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Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5

Part 1: Creating custom buttons By Dave Nagel
We've covered iDVD's hidden tricks over the last several versions, including the creation of custom buttons, custom highlights, duration changes for menus and more. Now, with version 5, there are several more areas available for customization, each one more complex than the last. But we'll kick things off in the first installment in this series with a relatively simple process: creating your own custom DVD menu buttons and highlights.

The creation of custom buttons for iDVD isn't a diffficult process, though there are many elements involved. You will need on thing in addition to iDVD 5 to accomplish this tutorial, and that is a graphics application capable of opening and saving color and grayscale TIFFs with alpha channels. (For my example, I'll be using Adobe Photoshop.)

One final note before we get started: This process does involve modifying existing components of iDVD. Always make back-up copies of these components in case something goes wrong. The most that's likely to go wrong in this case is messing up one of the existing buttons, but you never can be too careful.

Locating the files you'll need to modify
This process is one of modification, which is to say you'll be taking an existing button, modifying its components and replacing the original components with your own. This is the most simple way to accomplish this feat of customization when you're just starting out, but it does mean replacing an existing button altogether with a new one. So make sure you choose an existing button that you would never use on an actual DVD. In my case, that's the heart-shaped button, which is this guy here:

In order to change this heart into something that I might actually use over and over, I'm going to need to locate the components that make up that button. Those components include a shape file, a mask, a highlight and a few other little files, all of which are located inside the package that makes up the iDVD application. To get to them, I need to select the iDVD application and right-click (or Control-click) on it, and select the "Show Package Contents" option from the menu that pops up.

When I do that, a new window will pop up showing a folder called Contents. From there, I'll navigate to COntents > Resources and locate the files associated with the button I'm going to modify. iDVD 5 refers to the heart-shaped button as "HeartDown," so I'll locate all of the files that start with that word. There are six, as seen below.

The main one that you want to concern yourself with is the one called "HeartDown.Media.pox." This is where the actual files for the shape, mask and highlight are located. (The others have to do with the display of the icon. We'll get to those later.) Select HeartDown.Media.pox, and navigate to /Contents/Material/. Here you'll see the three files representing, in order, the highlight, mask and shape files for the button.

Copy the files out into a safe director as a backup, then open up the originals in your graphics program now.

Changing the shape
The shape file is the visible portion of your button. It's what displays in addition to your asset (a movie, image or folder) and highlight. You don't need to have a shape actually. If you wish, you can simply eliminate the shape by clearing out the layer and leaving it transparent. If not, you can make the shape into any object you wish. Just remember that it does cover up your asset, so you want to leave some portion of it transparent (most likely the center of the graphic).

The HeartDown shape file (called "75EADA3A-1571-11D8-81FA-000393AE67F4.tiff") looks like this:

It consists of a simple shadow and bevel over transparency. To change this, I just select all, clear it out and draw my own shape. In this case, I'll make it into a frame-like shape with a metallic texture. But you are in no way limited in terms of the shapes you can use.

Now I save the file (keeping the name EXACTLY the same), and here's the result comparing the old and the new. (Obviously we still have a little work to do, but you get the idea of what the shape file does.

One note: If you happen to create any new channels in this file, be sure to delete them before saving the file. Otherwise it will cause problems with the display of your shape.

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Related Keywords:apple idvd, buttons, custom buttons, customizing buttons, shapes

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