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Lesson 3. Reversing Animations > Importing Media Elements into the Cast

Importing Media Elements into the Cast

To save you the trouble of building this Taj Mahal travelog from scratch, the cast and score in the prebuilt file are partially filled in. As you can see in the Cast window, many media elements have already been imported for you, but nothing has yet been imported into cast members 3, 4, and 15. In this task, you'll import additional media elements into these cast members. As you work, you'll learn more about how Director manages cast members.

Choose File > Import (Windows Ctrl+R, Macintosh Command+R) to display the Import dialog box.

Figure .

You'll be importing a graphics file and two text files. Director imports many types of files. You can see the types when you open the menu under List Files of Type (Windows) or Show (Macintosh). The file types PICT and Bitmap Image in these lists represent images you can import for your movies. File types that allow you to import multiple images at once are listed as FLC and FLI for Windows, and as PICS and Scrapbook for Macintosh. The graphic you will import is a TIFF file, which is supported as a bitmap. The text files you'll import are in Rich Text Format (RTF), which is supported by the Text file type listed in these menus.

Figure .

Figure .


Becoming familiar with the types of files Director can import is important so that you and your colleagues know what file formats to assign to files you want to import into Director. Images can be saved in a variety of formats such as BMP, PICT, TIFF, and JPEG, and all of these can be imported into Director, but each has a different effect on a movie's file size.

Open the Media folder for Lesson 3. Then select the TajText.tif file and click Add.

This file contains a graphic that consists of a block of text.

Select Credits 1.rtf and click Add. Select Credits 2.rtf and click Add.

This adds the two RTF files to the import list. RTF files contain text as well as font information, paragraph information, and other formatting information that makes text look nice on the screen or on a printed page. In Lessons 1 and 2, you created RTF files using Director's Text window. The files you just imported were created in an application outside of Director, but they were saved as RTF documents.


The Import Files dialog box has an Add All button that you also could have used. Director places imported elements into the cast in the order that they are added to the file list, so you used the Add button to determine and order you wanted. You can also use the Add All button (if you really want all the files shown) and then modify the arrangement using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.

Click Import. In the Image Options dialog box that appears, make sure that the Remap radio button is selected under the palette heading. Then click OK.

The Cast window now includes new cast members for the media you imported.

Figure .

The TajText.tif file was placed in cast member 3 in the movie. This cast member position was the first empty cast member, so Director imported the graphic into this position by default. If you first select an empty cast member and then import media, Director places the media in the cast member you selected.

As you work with casts in Director, you may delete unwanted cast members, leaving blank positions throughout the cast as shown in this example. As you have seen in this task, importing two RTF files adds cast members to nonconsecutive cast member positions. This example illustrates how you can expect to find related cast members scattered throughout the cast when you delete cast members and then import new ones.

You can shuffle cast members in the Cast window to place them where you want them. Dragging one or more cast members in the Cast window is a simple way to organize your cast members. It doesn't affect the way Director or your movie runs, but when you begin working with hundreds of media elements in your movies, you will find that organizing your media is an important part of productivity. In the following steps, you'll put the two Credits.rtf cast members in positions next to each other. Then you'll close the gap between positions 3 and 5.

Select cast member 15 and drag it to position 16. Then drag cast member 4 to position 15.

The two Credits.rtf files now appear next to each other in the cast. By dragging cast members to new locations, you can organize the cast so that related cast members appear next to each other. Next you will close the gap left behind.

Figure .

Select cast member 5 and then hold down the Shift key and select cast member 17, so cast members 5 through 17 are selected. Then drag the selected cast members into the blank cast member 4.

All the cast members you selected move to new cast positions.


If you select a range of cast members, you can put them in order by choosing Modify > Sort. You can use this feature to organize cast members by type, name, usage, or size, or to simply get rid of empty cast members in between.

Figure .

Choose File > Save to save your work (Windows Ctrl+S, Macintosh Command+S).

Another method for sorting your cast is to view the cast in the list view mode. Following the standard user interface conventions for list boxes, each of the columns in the list provides a category on which the list can be sorted. You can't, however, modify the actual numbering of cast members in the cast while in the list view. To do that, you need to either be in the thumbnail view or use the Modify > Sort dialog box.



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