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Expert Flash Tips and Tricks

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Quick and dirty Flash! tips from Derek Franklin and Brooks Patton, coauthors of Flash 5! Creative Web Animation.

Selected from Flash 4! Creative Web Animation, by Derek Franklin and Brooks Patton

SET YOUR TOOLBARS FREE  To make a toolbar float separately on the screen, place the pointer over an area on the toolbar with no buttons. Then, while holding down the Control key, click. The docked toolbar becomes a floating toolbar.

tip 1atip 1b

CHANGE A LINE TO A FILL  To color a line with a gradient or even a bitmap fill, you must first convert it into a fillable area by selecting the line with the Arrow tool and then choosing Modify > Curves > Lines to Fills.

A SHOW OF HANDS  Any time you are drawing with another tool, you can hold down the spacebar to activate the Hand tool. Releasing the spacebar returns you to the tool you were previously using.

GET IT STRAIGHT  If one click of the Straighten button doesn't perfect your shape, you can keep pressing it because it has an accumulative effect. You will, however, reach a point when the square or circle is perfect or the line is straight.

tip 4aA shape before straighten.

tip 4bA shape after straighten.

QUICK DROP SHADOWS  Use the Soften Edges effect to give your shapes a drop-shadow effect. An interactive tutorial on how to do this can be found on the CD for Flash 4! Creative Web Animation.

A CHANGE OF CENTER  You cannot change a stage-level object's center point. However, if you really need to rotate a stage-level object from a center other than its true center, simply turn it into a group, move its center point, rotate it, and ungroup it. You've cheated the system. Doesn't it feel great?

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