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In Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training, author Todd Perkins explains the fundamentals of Flash Professional CS5, the industry standard for creating animations and interactive applications for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. This course starts with the basics, such as using the drawing tools to create simple animations, and progresses to automating animation with tweens and adding interactivity with ActionScript. This course also covers how to add sound and video to projects, enhance realism with effects like easing, and publish a project to a variety of platforms. Exercise files are included.
The Pen tool allows you to draw complex shapes in Flash. If you're familiar with the Pen tool in other applications, you're in luck because it works in pretty much the same way. For example, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, both use the Pen tool and all of the keyboard shortcuts are the same, as they are in Flash. Just to know that it's in a flyout menu with some other tools, like the Add Anchor Point tool, the Delete Anchor Point tool and the Convert Anchor Point tool. So select the Pen tool, the keyboard shortcut is P, so if you're an artist, you might like the Pen tool, so you may want to memorize that.
I am going to use Merge Drawing for now and then I'll have a Stroke Height of one. And I'll just use a Black stroke and I'll begin drawing with Pen tool. For this Scene I have on my Stage, I am going to add a cactus to the background. The Pen tool can be used to just draw straight lines, if you just click in different points. So if I click once and then I move my mouse and then click again, and as I keep clicking, I can draw different shapes. So I can draw a cactus, made with straight lines, like so.
And when you're done drawing a shape with the Pen tool, if you hover your mouse over the first Anchor Point, your cursor will update to show a circle icon. That means if you click there, Flash will close out the path. So, you'll have one continuous stroke. Let's say I wanted to create a cactus using curved lines. I am going to undo the cactus, I just created and we will create a new one. If you click-and-drag, when you're drawing point with the Pen tool, you can use something called Bezier Curves.
Bezier Curves use mathematics to create curved lines, so I'll click the bottom left, I'll move my cursor up a little bit. And then I'll click to the left-and-up and slowly drag my mouse up, see the curve that's created. As I am clicking and dragging, you will see a line from my cursor, down into the left or down to the right, depending on where your cursor is, it could be in a different spot. But you see that I have a straight line that's coming out of my cursor. And that line is used to create the direction of the Bezier Curve.
So I can click-and-drag to control how that works. So I'll get at a good angle for the arm of this cactus and I'll let go of my mouse button. So I will continue creating the arm and notice the lines for the last Bezier Curve are still there and they're applying to this line that I'm creating. Now that's significant, I'll explain that in just a moment. So I am going to create an arm that curves up and around here. So let's say you wanted to have only part of the Bezier Curve applied.
So let's say I only wanted to apply, to the line that I'm creating now and not the next line that I create. To do that, you can hold the Alt or Option key on your keyboard to adjust the line for the next curve that you draw. So, I'll adjust my line like so and then click-and-drag to draw the next Bezier Curve. So, I'll draw the point of the cactus, I am not really worried about making this absolutely perfect right now. I am actually going to go back and fine-tune it in just a minute.
So I'm going to click and drag and continue to draw this cactus out. So let's say I want to adjust the top area of the cactus. I've already drawn the line. So I can do is use the Sub Selection tool, the keyboard shortcut for that is A. It's the white arrow, right below the Selection tool and allows you to select individual Anchor Points and modify them. So I can select the Anchor Point at the top left and adjust its Bezier Curves. I can even hold the Alt or Option key to only adjust one-half of the line for the curve.
That looks a little bit better! I can also move the Anchor Point as well. So using the Sub Selection tool, you can fine-tune the artwork that you create with the Pen tool. Further the Pen tool has the other tools in its flyout menu, like the Add Anchor Point and Delete Anchor Point tool. So you can hover over the edge of a line that you created with the Pen tool and when you see the Plus icon, you can click, to add another Anchor Point to that line. You can edit that Anchor Point just like any other Anchor Point by using the Sub Selection tool.
You can also delete an Anchor Point, by using the Delete Anchor Point tool. So I will delete the Anchor Point that I just created. If you need a Convert an Anchor Point from a straight angle to a curved angle. You can use the Convert Anchor Point tool. So I'll click and drag on an Anchor Point and then I can add Bezier Curves to it, if I want to. I'll undo that change and then just to know that if you're using the Pen tool and you don't switch to the Add or Remove Anchor Point tool. You can actually just hover over lines to add Anchor Point.
You will see that your cursor will update when you hover over a line. When it updates, it will have a little Plus icon at the bottom right. Also using the regular Pen tool, if you hover over an Anchor Point, you will see an Angle icon at the bottom right of your cursor which means you can click-and-drag that Anchor Point to convert the Anchor Point. Just as if you're using the Convert Anchor Point tool. So again, you can use the Pen tool to create complex artwork like this cactus that connects lines and can even use Bezier Curves.
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