Flash 4)



Making the text-glow is generally easy to do.  The key is to use the Soften Edges feature in Flash.  
In Flash 4, this command is available in Modify->Curves.  
In Flash 5, this command is available in Modify->Shape.  

There are some pitfalls, though.  For example, sometime the program will have a hard time figuring out where the edges are.  This is more likely to  happen with object that has many curves, such as texts.  


  • Set the Movie size to 500x150 pixels, set background of the movie to black.
  • Click Text Tool, set text color to white.
  • Type: GLOW
  • Click Modify->Font.
  • Set the font to _sans, size to 100, Letter Space to 30.  Apply.
  • Make sure all the text are inside of the movie canvas.
  • Click the text, break it apart (Modify->BreakApart)
  • Make sure all the shapes are highlighted, then do Modify->Curves->Soften Edges.  You should get a Dialog box as shown below.  

  • Enter the parameter above.  (Note: I'm using 30 for the Number of steps for illustration purpose only.  In real life, try to find the largest Number of steps while still maintaining a good result in terms of speed and appearance. This is because Flash accomplishes Soften Edges by creating outlines around the shape.  The Distance parameter sets how many pixels the shape should be expanded.   The Number of steps sets how many steps the distance will be traveled.  So If both Distance and Steps are 30, then Flash will create 30 outlines, each outline will be of 1 pixel thick.  If Distance is 30, and Number of Steps is 5; then Flash will create 5 outlines, each outline will be 6 pixels thick.  Too many curves might slow down the movie, so again, in real application, try to find the largest Number of steps while still maintaining a good result in terms of speed and appearance. )

  • You can make more improvement, for example, you can draw outlines and color the inner shape of each letter:  Just fill and use the pen tool on the innermost shape to do that. 


  • Use large font.  This is because Flash will  have a harder time adding edges to a small shape with many curves.  The bigger the size of the shape, the better.  (You can shrink the text "after" adding the soften edges).
    For example, Flash can't soften the edge on the smaller W below because the distance between the edges are too small, so I enlarged the text, which produces a better result.
  • Before breaking up the text, set Letter Spacing to at least the same number of pixels for the softened edges.  For example, if you want to set Soften Edges distance to be 50 pixels, then set letter spacing to 50.  This will prevent the edges to touch each other.   (The maximum Letter Spacing value in Flash 4 is: 60 pixels.  If you need more spacing, you might have to break apart the text first, then space the letter individually by moving each letter so that they're farther from each other.) 
  • Don't use too many Steps in the Soften Edges.  Try to find the smallest value as possible while still maintaining good result.  Because Flash will create a curve for every steps, the larger the value of Steps, the more curves Flash will create.  Too many curves will slow down the movie.
  • This is unfortunate, but don't expect to get a good result every time.  Sometimes, the curves are just too complex for Flash to handle even after enlarging it.  In this case, I suggest using less complex font, or use smaller soften edge distance.  


You can also use soften edges to create glowing buttons.  (Move the mouse over the button to see.)


(C) F. Permadi