• Price When Reviewed: 705 . 209

  • Pros: Vista and Leopard support; support for Flash 9; PhysX engine and DirectX9; new bitmap filters; Unicode and text engine enhancements; script browser; code snippets.

  • Cons: No PPC support for Mac users; workflow and installation gripes on Windows Vista; no GPU enhancements for Mac users; relatively expensive.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

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Scripting is a key area for Director: it’s still rather clunky to use and not for beginners, but Adobe has introduced another helpful feature in the form of Code Snippets. These aim to reduce the learning curve for scripting in JavaScript and Lingo by providing code samples for all methods in the Scripting Dictionary. You just double-click to add them into the script window.

As you’d expect from an Adobe product, there is full support for Flash CS3 content in Director 11 (including drag-and-drop editing), and the ability to create Flash ActionScript objects and access all of their properties and methods. The installation CD for Windows is meant to include Flash Media Server, the Flash Media Server authoring components for Flash and documentation (the Mac installation CD only includes the authoring components and documentation). However, we couldn’t locate these extras on our Windows disc.

Director works with a wide variety of other media types – over 40 are supported, including QuickTime, and most other audio, video and image formats. It scores over vector-based applications with support for bitmap filters, such as those available for Photoshop, which can apply effects to bitmap images. While this isn’t a new feature in Director, version 11 adds ten new filters to the line-up, including Adjust Colour, Blur, Drop Shadow, Bevel and Glow. There are also distortion and noise filters in the shape of Convolution Matrix, Displacement Map and Perlin Noise.

Director 11 uses a new text engine to embed fonts in Shockwave output: the Bitstream engine adjusts to render text on any platform and any resolution. Director now also offers Unicode text and font support, which is essential when designing for an international audience.

There are several user-interface enhancements with this version. Message and Cast windows are now tool windows and the Debugger window, which was a part of the script window, is now a separate window; there are new options to float or unfloat tool windows.