Introduction to Macromedia Freehand
Drawing a Vehicle using Macromedia Freehand!

In this tutorial I will be tracing a blueprint of a vehicle in order to demonstrate some of the common functions of Macromedia Freehand. " " is one site you can go to,  to download a blueprint.

Overview of the Freehand Interface:

Fig. 1

When you open Freehand you may or may not see any of the toolbars, and you will not see the document page until you go to File --> Open and open either a new or existing file.  In order to see any of the Toolbars you need to go to the View menu and check Toolbars. The Panels checkbox allows you to open a selection of panels to the right. The panels allow you to very specifically modify different aspects of your drawing. I will cover some of them in later tutorials.

Fig. 2

The toolbars shown above can be selected from the Window menu in the top menu bar, and moved around on the desktop. The Toolbars I have selected are:

  • Tools

  • Toolbars --> Text

  • Toolbars --> Status

  • Toolbars --> Xtra Operations

  • Toolbars --> Xtra Tools

Changing the Orientation:

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Under the Window menu select Document. If Panels is selected under the View menu you should see the Document panel to the right of your screen.

For this tutorial choose Landscape orientation.

Under the Window menu select the Layers Panel, if not already selected.

Clicking on the Icon in the top right corner will bring up a menu of Layer properties.  In this menu you can create a New Layer. You will be creating several layers in this tutorial.

The Lock icon allows you to lock any layer that you are not currently using. This prevents unintentional changes to your project. It is important to remember to unlock a layer when you need to modify it. Forgetting to unlock can cause a lot of frustration and confusion.

For the next step make sure that the Background Layer is highlighted

Fig. 5

Go to File --> Import to import your blueprint image to the current (background) layer. 

The    icon indicates the top left insert location of the image. 

Center the image in your document, lock the Background layer, and make sure that the Foreground Layer is highlighted.

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

There are several ways that you could trace the blueprint image. The Line Tool creates a straight line between two points.

In the example to the right I have created three line segments. If the starting point of a line is directly on top of the end point of the preceding line, it is easy to join the lines into a continuous line with multiple segments. This makes it easier to manipulate.

To join the line segments into a continuous line use the black arrow Pointer Tool to draw a selection box completely around the line segments. Go to the  Modify menu and select Join.

Fig. 9

Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Select the line with the White Subselect tool. Dragging outward in either direction will expose the "handles". Change the shape of the curve by dragging the handles in any direction.


T. Carson 2008

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