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Questions Answered: Customizing iDVD Themes

Modifying or removing graphical elements from templates By Dave Nagel
In this new series of tips, we answer questions from readers about creative software and hardware--questions that might not warrant a full-bown tutorial, but that do need some step by step explanation. While some of the questions may be related to very specific problems, the answers should provide you with general information that can help you with your own projects. Some answers will be short, some quite detailed. But either way, you should learn something from them that will help you get your job done better or more efficiently.

We kick things off with a question from B. our of Germany, who wants to know whether it's possible to modify themes in iDVD. Not just drop in additional graphic elements (such as a new menu background), but actually tweak a theme's appearance. Specifically, he wants to know whether he can remove the dark gray bar from the "Full Frame '05" theme in iDVD 6 (seen below) so that the text will still fade in before the loop point, but the gray bar won't be there behind it.

The answer is yes. All themes in iDVD can be modified quite easily, especially with respect to removing or modifying graphical elements like that gray bar.

First, quit iDVD. Then you need to locate the theme file on your hard drive. In iDVD 6, themes are located at Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/iDVD/Themes/.

Within this Themes folder, you'll see folder for each iDVD theme collection. Navigate to the one that contains your theme, and locate the specific file. In my case, I'm looking for "0016_Full_Frame.theme" in the iDVD 5 folder. (Note that the naming of the theme files isn't exactly the same as what you see listed in iDVD, but it should be close enough that you can recognize it.

Now, iDVD theme files are in a format called a "package." This means that the theme file is really just a disguised folder that holds all of the elements used for the theme. To get into it, right-click (or Control-click) the file, and choose "Show Package Contents" from the contextual menu.

When you do this, a new window will pop up containing a folder called "Contents." In this window, navigate to /Contents/Resources/. Here, within the Resources folder, you'll find all of the elements used in the theme. You just have to figure out which one contains the element you want to remove or replace with a custom graphic.

For example, if you want to modify the graphic used for a button, you'd want to go to  /FullFrameButton.Media.pox. In my case, I want to remove something from the menu, and that something is located in the folder called FullFrameTitle.pox.

Within the FullFrameTitle.pox folder, there's another folder called Contents, and within that is a folder called Material. The Material folder is always the folder that contains graphic elements, including still and motion files. In this case, the gray bar that I want to remove is the only thing n that folder, and I can verify that it's the right element by clicking on it and looking at its preview.

To get rid of it, I simply need to drag it out of the Material folder. It doesn't matter where it goes, as long as it's out of that folder.

Now I can relaunch iDVD and see that the graphic is gone.

If I wanted to, I could also simply replace that particular graphic with something of my own design. I might, for example, just open up the original file in Photoshop and colorize that bar.

Or I could replace it with something entirely of my creation, as long as it's the same dimensions as the original graphic. (You can make elements of different dimensions, but it gets a lot more complicated.) If you do replace the graphic with something of your own, make sure your graphic is in the same format as the original (TIFF in this case) and has the EXACT same name as the original (in this case, D3E3A877-38F7-11D9-90CD-000A958D65FE.tif.)

Need a question answered about creative software? Need to know something about your computer? Drop Dave Nagel a line, and you might have your question answered on the pages of DMN with illustrations and a step by step guide to solving your problem. You can reach Dave at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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Related Keywords:idvd, themes, templates, menus, modify, change, remove graphic elements, questions answered


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