Set Transformation Point and Reset Transformation Point in Flash CS3

When you right-click a symbol instance on the Stage in Flash, there are a couple new options that were added in CS3: “Set Transformation Point” and “Reset Transformation Point”. There’s not much out there about these features, as I understand they were added quietly late in the game. But they’re very useful nonetheless. The problem is it’s a bit tricky to figure out how these things are useful without knowing what the feature is or how it works – because (at least to me) it sounds like they do something when they actually do something a bit different (and once I found out what they did, it made a lot of sense). So lets run through this new feature.

  1. Drag an instance of a symbol to the Stage from the Library.
  2. Select the instance using the Free Transform tool.
  3. Drag the transformation (the white circle) to a new location on the instance.
  4. Right-click the instance and choose Set Transformation Point.
  5. Drag a new instance of that symbol to the Stage, and select it with the Free Transform tool.

As you can see, the Transformation pointof the second instance is exactly where you placed it in the first one. That’s essentially what this first option does, and it can be very handy if you’re using a bunch of instances in a FLA that need to rotate or otherwise transform from the same point – saves a lot of dragging/estimating.

As for Reset Transformation Point-

  1. Right-click the instance again, and choose Reset Transformation Point.
  2. Drag another instance onto the Stage, and select it with the Free Transform Tool.

Now the Transform point is back in the default central position for the new instances of this symbol. Alternatively, you can change the Transformation point location, and just choose Set Transformation Point again and it will save this new location for the instances.

This feature appears to work on a per-symbol basis. You can set the transformation point for all instances of a particular symbol for multiple symbols in the library. For example, you have Symbol 1 and Symbol 2 in the library. You can set the transformation point for an instance of Symbol 1, and all instances of that symbol will keep that transformation point location until you reset it or set a new location. You can independently set a transformation point for Symbol 2 and it is saved until you reset it on an instance of that symbol. And so on.

As an aside/note/whatever, remember that you can set the Transformation point to the Registrationpoint by double-clicking the white circle.

If you’re new to Flash and you’re wondering what the heck a Transformation point is – it is the point around which the symbol rotates or transforms, and looks like a white circle when you have the instance selected using the Free Transform tool. The best way you can illustrate this is by creating a new instance, and rotate it using the Free Transform tool (select the instance using the tool, and move the cursor around the edge until you see a little round arrow and then drag). Now change the location of the white circle and rotate the instance again. This also affects how the instance skews and resizes. The Transformation point has also been referred to as a “Control point” in Flash (some references in documentation are to the Control point), but it is different than the Registration point (the small black crosshair).

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