Director Tutorials


3D Text

Director 8.5 introduced real-time 3D, the kind of 3D you'll find in computer games. Creating 3D can be done in a few ways, with a modeling program like 3DS Max, from inside Director with Lingo or using the Director 3D text tool. We'll start exploring 3D by extruding text as it's the easiest.

Creating and Controlling 3D Text

1. Create a new movie of Stage size 550 x 200, background colour black.

2. Open the text window and write "3D TEXT" in an interesting font of your choice. Change the font size to about 96. Format the text in white and the background in black.

3. Open the Property Inspector and under the Display field, select 3D Mode.

4. Click on the 3D Extruder tab (shown to the left). Change the Smoothness to 7 and the Tunnel Depth to around 20. Change the Bevel Edge property to Round and the Bevel Amount to 2.3.

You will notice a number of other 3D properties in the Property Inspector. We'll come back to others later.

5. Click and drag the text cast member onto the Stage. You will see a 3D text object. Experiment with changing the Smoothness, Tunnel Depth and Bevel values and see the difference of the sprite on the Stage.

6. Next we'll create a texture for the text. A texture (or map) helps define the look of a 3D surface. Open the Paint Window and with the airbrush, create a few spurts of yellow. Call this member spots.

7. Click on the 3D text cast member, and open the Property Inspector on the 3D Extruder tab.
Under Shader Texture, select Member and in the field next to it, type in spots. Press Enter and look at the text on the Stage. It now has a texture based on the image.

8. Open the Shockwave 3D window. If the 3D text is not showing, click the + button in the top left corner.

You will notice this member contains 1 model, 1 camera and 2 lights.

On the left of the 3D member, you have a number of camera controls:
Dolly Camera zooms in and out of the text.
Rotate Camera allows you to move around the text.
Pan Camera allows you to move in a straight line horizontally or vertically.

The two buttons below the camera controls allow you to fix to the Y axis or the Z axis when using Camera Rotate.

Click and experiment with the various camera controls.
Click the Reset Camera Transform (home) button . This resets the camera to its default or previous remembered location.

9. Use the camera control buttons to find an interesting angle and zoom level, then click the Set Camera Transform button . This button remembers the current camera position.
The Reset World button restores the 3D scene to its original state, with all models, cameras, and so on, assuming their original positions.

Animating and creating interactivity with the 3D members

Now we have created a 3D object and its appearance, we'll make it come alive with behaviors from the Library Palette
10. Open the Library Palette, then click on the Library List icon and choose 3D > Actions.
11. Click the Automatic Model Rotation icon and drag it onto the 3D text sprite on the Stage. The parameter dialog box opens. Keep the rotation speed at the default setting of 5, and change the which axis to rotate about to Y. Click OK.

12. In frame 2 of the Score, create a frame behavior to pause in the frame.
on exitFrame me
  go the frame

Rewind and play the movie.

Most 3D behaviors in the Library Palette require 2 behaviors to work, one Action and one Trigger. The Action behavior describes the way the 3D model behaves and the Trigger describes how it is activated.
13. Click on the Drag Model to Rotate icon in the 3D Actions area of the Library Palette, and drag it onto the 3D sprite. In the parameter dialog box, type in drag1 next to Which group does this behavior belong to? This value will be used to reference the Trigger to the action.

14. Click on the Library List icon and choose 3D > Triggers.
15. Click on the Mouse Left icon and drag it onto the 3D sprite. In the parameter dialog box, keep all the default settings. Note, the Select a Group and its Action identifies the drag1 value we created earlier. Click OK.

Rewind and play the movie.
You will notice that when you click the spinning 3D text, you can drag and rotate the model. When you let go, the text continues to animate at the new rotation.

Changing 3D lighting
1. Select the 3D cast member and open the Property Inspector to the 3D Extruder tab as we did at the start of this tutorial.
2. Under Director Light, experiment with changing the direction of the light and playing the movie.
3. Experiment with changing the Directional and Ambient colour.

The finished movie can be downloaded from here.