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Introduction to the Flash CS3 Drawing Tools

This tutorial will introduce you to several of the drawing tools in Flash CS3 which you can use to create objects for your Flash movies. First we need to discuss a few basics. If you have used graphics software before, you probably have already encountered these terms. However, Flash has its own way of doing things and its drawing tools behave a little differently from other graphics programs.

Stroke and Fill

When you draw a shape in Flash, it will have two parts; Stroke and Fill. The Fill is what is "inside" the shape and the Stroke is the "outline" of the shape. By default, Flash has the Stroke color set to black and the Stroke height/width set to 1 point. The Fill is set to a blue color. Also by default, the Stoke and Fill are not connected together, as in other graphics software. If you click and drag on the Fill of a shape to drag it to another position, only the Fill part will be moved and the Stroke will still be in its original position. To move both, you must select both the Stroke and Fill of an object.

Flash Drawing Tools

You will find most of the drawing tools grouped together in the Tools Panel. From top to bottom, they are the Pen, Text, Line, Rectangle, Pencil and Brush tools. If you click on the small arrow next to the Rectangle tool, you can see that there are several other tools hidden underneath. They are the Oval, Rectangle Primitive, Oval Primitive and PolyStar tools.

Let's draw a simple rectangle.

  1. Select the Rectangle tool.

  2. At the bottom of the Tools Panel, you will find the Object Drawing Icon. Click on the icon to turn OFF the Object Drawing mode, if necessary.

  3. Click and drag on the Stage to draw a rectangle.

Now we will change the properties of our rectangle. Let's change the color of the Fill to red and the width/height of the Stroke to 5 points. But first, we need to select the entire rectangle to tell Flash we want to make changes to both the Stroke and Fill.

  1. Choose the Selection tool from the Tools Panel. You will find it at the top of the panel.

  2. Click and drag around the entire rectangle to select it. When you let go of your mouse, you will see the rectangle is covered with small white dots indicating that it is now selected.

  3. Let's use the Property Inspector to make our change to the color of the Fill. Click on the Fill Color Box in the Property Inspector. It is the blue one next to the paint bucket. Choose any red color from the Color Picker. The color will change in our rectangle and in the Fill Color Box.

  4. Let's change the Stroke height/width to 5 points. In the Property Inspector and above the Fill Color Box is the Stroke Color Box. To the right of this, is the Stroke Height/Width Box. You can type a 5 in the box or use the Slider.
That's the basics of drawing in Flash. Of course, this will probably be just the beginning. You will want to make modifications to this rectangle such as turning it into a button for your Flash movie.

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