Director 8 Shockwave Internet Studio
Written for WindoWatch.com
Director has been one of the primary multimedia authoring tools for years. Previously, we had a look at Director 7. This review is a focus on what's new with Director. I'm just going to refer to some of the editing windows by the names used by Director, it will make sense if you use the program.
Macromedia has been working hard to make Director a friendly program for all to use. The layout is complex, but that is to be expected given what the program does. But each version of Director is making it simpler to use, once upon a time, only serious programmers could set up complex events.
The library holds a large number of pre-defined behaviours. Most of those used in Director 7 are still available plus: Sprite transitions (slide, barn door, stretch); and Paintbox (Canvas, Erase all, etc.) Missing are the Java behaviours.
This process has become even simpler. In the last version of Director, you could save Shockwave, but you had to use Aftershock to create an HTML page or add the shockwave to an existing HTML page. This is now built in to Director as Publish Settings. There are a total of ten HTML templates including Java, Center Movie, Simple Progress Bar, Detect Shockwave and no HTML template.
You can also allow the movie to match window proportions, creating an automatically re-sizing movie. You can specifically allow or disallow saving the movie. And you can set up the options for when someone wants to put your beautiful animation into their ShockMachine.
A few major changes here. The Score window was simplified when the new Properties Inspector window was added. The properties inspector window is context sensitive so this window displays different relevant items.
This is what properties you have when you've selected the main movie window. You can easily set up grids, and change the colours and size of the movie. This is also where you can set copyright information, movie background colour and some cast information.
You can select sprites either in the Score window or in the Movie window. Since the animation of sprites is one of the most important features, you can see that this properties window contains a number of tabs. The first is information about the sprite. This is the information that was at the top of the score window in Director 7. The second tab led to any behaviours associated with the sprite. The third tab is castmember information (name of cast member, etc.) The next tab is information about the bitmap (if the sprite is an image). The last two tabs relate to the movie window as above.
Other property windows include one for inspecting separate cast members and one for inspecting scripts.
If your focus is multimedia production for CDROM, the previous version of Director will do for you. But if your focus is on creating shockwave sites for the WWW, then having the ability to create automatically re-sizing shockwaves is great. As is the ability to specify if your users should be able to save the shockwave to your machine.