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Customizing iDVD 3, Part 3

Working with drop zones By Dave Nagel
In previous installments in this series, we've looked at various ways to customize buttons for your iDVD presentations. Now we'll go in a bit deeper and take a look at customizing "drop zones," which, in iDVD 3, are large areas in the DVD interface where you can place motion files and create motion overlays and masks.

If you haven't done so already, go back and take a look at the previous installments in this series. I'm not going to backtrack on some of the basics in this installment, so you might need the background those previous tutorials provide, particularly in regards to navigating through the iDVD package. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Most importantly, make a backup of your original iDVD 3 application before proceeding.

Now, for this tutorial, we're going to use an existing theme and modify its drop zone to our liking. We'll learn how to find the files we need to modify, what they do and how to modify them. We'll look at other aspects of drop zones, such as special effects and transformations, in the next installment.

For now, we're going to concern ourselves with two sets of files: the foreground elements and the settings.

The foreground elements
The foreground elements of an iDVD drop zone consist of three files: a drop zone border file, a mask and a foreground image or movie. Thankfully, they're all located in the same place. Begin by opening up the iDVD 3 package.

Now navigate to Contents/Resources/000_Theater.theme. This will be the file we'll be modifying for this tutorial because it's the easiest to work with for now. (You'll see why in future installments.)

When you find this file, copy it to your Desktop (by holding down the Option key while you drag), and then right-click on the file and choose "Show Package Contents."

Within this package, navigate to Contents/Resources/DropZone.pox. In some cases, this DropZone.pox will itself be another package. In other cases, it's just a folder. Either way, open it up (either by selecting "Show Package Contents" yet again or by double-clicking on it, if it's a regular folder). Then navigate to the directory Contents/Material.

Within this folder, as seen above, you will find three files. If you're working with the 000_Theater theme, like me, these files will be called:

  • 1BB9F8B8-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A
  • 1BBA5D50-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A
  • 1BFD157E-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A

These are the three primary files used to define the drop zone. They are, in order: the zone boundary marker, the mask and the foreground movie, all images or QuickTime movies in disguise. But you can't see what they are in their present form. If you want to see what they are, select one; hit the Return/Enter key; and add a ".mov" extension to the end of each file name. You'll get an alert for each one asking whether you're sure you want to add the extension. Click the "Add" button.

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