Director, worth it?

I have worked on a number of paying projects providing still renderings. I want to provide animations as well. The problem I am having is clients don’t just want an animation file they want a finished presentation via the internet, a cd-rom, or a dvd. Is Director a good choice for creating a finished piece that you can just hand off to the client?

I am also intereseted in Director due to its’ 3d realtime capabilities. I understand Blender can not export .w3d files directly.

Any thoughts?


I may have totally missed the point but I would simply use Openoffice to make the presentation.

Also, consider that if it costs more to buy the software than the amount you will be paid from using it, than you might want to do without.

I use Director all the time at work - mostly for CD/DVD Rom development and pitches.

It’s a remarkably powerful tool, but be prepared to at least learn the basics of it’s scripting language LINGO. (not too hard if you’ve done any scripting at all).

I’ve even used it to sequence and generate stills that I’ll later composite in other packages.

If you have the money it’s worth it. (Especially since the MX versions now let you cross-publish standalon binaries for both Mac and PC with one seat).

My two cents’


BTW - if you have any specific questions ask them and I’ll tell you what I know.

Thanks for your comment, nharron. I have not done much scripting but I took several programming classes in college. My understanding scripting is basically programming.

At a minimum I would like to have a simple interface with the project title, some text, and a window for the animation to play through. A slide show of stills is also an option. It would be great if it would autoplay from a cd-rom. I need something more professional than just an avi burned to a disk.

Do you know much about shockwave 3d? If so, what texture sizes does it support (256, 512, 1024, 2048)? Does it support camera paths for preset animations? How complex of an environment can it handle?


It sounds like you don’t need to do anything you couldn’t just do with Blender, and make a standalone executable.

Autorunning stuff isn’t a big deal - you just need to put an “autorun.inf” text file in the root of the CD with a couple of lines saying what you want to run. (I just looked at one from another CD to get the format - it’s trivial). Of course, be aware that a lot of people turn off autorun on their windows systems - I do.

You have some options. If you want real-time 3d. You can use the old Blender active-X web plugin to put a Blender file into Director as an object (it can be done, but I found it clunky in terms of the fact that you need to install the active-x plugin on the client’s system somethow - and people are skittish about that expecially when it’s from a third party. Since SP2 on Windows was released it’s warning windows for that kind of activity make people even more nervous.

I’ve shied away from using Shockwave 3D - since I only use Blender for 3D I’ve not found a simple way to get an entire scene into the right format. Let me know if you find anything that works. (I only progressed to putting in a simple rotating object. I know Shockwave 3D can do a lot - but how to go from Blender to SW3D I do not know.)

Of course, you always have two other options. Make the whole presentation in blender and export a standalone executable (including your slideshow), or export the real-time 3D as a standalone and make a call to run it from your Director presentation. I did that for a tradeshow CD for a client - just shelled out to a Blender made videogame executable, and returned to the Director presentation when it was closed. Worked pretty well.


One thing, though. If you’re going to be buying a whole software program, it may be worth looking at Flash. In recent versions, it has gained a lot of functionality that used to be in Director such as playing movie files. Some advantages are also that it can scale to different resolutions and also be delivered easily over the web. When you export it as an .exe, you also can run run files off the drive, so you could call a blender .exe if you need a realtime demo. Though, with the newer compression in flash, you could probably easily fit a large resolution video instead of needing actual realtime content in most cases.

We’ve used Authorware for a long time at work since it is better suited to large training programs than Director (uses an icon-based system instead of a timeline), but I wouldn’t be surprised if both programs were phased out in a couple of years by Macromedia (errr… Adobe now) in favor of Flash, which seems to be getting the bulk of the support and new features lately.

Also… one last option. It actually wouldn’t be unheard of to do a non-flash web-based option. Should be able to find some javascript that’ll let you fade images from one to the other, and of course you can embed video. Then if it was on cd, you can launch the main html page automatically or tell them which to click, or serve it over the web.


Thanks for the comments, guys. :smiley: I may just need a simple video program that can save dvd iso’s like Adobe Premiere Elements for the short term. I will have to resarch my options more for the long term.

hi director is still the defacto standart for cd productions, while flash gained quite some power in this area as well.

i think when you need to do prefessional interface design and applications director is the way to go. but i have to agree that there are some steps to learn befor you get the most out of it. without lingo director is pretty useless.

i never found the 3d tools in director very useful or powerfull. to generic not bad but well blender can spoil you.

panorama movies and movie files of any formant can be included into director files anyway, so i woulndt focus on directors 3d functions.


I’ve worked in Director for years, and had a good chance to see what it can do and what it can’t do, so I’ll chuck in my two cents worth.

I would say that it’s strong points are rapid application development in a two dimensional context. I.e. for my major third year project at uni, I worked in a group who made an educational CD rom for the Queensland Surf Life Savers. Targeted at kids, it had lots of cartoony (2D) graphics and interactive games/puzzles - crosswords, drag and drop games etc. And for this, it was good.

I would say that it’s weak points are the 3D engine. Sorry to all the die hard supporters out there, but it’s just years and years out of date, with no hope of ever being updated (unless adobe do something between director and adobe atmosphere). One of the key killers for me was not being able to mix morph shapes and bone based animation. That’s right, google it and weep.

Which raises a bit of a problem for director. In my mind, it was only really the 3D engine that gave it an edge over flash. And now that that has fallen behind, they are both competing for the same role (2D based animation). And in my experience, flash is just hands down better than director.

Yes, director can work with DVD media, but unless that’s specifically what you need, it’s probably just not worth it. And to boot, director is really expensive.

Anyways, that’s just my opinion…

i remembered that there are also some cheaper products out there which basicly offer a similar tool set like director. some are offsprings from apples old hypercard system but are by far much more that this old limited stack system. give it a try …

Hi there, here’s a bit of info on converting from Blender to Shockwave 3D. The export path could certainly do with tweaking, I modified the XSI script just to get basic output working.


If you have Blender 2.40, File -> Export using the SoftImage XSI option.

Now, use the XSI to W3D converter ( there is a free, open source one and a commercial one that you can use for free, if you are not using bones - which aren’t supported in the XSI at the moment ).

That should ( hopefully ) leave you with a W3D file. To support textures, animation etc, the XSI script needs to be updated, so feel free to change it to your needs, and submit your changes.

For an example of basic export using Shockwave 3D, check out…

Here is a link to the Stand Alone Viewer, so that you can run it locally to view your export.


malCanDo, thanks for the links. If the script does not support textures, then I assume that the models in your example are vertex colored?

> If the script does not support textures, then I assume that the models in your example are vertex colored?

They just use single-colour materials.


BTW malCanDo, I am very impressed with Triple X movie game. It is a very cool marketing piece. How long did it take to produce? I am sure there was alot of scripting involved. I rather draw than script, but I guess that is what is required.

Your web site has some mighty innovative web 3d stuff. The engine is so much faster than a lot of the 3d web stuff I’ve seen. Instant inspiration! I love this kind of stuff. Makes me want to go and do some experimentation.

Hi erich,

> I am very impressed with Triple X movie game. It is a very cool marketing piece. How long did it take to produce?

It took quite a bit of time, the coding alone took maybe 8 weeks ( and what was re-using an existing vehicle engine, see )

I worked with an excellent team in the US, Templar Studios, who did all of the design and actual creation of the 3D environments ).

munkey_mike wrote…

> Your web site has some mighty innovative web 3d stuff. The engine is so much faster than a lot of the 3d web stuff I’ve seen. Instant inspiration! I love this kind of stuff. Makes me want to go and do some experimentation.

Thanks for the feedback! We try to create stuff that is fun to use, a lot of web 3D content we viewed using other technologies tended to be either difficult to use, slow, or required a high-end computer ( eg for pixel / vertex shaders )