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Modifying Simple Graphics in Flash MX, Part 2

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Peachpit Press.
  • Date: Jun 7, 2002.

Modifying Strokes

Flash provides two methods for modifying the stroke of an existing element: You can select the element and change its stroke attributes in the Property Inspector, or you can use the ink-bottle tool to apply the current stroke settings to unselected elements. Certain modifications, however, you can make only with the ink bottle. To add a stroke to an element that currently lacks one, for example, you must use the ink bottle.

For the following exercises, keep the Property Inspector open (choose Window > Property if it's not open).

To add a stroke to the outside of a shape:

  1. In the Toolbox, select the ink-bottle tool or press S (Figure 3.76).

    Figure 76Figure 3.76 The ink-bottle tool applies all the stroke attributes currently set in the Ink Bottle Property Inspector.

  2. In the Property Inspector, set any of the following attributes:

    • From the Stroke Style pop-up menu, choose a new style.

    • In the stroke-height field, enter a value for the thickness of the stroke.

    • Click the stroke-color box, and choose a new color from the swatch set.

    The stroke-color boxes in the Toolbox and Property Inspector display the selected color, and the ink-bottle tool is ready to apply the other stroke attributes you set in the Property Inspector. (For more details about setting stroke attributes, see Chapter 2.)

  3. Move the pointer over the Stage.

    The pointer appears as a little ink bottle spilling ink.

  4. With the ink bottle's hot spot, click the outside edge of the shape (Figure 3.77).

    Figure 77Figure 3.77 As you move the ink bottle over a filled shape, the hot spot appears as a white dot at the end of the ink drip that's spilling out of the bottle. To add a stroke around the outside edge of your fill shape, position the hot spot along that edge (top) and then click. Flash adds a stroke with the current attributes set in the Ink Bottle Property Inspector (bottom).

    Flash adds a stroke around your shape, using the color, thickness, and style settings from the Property Inspector. Note that you must click near the outside edge to add the stroke to the shape's outside.

    When a shape has a hole in it, you can outline the shape of the hole.

To add a stroke to the inside of a shape:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 of the preceding exercise.

  2. With the ink bottle's hot spot, click near the inside edge of the shape.

    Flash outlines the hole (the inside edge of the shape), using the current stroke settings. Be sure to click inside the shape but near the hole to outline the inside edge. (Figure 3.78).

    Figure 78Figure 3.78 Position the ink bottle's hot spot along the inside edge of your fill shape (top) and then click. Flash uses the current line attributes set in the Toolbox or Property Inspector to outline the hole in your shape (bottom).


    Sometimes, you want to outline both the outside of a shape and the hole inside the shape. The ink-bottle tool does both simultaneously when you click the ink bottle's hot spot in the middle of the shape (Figure 3.79).

    Figure 79Figure 3.79 Position the ink bottle's hot spot in the middle of your fill shape (top) and then click. Flash uses the current stroke attributes to add a stroke around the outside and inside of your shape (bottom).

To modify existing strokes with the ink bottle:

  1. In the Toolbox, select the ink-bottle tool.

  2. In the Property Inspector, set the attributes for color, stroke height, and stroke style.

  3. Click the ink bottle's hot spot on the stroke you want to modify.

    When you click a stroke directly to modify it, the stroke can be selected or deselected.


    If you leave an element fully deselected, or if you select the whole element (both fill and stroke), you won't need to position the ink bottle's hot spot so carefully. Clicking anywhere in the graphic element modifies its stroke. Figure 3.80 shows the way that the ink bottle interacts with selections.

    Figure 80Figure 3.80 You don't have to select a stroke to change its attributes; just click the stroke or the unselected fill with the ink bottle. Warning: If you have the fill selected, you must click the stroke itself; you can't click the selected fill to change an unselected stroke.


    • To apply new attributes to the inside and outside strokes of a graphic element, click the middle of the shape with the ink bottle's hot spot.

    • Remember that lines you've created with the straight-line tool and the pencil are also strokes. To change the attributes of an existing line, set the stroke attributes as described earlier in this section and then use the ink-bottle tool to click the line you want to modify. The line can be selected or deselected.

    • You don't have to modify an entire stroke. You can select just a piece of a stroke and use the ink bottle to apply changes to just that piece.

    • You can modify multiple strokes at the same time. Select all the strokes you want to change; then click any selected stroke with the ink bottle to modify them all in one fell swoop.

To modify selected strokes by using the Property Inspector:

  1. Using the arrow tool, select one or more strokes on the Stage.

  2. Set the attributes for color, stroke height, and stroke style in the Property Inspector.

    Flash changes all selected strokes as you enter each new attribute in the Property Inspector (Figure 3.81).

    Figure 81Figure 3.81 Select one or more strokes for modification (top). Set new attributes in the Property Inspector (middle). Flash applies the attributes to all the strokes in your selection (bottom).


    • When a line is selected, it can be difficult to see certain line styles. The stipple and hatched styles, for example, are obscured by the selection highlighting. If you apply a new line style, but the line seems not to change, deselect it to see the new style in place. Or choose View > Hide Edges. Just don't forget to turn the feature off later; otherwise, you won't be able to see any selections.

    • You cannot modify the stroke attributes of a selected path (one selected with the subselection tool). You can, however, modify the stroke attributes of selections created with any other selection methods.

    • You can modify the color of a selected stroke without using the ink bottle or opening the Property Inspector. Click the stroke-color box in the Toolbox, and choose a new color. Any selected strokes update to the new color.

4. Using the Eraser Tool in Normal Mode | Next Section Previous Section

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