Chapter 7. Drawing Vector Shapes
For many years , vector graphics ”which are made up of mathematically defined lines and fills ”were considered a "poor cousin" to bitmapped graphics. (For more on the difference between vectors and bitmaps, see the "Vectors Compared with Bitmaps" sidebar later in this chapter.) Because they lack the subtlety and texture of bitmapped images, vector images were used primarily for technical illustration, where aesthetic considerations were less important.
Director had no vector drawing capability at all until the Vector Shape window was added in version 7. This late addition was most likely a response to the boost in popularity that vector graphics received from the success of Macromedia Flash.
Flash ”whose developers had realized that vector graphics, with their minimal data requirements, were ideal for use on the Web ”was designed from the beginning with vectors in mind. It included a set of high- powered drawing tools that made vector artwork, which had previously been somewhat tricky to create, as easy to draw as bitmapped artwork.
Director's Vector Shape window gives Director users, like Flash users, the ability to use vector images in their movies. Other than that, however, Director's implementation of vector graphics is rudimentary. Director's vector drawing tools, in strong contrast to Flash's, are cumbersome to use and extremely limited in what they can do. In addition, Director offers virtually no support for importing vector images. (With the exception of vector PICT files, a rare and outdated format limited to the Mac, Director can import vector images only if they're included in Flash SWF files.)
If you want to do any sort of serious vector animation, use Flash. Flash movies can be imported into Director in their entirety, allowing them to be integrated fully with your Director movies. (See Chapter 11, "Using Flash Movies in Director.") Use Director's Vector Shape window only when you need simple, no-frills vector shapes that can be edited within Director.