Adobe Flash CS3 - Drawing with the Line and Pencil Tool

This lesson is part of a series that will give you a comprehensive guide on how to use Flash CS3. Best of all, all of the tutorials are free for you to read and learn from. I'll do all the hard work, so you don't have to.

The Line and Pencil tool are both tools that create "strokes".  Flash is a vector based program, so it creates all its images using strokes and fills.  In other words, it uses mathematical calculations to determine two end points and draw the line in between the points.  This is as opposed to "bitmaps" which are built pixel by pixel on your monitor.

With a little bit of practice you'll be able to use the pencil and line tools to manipulate strokes to create your animation masterpieces.

Drawing with the Line Tool

The line tool allows you to draw perfectly straight lines.  Flash allows you to change the settings on lines.  You can change to a dashed line, change the mitered ends, and change how the lines join.

  1. Click the Line tool in the Toolbar (Shortcut "N").
  2. Click and drag on the stage to make the line as long as you want.  (Note:  You can hold down the shift key to draw perfect 45 deg lines.)
  3. In the properties window, you can change the line properties.  You can change the thickness, color, caps, and mitered ends.  (To open "Properties" click menu Window>Properties.

Use the Pencil Tool in Straighten Mode

  1. Click the Pencil tool in the toolbar (shorcut: Y).  Your cursor will become a pencil icon.  Default setting for the pencil is "straighten".
  2. Draw the shape or line that you want on the stage.  As you draw you'll only see a rough preview, but when you let go of the mouse, Flash will straighten the line.  (Note: In straighten mode, Flash will recognize when you are trying to draw basic shapes and will create them when you release the mouse.)

Use the Pencil Tool in Smooth Mode

  1. Click the Pencil tool in the Toolbar.  The pointer will become a pencil icon.  The pencil options will also appear in the Properties panel.
  2. Click the Pencil mode popup in the Options area of the Toolbar, and then click Smooth.
  3. In the Properties panel, click the "Smoothing" popup, and then click a value from 1 to 100.
  4. Draw on the stage with the pencil and then release the mouse.  A rough preview will be shown as you draw and when you release the mouse, Flash will smooth the line.

Note:  If you select Ink mode for the pencil, this will disable all smoothing and straightening.  This allows your line to look more hand drawn.

Tip:  You can also smooth strokes by optimizing it.  Optimize a stroke by selecting menu Modify < Shape < Optimize.  Specify a smoothing level and how many passes you want.  A message will appear telling you how much the stroke was optimized.

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Comments 3 comments

saif113sb profile image

saif113sb 5 years ago

Greatfull hub. thanks


unvrso profile image

unvrso 3 years ago from Mexico City

Very interesting hub about the line and pencil tools! I have used this program and these tools are really useful!

Voted up!


Ana 15 months ago

my lines become pixelated?WHY?

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