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Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5, Part 5

Creating custom drop zones
Creating and replacing the elements
The mask file (1BBA5D50-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A) is used to reveal whatever content you place into the drop zone within iDVD. The movie file (1BFD157E-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A) is used as a graphical element in the menu. In this case, it's the curtains that open up to reveal the drop zone element on the movie screen of this theme. So these are the two elements you need to recreate for your custom drop zone.

How you do this is up to you. You might create new movie and mask files in a program like Adobe After Effects or Apple Motion, or generate still mask and foreground files in a still graphics program like Adobe Photoshop. Either way, I'll leave the creative aspects up to you.

On the technical side, the mask works like this. It needs to be a grayscale image or movie. White portions hide the contents of the drop zone. Black portions reveal the contents of the drop zone. And, of course, gray elements produce various degrees of transparency over the contents of the drop zone. So, for example, if you wanted to create a drop zone that resembles a page curl, in which your mask reveals your drop zone content when the page turns, the mask would look something like this. (Click the play button to watch.)



So that's the mask. Once you create it, rename the file 1BBA5D50-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A, and get rid of the .mov file extension. Your mask needs to be named EXACTLY as the old mask was named. After you've done this, drag the file into the Material folder to replace the old file. Note: Deleting the extension in the Finder isn't enough. You need to do a Get Info on the file (Command-I) and delete the extension in the Info dialog.

The movie file is more straightforward. This is simply the graphical element that goes over your mask. It can be a moving image or a still and should, of course, correspond with the mask in terms of the visible elements and invisible elements through which the drop zone content will show. So, to follow along with my page curl theme, I might create a foreground element along these lines:



This way, as my cover page turn, the mask I created previously follows along, reveling the element beneath when I use it in my menu.

Now that I'm done with that, I can rename my final foreground movie to 1BFD157E-0F16-11D7-B18B-0003939BA86A (making sure to eliminate the file extension) and drag it into the Materials folder for this drop zone, replacing the old foreground element.


Positioning and sizing the drop zone
Now there's just one step left: positioning and sizing the drop zone graphic. For this, I need to open up the Description.plist file associated with this theme. For this, I need to back up to the theme's package, rather than the drop zone's package. (Just to refresh your memory, to get there, you open up the iDVD package then navigate to /Contents/Resources. From there, you open up the 000_Theater.theme package.)

Once you open this up again, navigate to /Contents/Resources/English.lproj. Sitting right there is a file called Description.plist.



Double-click this file to open it up in Property List Editor, which you should have already installed. WHen you do this, expand the Root item by clicking the little triangle on the left. Then you'll see a listing called "dropZones." Open this up, and you'll see an item called "BoundBox." Open this, and you'll arrive at the settings for the X,Y position of the drop zone, as well as the width and height.



The item labeled 0 is the distance (in pixels) from the left edge of the screen to the left edge of the drop zone you've created.  The item labeled 1 is the distance from the top edge of the screen to the top edge of the drop zone. The items labeled 2 and 3 are the width and height of the drop zone, respectively. So enter the values appropriate for your drop zone.

In my case, my drop zone is 320 x 240, and I want it centered in the menu. So I'll use the following values:



When I'm done, I save the Description.plist file, and I'm good to go. When I launch iDVD the next time, I can apply the Theater theme with my new drop zone.

If you have any questions, be sure to drop me a line or post your question in one of the forums at http://www.dmnforums.com.


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

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