Sculpting Robot Shapes in Scratch - dummies

Sculpting Robot Shapes in Scratch

By Derek Breen

Sculpting is a word you might not expect to be associated with Scratch, or computers for that matter. How do you “sculpt” something on a computer? In the previous version of Scratch (version 1.4), once you painted a bitmap sprite, you would need to completely repaint the costumes to make significant changes. With the addition of vector graphics, modifying costumes and backdrops is a snap!

  1. Click the Paint New Sprite icon.

  2. Click the Costumes tab.

  3. Click the Convert to Vector button.

  4. Zoom to 100%.

  5. Click the Rectangle tool.

  6. Choose the Outline option.

  7. Select the black color swatch.

  8. Click where you want the rectangle to start.

  9. Drag the corner and release the mouse or trackpad button where you want the rectangle to end.


Ta-dah! Aren’t you impressed? Look at that awesome rectangle! Lame, right? On to the sculpting part.

Use reshape on straight edges

  1. Click the Reshape tool.

  2. Click any corner of your rectangle and drag it around. Then another corner, and another


Add and remove points

In addition to moving corners, the Reshape tool also allows you to add new points to make more complex shapes and remove points.

  1. Click between points to add a point on any line.

  2. Click and drag the new point to change your shape.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to create a five-pointed star.

  4. Click an existing point to delete it.

  5. To break open a shape, hold the Shift key while clicking a point. This will delete any fill color or gradient.

  6. To join the end points of lines, click one end point and drag it onto another end point (like welding two ends of a wire together).

  7. After the ends are joined, you can fill your shape with a solid color or gradient again by using the Color a Shape tool.


Use reshape on curves

To get a real sense of sculpting shapes, you just GOTTA try the Reshape tool on an ellipse!

  1. Click the Ellipse tool and draw a medium-sized circle.

  2. Click the Reshape tool.

  3. Click the ellipse one time to select it.

  4. Click and drag a point on your ellipse to change the shape.

  5. Click between points to add a point and then drag it to change the shape.

  6. Double-click an existing point to delete it and simplify your shape.


As with rectangular shapes, you can Shift-click points to break open your curvaceous shape and drag end points together to allow you to fill the shape again.

Fill your shapes before using the Reshape tool to sculpt them; it feels a bit more like sculpting with clay versus messing around with a hollow shape.

Add curves to rectangles

You’ve used the Reshape tool to move corners, add corners, remove corners, sculpt curved shapes, and even break shapes open. As if those were not enough uses, you can even add a curve to a straight line, too. Try this:

  1. Click the Reshape tool.

  2. Shift-click BETWEEN two existing points on a straight line and drag to make a new curve.

    You may need to click just inside the edge of a solid shape. If it doesn’t work the first time, try Shift-clicking a different spot on the line, then drag it wherever you want.


Combine vector shapes

Another cool way to make a complex shape is to break open a rectangle, break open an oval, and then drag the end points together.

  1. Draw a rectangle and an ellipse side-by-side.

  2. Shift-click points to cut open the rectangle and ellipse.

  3. Click and drag end points from one shape to the other to weld lines together.

  4. Click and drag to adjust the lines on either side of the intersection points between the original shapes.

  5. Fill the final shape with color.


Remember how after you finished painting part of your sprite in Bitmap mode you could only modify that part right away? Vector mode lets you go back and make changes to any part of the sprite any time you want, a few minutes or even a few weeks later!