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Learn Where to Put Points and How Far to Drag Handles in Macromedia Flash 8
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Now, we have kind of sent the basics of how to use the pen tool to draw straight lines, curved lines and curved lines with corners and straight lines in it. So, really, what is left for us to do is to say, if we know how this tool works, how do I draw the shapes that I want to draw? The big strategy is going to be involved around where do I click points, how far do I drag handles.
Just take a look at that, I have got one more tracing that we can play around with. I am going to hide those tracing and drawing two layers like we did before and if I scroll up here, yes there we go, we got a couple of more layers to play with. I have got a tracing 3 layer, some other curves we can draw and I am going to select my drawing 3 layer as my active layer so we can work around in it. I am going to start off with this point at the top here.
Now, what I wanted to explore is choosing where to put points and how far the drag handles, and I just got few curves up here so we can play around this and get the idea. The curve that we have here on the first piece, I got my pen tool ready to start, we have made this before and I can click and drag to make the first part of the curve and I will click and drag to make a second.
Now, what I wanted to talk about here is how far do I drag the handle. Now, all of these ideas we are talking about are going to come better to you with practice, but if we take a look the handles that I dragged on here, what I will point out is that I have got a kind of average curve here. It is not 2 point and it not too flat and to get an average curve, if you can visualize where the next points is going to be along the curve, divide your curve in about threes right there and right there. I will drag my handle out to about the length of third curve.
Now, I am kind of unwrapping that visually in m head to kind of set that out.
Now, it sounds a little bit complicated but if you start that way, knowing how long your curve is going to be, you can drag more if you want the curve to be pointed to your or less if you want it to be flatter but it is a great place to kind of give yourself a starting point for an average curve. It is about 1/3 of the curve distance went along there, we will be dragging handles blind.
Now also remember, you can always go back and modify any of this curve positions. So, we are not trying to get it exact right from the first stop in. what you will find is with more practice and more visualization issue work through curves and drawing with this tool. You will get better at it and it will become more natural to you. Now, the second two curves I have got here to play with, we are going to explore one other thing and that is where should I put a point?
These two curves are going to illustrate a couple of rules of thumb but before I even mention those, I should say, you can put a point anywhere you want to. And the whole idea of using vectors is that the fewer points I use, the smoother the curves is going to be. My curve is guaranteed to be smooth in between these two points. So, the more points you use, the more chance you have of having a wiggly curve or some bumps or some things in it that you did not want.
With that in mind, I will use my pen tool again on the S curve that we have got here. Now, for thinking, fewest curves as possible, I may want to click once at the end and another time at this end and you kind of see what is going here.
Now, I got S curve but switch over to my sub select tool. I can pull on these two handles all day and I am really going to get that curve the way I want it and that is because the curve makes a little change here in the middle. We select that and I will get rid of it and we will try this one again.
What I am going to want to do is when I decide where to place points; I am going to look for where the curve changes direction. Now, I am not talking about north, south, east, west or left and right or anything like that, I am talking about clockwise versus counter clockwise. Somewhere in here, it changes direction. So, that is a nice indicator where I should put a point.
Let us try my curve again with that in mind. I am going to pull up here and my curve is starting off this way, I am going to go somewhere in this area, fall out of curve, now, you can see that matches the first part of my cure pretty well, not exactly but you can work with it and I will pull the top part up in here.
I have much more chance of getting this curve to be shaped the way I want to by making sure that I have those points drop in there. And keep in mind that you can always go back to any curve and mess with points, setup the handles, may not get exactly the way you want to on the first time. And also, you probably will be tracing so you really just looking for did I get the curve shape that I wanted. First rule of thumb, if the curves changes direction, you are going to be well served by placing a point at some area in the direction change.
Now, the second curve over here similar to it but you will notice this curve stays the same direction; it is clockwise, clockwise, and clockwise and keeps running clockwise. Now, same kind of thing, let us drop these in here, I am going to pull out handle and start my curve and I am going to see if I can end the curve over here.
Now once again, you see we are stocked in this little position where I can pull on these two handles all day long and I am not going to get that shape, I will just do and undo this time, recycle my pen tool and we will try again.
Now, here the idea is I have got smooth gentle curve coming up here and it changes to a very tight curve. Now, this was a little bit harder to spot sometimes but if I see a change in curvature. I see it going from a really big flat curve to a tight curve. I am going to put a point some place in that joint as well. Let us try to do this line with that in mind. I am going to drag out another handle.
I will even point this out, I am visualizing where my next points is going to be as I drag the handle out and I pop my head over here, I am thinking I am going to put my next point there and I have kind of divided my curves in thirds again, really roughly. Set my point up here on the top.
Now once again, you see with those two points, I can pretty much get the curve shape that I want and with the third point, I can get it to drop right in and curve around. Those rules of thumbs will help you out quite a bit as you are working on your files.
Now, one last thing that you can do with pen tool, since I have drawn my curve here is I mentioned you can put a point anywhere you want and if you decide you want an additional point, let me recycle my pen tool here. If you roll your curser over any curve that you have worked on, you will notice you will get a little plus sign and what that means is the tool will actually put an additional point right in that place where you clicked. That just gives you more control.
Now, what is done is it has created a new control point. It has modified the handles of the other two points to make room for this one and it has given it a handle to match the curve. Now, when you add points like that, it does not really change the curve too much, it just redefines the curve with that new control point in there and there you can see how I can use that control point to make modifications or match it.
It is a good thing to keep in mind that you could always go in and modify any of these elements as you go and restart your curve to keep going.