have enjoyed this luxury for quite awhile, and the release of Flash MX 2004 has brought Flashers the same benefits. Tablet support in Flash has hardly been discussed in the geek world, so for the next 10 minutes, I'll show you what's been missing from your life. (This article is for those of you who have not yet discovered the joy of using tablets.)

Step Away from the Mouse with your Hands Up

The first thing to know is that Flash MX 2004 only includes support for Wacom tablets, and the Intuous 2 is probably the most reasonable to purchase—at around $220. It's got a great reputation and some killer features. The stylus, for example, supports more than 1,000 levels of pressure and includes tilt support so you can draw with natural movements and hand positions. It also comes with some graphic editing software, but you can use the tablet with just about any program you already own. In addition, it includes a mouse, so you can replace yours with the tablet, its mouse and stylus, and simply swap back and forth whenever you want. (Personally, I grab the mouse with my right hand and the stylus with my left, and I have battles for domination. Fun for the whole family!)

Using a tablet, you can draw and paint in strokes that look realistic. If you press lightly on the tablet, a thin, light-colored stroke appears. Pressing harder results in thicker, darker strokes; and you can go from light to heavy within a single stroke. Also, you can use the stylus instead of your mouse for everything you normally do on a computer. The cursor follows your movements around the tablet, which represents the entire screen area of your monitor. In other words, the top-left corner of your tablet's active area is the top-left corner of your screen.

After you acquire a Wacom tablet, there is a variety of ways to configure it. You can adjust the sensitivity of the stylus, the double-clicking speed, what the buttons on the stylus do, the sensitivity of the eraser end of the stylus (oh—by the way, it includes an eraser), the tilt range, the functionality of the buttons on the tablet itself, and even what applications you want to use with your tablet (if not all of them).

To set up your tablet, install the driver software and open up the Wacom Tablet application, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1Figure 1 The Wacom Tablet application helps with all your configuration needs.

Now, the thing that can be most difficult to get accustomed to is how to use the stylus to move the cursor around your screen. Unlike the mouse, which sits on a mouse pad, the stylus needs to be held slightly above the tablet without touching it. To click, you press down on the tablet. If you're a "hard-presser," drag the Tip Pressure Feel option under the Tip Feel tab to Firm or something near it. If you're "normal," leave the slider at its default setting. Draw inside the box marked Draw Here to test the sensitivity of the stylus.

After you have the Tip Feel configured, move on to the Double-Click, Eraser Feel, and Tilt tabs in the application and then set them as well. For Tilt, you can broaden the tilt area so much that the tablet recognizes stylus movements even if the stylus is lying on its side.

Under the Tool Buttons tab, you can configure the eraser end of your stylus to do several things, including open an application, but leaving it set to work as an eraser is usually a good idea until you've become so good at drawing that you never ever need to erase something (yeah, right). The main button on the stylus can be clicked on either end, and you can set each end to do something different. I have the button closest to the tip set as Click and the other button set as Right-click because there's no other convenient way to do it with the stylus, and I'm a right-clicking fiend.

Under the Mapping/Speed tab, it seems best to set Mouse Acceleration to Low and Tracking Speed to a slower speed (the left half of the slider bar). This keeps the cursor from moving too quickly, allowing for more precise and controlled drawing. Also, setting the Positioning Mode to Pen allows for absolute positioning of the cursor (if your stylus is at the top-left corner of the tablet's active area, the cursor appears in the top-left corner of the screen).

By default, the row of buttons on the tablet itself is used to create a new document in the program you're currently using, open and close a file, save, print, cut, copy and paste. In the Tablet Buttons tab of the Wacom Tablet application, however, you can customize each of the buttons to do something else, such as change the pressure of the stylus or open a specific application, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2Figure 2 Set the buttons on the tablet to open your favorite time-wasting Flash game.

After you're done configuring your tablet, quit the Wacom Tablet application and open up Flash. This is where the fun starts!

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020