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Working With PointsAs you have seen in the previous chapters, all the objects created by the creation tools are called paths. And all paths consist of points that are joined by segments.
As soon as you start to change the shape of objects, it is necessary to understand what the different types of points are and how they can be modified. You also need to understand how to work with the handles that extend out from points.
Fortunately, Macromedia FreeHand gives you a wealth of powerful tools for working with points-either manually or automatically.
Understanding the Types of PointsIf you are familiar with programs such as Macromedia Fireworks, or Adobe Illustrator, you should understand the basic aspects of working with points.
The basics of points
There are three elements to working with points (also called anchor points). There is the point itself, the line segment that connects the point to other points on the path, and point handles that may extend out from the point.
Tip Points and point handles are displayed in the highlight color of the layer that they are on (seepage 158).
Handles are nonprinting lines that control the direction along which any path curves. Changing the direction of the handle changes the shape of the path.
Point handles are also called Bezier (pronounced Bay-zee-ay) handles. They were named after the French mathematician Pierre Bezier. He invented the mathematical principles that control handles.
Three different types of points make up FreeHand objects: corner points, curve points, and connector points. In order to have a complete understanding of FreeHand, it is vital to understand how these points work.
Corner points are anchor points that allow paths to have an abrupt change in direction. Depending on how they were created, there are three different types of corner points: points with no handles, points with two handles, and points with one handle.
Curve points are anchor points that make a smooth, curved transition along the direction of the path. A curve point has two handles that extend out from both sides of the point. However, unlike corner points that may have two handles, the handles on curve points are linked so that as the handle on one side moves, the handle on the other side also moves. The length of the handle governs the shape of the curve.
M If you rotate the point handle on one sids of a curve point, the handle on the opposite side also moves. It is this "lever" action that makes the curve transition smooth.
The purpose of connector points is to constrain the transition between segments so that they cannot be moved out of alignment with their line segments. Connector points are indicated by triangular dots and always have point handles.
Connector points can have one or two point handles. When a connector point occurs between-a straight-line segment and a curved segment, there is only one point handle, which runs along the same direction as the straight line. When a connector point is between two curved segments, there are two point handles which are constrained by the position of the points on either side of the connector point.
Tip FreeHand provides two types of handles on the levers that come out of the points. The illustrations in this book show the small handles. You can work with the large handles by switching the Preferences settings (see Appendix C).
Selecting PointsAnchor points define the shape of paths. So when you select and work with the points on a path, you also change the shape of the path. This is how great artwork begins.
FreeHand has two tools that select and move points: the Pointer tool and the Subselect tool. However, as you shall see, the Subselect tool can be found as an option when working with the Pointer tool.
To select points by clicking:
1. Click the Pointer tool in the Tools panel.
2. Move the tip of the arrow of the Pointer tool on the path and click. This selects the path with its anchor points visible. Although the anchor points are visible, they are not individually selected.
Tip Do not use a path drawn with the Rectangle or Ellipse tools unless you have first ungrouped the objects (see pages 103-104 for more information on grouping and ungrouping objects).
3. Move the tip of the arrow over one of the points and click. The point is now selected and is shown as a hollow dot. If it has point handles, they will be visible.
4. Hold the Shift key and click with the Pointer tool to select additional points.
Tip If you need to deselect a point, hold the Shift key and click on the selected point. This deselects the point without deselecting the path or other points.
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Selected points on a path are usually, displayed as hollow dots. Unselected points are usually solid. However, you can reverse this by choosing Show Solid Points in the FreeHand General Preferences (see Appendix C).
This setting displays selected point as solid dots and unselected points as hollow dots. This is how Adobe Illustrator displays points. Those who move from Illustrator to FreeHand s may feel more comfortable working., this way. (Sadly Adobe is not as welcoming for those moving from FreeHand to Illustrator.)
Another way to select points is by using the Pointer to marquee an area around the points you want to select.
To select points with a marquee:
1. Place the Pointer tool outside the point or points you want to select.
2. Press and drag to create a rectangle that surrounds the points you want selected The area inside the rectangle is the marquee.
3. Release the mouse button. This selects all points inside the marquee.
Tip To select points in more than one area, create your first selection marquee. Then press the Shift key and create your next selection marquee.
Tip Hold the Cmd/Ctrl key to temporarily switch from another tool to the Pointer tool.
Sometimes creating a marquee may select points you don't want selected. In that case you may want to use the Lasso tool, which can select points in a non-rectangular area.
To select points within a non-rectangular area:
1. Choose the Lasso tool in the Tools panel.
2. Place the Lasso tool outside the point or points you want to select.
3. Press and drag to create an area that surrounds the points you want selected.
4. Release the mouse button. This selects all points inside the marquee.
To deselect points that are selected:
Modifying Points and HandlesThe shape of a path depends on the types of points on the path. You can change the shape of a path by changing the type of point or changing the point handles. To modify points using the Object inspector:
1. Use the Pointer tool to select one of the points on a path.
2. In the Object inspec.
3. Click the Handles icons to retract the handles going into and out of the point.
Tip The left icon retracts the handle going into a point. The right icon retracts the handle coming out of a point.
4. With a curve point selected, choose the Automatic setting. This sets the point handles to the position and length that is best suited for the shape of the path.
Tip The Bezigon tool creates points with the Automatic setting turned on.
5. Use the Point location x field to set the horizontal position of the point.
6. Use the Point location y field to set thy, vertical position of the point.
Tip If you select multiple points on a path, you can change all the point attributes except their Point location.
To retract handles manually: 1. Select a point so that its handles are visible.
2. Place the Pointer tool or Subselect tool on the dot at the end of the handle.
3. Drag the handle into the anchor point.
To extend a single handle manually:
1. Use the Subselect tool to select the point from which you want to extend the handles.
2. Position the pointer over the selected point. A white curved arrowhead appears. 3. Drag to extend the handle out from the point.
Tip You can hold the Opt/Alt key while in the Pointer tool to access the Subselect tool.
You can also extend two handles at once from the points at either end of a segment. (This technique is sometimes called the "Bend-O-Matic." )
To extend two handles manually:
1. Use the Subselect tool to select the line segment between two points.
2. Drag the line segment. A handle extends out from each of the points on either side of the segment.
Tip If you use the Pointer tool, hold the Opt/ Alt key to access the Subselect tool.
To retract handles with the Pen:
1. Move the Pen tool over the point. A small caret (A) symbol appears next to the cursor.
2. Click. The handles of the point are automatically retracted.
To extend handles with the Pen:
1. Move the Pen tool over the point. A minus sign (-) appears next to the cursor.
2. Drag but do not click. The point is converted to a curve point and handles extend out.
Tip If you click instead of drag, you will delete the point (see the next page)...