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Chapter 1. Director MX 2004 Basics > Using the Property Inspector

Using the Property Inspector

The Property inspector (PI) is context sensitive. Depending on the context, the PI will change to offer only the information necessary for the particular selection. You've already learned how to use the Property inspector to set the number of channels available to your movie. Let's see how it relates to the other parts of Director.

Click anywhere on the Stage, except on the sprite you created.

When you click on the Stage, the Property inspector changes so that the Movie tab is active. Remember, this is where you set the number of channels available to your movie. It's also where you can change the Stage's size as well as your movie's background color.


It's possible that the Movie tab might not be active when you click on the Stage. If this is the case, simply click the Movie tab in the Property inspector.

When you click on the small arrow to the right of the Stage size input fields, a rather long list of default Stage sizes appears. You can choose any of the available sizes for your projects, or enter the width and height of your movie into the fields for a custom size.

Click the color swatch directly to the right of the color input field in the Property inspector.

When you click the swatch, a palette of colors appears. Click any of the colors and the Stage changes to reflect the new color.

Experiment for a bit, using the Property inspector to change the appearance of the Stage.

Click the sprite on the Stage to select it.

When you click the sprite, the Property inspector immediately changes to reflect the new selection. In fact, all of the tabs in the PI change.

With the Sprite tab active, click to turn on Trails.

Press Play either on the toolbar, the Control Panel, or by pressing Enter. Now, when the sprite moves, it leaves a trail behind it. The Trails feature isn't too impressive for this simple animation, but it can be a real time-saver. In fact, we can create a simple drawing application in the next two minutes!

Before continuing, stop the animation if it's playing.

Right-click anywhere on the sprite's span within the Score.

When you right-click on the sprite span, a contextual menu appears, listing a bunch of different options. This includes the Remove Keyframe option, which will remove the keyframe we created and erase the sprite's animation.

Choose Remove Keyframe from the contextual menu.

On the Stage, the sprite is now positioned wherever its initial keyframe places it. (For obvious reasons, you can't remove the very first keyframe.) If you were to press Play now, the sprite would just sit there doing nothing. Has it been two minutes?

Select the sprite so that the Property inspector shows its information. Just to the left of the Trails button is the Moveable button. Click to turn it on. Moveable allows the sprite to be moved by using the mouse, by whoever is viewing the movie.

Now you should have both Moveable and Trails enabled. Can you guess what this combination might do?

Press Play and then click and drag the sprite around the Stage.

As you drag the sprite around while the movie is playing, it leaves a trail behind. There you have it: a simple interactive drawing tablet.

When you're finished having fun, press Stop so we can look at one more item before moving on.


When you press Stop you might see some garbage left on the Stage from the Trails option. If this happens, hit the Rewind button and the Stage will be cleared properly.

Select the sprite on Stage so that the Property inspector displays its information. Click the Shape tab in the PI to display the sprite's shape information.

There are two options in the PI's Shape panel. The Shape Type drop-down menu shows the type that your shape is currently using. Feel free to change the shape to one of the other types now.

Uncheck Filled and watch what happens.

The shape becomes just an outline on the Stage, in the cast, and in the thumbnail view within the Property inspector.

Press Play.

As before, when the movie is playing, click and drag the sprite around the Stage. When you do, it leaves an outline trail behind instead of a filled trail.

The Property inspector is a very handy tool for changing the properties of sprites and other things within Director—its being context sensitive makes it that much easier to use. As you progress through the lessons in this book, you will become a wizard with the PI.



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