Graphics
 

Adobe Flash Professional CS5 : Transforming Gradients and Bitmap Fills (part 2) - Adjusting scale with the Gradient Transform tool, Setting gradient fill overflow styles

11/19/2011 11:46:20 AM

3. Adjusting scale with the Gradient Transform tool

To resize a bitmap fill symmetrically (to maintain the aspect ratio), find the round corner handle with an arrow icon, which is usually located at the lower-left corner of the fill. On rollover, the diagonal arrow icon appears, indicating the direction(s) in which the handle resizes the fill. Click and drag to scale the fill symmetrically. On radial gradients, you use the round-corner handle with the longer arrow icon to scale with the gradient aspect ratio constrained. Linear gradients have only one handle for scaling, and this handle always scales in the direction of the gradient banding.

To resize a fill asymmetrically, find a small square handle on either a vertical or a horizontal edge, depending on whether you want to affect the width or height of the fill. On rollover, arrows appear perpendicular to the edge of the shape, indicating the direction in which this handle resizes the fill. Click and drag a handle to reshape the fill.

Figure 5 shows the three fill types with their respective scale options. Linear gradient fills (left) can be scaled only in the direction of the gradient banding, but they can be rotated to scale vertically (lower) rather than horizontally (upper). Radial gradient fills (center) can be expanded symmetrically (upper) with the circular handle, or asymmetrically (lower) with the square handle. As with linear gradients, they can be rotated to scale vertically rather than horizontally. Bitmap fills (right) can be scaled by the corner handle to maintain the aspect ratio (upper), or dragged from any side handle to scale asymmetrically (lower).

Adjusting bitmap fills with the Gradient Transform tool can be tricky business. On tiled fills, the transform handles are often so small and bunched together that they are difficult to see. On full-size bitmaps, the handles are sometimes outside the Stage, and it can be hard to find the handle that you need. It can also be unpredictable where the handles appear when you select a bitmap fill with the Gradient Transform tool — often they are outside the shape where the fill is visible. Our advice is to use this workflow only when you have no other choice. In general, it is a much better idea to decide on the size for a bitmap and create a Web-ready image that you can use without scaling before you import it to Flash.


NOTE

The right column of Figure 5 is a good example of how changes applied to one tile in a bitmap fill are passed to all the other tiles within the shape.

4. Setting gradient fill overflow styles

As you work with scaled gradient fills, you will quickly notice that your shape is always filled from edge to edge but that the fill area may not appear quite how you'd like it to. In early versions of Flash, you were stuck with the solid color fill around the edges when a gradient was scaled smaller inside of a shape. This default behavior is now part of the Overflow menu in the Color panel that gives you some other options for how a gradient renders when it is scaled down. As shown in Figure 6, there are three different overflow styles:

  • Extend: Extends the colors on the outside edge of the gradient to create a solid fill beyond the edge of the rendered gradient

  • Reflect: Alternates flipped (reflected) versions of the original gradient until the shape is filled from edge to edge

  • Repeat: Renders the color pattern of the original gradient repeatedly until the shape is filled from edge to edge

Figure 5. Scaling fills symmetrically (top) and asymmetrically (bottom)

Figure 6. Different overflow styles applied to a linear gradient (top right) and a radial gradient (bottom right) using the Overflow menu in the Color panel (left). Overflow styles applied to the fills from left to right: Extend, Reflect, Repeat

5. Skewing a bitmap fill with the Gradient Transform tool

To skew a bitmap fill horizontally, click the diamond-shaped handle at the top of the image; arrows appear, parallel to the edge of the fill, indicating the directions in which this handle skews the fill. Drag to skew the image in either direction. Figure 7 shows a bitmap skewed horizontally (left) and vertically (right). Note that the skew procedure is still active after it has been applied, meaning that the skew may be further modified — this behavior is common to all functions of the Gradient Transform tool.

Figure 7. Skewing a bitmap fill with the Gradient Transform tool

NOTE

Gradient fills cannot be skewed; they can be scaled only on the horizontal or vertical axis.

If you get carried away with the Gradient Transform tool and you want to get back to the original fill position and size, double-click the center icon of the shape to reset all transformations.

 
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