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When Shapes Interact

The interaction of one fill with another can have one of two results; the outcome depends on what color the two fills are. Fills of the same color simply run together and create a new shape. If the fills are different colors, the one you draw second replaces the first in any areas where the two overlap. You can use these interactions to create complex shapes from several simpler ones.

To add to a fill shape:

In the Toolbox, select the brush tool.

Click the fill-color box (in the Toolbox or in the Brush Tool Property Inspector), and from the pop-up swatch set, choose a color.

On the Stage, paint one brush stroke.

Using the same color, paint a separate brush stroke that intersects the first one. Flash adds the second brush stroke to the first, creating a single new fill shape (Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4. When you draw overlapping fills in the same color, Flash puts the two shapes together to create a single shape. (Compare this figure with the overlapping lines in Figure 4.1 that cut one another.)

To subtract one fill from another:

In the Toolbox, choose the oval tool.

In the Colors section of the Toolbox, click the pencil icon.

The pencil icon is the stroke control; when it is selected, whatever colors you choose will apply to strokes.

Click the No Color button.

Flash sets the stroke to none. The oval tool now draws a fill without an outline stroke.

Click the fill-color box (in the Toolbox or in the Oval Tool Property Inspector), and choose red from the pop-up swatch set.

On the Stage, draw a fairly large oval.

Back in the Toolboxor the Oval To l Property Inspector, choose a different fill color for the oval tool.

On the Stage, draw a smaller oval in the middle of your first oval to create concentric ovals.

Switch to the arrow tool, and select the smaller oval.

As the highlighting indicates, fills of different colors are separate objects (Figure 4.5).

Figure 4.5. When one fill overlaps another of a different color, the fills don’t meld but remain separate. The second oval here replaces the first where they overlap.

To delete your selection, press Backspace (Mac) or Delete (Windows).

Removing the smaller oval leaves a hole in the bigger oval, because the fill that overlaps the first fill replaces it (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6. Because the smaller oval fill replaces the part of the big oval it covers, deleting the smaller oval leaves a hole in the big one.


  • Interactions between lines and fills occur not only when you draw a shape, but also when you place a copy of a shape or move a shape. Be careful when placing live shapes and lines on a single layer. You can inadvertently add to or delete part of an underlying shape.

  • If you accidentally change a shape by drawing on top of it with another color, you can restore the original and keep the new shape, too. Select your top shape and press F8 to turn it into a symbol. (For more information on creating and using symbols, see Chapter 6.) Now press -Z (Mac) or Ctrl-Z (Windows) three times: once to undo the Convert to Symbol command, a second time to undo the selection, and a third time to remove the top shape and restore the bottom shape. Though you undid the conversion of the shape to a symbol, the symbol still lives in the Library. To get back your second shape, you must place an instance of the symbol on the Stage and break it apart (press -Option-B [Mac] or Ctrl-Alt-B [Windows]).

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