One of my greatest frustrations after first exploring the
new draw methods in Macromedia Flash MX was the trouble
I had using curveTo effectively. It was non-intuitive and
non-trivial (at least to me) to draw a 'normal' circle or
arc. So in my frustration, I created an extension to the
Macromedia Flash built-in drawing API to handle the creation
of those shapes. Over time, this extension multiplied. They
eventually took on a life of their own, becoming a larger
toolset for drawing shapes and structures.
In the end I had nine new tools.
Some are useful, others whimsical, but all of them are free
to use as you see fit. They are free of charge or obligation.
I have endeavored to make these methods robust and useful,
however I can make no guarantees about their suitability
to your specific needs. I similarly make no guarantees that
they are bug or problem free: caveat emptor. I have commented
them heavily and hopefully this will let those encountering
the built-in drawing methods for the first time understand
how they can be used to create useful tools. It should also
provide sufficient information for those more experienced
to adapt them to their specific needs or styles.
One last thing before we get to the methods themselves:
There are ways to optimize ActionScript to increase the
speed of the code execution, but at the cost of making the
ActionScript more obtuse. These methods serve a dual purpose.
The first is to reduce drawing complex elements to a single
line of code. The second is to be a tool for learning. Because
of the second (and to my mind, more important) purpose,
I have left some of these methods 'unoptimized'. For those
that are not yet familiar with the Flash MX built-in drawing
methods, be sure to check out theIntroduction
to Macromedia Flash MX Drawing Methodsat Macromedia's
Designer & Developer Center.
Okay, now we've cleared that up, on to the methods...
The individual AS include files are available by clicking
the orange titles. If you want the sample FLA files, you
can download them in either SIT or ZIP format packages that
include all the files below.
contain all the below AS files along with FLA files for the
individual AS files
dashTo.as mc.dashTo is a metod for drawing dashed (and dotted)
lines. I made this to extend the lineTo function because
the built-in method doesnt have the cutom line types
that the line tool has in Flash.
is a method for drawing regular and eliptical arc segments.
This method replaces one I originally released to the Flash
MX beta group titled arcTo and contains several optimizations
based on input from the following people: Robert Penner, Eric
Mueller and Michael Hurwicz.
is a method for drawing bursts (rounded star shaped ovals
often seen in advertising). This seemingly whimsical method
actually had a serious purpose. It was done to accommodate
a client that wanted to have custom bursts for 'NEW!' and
'IMPROVED!' type elements on their site... personally I think
those look tacky, but it's hard to argue with a paying client.
:) This method also makes some fun flower shapes if you play
with the input numbers.
is a method that draws gears... you know, cogs with teeth
and a hole in the middle where the axle goes? Okay, okay...
so nobody *needs* a method to draw a gear. But it was an easy
adaptation of the polygon method so I did it anyway. Enjoy.
is a method for creating circles and ovals. Hopefully this
one is pretty straight forward. This method, like most of
the others, is not as optimized as it could be. This was a
conscious decision to keep the code as accessible as possible
for those either new to AS or to the math involved in plotting
points on a curve.
is a method for creating regular polygons. I can draw the
polys either clockwise or counter-clockwise (based on sides
argument) so that you can use it to knock holes in dynamically
is a method for drawing rectangles and rounded rectangles.
Regular rectangles are sufficiently easy that I often just
rebuilt the method in any file I needed it in, but the rounded
rectangle was something I was needing more often, hence the
method. The rounding is very much like that of the rectangle
tool in Flash where if the rectangle is smaller in either
dimension than the rounding would permit, the rounding scales
down to fit.
is a method for drawing star shaped polygons. Like drawPoly,
it can draw stars in either direction for creating knockouts.
mc.drawWedge is a method for drawing pie shaped wedges. Very
useful for creating charts. Again, special thanks is due to:
Robert Penner, Eric Mueller and Michael Hurwicz for their