One of the things about Flash that makes it a bit hard to define to new users is that it wears many hats. Although it is known for its ability to compile and load assets created in other applications, it is not just an authoring tool. That is, one of Flash’s strengths is that it can be used to create assets all on its own. In fact, one of the distinctions between Flash and Flex (another Flash Platform technology) has always been that Flex authoring tools (like Flex Builder) don’t have Flash’s graphics drawing environment and don’t allow you to draw custom assets while authoring.
Believe it or not, some designers use Flash as a primary illustration tool in specific cases, creating art in Flash and saving it to several image formats and even to video files. Part of Flash’s advantage as an illustration tool is its unique drawing modes—editing configurations that allow object-based drawing, similar to Adobe Illustrator, and that contain drawing tools that treat vectors with the casual familiarity of pixels.
Flash’s primary graphic building blocks, vectors, are points joined by lines used to describe shapes. You may have worked with vector assets if you’ve used EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) or PDF (Portable Document Format) files. The following pages give you an overview of how to approach drawing with Flash’s tool set.
At the end of the chapter, you’ll use a lot of what you’ve learned to work on the ongoing portfolio project. In the meantime, you ...