Transform Artwork and Shapes in Flash CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

After you have some drawing done in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5, you may want to adjust the width, height, or rotation of your Flash artwork. Depending on the level of precision you’re looking for, you can do this in two ways: manually by using the Transform tool or by dialing in exact values on the Transform panel.

Free Transform tool

Select a shape or some artwork on your stage and then choose the Free Transform tool from the Tools panel. A bounding box with handles at all four sides and corners appears, as shown in the figure. You can drag any of the side handles to resize the width and height.


To rotate your artwork, hover over any corner handle until you see the rotation icon (a circular arrow) and then click and drag to rotate the artwork freely.

To resize your art proportionally, hold down the Shift key while dragging a handle. If you hold down the Shift key while in Rotation mode, it limits your movements to precise 45-degree increments.

The Transform panel

For those times when you need to dial in exact transformation values, you can use the Transform panel; choose Window→Transform to open it. The Transform panel displays text boxes you can use to enter exact transformation values for width and height or a specific rotation angle in degrees.


Follow these steps to transform artwork by using the Transform panel:

  1. Select the object you want to transform on the stage and open the Transform panel by choosing Window→Transform.

  2. To increase the size of the artwork, enter width and height percentage values higher than 100 percent; to decrease the size, enter values less than 100 percent. To keep the sizes proportional, select the Constrain Values check box.

  3. To rotate your artwork, select the Rotate radio button, click the number to activate the text box, type a value higher than 0 degrees, and press Enter.

    Rotation is performed clockwise; to rotate counterclockwise, enter a negative number.

Skew Flash CS5 shapes

Skewing transforms your artwork on a 3D plane and can add interesting perspective to shapes. You can perform skewing from the Transform panel by selecting the Skew option button and entering values for horizontal and vertical skew amounts.

Give it a try: Select your shape, type some skew values, and press Enter to see the transformation applied. If you’re not happy, don’t fret; simply click the Remove Transform button in the lower-right corner of the Transform panel to restore your normal settings.