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Customizing iDVD, Part 3

Creating, modifying, saving and distributing themes with a custom installer By Dave Nagel
We arrive now at the final installment in our series on customizing Apple's iDVD 2.0. We've learned so far how to modify existing buttons and even add to the range of buttons available to the application. Now we look at a different method for putting our customized looks together for future use and distribution, as well as a way to create a Mac OS X installer for mass distribution of your themes.

Note: If you haven't already, be sure to read our two previous installments in the Customizing iDVD series. You won't be able to complete this one without the information from the previous two. You can find them by clicking the Tutorials button in the left menu of this site or by visiting http://www.creativemac.com/2002/10_oct/tutorials/idvd021001.htm and http://www.creativemac.com/2002/10_oct/tutorials/idvd22021023.htm. (My DMN subscribers can read the ad-free versions at http://www.mydmn.com/cgi-bin/displayarticle.cgi?articleid=13280 and http://www.mydmn.com/cgi-bin/displayarticle.cgi?articleid=13728 .)

Now, why would you want to create custom themes for iDVD instead of just selecting your button style from the Customize pane? Well, themes contain more than just buttons. They also include your backgrounds, titles, fonts and other information that may be too repetitive for those of you who produce multitudes of DVDs using iDVD. Or maybe you have dozens of systems that all need to have access to the same themes, so you want to create a distributable package for easy mass installation. Or maybe you just want to put together custom themes to sell, as at least one company has done since this series began. (And, no, I wouldn't mind a little scratch coming my way from the sales of those themes, if you do indeed choose to do this.)

Well, I'm going to do those folks one better by showing you not only how to create custom themes, but also how to create an installer for placing those themes directly into the iDVD application package, rather than the easier (but less professional) alternative, which we'll also discuss. (Now you know I'll deserve points on the gross for that!)

The easy part
Right, so you've already created your custom buttons using our previous tutorials, and you want to put those buttons together with background images or movies, as well as audio and text. And you want to save variations on these combinations for future use. No problem.

First, choose your custom button for this particular theme from the list of available buttons in the Customize pane of your iDVD Themes window. If you want to use a button you've created yourself, be sure to follow our previous tutorials on creating custom buttons and adding them to your iDVD buttons menu. (There will be an alternative to this in the next section.) Choose your fonts and colors, title position, button caption position, motion duration, etc.

When you're done setting up your theme, click the Save in Favorites button located at the bottom of your Customize pane.

The iDVD application will then save your theme according to the name you enter in the Save dialog. Keep in mind that the name of the file will be the default text for your title. So, for example, if you save the file as "Dave's Apocalyptic Theme," every time you choose that theme, the text "Dave's Apocalyptic Theme" will be displayed by default. Also make sure you check the "Shared for all users" option when saving the theme.

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