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Adobe Flash Professional CS5 : Sampling and Switching Fills and Strokes (part 2)

11/12/2011 3:58:51 PM
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3. The Paint Bucket tool

You use the Paint Bucket tool to fill enclosed areas with color, gradients, or bitmap fills. Although the Paint Bucket tool is a more robust tool than the Ink Bottle tool, and it can be used independently, it's most often used in conjunction with the Eyedropper tool. When the Eyedropper tool picks up a fill, it first acquires the attributes of that fill and then automatically changes itself to the Paint Bucket tool. When the Paint Bucket tool is active, shown in Figure 3, two options are available from the Tools panel: Lock Fill and Gap size. The Gap size drop-down menu offers four settings to control how Flash handles gaps or open spaces in lines when filling with the Paint Bucket tool.

Figure 3. The Paint Bucket tool and Gap size options

When you use the Eyedropper tool to acquire a bitmap fill, the Eyedropper tool is automatically swapped for the Paint Bucket tool and a thumbnail of the bitmap image appears in place of the fill color chip. This procedure also automatically engages the Paint Bucket Lock Fill option.


Using the Paint Bucket to fill with white (or the background color) is not the same as erasing. Painting with white (or the background color) may appear to accomplish something similar to erasing. However, you are, in fact, creating a filled item that can be selected, moved, deleted, or reshaped. Only erasing erases!


Another helpful behavior of the Paint Bucket tool is that the exact location where you click to apply the Paint Bucket tool defines the highlight point for the fill. This has no visible effect when filling with solid colors or bitmap fills, but when filling with gradients it affects how the fill is rendered within the boundaries of the shape. Figure 4 illustrates how the highlight of a gradient fill varies based on where it was "dumped" with the Paint Bucket.

You can also adjust the highlight and the center point of the rendered gradient with the Gradient Transform tool after a shape is filled.


Figure 4. The highlight location of gradient fills can be defined by the position of the Paint Bucket tool when the fill is applied to a shape.

As with the Ink Bottle tool, the Paint Bucket tool can be especially useful for applying custom fill styles to multiple items. You can build a collection of custom fill styles either off-screen (on the Pasteboard) or in a special, saved, custom-fills-palette, single-frame Flash movie. You can then acquire these fills whenever necessary.

If you click with the Paint Bucket tool on one of several selected fills, all the selected fills simultaneously change to the new fill.


4. Using the Paint Bucket Gap size option

As shown in Figure 3, the Gap size option drop-down offers four settings that control how the Paint Bucket treats gaps when filling. These settings are Don't Close Gaps, Close Small Gaps, Close Medium Gaps, and Close Large Gaps. These tolerance settings enable Flash to fill an outline if the endpoints of the outline aren't completely joined, leaving an open shape. If the gaps are too large, you may have to close them manually with another drawing tool. Figure 5 illustrates how the Gap size option settings affect the Paint Bucket fill behavior.

The level of zoom changes the apparent size of gaps. Although the actual size of gaps is unaffected by zoom, the Paint Bucket's interpretation of the gap is dependent upon the current Zoom setting. When zoomed in very close, the Paint Bucket tool finds it harder to close gaps; when zoomed out, the Paint Bucket tool finds it easier to close gaps.


Figure 5. Paint Bucket fill applied with various Gap size settings: (A) original oval outline with decreasing gap sizes, left to right, with no fill; (B) gray fill applied with Don't Close Gaps; (C) gray fill applied with Close Small Gaps; (D) gray fill applied with Close Medium Gaps; (E) gray fill applied with Close Large Gaps

5. Using the Paint Bucket Lock Fill option

The Paint Bucket's Lock Fill option is the same as the Brush Lock Fill option — it controls how Flash handles areas filled with gradient color or bitmaps. When this button is turned on, all areas (or shapes) painted with the same gradient or bitmap appear to be part of a single, continuous, filled shape. The Lock Fill option locks the angle, size, and point of origin of the current fill to remain constant throughout any number of selected shapes. Modifications made to the fill in one of the shapes are applied to the other shapes filled by using the same Lock Fill option.


To demonstrate the distinction between fills applied with or without the Lock Fill option, I created five shapes and filled them with a bitmap with Lock Fill off. As shown in Figure 6, on the left, the image was rendered individually from one shape to the next. On the right, those same shapes were filled with the same bitmap, but with Lock Fill on. Note how the image is now continuous from one shape to the next. Bitmap fills are automatically tiled to fill a shape, so the bitmap fill on the right was also scaled with the Gradient Transform tool to make it easier to see the continuation of the image between the various shapes.

Figure 6. Fill applied with Lock Fill turned off (left), compared with fill applied with Lock Fill turned on and then scaled by using the Gradient Transform tool (right)

NOTE

When you use the Eyedropper tool to pick up a fill or gradient from the scene, the Lock Fill button is automatically toggled on.

If the shapes you are filling with the Paint Bucket tool were created with the Object Drawing option turned on or drawn with one of the Shape Primitive tools, you can use the Lock Fill option to get a fill that continues from one shape to the next, but when you try to adjust the fill with the Gradient Transform tool, you will find that the fills are transformed individually instead of as a group. The workaround for this glitch is to use raw shapes when you apply a locked fill that you plan to transform. If you started with drawing objects or shape primitives, use the Break Apart command before you try to use the Gradient Transform tool to adjust a continuous fill on multiple shapes.

 
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