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Did You Know?

  • Use shapes to cut out patterns in other shapes instead of trying to carve out patterns using the Pen tool or the Eraser. Drag one shape over the other, and then deselect everything. Reselect the cutting shape and press the Delete key.

  • If you need to get to an individual shape within a group, use the Edit, Edit Selected command from the main menu, and then click the individual shape you want to modify when the Group canvas appears. If you simply put the Group into Edit mode, changes will affect all elements in that group.

  • Use shape recognition to draw basic geometric shapes with the Pencil tool. The feature lets you develop complex scenes quickly with the same motion as a sketchpad. Shape recognition can be turned on and modified by selecting Edit, Preferences from the main menu, clicking the Editing Tab in the Preferences dialog box, and then making a selection from the Recognize Shapes drop-down box.

  • Remember that one shape overlapping another one that is a different color will punch out the area on the bottom object. If you remove the top object, the bottom one will be modified. Put shapes on different layers to keep from punching out segments or combining shapes together.

  • Use the Info panel (select Window, Panels, Info) to make precise adjustments to element position and lineup. The results are far more accurate than eyeballing the changes and moving elements with your cursor.

  • Using the Break Apart command on text creates a battery of individual objects out of each character. If the string is something you plan to use frequently in your movie, convert the individual character objects into symbols to save file size.

  • Try building 3D objects first using 2D shapes in a single plane. When it comes time to animate the object, you can use tricks such as bringing the object forward or shifting gradient patterns to make it appear like a shape rotating in space.


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