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Lesson 10. Custom Cursors and Buttons > Creating a New Animated Cursor

Creating a New Animated Cursor

Your next task is to create a new cursor instead of using one of the cursors supplied with the computer. Director can use only 8-bit bitmap graphics for cursors, and only a limited number of colors may be used. Only the first 8 or the last 8 colors of the standard Windows palette, System-Win, (or their equivalent in other palettes) should be used in Director, unless you plan to distribute your movie to run full screen (with the desktop hidden). You can choose the full-screen option when you begin building your projector, as demonstrated in Lesson 5. Otherwise, some colors may not be displayed correctly or may look different on other platforms. For your movie cursor, you will use a graphic that was already created for this purpose. First you need to retrieve your Cursor.dir movie.

Choose File > Recent Movies and in the pop-up list, select the Cursor.dir movie.

Director keeps track of a large number of the recently accessed movies, making it easy to switch between movies you are working on.

From the Director menu, choose Insert > Media Element > Cursor.

The Cursor Properties Editor opens. Cast member 1 should be displayed; this is the graphic you will be using. If you wanted to use a different cast member, you could select it using the arrow keys.

Click the Add button to add the cast member you chose.

This step is included because, as you will see, you can use more than one cast member in an animated cursor.

Figure .

Click the Preview button to see how the cursor will look. If a white square appears around the cursor, make sure that the Automask option is checked.

During previewing, the cursor will move around as you move the mouse. Automask removes the bitmap's white background.

Center the cursor over the Stop button, just below the Preview button, and click the mouse. What happens?

If the cursor is really centered on the button, nothing will happen when you click the mouse. This is because the hotspot is set at the upper-left corner of the cursor. If you placed the mouse cursor somewhat off center when you clicked, you might have managed to stop the preview.

Figure .

Position the cursor with the upper-left corner over the Stop button and then click the mouse.

The preview will stop, and the cursor will return to the shape of the standard arrow.

When you're using the standard arrow cursor, it makes sense for you to set the hotspot at the point of the arrow. For a symmetrical cursor like the one you just created, it makes more sense to center the hotspot in the cursor. Your new cursor is a 32-by-32 pixel square. To center the hotspot, use the coordinates (16,16). The upper left of the cursor, where the hotspot was set before, has coordinates of (0,0).

In each of the Hotspot Position fields in the Cursor Properties Editor, enter 16.

This sets the hotspot to the approximate center of the cursor.

In the Cursor Properties Editor window, use the arrow keys to display cast member 2 and then click the Add button again.

This adds a second bitmap to the cursor.

Figure .

Repeat step 7 with cast members 3 and 4 and then close the Cursor Properties Editor by clicking OK.

The cast member is now complete and consists of four different bitmaps. The cursor is now a new cast member and has been placed in position 11 of the Cast window. The icon in the lower right of the cast member thumbnail identifies it as a cursor.

In the Cast window, name the new cast member Magic Wand.

You have successfully created an animated custom cursor.

Figure .

Save your work.



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