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Lesson 3. Reversing Animations > Using Ink Effects on the Background Image

Using Ink Effects on the Background Image

In this task, you place a background sprite on the stage. The sprite is a gray outline of a world map and will remain on the stage throughout the presentation.

Select and drag cast member 1 (Bgmap) to channel 1, frame 2, in the score.

Because you dragged the background graphic to the score, the image appears in the center of the stage. In addition, the sprite labeled 1:Bgmap now extends for 28 frames in the Score window, beginning at frame 2 and ending in frame 29 of channel 1. Frame 1 of channel 1 will present only the black background. Then frame 2 will be the first frame in the movie that displays a sprite.

Figure .

With the Bgmap sprite selected in the score, choose Matte from the Ink menu 0n the sprite toolbar.

Matte ink removes all the white pixels around the edges of an image. In the sprite here, the white pixels that remain inside the image could not be removed because they do not appear outside the image's outline. Some of the interior pixels of the image were removed because there are breaks in the image's outline. This ink doesn't seem to work so well, so you'll try another one.

Figure .

With the Bgmap sprite still selected in the score, choose Background Transparent from the Ink menu of the sprite toolbar or Property Inspector.

This ink effect makes all the white space in the image transparent, so the black stage shows through. You should use Background Transparent when an image has a hole or windows through which you want the background to show.

Figure .


If Background Transparent or Matte ink effects don't work well, the background of the image may not be true white. To change the background to white, double-click the cast member. This will open a Paint window that contains an editable version of the image. To replace the area that appears to be white in the image with true white, click the Paint window toolbar's foreground color chip. Change the color of the foreground color chip to white and click the Paint Bucket tool. The Paint Bucket will fill an entire area with the Paint window's foreground color; so with the Paint Bucket tool selected, click the area in the image you want to be true white. This changes the background of the image to true white. Close the Paint window and check the sprite on the stage to see that the ink effect is now applied.

If a rim of white appears around your image, the cause is usually due to anti-aliasing by your original paint program. These white and near-white pixels may have to be removed one by one in the Paint window.


We said that the white pixels are removed by the Matte and Background Transparent inks. The whole truth is that pixels of the color of the sprite's background are removed. In the example here, the sprite has a white background color, but you can change a sprite's background color using the Property Inspector or sprite toolbar.

You may have noticed that the default ink for sprites is Copy. The Copy ink copies the image directly onto the stage, surrounding white and all. Using the Copy ink is the fastest drawing technique. Some of the other drawing techniques you see on the Ink menu require more calculation time while the movie is playing. The amount of overhead varies by ink effect. The ink effects that are the least calculation intensive are Copy, Matte, and Background Transparent. The ink effects toward the bottom of the menu are the most calculation intensive.


When you are preparing Director movies for use in a Web page, ink effects are a great way to alter the appearance of a sprite without having to create new artwork. This approach also improves the movie's download speed because only a single graphic needs to be downloaded rather than many versions of a graphic. However, you should keep in mind that applying the more calculation-intensive inks to sprites may slow the playback speed of the movie. To preview ink effects, choose the Show Me movie Ink Effects from the Help menu.

In this movie, the map background needs to be visible from frame 2 through frame 100 so it remains on the stage long enough for the movie to display the animations you will be adding. Although you may not always know exactly how many frames long your movie is going to be, it is good practice to extend the sprites that will appear throughout the movie to a frame number further to the right in the Score window. This saves you from having to repeatedly extend the sprite as the movie grows.

You already know two ways to set the end frame of a sprite: by dragging the sprite's end frame in the score and by using the End Frame field in the Property Inspector or sprite toolbar.

In the Property Inspector, double-click the End Frame field. If the Property Inspector is not visible, display it by choosing Window > Inspectors > Property. Then type 100 and press Enter (Windows) or Return (Macintosh).

The sprite's end frame now extends to frame 100 in sprite channel 1 of the score.

Rewind and play the movie.

You should see the stage color and the background graphic you just incorporated. You also see an image animate onto the stage—the effect that was already in the prebuilt file.

As the movie plays, notice the playback head move in the score. You may recall from the previous lesson that as Director plays a movie, what appears on the stage are the sprite images in the frame that contains the playback head. As the playback head moves, Director redraws any sprites that are changing between the frame being exited and the frame being entered. This is how the animation effects are created.

Figure .


You can also play the movie and temporarily close all open windows by entering Shift+Enter on the numeric keypad. The Num Lock must be turned off. Try this—it's a useful way to see your movie without having to move or close the windows you are working with. Other useful keys on the numeric keypad allow you to rewind, stop, and play a movie. Press 0 to rewind, the decimal point (.) to stop, and Enter to play. If you generally leave Num Lock on, then the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+P will also temporarily close all open windows and play the movie.

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