Understanding object and merge drawing modes in Flash
If you’re using Flash to animate, chances are you’re going to be drawing an object or two. One of the most interesting — and potentially confusing — aspects of Flash drawing is the existence of its two drawing modes: object and merge. When creating an illustration, it’s important to understand the difference between the two before you get started.
Object drawing mode is perhaps the more predictable — it allows a user to create lines, shapes and fills that the program views as objects. When using this mode, you’ll be able to create seperate figures, move them around, overlap them, and layer them, all with the option of changing the assortment around later if you so choose. This might seem intuitive — but learn about merge mode and you’ll understand the difference.
In merge drawing mode, objects you draw are only seperate while there is no overlap between them. Once two merge-drawing objects are overlapped or layered, the figures will change. If the objects are two different colors, the portion of the object on the bottom layer that is covered by the top object will be erased. If you then move the top object off the bottom one, the bottom figure will remain, with a cut-out like portion indicating where the other object had been sitting. If two objects are the same color, overlapping them will combine the two.
Make sure you know which mode you’re in before you get started — merge drawing is the default for Flash, but using object drawing can sometimes be useful. You can toggle between the two using the element toolbar.