OCTOBER 31, 2003
Zoom Masks for DVD Studio Pro 2
Part 1: Creating custom masks for zooming in on an asset
by David Nagel

You know that in DVD Studio Pro 2, you have a certain limited amount of control over the positioning of assets within a button. If the asset has an aspect ratio different from the button shape, you can move it around a little bit to focus on a different portion of the image within the button, though usually the amount of leeway is minimal. Today we'll look at a trick for designing buttons that allow you to zoom in on a specific portion of your asset, regardless of aspect ratio and without resizing your footage or distorting your button shape.

The purpose of this technique is to allow you to zoom into your button asset without actually having to create a second asset just for your menu. The principle behind the technique is a simple one, though it might take you a few tries to get it just right. Essentially we're going to use a frame from our footage to create a mask in Adobe Photoshop that's larger than the button itself, forcing the button's asset to expand to fill it, thereby giving us our zoom.[an error occurred while processing this directive]If you're not completely familiar with DVD Studio Pro, you might want to look at some of our previous articles covering more general and preliminary aspects of the program before moving on to this current topic. The following is a list of articles available here as of this writing.

The problem
So why would you even want to do this? Well, if you're shooting wide--say at a sporting event or a wedding ceremony--your footage may look fine full-screen, but it also might be too busy when used at a reduced scale inside a button. And therefore you'd want to zoom in on just one or two major elements that a viewer will be able to identify easily. Or it may also be that an important element of the footage is cut off by your button's frame. Either way, this technique will alleviate your problem.

For my example, I'm going to use a shot of one of my daughters playing on a balance beam. Here's a frame in Photoshop to show you what the full image looks like.

And here it is in DVD Studio Pro 2 using a standard mask within a custom button.

So you see the difficulty. There's no way in DVD Studio Pro to enlarge the asset without also enlarging or distorting the button as well, which might not be feasible for you and, at any rate, won't alleviate the problem of the face being cut off by the frame.

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