Color in Flash relies on palettes that contain swatches. There are different kinds of palettes available for you to use, or you can create and save your own palettes by using the Color Swatches panel. For the Tech Bookstore website you're creating, you will select colors from the default Web Safe palette that contains 216 colors. This palette contains only the colors that can be successfully viewed on most people's monitors. It is possible to add a custom color to the palette using the Color Mixer. All you need to do is select a pixel color anywhere in Flash or on the desktop from a bitmap image (or by using the Eyedropper tool), and then select Add Swatch from the Options menu. The selected color is added as a swatch to the button row of the palette you have open.
The Web 216 or Web Safe color palette was developed back when monitors supported only 256 colors. Because Mac and PC used different color palettes for their systems, only 216 colors were common between them. These days, however, very nearly every device is capable of supporting and displaying well in excess of 256 colors, including mobile phones and PDAs. So it's okay to use any color that tickles your fancy, unless you're unfortunate enough to have to design for a very primitive device.
You can also read in colors from a GIF image by selecting Add Colors from the Color Swatches panel Options menu and then navigating to the image that contains the colors you want to use.
You can use the swatch colors from the palettes to select colors for filling shapes, drawing, applying to strokes, or changing the background color of the Stage. Colors can be defined in several different ways: You can select or change colors using RGB (red, green, blue), HSB (hue, saturation, brightness), or standard hexadecimal. These color modes simply have different ways of representing color, and you can switch between RGB and HSB freely at any time. You always have the option of using hexadecimal for color designation. RGB mode adds three numerical values to define a color, whereas HSB mode uses a value for the degree of rotation on the color wheel, and percentages for saturation and brightness, to define the color. Hexadecimal colors use a base-16 system that uses a combination of six numbers and letters to define a color. You might be familiar with this color mode if you have written HTML because that is the standard color mode used on the web. This lesson and book will provide hexadecimal values for colors, but the same colors can also be found by selecting swatches in the default color palette.
You can select a stroke or fill color using the color controls in the Tools panel or in the Property inspector (the color controls are the two color swatches you see in the color area of the Tools panel). When you click a fill or stroke color control, the color pop-up window appears, and the Eyedropper tool replaces the cursor. You can click the Eyedropper tool on a color in the palette, on the Stage, or on the desktop to select a color to use. The Eyedropper tool in the Tools panel is used the same way. You can use the Eyedropper tool to match colors with one another quickly or to pick up a color from a layout you designed in a program such as Fireworks.