Importing Cast Members


Importing Cast Members

If you want your Director movie to incorporate graphics or sounds created in some other application (such as a background created in Photoshop or a set of sound effects edited in ProTools), you first have to import those elements into a Cast window. Table 2.1 summarizes the file formats you can import into Director.

Table 2.1. File Formats Imported by Director



Animation and multimedia

Animated GIFs, Flash movies, Director movies and external casts, PowerPoint presentations

Still image

TIFF, PICT, Targa, BMP, GIF, JPEG, LRG(xRes), Photoshop 3.0 or later, MacPaint, PNG

Multiple image file formats

FLI, FLC ( Windows only )

Multiple image file formats

Scrapbook, PICS ( Mac only )


AIFF, WAV (compressed and uncompressed), MP 3 , Shockwave Audio, AU


QuickTime 2 or later, AVI, RealMedia


ASCII, RTF, HTML, Lingo scripts


PAL, Photoshop CLUT

To import a cast member:

  1. Choose File > Import.

    The Import Files dialog box opens ( Figure 2.16 ).

    Figure 2.16. The Import Files dialog box.


  2. From the Files of Type menu (Windows) or Show menu (Mac), choose the kind of cast member to import ( Figure 2.17 ).

    Figure 2.17. Select the type of cast member to import.


    Only files in the selected format are displayed in the dialog box.

  3. At the top of the dialog box, find and open the folder that contains the file you want to import.


    Click Internet and specify a URL for the file in the Open URL dialog box ( Figure 2.18 ).

    Figure 2.18. To import a cast member from the Internet, enter a URL in the Open URL dialog box.


  4. Select the file and click Add ( Figure 2.19 ).

    Figure 2.19. Clicking Add copies one file to the list of files to be imported. Clicking Add All copies the entire folder.



    Click Add All to add all the folder's displayed files to the list.

  5. Choose an option from the Media pop-up menu ( Figure 2.20 ):

    Figure 2.20. Choose one of four importing options from the Media pop-up menu.


    Standard Import embeds the contents of the file into your Director movie, so you won't need to provide the file when distributing your movie. (AVI and QuickTime movies are never embedded, even if you choose Standard Import.)

    Link to External File creates a link to an external file, allowing you to store the cast member outside your Director movie. Director imports this cast member from its source each time you run the movie. (Text and rich text format [RTF] cast members are never linked to external files, regardless of whether you choose this option.)

    Include Original Data for Editing causes Director to keep a copy of the original source file inside the movie. Use this option when you have defined an external editor for a particular media type and you want Director to pass this original data along to the editor when you edit the cast member. (You can specify an external editor via the Edit > Preferences > Editors command [Windows] or the Director > Preferences > Editors command [Mac].)

    Import PICT File as PICT keeps vector PICT files from being converted to bitmaps.

  6. Click Import to bring the new cast member(s) into the active Cast window.

How to Choose Between "Standard Import" and "Link to External File" When Importing a File

When you import a file into Director's cast, there are times when you may decide to link the cast member to an external file ( Figure 2.21 ). In making this decision, ask yourself these questions:

Figure 2.21. In the Cast window's Thumbnail view, an icon with a bent corner signifies that the cast member is linked to an external file.


  1. Is downloading time or movie file size an issue? Importing cast members with the Standard Import option increases your movie's file size.

    When you import a file by using the linking option, Director creates a cast member that stores only the name and location of the file. This information appears in the Member tab of the Property Inspector ( Figure 2.22 ). Actual linked cast-member data is downloaded only if and when your movie requires it.

    Figure 2.22. The Property Inspector's Member tab displays information about a linked bitmap cast member.


  2. Does cast-member data change frequently in your movie? If it does, linking to a cast-member fileparticularly at an Internet addressprovides you the greatest flexibility in being able to update components of your movie without requiring your users to download the movie again and again.

  3. Is keeping the distribution process simple and reliable more important than controlling file size? Linking external cast members adds some complexity and risk in distributing your movies, because you must include all linked cast members. The movie can come to a halt if a file is not found.

  4. Can your target audience tolerate hiccups in movie playback? Linked external cast members sometimes cause playback delays as they load. In the worst case, if Director can't find a linked file, it asks the viewer to locate the missing file before continuing.

Specifying color settings for imported cast members

When you import a bitmap cast member that uses a different palette or more colors than the current movie, the Image Options dialog box appears. This dialog box is where you specify color depth and palette attributes for the imported file.

To set image options for bitmap cast members:
  1. In the Image Options dialog box ( Figure 2.23 ), set the color depth option. (For more information, see the sidebar "What Is Color Depth?"):

    Figure 2.23. Options for importing images.


    Choose the Image option to import the image at its original color depth.


    Choose the Stage option to import the image at the movie's color depth ( generally 32 bits). If you choose this option, you can skip step 2.

  2. Set the Palette option:

    Click Import to keep the image's original color palette. (The color palette becomes a cast member).


    Click "Remap to" and choose a palette from the pop-up menu for the imported image to adopt ( Figure 2.24 ). Choosing "Remap to" causes Director to replace the image's colors with the most similar colors from the palette you choose from the pop-up menu.

    Figure 2.24. Choose a substitute palette for your imported bitmap cast member.


  3. Choose Trim White Space ( Figure 2.25 ) to remove all white pixels from the borders of an image.

    Figure 2.25. Choose the Trim White Space option to remove white pixels from the borders of an image.


  4. If you're importing an indexed color image, and if you chose to remap it to a new palette in step 2, you may wish to check the Dither box. Dithering is the blending of available colors to simulate a color that's not in the current palette. It's recommended for use with cast members that contain gradients ( Figure 2.26 ).

    Figure 2.26. An 8-bit image, remapped to the Mac System color palette, imported with Dither selected (left) and without dithering (right).


    If you didn't choose a palette from the "Remap to" menu, the Dither option will have no effect on your image.

  5. Click OK.

graphics/tick.gif Tips

  • If you're importing a batch of files, you can apply the options you choose to all the files at the same time. In the Image Options dialog box, check the Same Settings for Remaining Images checkbox; then click OK to import all the files.

  • Indexed-color images (that is, images with a color depth of 8 bits or less) require less disk space than RGB images. If file size is a concern, you'll want to import indexed-color images at their original color depth, rather than having Director convert them to the movie's color depth.

What Is Color Depth?

The color depth of an image refers to the amount of information needed to specify the color of each pixel. A black-and-white bitmap, for example, has a 1-bit color depth, because each pixel can be described by a single bit of information: 0 (white) or 1 (black). If, instead, we use two bits of information to describe each pixel00, 01, 10, or 11we get a palette of four colors. Similarly, using eight bits of information for each pixel gives us a palette of 256 colors. Because 256 colors are sufficient for many purposes, you'll often encounter images with an 8-bit color depth. (All GIF images, for example, are 8-bit.)

Color of 8 bits or less is sometimes referred to as indexed color , because an indexor paletteis required to specify which combination of bits represents which color. Every 8-bit image file has an embedded palette, and Director offers you the option of importing this palette as a separate cast member when you import an 8-bit image.

To change a bitmap cast member's size:
  1. In a Cast window, select a bitmap cast member.

  2. Choose Modify > Transform Bitmap.

    The Transform Bitmap dialog box opens.

  3. Type new values in the Width and Height boxes ( Figure 2.27 ):

    Figure 2.27. Resize a bitmap cast member by typing new values in the Width and Height boxes in the Transform Bitmap dialog box.


    Check the Maintain Proportions checkbox to maintain the cast member's original proportions .


    Type a value in the Scale box to size the cast member proportionately.

graphics/tick.gif Tips

  • Reducing the dimensions of bitmapped images in your internal casts is a good way to reduce the file size of your Director movie. Although it's possible to change a cast member's dimensions by using the Transform Bitmap command, you'll usually get better results by resizing the cast member in an external image editor such as Photoshop.

  • You can't undo any changes made to a cast member via the Transform Bitmap command. Make sure that you have a duplicate of the original cast member before making any changes.

  • The Transform Bitmap dialog box also has controls that allow you to change the color depth, palette, color mapping, and dithering of a cast member. These buttons and menus are identical to those in the Image Options dialog box (described in the preceding section).

Discarding unused cast members

If you've imported cast members that you haven't used in your movie, Director can find and then delete them. Deleting unused cast members makes your movie more compact, quicker to load, and more efficient in using computer memory.

To delete unused cast members:
  1. Choose Edit > Find > Cast Member.

    The Find Cast Member dialog box opens.

  2. From the Cast menu, choose a cast that has extraneous cast members ( Figure 2.28 ).

    Figure 2.28. Select a cast from which to delete unused cast members.


  3. Choose the Usage option ( Figure 2.29 ).

    Figure 2.29. Click the Usage option.


  4. Click Select All.

    Director finds and selects all unused cast members in the selected cast.

    You may first need to click the list to make the Select All button active ( Figure 2.30 ).

    Figure 2.30. Items to be deleted appear in the file list. (If the Select and Select All buttons are dimmed, click one of the items in the list to make them active.)


    Cast members may be incorporated into your movie by way of Lingo scripts, in which case certain cast members would not necessarily appear in the Score. So before deleting the cast members that Director finds, make sure that they are not used in any scripts.

  5. Choose Edit > Clear Cast Members.

graphics/tick.gif Tip

  • After you delete a series of cast members, save your movie by choosing File > Save and Compact. This operation reorders the cast, produces a more compact movie file, and optimizes movie playback.


Macromedia Director MX for Windows and Macintosh. Visual QuickStart Guide
Macromedia Director MX for Windows and Macintosh. Visual QuickStart Guide
ISBN: 1847193439
Year: 2003
Pages: 139 © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: