Splice and Edit Shapes and Lines in Flash CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

You can easily dissect and edit mergeable shapes (not drawing objects) in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5 by selecting only certain portions with the Selection or Lasso tools. Try drawing a marquee around only half the shape with the Selection or Subselection arrow; notice that only half the shape or line becomes selected and you can then separate it.


Edit shapes with the Selection and Subselection tools

If you need to tweak, distort, and reshape a Flash CS4 shape beyond its original form, use the Selection or Subselection tools.

To tweak or reshape with the Selection tool, move it outside and close to an edge or corner of your shape; notice that a small curved or angled line icon appears next to your pointer. Click and drag to bend, reshape, or distort the outline of your shape.


You can use the Selection tool to bend straight edges into curves. Try it on a line or straight edge from a rectangle and you’ll see that you can easily pull the line into a curve!

To tweak or reshape with the Subselection tool, click the outside edge or stroke of a shape to activate its path. Each point is represented by a hollow box. Click any point to activate it; click and drag it or move it using the arrow keys to reshape.


Edit shapes with the Lasso tool

To create a selection with more precision than the Selection tool allows (for example, around an odd shape or a tricky area), use the Lasso tool. The Lasso tool draws freehand selections around specific areas of your artwork.

To draw a selection with the Lasso tool, select it from the Tools panel and click and drag to draw a selection around the target area, as shown in. Be sure to close the selection by overlapping the starting and ending points.


You can perform partial selections only with raw (broken apart) shapes and lines. Artwork drawn in Object Drawing mode needs to be broken apart first (choose Modify→Break Apart) or modified in Edit mode. To enter a drawing object’s Edit mode, double-click it with the Selection tool.

Modify or edit Flash CS5 artwork created with the Pen and Pencil tools

Interestingly enough, although the Pen and Pencil tools behave in completely different ways, both ultimately create the same element: a path. A path can be filled (if closed) or modified on a point-by-point basis, or you can apply a stroke to it.

To fine-tune a path, choose the Subselection tool (the white arrow) from the Tools panel. Click the path; it becomes highlighted and the points show up as hollow boxes. You can now select any individual point and selectively drag it or move it with the arrow keys to reshape the path.

To adjust a curve by using the Subselection tool, highlight the point adjacent to the curve you want to modify. A handle appears; you can grab and move this handle to adjust the curve.

To add or subtract points, click and hold down on the Pen tool to select the Add Anchor Point or Subtract Anchor Point tools. Click exactly on the path where you want to add an anchor point or click a point directly to remove it.