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This chapter is from the book

Flash's Drawing Tools

When you are comfortable enough to start drawing in Flash, you have two weapons of choice: the pencil and the paintbrush. The Pencil tool always provides a much tighter style than the Paintbrush tool. The Paintbrush tool combined with the pressure sensitivity option allows for a loose style.

The Pencil Tool

The Pencil tool allows the user to vary the pencil's thickness, style, and color.

When using the Pencil tool, you can draw in three modes: Smooth, Ink, and Straighten. Smooth mode will attempt to recognize any shapes automatically. The Straighten mode will attempt to reduce your objects into shapes. The Smooth mode does not adjust your lines dramatically, but subtly smoothes your stroke. Both Smooth and Straighten modes will connect lines that have end points close to each other. Ink mode gives the artist the mobility of freehand pencil drawing. There is no smoothing, shape recognition, or line connection.

Explore the stroke textures and thicknesses in the drop-down Window menu. One of the most renowned flash animators, Joe Shields, a.k.a. Joe Cartoon, has made quite a mark on the web with his use of the Pencil tool.

The Paintbrush Tool

The Paintbrush tool allows for a looser style of drawing. Like the Pencil tool, there are choices for line thickness and texture. The Paintbrush, when used in conjunction with a pressure-sensitive tablet, can make beautifully weighted strokes. Veteran Simpsons animator and creator Tom Winkler has made this style his signature on the web. If you decide to turn on the pressure-sensitive setting, be aware of the force you exert on the pen. If you have a heavy hand, use a small brush size.

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4

You can also import a bitmap to use as a paintbrush or Fill tool. As you can see in the following cartoon, much of the fabric was imported as a bitmap and then broken up. After a bitmap is broken up, you can simply dip your Dropper tool into it to use it as a paintbrush. Be aware that it is still a bitmap, and your file size will subsequently reflect that if you over-use this trick.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5

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