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Macromedia Director Support Center - Creating Projectors
Using smaller media

Use small cast members to minimize the file size of your Shockwave movie. Cast member media is the largest part of a movie.

8-bit graphics
Because most systems are set to 8-bit color depth, 8-bit graphics are the best choice for Shockwave movies; 8-bit images are also much smaller than images of greater bit depth.

When an image's bit depth doesn't match the system the movie is playing on, Director must change the image to the current bit depth before displaying the image on the Stage. This process uses more system resources and slows down the movie.

However, there is no reason to use images lower than 8-bit color depth in Shockwave movies. When compressing Shockwave movies, Director reduces images based on the actual number of colors in the image, so an 8-bit black-and-white cast member compresses to almost the same size as a 1-bit cast member.

You should, however, use as few colors as possible in your images. The number of colors is more important than the bit depth. In some cases, it makes sense to use the Transform Bitmap command to convert images to 1- or 4-bit color depth to reduce the number of colors in an image. After reducing the number of colors, convert images back to 8 bits to avoid reduced performance.

Use shapes instead of bitmaps whenever possible. Shapes are simple graphics created with tools on the Tools palette. Shape cast members are rendered on the Stage as vector graphics, so they are much smaller than bitmaps. They also download at the same time as Score data, before all other cast members, so they are always available when the movie requires them.

A shape of any size, color, or pattern adds only 64 bytes to the file size of a movie. Fill shapes with custom tile patterns to make them more interesting. Shapes do not distort when they change dimensions. Shapes animate slightly slower than bitmaps, but their small size and downloading speed usually make up for this shortcoming.

Small graphics
Try to make all bitmaps as small as possible. Make sure that there is no extra white space around the image. If possible, use several copies of small bitmapped cast members to create large backgrounds.

Use tiles to fill in large areas with more interesting patterns than those available in the default pattern palette. Create several tiles based on bitmapped cast members and switch between them to create simple, fast animations. When you fill shape cast members with a custom tile, it remains 64 bytes, no matter how large the image.

Compress sounds with Shockwave Audio
Compress all internal sounds using Shockwave Audio compression. For long sounds, use sound cast members linked to compressed external Shockwave Audio files so that the sounds will stream instead of downloading completely before playing.

Use fields for large amounts of text
If your movie contains more than a few lines of text, use a field cast member instead of a text cast member. Text cast members are much larger than fields. For field cast members, avoid font-mapping problems by using only common system fonts. Use text cast members for smaller quantities of text where appearance is most important.



24 September 1997