Animate Drawing Tools

In versions of Animate before 2020, about 24 tools showed up in fixed positions in the toolbar, with additional tools hidden underneath some of the tools. In Animate 2021, only 9 tools show up initially. Others can be added to the toolbar by clicking the three dots (Edit Toolbar) and dragging the desired tool to the desired position on the toolbar.

Stroke Only Drawing Tools

Exercise 1 - Drawing with the Pencil Tool - Click the three dots (Edit Toolbar) and click on the Pencil Tool at the right and drag it onto the Toolbar. If the Properties panel isn't open, select Window>Properties. To select a color, click the rectangle to the left of the word "Stroke" to bring up the palette. You can select a color by clicking with the eyedropper or by entering a hexadecimal value for the color. You can set other properties such as stroke width or style. The stroke width does not have to be uniform. Draw a stroke. Ctrl A will select everything on the stage and then you can hit the delete key to delete everything.

Exercise 2 - Using the Line Tool and Modifying Strokes - Click on the Line Tool (4th from the top in Animate 2021) and draw a line. Draw other lines to form a closed shape. Now we will set some other stroke properties. Use the Select Tool (top tool on the left) to select a line.

To change an existing stroke, choose the Selection Tool (top tool in Animate 2021) and then click on the stroke. The stroke will appear thicker and a dotted pattern appear over it, both indicating it has been selected. You can now change, for example, the color of the stroke in the Properties panel.

  1. Using the Selection tool, move the cursor over a line in the closed shape. As you move over the line, a small curved line appears -- this indicates you are over a stroke
  2. Click on a line segment - notice that only this line segment is selected; if you double click on any line segment, all the connected line segments are selected. Once something is selected, you can move it just by dragging it
  3. Using the selection tool, if you approach a stroke, you will see a curved line, if you click and drag, you will change the shape of the existing stroke. But if you click on the stroke and select it, dragging will then move the stroke without changing its shape.
  4. Select the Ink Bottle tool. Before we selected a stroke using the Selection Tool and then modified it in the Properties panel. Alternatively, you can set the stroke properties, then click on the Ink Bottle tool and then on the stroke to modify the stroke. For example, click the stroke color icon (which is immediately below all the tools) and select a color from the palette, then select the Ink Bottle tool and then click on the stroke to apply the color.
  5. To delete the stroke, click on the Selection Tool, then click the stroke to select it and hit delete.

You can use the Selection Tool to select several items on the Stage by clicking on the selection tool and with this tool drawing a rectangle around the objects to be selected - this will select items on multiple layers.

Fill Only Drawing Tools

Exercise 3 - Using the Classic Brush Tool (third tool down in Animate 2021)

  1. Select the Classic Brush Tool and draw a circle. It uses the fill color for this shape, not the stroke color. The shape created is a fill, and does not have a stroke
  2. In the Options area of the toolbox, change the Brush Size and Brush Shape

Tools Creating Both Stroke and Fill

  • Exercise 4 - Using the Oval, Rectangle, and Polystar Tools - creates strokes and fills that are independent of each other
    1. Select the Oval Tool (5th tool down in Animate 2021). Press and hold the Shift key while dragging -- this constrains to a circle - the circle is created using the current stroke color and the inside of the circle with the current fill color. You can set either of these to No Color - the white box with a diagonal line through it at the top of the color panel
      1. To create a pie-wedge shape, enter a number between 0 and 360 in the Start Angle and/or End Angle field.
      2. Setting the inner radius greater than 0 creates an oval with a hollow center - the number entered is the percentage of the outer oval that gets removed. The settings determine whether one will see a fill color.
    2. Select the Rectangle Tool (4th tool down in Animate 2021). Press and hold the shift key while dragging - this constrains to a square. In the Properties panel, in the Rectangle Options section, you can set the Rectangle corner radius. By clicking the icon immediately to the right (the tooltip on hover says "individual rectangle corner radius"), you can set each corner independently of the other corners.
    3. Select the Polystar Tool (last tool in the column in Animate 2021) - Click on the options button in the Properties panel to choose between a polygon and a star, the number of sides, and the star point size

    Modifying Strokes and Fills

    1. To use the Properties panel to change the color of a fill - e.g. use the Selection tool to select the fill and in the Properties panel, change the fill color
    2. To use the Paint Bucket (8th tool down in Animate 2021) to change the color of a fill - change the fill color in the Properties panel, then select the Paint Bucket and then click on the fill on the Stage to change the color
    3. Zoom feature - Ctrl =, or Z click to zoom in, Ctrl - minus to zoom out, or click on Zoom Tool (the magnifying glass with plus sign) and then click the area of the stage you want to enlarge. To zoom out, click on Zoom Tool (the magnifying glass with the minus sign) and then click on the area of the Stage where you want to zoom out.
    4. Undo feature - Ctrl + z (or Edit>Undo)
    5. To select multiple objects - Click on the Select Tool, and hold down the shift key while clicking each
    6. To clear all selections - Hit the escape key
  • Exercise 5 - Stroke and Fill as Separate Objects
    1. Set the fill and stroke colors to different colors and not white - draw an oval and then use the Selection tool to click on the fill and move it - Animate treats the stroke and fill as separate objects.
    2. Move the cursor over the stroke -- a small curved line appears at the end of the cursor - this means that you will select the line, rather than the fill, if you click. Again select and move the line (the fill stays in the same place). To bend the stroke and thus change the fill, just drag when you see the curved line without first selecting it.
    3. To select both, double click.

    Interaction among Objects (Merge Drawing Model)

    Three ways to prevent this interaction:

    Creating Gradients - Animate lets you create two types of gradient fills: linear and radial.

    1. Make sure the Color Panel is open; if not, choose Window>Color to open it. Click the down arrow to choose Linear gradient in the Fill Style drop down menu.
    2. Double click the small "house" at the bottom in the Color panel - this opens a dialog box and by selecting a color, this color will be used as an endpoint for the gradient. By double clicking the "house" at the other end, you can select a color as the other endpoint for the gradient. You can click in between to add additional color stops to the gradient.
    3. Click on the Rectangle tool or another tool than involves a fill and draw a shape.
    4. Select the Gradient Transform Tool (underneath the Free Transform Tool which is second from the top) See how the various edit handles (center point, width handle, and rotation handle) affect the gradient.
    5. Now select Radial gradient in the Fill Style drop down menu and then the Gradient Transform Tool from the toolbar - see how the various edit handles (center point, focus point, width handle, radius handle, and rotation handle) affect the gradient.
    6. Click on the button "Add to Swatches" at the bottom of the color panel; this adds this gradient to the Swatches panel. If it isn't open, choose Window>Swatches to open the panel and the new gradient should be at the bottom on the right. It will also be at the bottom of the color palette that opens when one clicks the fill color in the toolbar or in the Properties panel and can henceforth be selected just like any color in the palette

    Using the Text Tool

    Select the Text Tool (a capital T) At the top of the Properties panel you will see a choice between Static Text and Dynamic Text.

    Static text uses fonts available on the designer's computer. Animate converts these fonts into outlines when you publish. This means you don't need to worry about which fonts are on your users' machines; they will see the text as you designed it. However, too much text can lead to a bloated file which can slow down execution.

    If you choose Dynamic Text, you will see a globe symbol to the right of the Family prompt in the Character section. Click on the globe icon.Once you select a font, that font will appear at the top of the font list and you can then choose if from the Family dropdown.

    In Animate 2021, the dynamic text option is available for an HTML5 Canvas document, but not apparently for ActionScript 3.0 files (the globe icon does not show up). If the globe icon shows up, one chooses between Adobe Fonts and Google Fonts.

    Dynamic text uses fonts available from Typekit through your Creative Cloud subscription and fonts from Google. This avoids the large file size issue above from use of large amounts of static text.

    The use of these fonts in HTML5 Canvas is discussed in more detail in two documents:

    In both cases, after picking a font at the Adobe or Google site, you must then select your font in the Properties panel in Animate.

    To enter text, draw a rectangle after selecting the Text Tool. In the Properties panel, one can set the font, style (regular, italic, bold, bold italic), point size, letter spacing, and color (which will be the fill color if that has been previously specified with another tool). Unlike an HTML page, you do not need to worry about what fonts are on your user's machine.

    If one choose Paragraph in the Properties Panel, one can set alignment spacing and margins.

    Revised: February 21, 2021, Comments to William Pegram,