Take Control of Menus

There's nothing wrong with going the easy route and using one of the themes Apple supplies with iDVD. They're designed by professionals, so you can't go wrong using any of them.

Then again, why not have a little fun? Go on experiment with different designs, even if you're design-shy. You can always go back to one of the supplied themes if you don't like what you end up with. Chances are you'll come up with something great that reflects your personality.

Let's start with menus.

Pick a starting point

Open the project you started in Chapter 5, if it's not already on-screen, and prepare to modify it. Scroll through iDVD's gallery of themes (see Figure 6.1) until you find a theme that has elements you'd like to keep, such as an attractive button shape or a nice title font. Even if you don't want to use every element in the theme, there might be parts you'll want to keep and you're that much further ahead in designing the look of your DVD.

Figure 6.1. If you want to use one of Apple's themes as a starting point or even as your finished look, you have these 38 themes to choose from.



If you think you're having a déjà vu, you're right. Figure 6.1 is the same picture as Figure 3.5. What can I say? It fit perfectly and I hate to waste electrons.


It's important to choose a theme you can work with before you make any modifications. If you start customizing parts and then decide you want to try a different theme, all your changes will be wiped out and you'll have to start from scratch.

The themes with the little running person in a circle in their lower-right corner are themes that feature motion menus.

The themes without the running dude offer only static menu titles.

Change the menu title

Next let's change something that's been bugging me since we started this project the generic title, for example the Sky or Parchment, that comes with each of Apple's themes. Click on the title to highlight it and then type the real title for your project (see Figure 6.2). If you want to change the font, open the Customize drawer and click the Settings button to switch to the Settings pane. Now choose a font from the Font pop-up menu in the Title area of this pane.

Figure 6.2. I changed the title of my DVD project from "Fun" to "Dork the Daring," since my project documents dorky behavior.


You can move the title wherever you want on the menu if you choose Custom from the Position pop-up menu to unlock its position. Then you can drag the title around with your cursor. If you prefer not to have a title, choose No Title from the Position pop-up menu.


Customize the background image


Now let's get the changed image into the background. Find the custom image you want for the opening menu's backdrop. Drag that image's file from your desktop (or your project folder, if you've organized your assets in the folder) onto the main DVD menu screen or into the Image/Movie well in the Background area of the Settings pane.

You can also replace the image by selecting Import > Image from the File menu.


Some of the new themes offer Drop Zones, which is a fancy way to say, "a mask over your background picture or movie." If you see a theme with an area that says "Drag photos or movies here," that's a Drop Zone. You can drag an image or movie onto the Drop Zone and it will highlight.



If you prefer importing via menu, Control-click within the Drop Zone and choose Import… from the contextual menu.

Whatever you put into the Drop Zone be it picture or movie will be partially obscured by the mask.

This is one of those occasions where a picture is worth a page full of words, so have an eyeful of Figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3. Items in a Drop Zone are masked by the background image, kind of like this.


If you want to use a video for the background, drag the video file into the Image/Movie well or select Import > Background Video from the File menu.


The video file will replace the beautiful image/movie provided by the theme. Furthermore, if the theme has a Drop Zone, doing either of the above will replace the beautiful image/movie and remove the Drop Zone at the same time.

If you drag the file onto the main DVD screen (menu), you'll add another button to the on-screen menu and that's not what you want. Don't forget about the lovely undersea video that comes with Apple's tutorial. If you want to use that for your background, go get it from the Media folder inside the Tutorial folder.

Maybe the image or movie you've chosen doesn't look as good as you thought it would. It's easy to get rid of it. You can import a new image or movie and it will automatically replace your current background. Or you can drag the icon out of the Image/Movie well. Either method will get rid of the current background movie or image. To get rid of an image or movie in a Drop Zone, click on it and drag it out of the iDVD window the image or movie will disappear in a puff of smoke.


Again, if you prefer menus, Control-click within the Drop Zone and choose Clear from the contextual menu to get rid of the image or movie in the Drop Zone. You won't see the cute animated puff of smoke, however.


There's just one other bit of cleanup we need to do before we move on to having fun with buttons. You might want to expunge that Apple logo watermark that's so visible in the lower-right corner of your DVD menu. Although iDVD 1 didn't have the option of getting rid of the logo, you can with version 3 (as you could with version 2). Simply select Preferences from the iDVD menu and uncheck Show Apple logo watermark.

The Little iDVD Book
The Little iDVD Book
ISBN: 0321197747
Year: 2003
Pages: 62

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