I'm working on some vector art for a project in Adobe Flash CS4. My art is all cartoon-ish, with an outline and then maybe 2-4 shades of each color used. Just a heads up on what I'm looking for.

The biggest problem I encounter is when I want to add a shade of color along a side and fill it with the bucket tool, but it always spreads out of the bounding line I draw unless I either make it match up with the border perfectly or cut into the border. I noticed that the line tool is one fabulous solution to this problem. It allows me to fill in an area and remove the line after without damaging my drawing at all. The only downside is that it only works for straight lines, and I need this same effect for a lot of free-form stuff. So, my question is if there is a way to mimic the line tool's useful effect with a free-form drawing. Also, could it have the smoothness property similar to the brush tool? Or, is there a better way altogether to achieve this? Thanks for any help. If you need clarification just ask.

1 Answer 1


The brush can be set to Paint Behind. Towards the bottom of the tool panel are a bunch of buttons that appear when you have the brush selected; when you hover over the buttons you see their name, and look for Brush Mode. That's great for closing over gaps by painting a bit with the brush, and you don't have to worry about accidentally painting over the parts you want to keep.

Also you can set a gap size for the bucket tool. I'm not a fan of that approach to fixing it though because then the bucket won't fill in tight spaces.

(Incidentally, the fact that you even can use a Fill Bucket with vector graphics is another reason I prefer drawing in Flash to Illustrator. In another thread I mentioned this preference.)

  • I can't see my lines with Paint Behind, but those options included another equally great alternative, which was Paint Selection. Considering the kind of drawing I'm doing, simply selecting the color and then painting on it with this option creates the exact effect I was looking for. Thanks for revealing this option to me!
    – user1055
    Apr 12, 2011 at 1:34
  • aha I thought you meant you were filling in an empty area, not changing the color of an already painted area. Paint Behind will only work on empty areas; you already discovered that Paint Selection or Paint Inside is the setting you would want for your specific use case.
    – jhocking
    Apr 12, 2011 at 12:11

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