Using Deco Tool in Flash CS4 (Vine Fill)

One of the exciting new features in Flash CS4 is Deco Tool (shortcut U). This is actually 3 tools in one, because if you check properties panel while deco tool is selected you will notice 3 different drawing effects: Vine Fill, Grid Fill and Symmetry Brush. Now we have nice set of tools to create best patterns out there.

Default settings for Vine Fill tested on empty Stage can give you pretty good example how this tool works. When you click on the Stage, pattern expands from mouse position to every direction where there are no boundaries of other objects. This means you can limit where your pattern should expand. However expanding is not perfect with default settings and you will often find some space left blank (see image below).

You can reduce unwanted empty space using advanced options located on properties panel. If you change pattern scale to 50%, you will probably fill entire given shape. You can also change segment length, but be careful not to over-do-it or you will lose segment integrity and you may not see flowers, only leafs.

Another parameter available in advanced options is branch angle if you want to rotate your pattern. It seems this doesn't change the way pattern is expanding, something I expected. Last parameter in advance options gives you a way to animate pattern, thus to record pattern expanding! Nice, but most interesting option for Vine Fill is to edit Leaf and Flower shapes.

Here is one trick - when using Vine Fill deco tool for branches choose same color as background and you will see only leafs and flowers.

For creating static patterns, use graphics shapes and you can achieve amazing things, but you are not limited only by graphics. Just as easy you can create animated MovieClip and use it as both custom Leaf or Flower inside your pattern.


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