What's New in Director MX
Director MX is a relatively minor update from the previous version, Director 8.5. Instead of adding significant new features, Director MX focuses on making Director compatible with the latest standards in hardware and software, and in helping it work more closely with other members of the MX family of products. Here are the most noteworthy improvements:
Director's interface remains easy to use, allowing beginners to create exciting, media-rich projects without a steep learning curve. Using Director MX and this book, you'll soon be able to:
Using This Book
The Visual QuickStart Guide format is intended to get you working with the software immediately, without having to read long-winded explanations .
This book assumes that you've already mastered the basic skills for using your computer: clicking and dragging with the mouse, choosing items from menus , and so forth. Given that Director is a multimedia authoring program, it's also assumed that you have at least minimal experience working with basic media formats, such as image, sound, and text files. From that starting point, how you can make the best use of this book will depend on your level of experience and on your preferred style of working.
If You're a Beginner
If you're new to the process of multimedia authoring, or if you're the kind of person who likes to approach things in logical, linear fashion, your best bet is to start at the beginning of the book, learning the most basic Director techniques, and work your way to the end, by which time you'll have acquired the skills to create a full-featured , interactive movie. The book is structured to support this type of learning: Each chapter builds on the skills and concepts that were introduced previously, and no chapter assumes that you have knowledge of anything in a later chapter.
If You Have Some Experience
If you've used earlier versions of Director, or if you have experience with similar multimedia authoring programs (such as Flash), you might prefer to treat this book as a task-based reference. Use the table of contents, thumb tabs, or index to find the topic you're interested in, and then go directly to the applicable pages. Although learning a particular skill or completing a particular task may require that you understand the relevant concepts and vocabulary, no set of instructions directly depends on your having completed any previous set of instructions. In many cases, the illustrations alone may give you the information you need to accomplish what you're trying to do.
If You're a Flash User
Many new Director users these days are people who already have some experience with Flash but are moving over to Director for some of the reasons listed earlier. If you're in that category, you may be confused by a number of Director features that seem similar to those in Flash but in fact operate differently.
To help you make the transition from Flash to Director, this book contains a number of sidebars just for you. These shaded boxes with the heading "Flash Talk" will succinctly compare the functionality of corresponding features in Director and Flash ”explaining, for example, the differences between the Score and the Timeline, or between the Cast Window and the Library.
Cross-Platform Issues and System Requirements
Director MX for Windows and Director MX for Macintosh differ very little. In the few cases that some techniques are performed slightly differently in Windows and on the Mac, a step has one method for Mac and one for Windows.
Even rarer are tasks that differ completely on the two types of computers. In those cases, the platform to which a particular set of instructions applies will appear in parentheses in the heading for the task. For example, only the Macintosh can record sounds into Director, so there is a task called "To record a sound in Director (Mac)."
The screen shots that illustrate the tasks in this book come from both Mac and Windows versions of Director MX. If a task is performed differently on the Mac and in Windows, there will usually be two screen shots, one for each platform. If a task is performed the same way on both platforms, the accompanying screen shot will be taken arbitrarily from one version or the other.
Modifier keys for keyboard shortcut commands differ on the Mac and in Windows. In Windows, the keys used are Shift, Ctrl, and Alt. These correspond to the Shift, Command, and Option keys on Mac. Instructions for each task will include the modifier keys for both platforms, as in "Hold the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) while dragging the Lasso."
Mac OS X, the required operating system for the Macintosh version of Director MX, has a new menu structure that is slightly different from that of Windows (and, for that matter, from that of previous versions of the Mac OS). In cases where the location of a menu item is different on the two platforms, the instructions will include both menu paths ”for example, "Choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or Director > Preferences > General (Mac) to open the General Preferences dialog box."
To run Director MX, your system must meet these requirements: