AUGUST 1, 2001
New media support
and Flash 5 integration
Now, in terms of new media types, in addition to Apple's QuickTime, Director now supports Real Audio and Real Video. This is an area I haven't been able to test owing to the fact Real content doesn't work very well on the Mac platform, and I don't have a service for streaming Real content. However, according to Macromedia, you can composite video sprites with other sprites; grab an individual frame from the video stream and manipulate it with special effects or use it as a 3D texture; and you can control sound in Real Audio with features like volume, pan, mixing and sound effects.
I have, however, been able to test QuickTime in both version 8 and version 8.5. In both cases, there are some issues with QuickTime that have yet to be resolved, whether the client's using QuickTime 4 or 5. Specifically, in Director 8, there were problems with artifacts appearing when an object moved over the QuickTime image. In Director 8.5, the problem seems a little more severe.
Now, in an earlier review, I said that I was having problems arranging QuickTime movies in the stage area (send to back, bring to front, etc.). However, thanks to one of our readers, Gary Ingle of the AllMedia Design Group (http://www.allmediadg.com), I have learned that there's a quick fix to this. Simply uncheck "Direct to Stage" in the QuickTime Property Inspector, as seen in the image to the right. All of a sudden, the QuickTime movie can be arranged as I see fit.
It's impossible for me to say whether Real content experiences the same problems, but I hope to bring you more on the topic when I'm able to test it and also to bring you a workaround for the QuickTime problem when I'm able to figure one out.
Any of you out there who have used Director in the past must realize that I've barely covered the program at all. There's just so much to do with it that I probably couldn't do it justice with a review five times as long as this one.
There were the negatives of the QuickTime playback problem and the inability to import OBJ files as advertised. I will modify these comments if I can figure out a way to get around them. At any rate, these problems can't overshadow Director 8.5's overall appeal. I give the Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio a strong buy recommendation.
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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.