Flash Tutorial: An introduction to the Pen Tool.

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Free Flash Tutorial - The Pen Tool

 

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The Pen Tool is fundamental to any graphics program, including Flash. Mastering this tool will give you a firm grasp on drawing custom objects and editing existing shapes, which is a skill that will serve you well as long as you use graphic type programs. It is not an easy tool to learn but the control that you achieve when you have mastered the technique are well worth the effort. What's more Adobe has standardized the Pen Tool and since the introduction of CS3 the Pen Tool is identical in Flash, Illustrator and PhotoShop.

 

In fact all graphics programs have an equivalent to the Pen Tool (even if they use different names) and the principles are always the same, irrespective of the program. The Pen Tool is of primary importance in graphic programs and has not changed since the earliest version of programs like Illustrator.

In the Flash CS3 Tool Panel there are a group of Tools used in conjunction with the Pen Tool:

 


Group of Pen Tools.

In the next few tutorials I will cover the Pen Tool and the other tools grouped with the Pen on the Tool Panel.. I will also look at the Subselection Tool . This is a selection/editing tool and goes hand in hand with the Pen Tool.

Illustrator & PhotoShop: You will notice that all the same tools are present in these programs:

 

 
Illustrator CS3 Tools.   PhotoShop CS3 Tools.

The PhotoShop group includes an extra tool, the Freeform Pen Tool. This is the equivalent to the Pencil Tool in Flash or Illustrator.

The Subselection Tool is called the Direct Selection Tool in Illustrator and PhotoShop:


Direct Selection Tool as seen in Illustrator CS3.

The Pen Tool is not intuitive. You cannot draw like you would with the Pencil Tool or paint like you would with the Brush Tool. The Pen Tool is a computer invention and bares no resemblance to a real pen. It has been designed to make the Mouse an accurate drawing tool, which it does very well. To master the Pen Tool you need to understand how Flash (or other graphics programs) make shapes through the use of vectors.

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