Learn Flash – An Overview Of The Selection Tool

The Selection Tool in Flash may seem overly simple, but it has many key uses that Flash animators use all the time. First, the Selection Tool can act like many people suspect it would and that is the ability to click, grab and move objects. However, it has many more uses than just that. It may surprise some people that the Selection Tool is key to keeping the file size of Flash movies down. This is important when streaming content on the Internet. Another fact is that the Selection Tool can morph and shape any drawn object into anything the creator desires.

Sometimes people mistake the Subselection Tool with the Selection Tool. And really, this is an easy mistake to make. The Subselection Tool (the white arrow) acts differently than that of the Selection Tool. The Subselection Tool allows you to morph things like the Selection Tool, just in different ways. Both tools allow you to move objects, but again, they act differently in this aspect. In my opinion it's easier to use the Selection Tool to grab and drag things. We will go into more detail with the Subselection Tool in a later tutorial.

Many Flash animators use the Selection Tool to keep their file sizes low. Coupled with the Shape Tool, the Selection Tool can shape and create any object one could think of. By doing this, the file size is reduced as opposed to using the Pencil or Line tools. This mostly has to do with the amount of curves and lines created with these given tools. When you create a square with the Shape Tool, its really just one continuous line. When you take the Selection Tool and morph this square, it's still just one line, just altered. Now, with the Line or Pencil tools, creating a square actually takes four lines. Now think about drawing a person with the Pencil Tool, you're going to have several lines and corners. But if you take the shape tool and lay out a few shapes then morph them into a person, it's going to take less lines and therefore lower the file size of your final product.

Mastering the Selection Tool is key to a successful Flash project. Next time I will be going over more tools in the powerful Flash toolbox.

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