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Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5, Part 5

Creating custom drop zones By Dave Nagel
We've seen now in iDVD 5 that it's possible to create custom buttons and custom highlights and motion-based buttons with motion masks. But it's also possible to do all of these things with drop zones, which is great for when you want to create a series of discs with common background elements without having to go through the hassle of making new motion graphics for each one. So in this latest installment in our "Hidden Tricks" series, we'll learn how to create these custom drop zones.

As with all of the previous articles in this series, this one involves going into some of the guts of iDVD to make changes. As 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. You will also, of course, need a graphics or motion graphics application for creating your custom drop zone elements.

And while we're on the subject of preparation, if you haven't done so already, you might want to go back and read the previous installments in this series to give yourself a good foundation in the basics. You'll find these articles buy clicking on the following links.

Part 1: Creating custom buttons
Part 2: More on custom buttons and highlights
Part 3: Creating motion buttons
Part 4: Customizing highlight colors

Locating the base files
For this technique, we're going to work with an existing theme, just to make things easier. Without using an existing theme, you have to go to the trouble of creating not just the drop zone elements, but a whole terrible series of settings that you have to generate manually, at which point it would just be easier to create unique motion backgrounds for all of your discs. So we'll start with an existing theme that already has a drop zone, then modify that drop zone to suit our needs. Of course, you can further modify this theme to your heart's content using the other techniques we've discussed.

For this example, we'll start with a theme that has movie elements in its drop zone, though you can work with themes that just use still images as well. The theme in question is the old Theater theme. You will need to locate this file and modify it to accomplish this tutorial. Note that the modification will be permanent, so you should make a backup of the original in case you want to use it at some point in the future.

To locate this file, go to your iDVD application in the Finder. Right-click (or Control-click) the application, and select "Show Package Contents" from the list of available options.

From there, navigate to /Contents/Resources/. There, at the top of the list, you'll see "000_Theater.theme." This is the file. After you make a backup of the file, right-click it, and choose "Show Package Contents" again.

This will open up a new window. From there, navigate to /Contents/Resources/, and you'll see a file called "DropZone.pox." This is where the elements of the drop zone are stored. So, once again, right-click this file, and again choose "Show Package Contents" from the menu.

Finally, navigate to /Contents/Material/. Here you'll see three files, which are the actual elements of the drop zone. These elements are called:

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

As you can imagine, each one represents some component of the drop zone. You need only concern yourself with the second two elements, which are the mask and movie, respectively. These are the components that you will be replacing with your own components.

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Related Keywords:idvd drop zones, ilife 05, apple idvd, custom drop zones


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