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Reshaping Curves with the Subselection Tool

The subselection tool lets you manipulate a point's Bézier handles to modify the slope and depth of the curve. You can add and delete points and convert existing curve points to corner points, or vice versa, with the pen tool (see "Converting, Removing, and Adding Points," later in this chapter).

One way to reshape a curve is to change the location of the anchor points that define the curve.

To move a curve point:

  1. In the Toolbox, choose the subselection tool.

  2. Click a path to select it.

    Flash highlights the entire path of the selected element.

  3. Position the pointer over a curve point.

    The anchor-point modifier appears.

  4. Click and drag the point to a new location.

    Flash previews the new curve as you drag (Figure 3.46).

    Figure 3.46Figure 3.46 One way to modify a curved path is to reposition anchor points with the subselection tool.

    After you move a curve point, the path remains selected, and the Bézier control handles of the point you moved become active so that 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 two anchor points that define the curve you want to modify.

    Bézier handles appear.

  3. Click and drag one of the Bézier handles.

    The pointer changes to an arrowhead.

  4. To modify the curve, do one or more of the following:

    • To make the curve more pronounced, position the Bézier handle farther from the curve in the direction in which the curve bulges.

    • To make the curve flatter, position the Bézier handle closer to the curve.

    • To make the curve bulge in the opposite direction, move the Bézier handle past the existing curve, in the opposite direction from 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 (Figure 3.47).

    Figure 3.47Figure 3.47 When you select anchor points, their Bézier handles appear (A). Leaning a Bézier handle away from a curve (B) makes that curve segment more pronounced (C). Leaning the handle toward the curve flattens that part of the curve. Dragging the Bézier handle away from its anchor point (D) makes the curve deeper (E); dragging the handle toward the anchor point makes the curve shallower.


    • To select an anchor point and activate its Bézier handles quickly, use the subselection tool to draw a selection rectangle around the curve you want to modify. Even if the path was not highlighted, Flash selects any anchor points that fall within the section and activates their handles.

    • You can move selected anchor points with the arrow keys. To move in larger increments, press Shift-arrow key.

    • When you have multiple anchor points selected, using the arrow keys moves the selected points as a unit. Dragging one of those points with the subselection tool repositions just that point.

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