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Even though there is only one bitmap member type, a variety of formats can be imported into this bitmap member type. You can import any one of these types of formatted files:

  • BMPA common Windows graphic format.

  • GIF— A format originally used by CompuServe known as the Graphic Interchange Format. It's now one of the two standard image formats of the Internet.

  • JPEGDefined by the Joint Photographic Experts Group as a high-quality compressed image format. It is also a standard image format of the Internet.

  • LRGThe native format of Macromedia's xRes image editor.

  • PhotoShop— The native format of Adobe PhotoShop.

  • MacPaint— An older Macintosh image format.

  • PNGPortable Network Graphics format. There is some momentum behind this format to be the new standard for the Internet.

  • PICTOriginally defined for the Apple Lisa computer, now a standard Macintosh image format.

  • TargaAlso known as the .tga format. Targa was the name of the Truevision graphics card that first used the .tga format.

  • TIFFTag Image File Format.

After you import any of these file formats into Director as a bitmap, it no longer matters what the original format of the document was; it is now a bitmap cast member.

By default, however, JPEG, GIF, and PNG files retain their original file data inside Director until you edit them. These originals are then used as the compressed image data when a Shockwave movie is made. The result is that the Shockwave movie is far smaller than the original Director movie, which contained both the original file data and the Director-formatted bitmap.

To import a bitmap image, choose File, Import. This brings up Director's Import dialog box. Figure 3.1 shows this complex window. You can import most media from here, including sound and video.

Figure 3.1. This is the Macintosh Import dialog box. It looks slightly different on the Windows platform, but the functions are basically the same.

You can choose one or more images and add them to your import list. When you are done, click Import to bring them in. If the graphics are set to the same bit depth as the monitor, and use the same palette as the movie does, they are immediately brought in. Otherwise, you are prompted with the Image Options dialog box shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2. The Image Options dialog box enables you to specify how to translate images that use a different bit depth or palette than the movie.

In the Image Options dialog box, you are given the choice of bringing in the bitmap using its bit depth or palette, or converting it to the bit depth of the movie. The Trim White Space option allows you to remove any excess white pixels from around the image. Selecting the Dither option smoothes over any color changes that need to be made. The final option, Same Settings for Remaining Images, enables you to bypass this dialog box for the rest of the images that you have selected in that single import.

After you have imported a bitmap, you can still change its bit depth or palette. Just select a bitmap or bitmaps in the Cast and choose Modify, Transform Bitmap. This command also enables you to resize the image.

The Trim White Space feature of the Image Options dialog box defaults to on. You might want to turn it off when you are importing graphics that use whitespace around them to cause each graphic to line up on the screen with the others. This often happens when importing a group of related images, such as images exported from PowerPoint, or a set of images exported from a 3D graphics tool.

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