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Creating Colors

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Katherine Ulrich, author of Flash 5 for Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, takes you through creating, defining, and selecting colors in Flash for Windows and Macintosh.
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Creating Solid Colors: Mixer Panel

You can define new solid colors for fills and strokes in the Mixer panel. You can do so visually, by clicking a representation of a color space, or numerically, by entering specific values for color components. Always choose the type of color-fill or stroke- before you start defining. Flash updates all the related color boxes with the new color. If you define a new fill color, for example, that color becomes the setting for all the tools that use fills. You can also set a color's transparency in the Mixer panel.

To access the Mixer panel:

If the Mixer panel is not currently open, do one of the following:

  • From the Window menu, choose Panels > Mixer (Figure 1).

  • In the Launcher bar at the bottom of the Stage, click the Show Mixer button. The Mixer panel appears.

  • Figure 1

    To access the Mixer panel, choose Window > Panels > Mixer.

To access solid color attributes in the Mixer panel:

  1. From the Mixer panel's Options menu, choose a color space (Figure 2). The Mixer panel allows you to define colors values in three color spaces: RGB (red, green, blue), HSB (hue, saturation, brightness), and Hex (hexadecimal).

  2. To determine where Flash applies the new color, do one of the following:

    • To set a new stroke color, click the pencil icon.

    • To set a new fill color, click the paint-bucket icon.

    Figure 2

    The Mixer panel lets you choose a color from the color-space bar or enter values directly to define a color in the RGB, HSB, or Hex color space.

To define a new color visually in the Mixer panel:

  1. With the Mixer panel open, choose a color space.

  2. Position the pointer over the desired hue in the color-space bar.

  3. Click.

  4. The crosshair cursor appears, and Flash selects the color within the crosshairs (Figure 3).

    Figure 3

    Click the color-space bar to choose a new color visually.


  • Even if you have set your monitor resolution to 640 by 480, that color-space bar is awfully tiny. You can access a full-size color picker from any color-box.

To define a new color numerically in the Mixer panel:

  1. With the Mixer panel open, choose a color space.

  2. To define a new color, do one of the following:

    • For RGB and Hex colors, enter values for red, green, and blue in the R, G, and B fields (Figure 4).

    • For HSB, enter values for hue, saturation, and brightness in the H, S, and B fields.

    Figure 4

    Enter RGB values to specify RGB or Hex colors; enter HSB values to specify hue, saturation, and brightness. The new color appears in the selected color box.

What Are Hex Colors?

The term hex color is short for hexadecimal color, which is a fancy way of saying a color defined by a number written in base 16. Hexadecimal coding is the language of bits and bytes that computers speak; it's also the coding you use to specify color in HTML.

If you remember studying bases in high-school math, you' ll recall that the decimal system is base 10, represented by the numbers 0 through 9. In hex color, to get the extra six digits, you continue coding with letters A through F.

To define a color's transparency:

  1. With the Mixer panel open, define a color.

  2. Enter a value in the Alpha field (Figure 5).

  3. A percentage of 100 results in a completely solid color; a percentage of 0 results in a completely transparent color.

Sometimes, you might want to match the color of an item you've already created in Flash, for example.

Figure 5

Enter an Alpha value of less than 100 percent to define a transparent color.

To sample and select a color from the Stage:

  1. With the Mixer panel open, click the stroke- or fill-color box.

  2. The pointer changes to an eyedropper tool, and a set of swatches appears.

  3. Click on any element in a Flash document to select the color directly below the tip of the eyedropper.

After you define a new color, you may want to add it to the Swatches panel so you can use it again.

To add a color to the Swatches panel:

  1. Use any of the techniques described ear-lier in this section to define a new color in the Mixer panel.

  2. From the Mixer panel's Options menu, choose Add Swatch.

  3. Flash appends the new color to the solid-colors section of the Swatches panel.


  • You can add new colors to the Swatches panel even if it is closed. But if you want to get the feedback when you add a swatch, open the Swatches panel in its own win-dow. Resize the panel so there's a bit of gray space below the existing swatches. You' ll see the new swatch come in.

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