## Question of the Week

Drawing Shapes in Flash - Page 2
by kirupa  |  16 August 2010

In the previous page, you learned the very basics of how to draw a shape. In this page, let's look at customizing the shapes further.

Going Crazy with the Oval Tool
You may be wondering what crazy things one can do with the Oval tool. You may think that all you can do is either have a circle or something oblong that looks like a smushed circle. As it turns out, you can actually do quite a lot by changing a few numbers before drawing your circle to create some interesting designs.

For example, you can draw PacMan:

[ nom nom nom ]

When you have the Oval tool selected, you can set some initial properties that define what your final oval will look like. Those properties live in your Properties panel:

[ these properties have a large impact on what your oval shape looks like ]

The Start and End angle properties help define the angle at which your circle starts and ends. In other words, if you want to have a circle that looks like a portion has been sliced out like a piece of pizza…or the PacMan that you saw earlier, these properties will help you out.

If you recall from geometry, circles have 360 degrees. The 0 degree point starts on the right center, and you move counter-clockwise around the circle until you reach the beginning again. In the case of the Start and End angles in Flash, things are a bit different:

The 0 degree location is on the right-center as expected, but you move clockwise around your circle instead of counterclockwise. To create the PacMan wedge you saw earlier, the Start and End angles are actually 45 and 315 respectively with the bottom of the mouth at the 45 degree mark and the end/top of the mouth at the 315 degree position.

The last property we'll look at is the inner radius property. This property defines the size of a circular hole that will appear at the center of your circle:

In the above example, I drew a circle with an inner radius of 10. The larger the value for Inner Radius, the larger the size of the hole.

Creating a Rounded Rectangle
While you cannot create PacMan using the Rectangle tool or its related properties, you can create something a bit more common - rounded rectangles:

[ a rounded rectangle! ]

To create a rounded rectangle, select the Rectangle tool and look at your Properties Panel. The Rectangle Options category contains properties that allow you to define the roundedness of your rectangle corners:

[ childproof your design by rounding your rectangles ]

To create rounded rectangles, you can enter a non-zero number in any of the boxes that represent a corner.

You will notice that if you want each corner of your rectangle to have a different corner radius, you won’t be able to set a different value in each box. The last value you enter is propagated to all of the corners automatically. To fix that, you simply need to unlink the chain that ensures all values are equal:

[ the chain icon defines whether all corners will have the same value for roundedness ]

You unlink the chain by clicking on it with your mouse cursor. Once you unlink the chain, you can enter a unique value for each corner and create rounded rectangles as shown below:

We are almost done with this tutorial, but there are more customizations that need to be described, so let's go on to the next page!

Onwards to the next page!

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