Exploring the Tool box: Modifier Tools

Modifier toolsWhat do you do when you're well into drawing the objects in your movie and discover you need to change their color, or when plain old geometric shapes and text aren't exactly what you had in mind? Scrap all your hard work and start over? No! While not as powerful a program as Illustrator or Freehand, Flash has some very helpful and easy to use Modifier Tools.

The first step to modifying an existing shape or object is to be able to select it. Let's explore our Modifier Tool choices.

Arrow ToolArrow Tool

This is one of the workhorse tools provided by Flash, and one that you will probably use the most. The Arrow Tool is used to select an object, it's parts or even several objects at once. (Parts? What parts? Read on!)

Arrow tool modifiersThe Arrow Tool has 3 modifiers that are accessible in the Modifiers Area of the Toolbox. The modifiers associated with the Arrow Tool are:
Snap To   Snaps lines or objects to other lines or registration points

Smooth   Smoothes selected lines

Straighten    Straightens selected lines
Unlike the other tools, the Arrow Tool has no inherent properties of it's own that appear in the Properties Inspector when this tool is first selected. But don't close that Properties Inspector yet! It works in conjunction with the Arrow Tool to provide you with additional modification abilities.

Let's see how this tool works. First, we need a new movie stage to work on. If you still have your "Landscape" on stage you can close it (File > Close, or click on the X in the upper right corner of the window in the gray area).
  1. Open a new movie document -- File > New. Or you can click on the button that looks like a white piece of paper on your main button bar.
  2. Select the Rectangle Drawing Tool and set both a stroke and fill color in the Color Control area.
  3. Draw any old rectangle or square on the stage so we have something to work with.

    Now let's stop and see what we have. If you open the Properties Inspector, you see the properties associated with the Rectangle Drawing tool. Click on the Arrow Tool and watch what happens to your Properties Inspector -- it now displays the properties associated with the Movie, not the Rectangle!

  4. With the Arrow Tool still selected, click on the filled center of your rectangle. The fill is now selected, so it looks filled with small dots over the top of the color.
  5. Look at the Properties Inspector - notice anything different? It shows the Stroke as set to none, but on the stage you can clearly see a stroke around the outside of your rectangle.

    Tip:  Even though you drew the the object as "one" object, Flash considers the stroke and fill as separate parts of that object. In order to work with both of them, you have to select both of them.

  6. With the Arrow Tool still selected, double click on the filled center of your rectangle. Now the "selected pattern" should extend to the stroke line around your rectangle. Look at the Properties Inspector - the Stroke Color should now reflect the stroke color of your rectangle.
  7. Use the Properties Inspector to change the colors of your rectangle and the Stroke Style. Notice that the new colors are also reflected in the Color Control Area of the Toolbox? If all you wanted to change was the color, you could do it from the Color Control Area instead of opening the Properties Inspector.
  8. Click off to the side of your rectangle to unselect it.
  9. Click on the bottom stroke line of your rectangle to select the stroke.
  10. In the Properties Inspector, change your Stroke Style and color yet again. Hey - it only changed the bottom stroke of your rectangle?!

    Tip:  Connected lines with angles in them are treated as sections and can be worked with separately or together. To change all connected lines, you have to select them all at once by double clicking on any connected stroke line.

  11. With the Arrow Tool still selected, double click on the stroke line you just changed. Nothing happens. We've effectively disconnected this line from the other lines in our rectangle by changing it's properties.
  12. With the bottom stroke line still selected, hold down the [Shift] key and double click on any of the other 3 lines around the rectangle. Now all 4 lines are selected.
  13. Look at the Properties Inspector - it shows a '---' as the Stroke color and nothing in the Stroke Styles box. That's to let you know you have a selection of mixed colors and stroke styles. Anything you do now will affect the entire selection, i.e., make them all the same.
Tip:  Once a section has been modified separately from the other lines in your object, it cannot be selected with the rest of the object's strokes via a double click -- you have to select the rest of the stroke lines, then hold down the [Shift] key while selecting the modified line (or vice versa, as we did above).
Once in a while you will run into a shape that just won't cooperate when you try to select it all with a double click. This could happen because a piece of the fill or outline was added separately, or because there is a minute gap somewhere that prevents Flash from seeing it all together. Instead of clicking around and frustrating yourself, you can use the Arrow Tool to easily select all sections/parts of your object by dragging out a selection around it. Let's try it:
  1. If your rectangle is still selected with the Arrow Tool, click on the stage to deselect it.
  2. With the Arrow Tool still selected, move your cursor to just above and outside the upper left corner of your rectangle.
  3. Hold down the left mouse button and drag out a box around your rectangle, from upper left to lower right.
  4. Release the mouse button.
Voila! The entire uncooperative shape/object is now selected! You can now make changes to all the properties of this shape in the Properties Inspector.
Tip:  This method of selecting a shape/object also works with multiple shapes/objects on the stage.
Let's go a step further with the Arrow Tool:
  1. Click on the stage to deselect the rectangle.
  2. Select the Pencil Drawing Tool and set your Stroke Style to Solid.
  3. In the Toolbox Modifier area, set the Pencil Mode to Ink.
  4. Draw a long wavy line on the stage - sharp edges, loops, whatever you like as long as there's lots of it!
  5. Select the Arrow Tool.
  6. Double click on any section of the line to select the entire line you just created.
  7. In the Toolbox Modifier Area, click on Smooth a few times while watching your line - you'll see Flash smooth it out!
  8. Now click on the Straighten modifier while watching your line. Stop when you are satisfied with the new look of your line.
  9. With the Arrow Tool still selected, drag out a box around both the rectangle and your arrow line. Be sure to include all of the line -- anything not in the selection box you drag out will not be selected!
  10. Release the mouse button -- both shapes/objects are now selected, fills and strokes.
  11. Change the Stroke Color & Style, and Fill color, if desired. Remember - it will change all objects as applicable!

    Now let's move our selection around... a more likely use of selecting all objects at once. We will assume that the line and rectangle are exactly where we want them in relation to each other, but we now want the whole group in a different area of the stage.

  12. With everything still selected, use the [arrow] keys on your keyboard to move everything to a new position on the stage, or hold down the left mouse button and drag your selection to a new location.
Let's recap the power of the Arrow Tool in selecting shapes/objects:
  • Use a single mouse click to select a simple shape or a piece of a more complex object (i.e., the fill or a single stroke section)
  • Use a double mouse click to select all the pieces of a complex shape (i.e., both fill and all strokes)
  • Drag a selection box around a single complex object to select all of it's components
  • Drag a selection box around multiple shapes/objects to select all of them
  • Select multiple pieces of shapes or objects by holding down the [Shift] key while clicking on them
Once the Arrow Tool has selected shapes/objects, you can:
  • Change their properties using the Property Inspector or the Color Control Area of the Toolbox
  • Modify them with the Arrow Tool Modifiers.
  • Move them around the stage
  • Remove them by using the [Delete] key on your keyboard
One final Tip:  Let's assume you have multiple objects on stage, all with a black stroke outline. After all your drawing, you've decided the lines should be red instead of black. So you've very carefully used the Arrow Tool and [Shift] to select the lines of all the shapes/objects and changed them to red. When you click on the stage to release your selection you realize red isn't what you had in mind, it should be yellow. Stop! Don't start re-selecting all the lines. If you haven't done anything else, you can get your selection back by clicking on the Undo button on your main button bar (looks like a blue curved arrow to the left). 

Subselection ToolSubselection Tool

This tool allows you to adjust segments of a line by accessing it's points. 

Lasso ToolLasso Tool

The Lasso Tool is another very versatile tool provided in your Toolbox. If you use other graphics programs, you will recognize it as a combination Freehand, Point-to-Point and Magic Wand selection tool. Let's start our exploration of this tool by looking at it's modifiers:

Magic Wand modifiers

Note: The default mode for the Lasso Tool is Freehand Selection.
Magic Wand   The Magic Wand mode is a special mode that works only with imported Bitmaps. It allows you to select portions of the bitmap based on your setting in the Magic Wand Properties. 

Magic Wand Properties   This modifier sets the selection parameter for use of the Magic Wand mode.

Polygon Mode   When you want to define your selection by drawing a Point-to-Point shape around your objects, use this mode.
The Lasso Tool is handy for selecting objects that are not easily selected using the Arrow Tool because of their shape or their position on stage relative to another shape/object. It can also be used to select just a part of a shape. Let's try it on our rectangle.
  1. Click on the Lasso Tool to select it. Don't set it's modifiers yet.
  2. In Freehand mode, drag out an odd shape in the center of your filled rectangle. Be sure to leave space around your selection.
  3. In the Properties Inspector, change your fill color.
Like the Arrow Tool, you can use the Lasso Tool to select objects and then move them around the stage. The Lasso Tool is an excellent compliment to the Arrow Tool when your stage is crowded or when your objects can't be selected with a rectangular selection box.

Free Transform ToolFree Transform Tool

This tool is new to Flash MX. If you are familiar with earlier versions of Flash you will recognize some of the transformation modifiers that used to be associated with the Arrow Tool and notice some much needed new options.

Free Transform modifiersThe first thing you need to know about this tool is that, like the Arrow Tool, it does not have any inherent properties but it does have several very helpful modifiers. The modifiers are not accessible until you have used the Free Transform Tool to select an object/shape or a section thereof. Let's explore the modifiers:
Rotate & Skew   This modifier allows you to turn or slant an object/shape around it's Transformation Point.  Holding down the [Shift] key while rotating an object forces the rotation to be performed in 45 degree increments.

Scale   Use this modifier to resize an object horizontally or vertically. When used on a grouped or symbolized object, scaling with this tool is done proportionally to the object, i.e., if you try to resize the object on the right by dragging it in or out, the same action is performed on the left side of the object. When not grouped or symbolized, you can resize non-proportionally. To proportionally scale an ungrouped object horizontally or vertically, hold down the [Alt] key while dragging the point on the bounding box. 

Distort   This transformation modifier uses the corner handle or edge handle on the objects bounding box (edge) to change the shape of the object and realign all edges to the distortion. Holding down the [Shift] key while using this modifier allows you to inversely taper the object proportionally, i.e., if you drag one corner up, the opposite corner will go down the same distance. Holding down the [Ctrl] key while using this modifier allows free movement of the edge. The Distort modifier cannot be used on grouped or symbolized objects.

Envelope   The Envelope is a bounding box that contains one or more objects. It works similar to the Distort modifier. One difference is that changes you make to the envelope affect the contents of the envelope, not just the bounding box. This is helpful when working with Text, for instance when you want to align it to a specific path. Another difference is that using the Envelope modifier gives you access to the tangent handles of your points, which allows you to add or change curves in your objects. The Envelope modifier cannot be used on grouped or symbolized objects.
The other thing you need to know about the Free Transform Modifier is that it can be used in conjunction with the Transform Panel in your Panel Set, for those instances when you want to be very precise in your transformations :
Transform Panel

Scale Width/Height   Enter a percentage to adjust the width and height of your selected object, between 1 and 1000. If you want the scale to be performed proportionally, i.e., same percentage to both width and height, before you type in a percentage make sure there is a checkmark in "Constrain". If you don't want to scale the object by proportional percentages, remove the checkmark in "Constrain".

Rotation Angle   Enter the angle you wish to rotate the object. A negative (-) rotates the object counter-clockwise, a positive number rotates it clockwise.

Skew Angles - Horizontal & Vertical   Enter the angle you wish to slant your object - horizontally, vertically or both. Again, a negative (-) is counter-clockwise; a positive is clockwise.

Copy & Apply Transformation   Allows you to make a transformed copy of a selected object.

As mentioned above, the Free Transformation Tool works with a new point - the Transformation Point. (Again, if you are coming from earlier versions of Flash this is new to Flash MX.) Each object/shape you draw has a Registration Point, also called the Center Point. Initially the Transformation Point is aligned to this Registration Point. That means that any transformation you make with this tool will happen around that center. But what if you don't want to make your transformations based on the center point of that object/shape? Then you move the Transformation Point.

To Move the Transformation Point, simply drag it with your mouse. To Return it to the Registration Point, double click on it.

This tool is one that will obviously take some practice to really understand all that it can do, especially if you are not used to working with points and tangent handles.

If you still have your movie with the rectangle on stage, you're ready to go. If not, draw out another rectangle with both a fill and stroke.
     Rotating an Object
  1. Click on the Free Transform Tool to select it.
  2. Click on the fill of your rectangle - note the bounding box. Also notice that you cannot see the stroke outline. Like the Arrow Tool, this tool sees your object as 2 elements -- an outline and a fill.
  3. Double click on your rectangle to select both the stroke outline and the fill.
  4. In it's default mode, the Free Transform Tool lets you decide what you want to do -- rotate, scale or skew. You can tell what you will be doing by the way your cursor looks as it moves over the points and connecting lines of the bounding box.

    You might now wonder why this tool has a Rotate and Scale modifier in the Modifier Area. These modifiers shut off some of the default transformation options. Let's try this...

  5. First move your cursor over the point in the middle of the left side of your rectangle and move it around a bit - it changes to the symbol for Skewing or the Scale arrow, depending on where your cursor is. Now move your cursor to the upper left corner point and do the same - it changes between Rotating and Scaling.
  6. Click on the Scale Modifier in the Toolbox Modifier Area. Now repeat Step 5. Your options no longer include Rotation or Skewing. If you are having trouble doing exactly what you intend when using this tool you can select the specific Scaling or Rotating/Skewing modifier to limit your options.
  7. Click on the Rotate/Skew modifier to select it.
  8. From any corner, once you see the Rotate cursor hold down the left mouse button and rotate your rectangle.
  9. With the rectangle still selected, open the Transform Panel in your Panel Set. Notice that it shows your new Rotation Angle.
  10. Now click off anywhere on the stage, then double click your rectangle with the Free Transform Tool to reselect it. Notice that the Rotation Angle in the Transform Panel is now set back to 0. Once you "accept" your change by deselecting the object, Flash adjusts the information stored about that object and relationships to the Transformation/Registration Points.
  11. To undo this, hit the Undo button on your main button bar a couple of times until you see the Rotation Angle in your Transform Panel again.
  12. In the Rotation Angle box of the Transform Panel, type in a new angle. Nothing happens. That's because your change is not accepted until you leave the Angle Edit box by pressing your [Tab] key. Clicking off on the stage or work area doesn't save a manually typed in angle - it acts like the [Esc] key and does not apply your change.
  13. Press the [Tab] key on your keyboard to apply your new angle.
Now for a Rotation with a modified Transformation Point:
  1. Click on the Free Transform Tool to select it.
  2. Click once on the top line of your rectangle - we only want to select this line, not the entire object or other lines!
  3. Notice the small white circle in the center of your line? That is the Transformation Point, which right now is aligned to the Registration (Center) Point of your line.
  4. Select the Rotate Modifier in your Toolbox.
  5. Now go to the left corner of your line and rotate it clockwise. Notice how the line rotates around the center Transformation Point?
  6. Click the Undo button on your main button bar.
  7. With your left mouse button held down, drag the Transformation Point to the far left point of your line.
  8. Now rotate the line counter-clockwise from the right corner of your bounding box. See the difference it makes when you move the Transformation Point?

    Note:  Because this type of rotation disconnected the line from the rest of the object, it can no longer be selected with the other elements of the object by double clicking.

  9. Click off anywhere on the stage to deselect the line.
  10. With the Free Transform Tool still selected for use, click back on the line you just rotated. Notice that the Transformation Point is now back in alignment with the Registration Point.
     Skewing an Object
Skewing slants an object in relationship to it's Transformation Point and it's X or Y Axis (or both). Let's try a simple skew.
  1. Click on the Free Transform Tool to select it.
  2. Double click on your rectangle to select the fill and all connected lines. (If you want to select the rotated line, which has been disconnected, you have to then hold down the [Shift] key and click once on that line to add it to your selection.)
  3. Select the Rotate/Skew Modifier in the Toolbox to ensure you have access only to the feature you are interested in using.
  4. Move your cursor over any connecting line of the bounding box until you see the Skew cursor, then hold your left mouse button down and drag the object's connecting line in either direction.
     Scaling an Object
Again, this will be pretty straightforward!
  1. Click on the Free Transform Tool to select it.
  2. Double click on your rectangle to select both the fill and all connected lines.
  3. Select the Scale Modifier in the Toolbox Modifier Area.
  4. Move your cursor over any point of the bounding box, then hold down your left mouse button while dragging your rectangle in or out. Notice that it works only on the side where the point is located.
  5. Now hold down the [Alt] key while repeating Step 4. See the difference? It applied the same scaling transformation to the opposite side of your rectangle!
  6. While the rectangle is still selected with the Free Transform Tool, open your Transform Panel in the Panel Sets area.
  7. In the Scale Width/Height area, uncheck Constrain and type in 2 separate numbers for width and height. Remember, you have to tab between fields and tab out of the last field in order for your changes to be applied! Notice how your rectangle is transformed when you hit the [Tab] key.
  8. Now put the checkmark back into Constrain and type a number in the width box. That number is automatically inserted into the height box for you. Tab out of both, and notice what happened to your rectangle as you did so.
     Distorting an Object
Using the Distort Modifier gives us access to a combination of non-proportional scaling, skewing and distortion of the objects corner points. To access non-proportional scaling when using this modifier, simply grab any point on a line and drag it up or down, in or out. To access skewing, simply grab any mid-point on a line and slide it in the direction you wish to skew the object. We won't practice that here because you already know how to scale and skew objects!

Let's Distort the corner points of our rectangle:
  1. Click on the Free Transform Tool to select it.
  2. Double click on your rectangle to select both the fill and all connected lines.
  3. Select the Distort Modifier in the Toolbox Modifier Area.
  4. Drag the point in the upper left corner of your rectangle in any direction you desire. Notice that it only affected that one corner.
  5. Hold down the [Shift] key while dragging the point in the upper right corner in any direction. Notice the difference? Your distortion was mirrored in the lower right corner of the rectangle.

Ink Bottle ToolInk Bottle Tool

The Ink Bottle Tool is another way to change the properties of existing lines or stroke outlines at one time. Unlike the other modifier tools, you don't have to select the lines first. Instead, you set the properties you want in the Properties Inspector of the Ink Bottle and then apply them to lines in your movie!

To work with this tool, we will need an object with a stroke outline. As you know, Stroke Outlines can only be solid colors -- not bitmaps or gradient fills.

Ink Bottle Properties
  1. Click on the Ink Bottle to select it.
  2. Open the Properties Inspector (Fig 53).
  3. Select a Stroke Color, Stroke Size and Stroke Style - feel free to customize the Style if you wish.
  4. Move your Ink Bottle up over the stage and click on the fill of your object. Nothing happened to the fill! That's because the Ink Bottle only works on lines. The stroke outline is changed, but your fill was left alone.

    Tip:   When working with lines, instead of outlined objects, move the Ink Bottle over the stroke outline of your line so that the tip of the ink stream is on the line and click the mouse button. All the connected lines of your object will be changed!

Paint Bucket Tool

The Paint Bucket tool works like the Ink Bottle, except it only works with fills. Unlike the Ink Bottle, the Paint Bucket can fill in unfilled areas in an enclosed object (i.e., an object created with a stroke outline only, or one drawn with several lines as in a cartoon character), and it works with solid colors, gradients and bitmap fills. In addition, the Paint Bucket Tool has modifiers of it's own:
Gap Size   Tells Flash how to handle gaps in containing lines when painting with the Paint Bucket Tool -- Don't Close Gaps, Close Small Gaps, Close Medium Gaps, Close Large Gaps.

Lock Fill   Locks the position of a bitmap or gradient fill to the drawing surface.
Let's explore how to use this tool to Close Gaps while painting an unfilled area. For this exercise, please draw an unfilled circle on the stage (i.e., fill color set to None) - use a colored stroke. Then use your Lasso Tool to select a small area of the outline and delete it. Instant Gap!
  1. Click on the Paint Bucket to select it.
  2. Open the Fill Color Control chip and select the gray radial gradient.
  3. Here's where we have to experiment when deciding how Flash "grades" the gap - sometimes what might seem small to us is medium, or even large, to Flash. The default Close Gap setting is "Close Small Gaps". See if this fits your circle by clicking the Paint Bucket somewhere inside the circle - be sure to pay attention to where the stream of paint ends when you click this tool. If not, set the Close Gap modifier size to Medium and try again. If that still doesn't work, try setting it to Large.
  4. In Step 3 we asked you to remember where the stream of paint was when you clicked the Paint Bucket. Do you remember? Note where the bright center of the radial fill is. Now use the Undo button on your main button bar to undo the painting you just did.
  5. Use the Paint Bucket to paint inside the circle again, this time making sure to put the end of the stream of paint in another spot than you did the first time. Notice where the bright center of the radial gradient is this time? Flash centers a radial gradient at the tip of this cursor - just a little trick to keep in mind.

    Tip: If every line that makes up your object intersects with another line, Flash will see the object as closed and it will not be necessary to set a gap modifier for this tool.

    Tip: Sometimes the gaps cannot be automatically closed, the resulting painting operation does not perform as expected or it takes multiple applications of the Paint Bucket to fill gaps. In these cases it is better to use the Free Transform Envelope Modifier option to manually close your lines before you begin painting.
Wondering how Lock Fill works? Draw a series of small rectangles from the far left edge of your stage to the far right edge. Stroke and Fill color don't matter.
  1. Click on the Paint Bucket to select it.
  2. Change the Fill color to a radial gradient.
  3. Turn on the Lock Fill modifier (click on it).
  4. Click the Paint Bucket on the fill of each rectangle, from left to right. Do you see what it is doing? The gradient fill is "locked" to the size of the entire stage, and when you fill the interior of the object it is effectively painting in what would show through if the gradient was actually under the stage and you were cutting out the object. A nifty way to create the look of a mask without having to create one!

    Repeat Steps 1 - 4, this time selecting the linear gradient that looks like a rainbow (the other standard gradient doesn't demonstrate this as well). With a linear gradient, you can actually speed up the steps -- in Step 4, instead of clicking in each rectangle use the Arrow Tool to drag out a selection box around all your rectangles. Then click in the first one and voila! Your linear gradient displays as "spread" across your rectangles. (This doesn't work for radial gradients.)
Here's another way to see what this tool does with the Fill Locked vs. a typical gradient fill:
  1. Draw a long rectangle across your stage with a solid color fill. Use the Paint Bucket to fill it with the Rainbow linear gradient, making sure that the Lock Fill modifier is not turned on!
  2. Draw another long rectangle across the stage with a solid color fill. Use the Paint Bucket to fill it with the Rainbow linear gradient, this time turn on the Lock Fill modifier.

Eyedropper ToolEyedropper Tool

Like other graphic programs, the Eyedropper Tool is used to match colors already in use in the movie. Unlike other programs, Flash not only selects the color but selects the properties associated with the object containing the color and the appropriate editing tool -- either the Ink Bottle or the Paint Bucket Tool. This allows you to easily change lines and fills to match those of other objects on your stage. Let's give it a whirl:

For this demonstration, you need to draw 2 filled rectangles on the stage - each should have different stroke and fill colors, and each should have a different stroke size and style.
  1. Click on the Eyedropper Tool to select it.
  2. Move your cursor over the first rectangle - when you are over the fill, the Eyedropper has a small paintbrush next to it; when you are over the line, it has a small inkbottle next to it.
  3. Click on the stroke outline of your first rectangle when you see the inkbottle appear. Now open the Properties Inspector - it should show the properties related to the line you clicked the Eyedropper on.
  4. Move your cursor to the fill of the second rectangle and click on it. The stroke outline of this rectangle has now been changed to match the outline of the first rectangle!
  5. Repeat Steps 3 & 4, this time for the fill.
You can, of course, use this tool to select lines vs. outlined objects and change the lines to match each other. Or you could select a line with the Eyedropper to match it's color but change the other stroke properties in the Properties Inspector before you apply the Inkbottle to the targets.

Eraser ToolEraser Tool

Eraser's are pretty straightforward, right? In most cases this would be true -- but in Flash, they can actually be modified so that they are even more helpful than we would normally expect! Like other tools, the Eraser works by dragging it across the stage in most configurations. Unlike most other tools, you can also blot away portions of your drawings by repeatedly clicking the mouse and moving the cursor between clicks.

The Eraser Tool in Flash MX has 3 modifiers - Eraser Mode, Faucet and Eraser Size & Shape. Here's an explanation of each one:
Eraser Mode   This is one of the most powerful aspects of the Eraser Tool. Your options are:
  • Erase Normal   This is a plain old Eraser, erases everything it touches.
  • Erase Fills   When used in this mode, the Eraser only removes fills -- even if you drag it over multiple objects with stroke outlines and fills it only removes the fills and ignores the lines.
  • Erase Lines   The inverse of the Erase Fills mode -- erases only strokes, not fills.
  • Erase Selected Fills   A little more tricky. To use the Eraser in this mode, you must first select the fills you want to erase using the Arrow Tool and holding down the [Shift] key while selecting each one. Now you can use broad eraser strokes across the stage and only the selected fills will be removed, all other fills and strokes will be ignored.
  • Erase Inside    This mode works based on the fill you first touch with the Eraser when you start to drag it on the stage. If you start in an unfilled area, nothing is erased. If you start inside a filled object, only that fill is erased -- even if you then drag the Eraser across another object during the same sweep.

    Tip:   Erase Inside resets itself each time you release your mouse button. In other words, the Erase Inside mode is going to begin the process with the fill under the cursor when you hold down the mouse button regardless of whether you were already using this mode or not.
Faucet Mode   The Faucet mode removes entire stroke segments (connected lines) or fills when they are clicked with the Eraser Tool. If you want to remove all the fills from a series of filled objects, for instance, this is the tool to use. Instead of dragging the Eraser back and forth, turn on the Faucet and simply click on each fill to remove it.

Eraser Size & Shape   Pretty straightforward. This modifier lets you select from a range of sizes and shapes to allow you greater control of the eraser when you are using it.