Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Using the Drawing Tools (part 2) - Draw ellipses and circles, Drawing lines, Drawing other shapes, Adding text

9/3/2012 3:32:52 AM

3. Draw ellipses and circles

You can draw either ellipses or circles with the Ellipse tool. As with the rectangle tools, you click the Ellipse tool and then click and drag to draw the shape. Press and hold the Shift key to draw a perfect circle.

Figure 5. Semitransparent rectangles

All shapes are surrounded by a rectangular bounding box. When you click and drag to draw any shape other than a rectangle, you are technically drawing the bounding box, which then contains the shape. Therefore, when drawing ellipses or circles, you need to imagine a spot outside the circle — the corner of the bounding box — as your starting point.

The Properties panel displays most of the same settings for ellipses and circles as it does for rectangles. Therefore, you can set solid or gradient strokes and fills, as shown in Figure 6.

While the End caps, Joint, and Miter limit settings are still available when drawing ellipses, they do not have any effect on the shape and can be ignored. As with rectangles, you can set opacity for strokes, fills, or the entire shape. You can also set a rotation for ellipses.

Figure 6. A circle and an ellipse, using various stroke, fill, and opacity settings

4. Drawing lines

You can draw lines using the Line tool. You can create lines at any angle, but holding the Shift key while you drag constrains the line to 45-degree increments.

Lines do not have fills, so you will notice that only the stroke settings are available. As with other shapes, the stroke can be a solid color or a gradient. The End caps setting changes the ends of the line to round or square (see Figure 7). Selecting None for the End caps removes them from the line, in effect making it slightly shorter. Neither the Joints nor Miter limit have any effect on lines.

Figure 7. A series of lines. The one on the left has its End caps set to rounded, while the one farthest to the right has been drawn while holding down Shift to ensure that it is perfectly horizontal.

5. Drawing other shapes

The remaining shape tools share a space on the Tools panel to the right of the Line tool. The default tool is the Triangle, but you can click and hold your mouse on the tool to see a menu of other shapes such as Hexagon, Octagon, and Star (as shown in Figure 8). All four tools have the same setting options.

Like other shapes, you can set strokes and fills and adjust opacity. On the stroke, the End caps and Miter limit have no effect. Rounded joints round off the sharp edges on corners; you can further round the joints by adjusting the Corners setting.

Figure 8. Adding other shapes to the design

6. Adding text

Add text to your project with the Text tool. Click on the artboard and type to create a text box. After you finish typing, you can switch to the Selection tool and select the text frame to access the Properties panel for the text (see Figure 9).

From here, you can select a font, scrub, or type to set the font size, set a color, and make the text bold or italic. Note that Flash and Flex projects use embedded fonts. Therefore, you are free to select any font on your system to use in your project. At the bottom of the Properties panel are settings to add Strikethrough and underlining to your text.

In HTML, you should not underline text on your page, as this text will likely be confused with a hyperlink. The same theory should keep you from underlining text merely for emphasis in Catalyst. Hyperlinked text in Catalyst will not automatically become underlined; therefore, it can be useful to inform the user that a particular block of text is a hyperlink.


The only unit of measurement available in the Flex framework to size fonts is pixels.

Figure 9. Text added to a project with the Text tool. Formatting has been applied with the Properties panel.

Inline formatting of text is not supported by the Flex framework and is therefore not possible in Catalyst. This explains why the text properties are only available when the entire text frame is selected and not available when you select a portion of the text using the Text tool.

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