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Hidden Tricks in iDVD 5, Part 6

Adding custom bullet-style highlights to themes By Dave Nagel
We've explored methods for modifying button highlights in Apple's iDVD 5. But not all highlights are the same. In some cases, themes in iDVD use text-only buttons and supply you with a bullet-style highlight that appears next to the text, rather than over an asset, as with standard highlights. And, just as with standard highlights, it's possible to modify this bullet highlight to suit your needs.

For this tutorial, we'll be looking at two aspects of customizing these bullet highlights. First, we'll explore the creation of new bullet shapes, replacing the standard filled circle that you see in some themes. Then we'll go in and look at how to change the color of the highlight in the event that you're not satisfied with the default color.

In order to complete this tutorial, you'll need two things. First, you have to have an image editor capable of manipulating and saving grayscale TIFF images with transparency. I'll be using Adobe Photoshop for this. Second,  you'll need a program that's capable of editing property list files. This second requirement is needed in order to change the highlight color. If you don't want to change the highlight color of your bullets, don't worry about it. If you do, you'll need a program like Property List Editor, which is included in the Developer Tools that ship with Mac OS X. It's probably already installed on your hard drive; if not, then go to Applications/Installers/Developer Tools/Developer.mpkg to install it. Or, better yet, download a shareware program called PlistEdit Pro, which you can use free for a limited time. You can download PlistEdit Pro from http://homepage.mac.com/bwebster/plisteditpro.html.

Of course, it would also help to be familiar with the concepts involved in customizing settings in iDVD 5. If you have not already read our previous installments in this series, you could benefit greatly by doing so. Below you'll find links to the previous articles.

Part 1: Custom buttons and highlights
Part 2: Button styles
Part 3: Motion buttons
Part 4: Highlight colors
Part 5: Custom drop zones

For this exercise, we're not going to be altering any of the existing themes permanently. Rather, we're going to use an existing them as the basis for a new theme. And we'll do this by applying the existing theme to a new project and saving that as a new "favorite" theme. This will allow you to create a new theme and modify it to your heart's content without impacting the original theme at all.

To do this, launch iDVD, and create a new project. Then apply the theme called "Wedding Bronze One" to the default menu.

The just click on the folder button a few times to add some text elements to the menu.

Now go into the Settings panel. Dow at the bottom, you'll see a button called "Save as Favorite." Click this button. When you do, a dialog will slide down asking you to enter a name for the new Favorite. Call it whatever you want. I'll call mine "Dave5."

Now save the project and quit iDVD. In the Finder, go to /Users/[You]/Library/iDVD/Favorites. Here you'll find any of the Favorites you've saved, including your latest one.

Now we're ready to get started.

Changing the highlight shape
The file that defines the shape of the bullet highlight is located within your .favorite file. To access it, right-click (or Control-click) on the .favorite file. In the contextual menu that pops up, select "Show Package Contents."

This will open up a new window containing a single folder called "Contents." Open the Contents folder, and navigate to /Contents/Resources/WeddingChampagne.Media.pox/Contents/Material/. Here you'll find a file called "F864D41C-2473-11D8-932D-000393AE67F4.tiff."

This, as you might not expect, is your highlight file--the one you need to modify in order to create your own bullet highlight. Open this file in Photoshop (or your preferred image editor). When you do, you'll see just a tiny grayscale image with a barely visible circle over a transparent background.

To modify this, just paint or draw on your canvas as you normally would. Use white pixels to define the shape of your bullet, and leave the background transparent. Here's how I'll be modifying mine. (I know it's a little tricky to see. I't a diamond shape composed of four smaller diamonds.)

When you create your new shape, make sure that, if you introduce new layers into the file, you merge them so that there's just one layer called "Layer 0" when you're done.

Now save your file and launch iDVD. Click on the Customize button, and go to the "Favorites" theme category. Click on your theme to apply it to your menu. In the main window, click the Preview button, and you'll see your new highlight.

That's it for that portion of the exercise. Now we'll go in and change the highlight color.

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Related Keywords:idvd customization, hidden tricks in idvd 5, highlight colors, highlights, buttons, custom highlights

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