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Preparing Graphics for Multimedia: Setup for Interactive Elements Between Photoshop and Director (Part 2)

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It is important to add little nuances that really separate the professional-looking interactive applications from the overpopulated crowd of "almost there." In this second of two articles on optimizing graphics in your projects, Dennis Chominsky tells you how to bring your Photoshop elements into Director, and what you need to do to bring your application to life.
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In Part 1 of this series, I explored the reasons why it is important to take the time to add the little nuances that really separate the professional-looking interactive applications from the overpopulated crowd of "almost there." Then, I dove right in and started discussing one of the best ways to set up an interactive text navigational system.

To quickly recap, I discussed the three natural states of an interactive element: the normal state, the rollover state, and the down state. These states refer to the characteristics of the text as the end user interacts with the elements with his mouse. In Photoshop, you create duplicate (actually, triplicate) layers of each text element—one for each state.

Moving into Director

Once these elements are created with each layer properly identified, it is time to bring them into Director. Once inside Director, I strongly recommend the use of a third-party plug-in called PhotoCaster. This Xtra, created specifically for Director, allows you to bring layered Photoshop files directly into Director. You don't have to worry about flattening images and being unable to manipulate individual aspects. PhotoCaster preserves the position of your layers, maintains opacity levels, supports alpha channels, and keeps the integrity of each layer completely separate. Director then creates an individual cast member for each layer. This gives you the control and flexibility to add or remove each element at any time.

So now that you've created your layered text elements in Photoshop and have brought them into Director with the help of the PhotoCaster Xtra, it's time to start adding the interactive functionality to this text.

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