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This book teaches the fundamentals of using Macromedia Director, an exciting and challenging program for creating animation and multimedia productions for the Web, CD-ROM, or your local network.

With this Director 8 Visual QuickStart Guide you learn how to perform all the steps involved in creating Director projects, or movies, as most people call them. The book covers how to:

  • Create and assemble cast members in Cast windows.

  • Animate cast members on the stage.

  • Build a movie frame-by-frame in the score.

  • Create and edit cast members in the Paint window or Vector Shape window.

  • Control movie playback, set scene transitions, alter color palettes, and add interactive controls to your movies using drag-and-drop behaviors.

  • Produce a Shockwave-format file for distributing a movie on the Internet.

  • Use Xtras, add-on modules that provide extra features.

  • Introduce yourself to Lingo, Director's scripting language.

And much more!

About This Book

In the Visual QuickStart Guide format, this book provides clear instructions, supported by many illustrations. Where necessary, you'll find concise explanations—without any distracting fluff. The idea is to get you up and running as quickly as possible through practical examples.

How to Use This Book

If you have used other Visual QuickStart guides, you will find this book familiar. Each chapter offers a series of step-by-step instructions for completing essential tasks. As you work through the tasks, you gain an understanding of the program features and how to exploit them. Occasional tips provide hints for working efficiently, and illustrations demonstrate the techniques clearly.

The chapters unfold sequentially. The early chapters assume that you don't know anything that I introduce in a later chapter. You can use this book with the index to find out how to do something, but it's set up to make it easy to learn from scratch as you go through the book from chapter to chapter. You could skim some of the later chapters in the book because they detail how to do perform tasks that not all Director users need, but I recommend that you follow chapters one through five in order. Those first five chapters build on each other to help you quickly learn how to make and play a simple Director movie.

New in This Edition

This new edition of the book covers the latest version 8 features. Like the program itself, this edition of the book is completely updated to make it even easier to use than previous versions. Both the Macintosh and Windows versions of the program are covered in this one book, although you still have to buy two versions of the program to make movies for both platforms.

About Conventions in This Book

Different computer books use terms differently, so it's important to know how this book uses common terms.

Click means pressing down and releasing the Macintosh mouse button, or pressing down and releasing the left mouse button on Windows.

Drag means to hold the mouse button down and then move the mouse. You release the mouse button when you finish dragging.

Menu Commands

This book writes menu and command choices in the form of Menu name > Command > Subcommand. For example, if I need to tell you to choose Media Element from the Insert menu and then to select Bitmap from the submenu that pops out to the side, I can save us all a lot of trouble if I say instead, "Choose Insert > Media Element > Bitmap."

Keyboard Shortcuts

This book scatters keyboard shortcuts for commands sparingly throughout the chapters. There are two reasons for being stingy with the keyboard shortcuts in the step-by-step instructions:

  • It's distracting to have a choice of how to do something when you're trying to learn new techniques.

  • We all have so many PINs and passwords to remember that it's smart to be selective about what new things we commit to memory. Once you have worked with the program, you will know which commands you use so repeatedly that it's worth the trouble to learn the shortcut. Then refer to the handy tear-out reference card to the menus and their keyboard shortcuts.

About Cross-Platform Issues

Director 8 for Windows and Director 8 for Macintosh differ very little. That's why it makes sense to produce a single book that covers both versions of the program.


Figures that illustrate the tasks in this book come from both Mac and Windows versions of Director 8. Only a few elements of the program actually offer different choices in the two versions, and the other differences in the figures are merely cosmetic.

Modifier Keys

Modifier keys for keyboard shortcut commands differ on the Mac and on Windows. On Windows, the keys used are Shift, Ctrl, and Alt. These correspond to the Shift, Command, and Option keys on Mac. For example, I may say "Hold the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) while dragging the Lasso."

The Shift key generally works the same way on both types of computers.

The Command key on the Mac is the one that has the apple and cloverleaf symbols on it.

Features That Differ on Mac and Windows

Some techniques are performed differently on Windows and the Mac. Thus, in a few places a step has one method for Mac and one for Windows. Those steps are clearly labeled (and there aren't very many of them).

Even rarer are tasks that differ completely on the two types of computers. In those cases I've written totally different instructions, and I tell you about it in the heading for the task. For example, only the Macintosh can record sounds into Director, and so there is a task called "To record a sound in Director (Mac)."

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