OCTOBER 15, 2003
DVD Studio Pro: Customizing Button States
Part 1: Highlight Formats, colors and mapping
by David Nagel

Our last time through Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2, we took a broad look at the creation of graphical elements for a DVD menu, including the basics of creating backgrounds, multi-layer buttons and other elements. Now I want to focus more on various ways you can use graphics on the Selected and Activated states of menu elements, specifically techniques for using highlights inherent in a button Shape file and for moving beyond basic highlights and into multi-color overlays. We begin with part 1 in this two-part mini-series looking at integrated button highlights, and we'll move into overlays next week.

Before we get started, I'd like to provide you with links to some previous articles. If you're somebody who's somewhat familiar with DVD authoring--say, making a transition from a consumer-level authoring system like iDVD into the much more feature-rich DVD Studio Pro, you might want to look at our initial general overview here. (You might also benefit from our original review of DVD Studio Pro, which is available here.) If you're less familiar with the DVD format--say a graphic designer looking to expand into DVD graphics creation--we have an article that introduces many aspects of DVD production (color issues, file formats, etc.), tailored specifically for graphic designers, available here.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Now, there are two basic methods in the DVD format for displaying Selected and Activated states in a menu item (otherwise known as a button). One is to create a separate file for your menu containing an overlay, portions of which are revealed over the area of a selected button. The other method is to integrate highlights into into the individual Shape files you use for your buttons. We'll elaborate on the second method today and take a look at more advanced overlays in the next installment.

Highlight basics
When you create a button for DVD Studio Pro using the Adobe Photoshop method (outlined in the previous tutorial mentioned above), part of the file structure includes a layer dedicated specifically to the highlight.

On this layer, you can place any shape you wish to represent your highlight. For example, if your button consists solely of text and you want an underline to appear beneath your text when the highlight is selected, you simply draw an underline on your Highlight layer. Here you see I have the word "Chapters" on my Shape layer and the stroke on the Highlight layer.

Using this method, when the button is selected in the DVD player, the word "Chapters" will remain black, while the underline with pop into existence and sport whatever color I've selected for my button highlight within the authoring environment. Here's the same button used twice and shown in its selected and unselected states.

Simple enough. Of course, if you also want the text to be highlighted, you'd simply duplicate the text layer and merge it with the Highlight layer, making sure to rename the merged layer, if necessary. (The Highlight must always consist of a single layer and should be named "Highlight.") Note, however, the nasty edges on the example below. I'll show you a way around this in the last section of this article covering color.

Now here's another critical thing about highlights integrated into buttons. As far as DVD Studio Pro is concerned, all colors are the same on the Highlight layer. White, black, whatever. It doesn't matter. There's either something on the Highlight layer, or there's not. That's the reason anti-aliased edges, as in the example above, look so rough. So there's no getting fancy with your highlights by using different colors on the Highlight layer.

Or is there?

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