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Old August 29th, 2007, 02:56 AM   #1
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How To Make Transitioning Buttons In DVD Studio Pro: A Tutorial

Okay, everyone. I would first off like to say that I love Apple. It's a wonderful company with amazing products. But (if you've ever followed Apple's developments and used their products on a regular basis) you'll most likely recall that sometimes Apple makes decisions its consumers get frustrated over. For instance, neither iDVD nor DVD Studio Pro offer transitioning effects for buttons. iDVD I can understand, but the professional application's lack of feature is perplexing.

Now, before you tell him "Hey, you CAN transition buttons" I'd like you to follow my train of thought:

By "transitioning buttons" I mean to say buttons that fade in on screen in the menu, or in any other fashion appear other than in their static, boring natural state.

We've all experienced DVD menus that offered something like this: you pop in your DVD, get to the menu, and are dazzled by buttons that pop up out of nowhere or fade in smoothly or fly around or something of this nature. Isn't that just cool? Of course it is!

And, guess what, Apple won't let you do it.

Now I tried to figure this out for several days (even posted an unanswered question about this here), and I found a way around this problem. The results aren't perfect, but they do just fine:

1. Open a new document in DVD Studio Pro

2. Select a theme that has moving or transitioning drop zones; you can preview the themes by double clicking on them and then simulating them

For my example I'll use the Wedding Cover theme that is located somewhere near the very bottom of the themes pallet.

3. Once you've selected your theme of choice (remember, you want a theme that has some sort of transitioning drop zone) double click it to put it in the canvas

4. Now, from this point on you can either use a video background you have already created in FCP or Avid or After Effects (if you want to know how to do this professionally, with Motion theme, etc., let me know), then you can use that to import as the background. If you don't have a video background ready and don't intend to, you can use whatever static background you want, or just stick with the theme's.

We'll assume you want to change the background into one you have already made (static image or video).

5. Delete everything on the canvas from the theme you selected EXCEPT THE DROP ZONES.

6. Now import some image you want to use for your buttons (photos are fine, or you can Photoshop a .tiff or .jpg image that says "Play Movie" or "Chapter Menu" or something like that) and set as "Set as Asset".

7. Select each button you've just put a photo or whatever image in, and right-click, and select the option to turn the drop zone into a button.

8. Resize and reposition your newly created button as you see fit.

9. Simulate the menu

Now, if you correctly chose a menu that had a transitioning drop zone (as in the Wedding Cover theme) you noticed that the drop zone now acts like a button AND transitions.

10. End the simulation.

11. Import your movie file into the Play Movie button (or whatever you plan to do) and set the movie file as "Set Track."

12. Simulate the menu again.

There you have it. It's not perfect, but it works. Of course, keep in mind that the original drop zone transition can't be changed. It is what it is.

Now, if you wanted to make your menu even more complex, you could transition the newly created buttons so that they "flip" to the next menu or play the movie by another transition state. You can do this by selecting the button and activating a transition.

Well, that's how it's done. Maybe this will keep us occupied until Apple releases another version (or an update?) that can do this without so much hassle.

Good luck, and let me know if you have questions.
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