How to Use the Vector Brushes in Adobe Animate CC

The Vector Brush tool fine-tunes parts of your animation

When Adobe released Animate CC, one of the new features we briefly mentioned was the Vector Brushes which add a whole new dimension to your graphic and motion design workflow.  

In the previous version of the application, brushes were essentially paint brushes. They laid down colored pixels, which could be put in motion with a bit of extra work on your part. This is now a thing of the past and, in many respects, Adobe has turbocharged your workflow. The multiple steps have been reduced to a couple of mouse clicks.

How to Select a Brush Preset in Adobe Animate CC

The Brush Library panel is open.
Tom Green

Consider the example of using the pencil tool to create a small clump of grass in the foreground. Obviously, a series of lines just isn’t a natural representation of grass.

To add a bit of a more natural look to the grass, select the lines and click the Brush Library button—it looks like a coffee cup with paintbrushes sticking out of it—in the Properties Panel.

From there, select Artistic > Ink > Calligraphy2 and, by double-clicking the brush, it applies to the selection. If you click on one of the stokes you will notice it is a vector object. This means you can edit each object to get just the look you wish to obtain.

How to Use the New Animate CC Vector Paint Brush Tool

The shapes are drawn using the Paint Brush Tool and a new width is shown in the width pop down.
Tom Green

The really neat aspect of the new Paint Brush tool—the brush with the line in the Tools panel—is that it paints vectors. You can draw a shape, in this case, a new clump of grass, and the stroke is composed of a series of vector points.

How to Use the Art Brush Options Panel in Animate CC

The Art Brush Options panel is shown.
Tom Green

Open the Art Brush Options panel to see the current brush—the shape is contained between two red guides. The first two options are self-explanatory. Select either one and the style will scale along the vector or stretch along the length of the vector stroke.

The third option–Stretch between guides–is where you change the brush's look. If you place the cursor over a guide it changes to a splitter cursor. If you drag the guide along the preview you can see it change shape along its width. If you pay attention to the numbers under the selection, they will change as you drag a guide. When you finish, click Add to apply your changes.

How to Apply Creative Cloud Shared Library Brushes in Animate CC

The Brush area of the Creative Cloud library panel is shown.
Tom Green

When you select an object in Animate CC and open your Creative Cloud library, only the Illustrator/Vector brushes that can be used in Animate CC are lit up. If you roll over one of the “dimmed” brushes, you will be informed the brush can’t be used.

How to Animate a Shape Created by an Animate CC Vector Brush

The Shape Tween layer is shown.
Tom Green

Putting the brushed object in motion is actually quite simple. You just have to understand there are two types of motion in Animate CC: Objects and Shapes. In this example, the grass will wave in the wind. To accomplish this all we really need to do is to change the shape of the object.

The first step in this process is to add a keyframe where the animation is to end—in this case frame 30. To create the keyframe, right-click the frame and select Insert Keyframe from the Context menu.

The next step is to right-click between the two keyframes and select Create Shape Tween from the pop-down menu. The span will turn green.

Switch to the Subselection tool and click the shape in Frame 30. Select a point or a path and move it to a new location to create a shape change. To preview the animation, press the Return/Enter key.