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Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5, Part 4

Changing highlight colors on buttons By Dave Nagel
If you've been following along with this series, you've learned so far how to add your own unique buttons to iDVD 5, complete with custom frames, custom highlights and even motion graphics. But there's probably still one thing bothering you about the way your menus in iDVD 5 look, and that's the color of the highlights on those buttons. This is one area where iDVD is pretty inflexible ... unless, of course, you know where to look.

Like all of our "Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5" tutorials so far, this one involves going into some of the guts of iDVD to make changes, although not as invasively in this case. But, as per usual, you will need to have Property List Editor installed on your system to accomplish this technique. This program is free and is most likely already installed on your hard drive  at Macintosh HD/Developer/Applications/Utilities/Property List Editor. If it's not there, you'll need to install it. Fortunately, the installer is located on your hard drive  already, so there's nothing new to download. The installer is at Macintosh HD/Applications/Installers/Developer Tools/Developer.mpkg. Double-click the Developer.mpkg item, and follow the onscreen instructions for installing the software.

Beyond this, you'll need to have an application available to you that's capable of telling you the RGB(A) values of the color you wish to use for your custom highlights. You can do this in Adobe Photoshop or pretty much any other graphics program.

Also, by way of preparation, if you haven't done so already, you might want to go back and read the three previous articles in this series, which are as follows:
Step 1: Turning your menu into a theme
In the past, I've shown you how to modify existing themes so that you could access the theme's highlight settings and make changes that way. But something like that doesn't really help if you've already gone ahead and created your project and now simply want to modify the highlight color. So this time around, I'll show you how to do it without causing too much interruption in your workflow, rather than making you start from scratch.

For this, you'll need to convert your current menu layout into an iDVD theme, since it's in a theme's "package" that highlight color information is stored. So open up your current project, and click on the Customize button.

When the customization panel slides out, click on the Settings tab. At the bottom, you'll see a button labeled "Save as Favorite." Click this, and name your theme. Then click it again to create a duplicate theme.

This way you'll have two identical versions of your menu saved as a theme. In my case, I've called them "Dave 1" and "Dave 2."

Step 2: Modifying the highlight color
Now you want to locate the themes you just created. They're in one of two directories on your hard drive, depending on whether you checked the "Shared for all users" option when you saved the theme as a favorite. If you did check this option, the file should be at /Library/iDVD/Favorites. If you did not check this option, it should be at /Users/[your name]/Library/iDVD/Favorites.

When you locate the files, right-click (or Control-click) on one of them, and remember which one. (I'm using the one called "Dave 2.favorite.") This will call up a contextual menu. From the list of options, choose "Show Package Contents."

This will open up a new window. In this window, navigate to /Contents/Resources/English.lproj. Here you will find a file called "Description.plist."

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