Drawing Shapes in Flash - Page 3
       by kirupa  |  16 August 2010

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In the previous page, you set properties to define what your shape will look like when drawn. There are a handful of properties you can still set on a shape after it has been created, though. In this page, we'll look at them.

Properly Selecting a Shape
Before describing how to change properties on an already drawn shape, let's talk about how to select a shape first. By default, a typical (non-primitive) rectangle, oval, or polystar shape is made up of the body and the stroke.

The body is usually the large part of your shape:

The stroke is the outside edge surrounding the body:

If you click inside your shape, you’ll only be selecting the body. If you click the edges, you’ll only be selecting the stroke.

To select your entire shape, double click on your shape (edge or body) or do a range selection where your selection box fully engulfs (like a fangorious monster) your shape:

I know discussing selection may sound trivial, but Flash is one of the few tools that allows you to select subparts of a shape in this manner this. Business as usual where selecting any part of the shape selects everything related to it simply won’t work. This is extra important if you are planning on changing your shape's properties, because the properties you see are based entirely on what you have selected on the artboard.

Modifying an Existing Shape’s Properties
When you select a shape, there are a few properties that are common to all of them. To view the properties, make sure your Properties panel is displayed and fully (stroke + body) select a shape:

[ your shape's generic properties ]

You can adjust size, position, and other boring things better suited to editing on the artboard itself. What is important is being able to specify fill and stroke (outline) color of your shape and the size/style of your stroke. Much of this should be self-explanatory, so I won’t delve too deeply into this.

One cool property is being able to set your stroke style. The stroke style drop-down allows you to pick from a series of styles that affect what your stroke actually looks like:

[ select a Stroke style easily ]

If you aren’t happy with the built-in styles, you can define your own by clicking the pencil icon found to the right of the drop-down.

Ok, this wraps up our coverage of how to draw shapes. As you can see, creating a simple shape is extremely easy using Flash, and understanding what the various properties do can help you easily create more complicated shapes that are bound to come up in your designs at some point.

Just a final word before we wrap up. If you have a question and/or want to be part of a friendly, collaborative community of over 220k other developers like yourself, post on the forums for a quick response!

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