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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #1
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DVDA Menu Nav Links & Themes

I spent a few hours last night correcting DVDA's annoying link placements for all of the chapter menus on a client's DVD. For each of the 5 "Scene Selection" menus, I had to almost completely re-point all the links (about 60% were wrong) to get a logical button flow.

Is anyone else picky about their button flows on menus? Here is what I mean. I believe that a user should be able to press "up" or "left" and cycle through every possible option on a screen. So if there are 2 rows of 3 columns of chapters to select, then the following should be true:
  • starting at the top left and hitting the "left" button on the remote will bring the user to the bottom right. Continuing to hit "L" will bring them to the bottom Left and that will bring them back up to the top Right and back to the start.
  • starting at the top left and hitting "up" will put the user at the bottom right and continuing to hit up will move to the Top right, bottom middle, top middle, etc till the top left.
  • etc etc.

The annoyance is that to correctly hook up all these menus takes a long time. I cannot simply save one of the pages as a theme and then apply that theme to the other pages because Vegas saves all the media links as well! So that applying the saved theme to page "2" of the scene selection will put all of the links from page 1 into page 2, effectively making a copy of page 1 instead of applying the "look & feel" of page 1 but using the content & links of page 2.

Is there any way around this frustrating limitation of DVDA?

Also, I have changed all the fonts, background, & links on page 2 to match page 1, but I was missing the correct graphical icon for the "Previous" menu button. I could not find that button anywhere on my HD. I couldn't check the properties and choose a different theme. The ONLY way I could get my "previous" button to use the correct icon, was to drag the applicable theme from the "themes" tab and place it on the menu I was just working on. But of course doing that resets all the button links, fonts, colors, backgrounds, etc! I don't know of a way to only apply some of the features of a theme pack to the current menu. Is this possible?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #2
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Jason, a big part of the problem is that what's logical to you may not be logical to the average end user.
BTW, I agree with you 100% about the button flows and, like you, I've spent far too much time rearranging it to my liking.
No, I haven't found a way around it either :-(

For the missing button, what I've done in the past is start up a new instance of DVDA and apply the desired theme.
From there, you can find out the directory that the particular button is in.
Once you find it, browse to thqat folder and copy it to the project you're working on.
If it's a button with a few layers, I'll bring it into Photoshop and play with it first.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #3
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image locations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
Jason, a big part of the problem is that what's logical to you may not be logical to the average end user.
BTW, I agree with you 100% about the button flows and, like you, I've spent far too much time rearranging it to my liking.
No, I haven't found a way around it either :-(

For the missing button, what I've done in the past is start up a new instance of DVDA and apply the desired theme.
From there, you can find out the directory that the particular button is in.
Once you find it, browse to thqat folder and copy it to the project you're working on.
If it's a button with a few layers, I'll bring it into Photoshop and play with it first.
I tried searching my entire HD for the image name listed in DVDA when I selected the correct button and that image was not found anywhere. Either I am going crazy and the image was there, or DVDA keeps those images in some archive file and they are only accessible from inside DVDA.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #4
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Don't worry Jason, you're not going crazy :-)
It took me a few minutes to find what I was looking for too.
If you have an older version of DVDA on your machine (3.0 or older), look in the DVDA master folder for a folder called _Themes.
Thre'll be another folder called Themes but, as it doesn't have the underscore in front of it, that's not the one you want.
Inside this folder you'll find separate folders for each theme.
Go into the one you want and you should find the button there.
BTW, for whatever reason, the _Themes folder doesn't exist in DVDA 4.0 :-(
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
Don't worry Jason, you're not going crazy :-)
It took me a few minutes to find what I was looking for too.
If you have an older version of DVDA on your machine (3.0 or older), look in the DVDA master folder for a folder called _Themes.
Thre'll be another folder called Themes but, as it doesn't have the underscore in front of it, that's not the one you want.
Inside this folder you'll find separate folders for each theme.
Go into the one you want and you should find the button there.
BTW, for whatever reason, the _Themes folder doesn't exist in DVDA 4.0 :-(
I am using the latest version of DVDA that came with Vegas Pro 8, so if that is the one that lacks the themes folder, then where else would those files be?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #6
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I don't have DVDA 4.5 on my work machines so, if no one else answers, you'll have to wait for a few hours until I get home and can check.

edit: I just checked and sorry but DVDA 4. 5 doesn't have the _Themes folder either :-(

Last edited by Mike Kujbida; April 29th, 2008 at 04:36 PM.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:50 AM   #7
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And the asnwer is....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
I don't have DVDA 4.5 on my work machines so, if no one else answers, you'll have to wait for a few hours until I get home and can check.

edit: I just checked and sorry but DVDA 4. 5 doesn't have the _Themes folder either :-(
So I take it there is no way to access the individual graphic images used in a DVDA theme. That is surprisingly frustrating, and short sighted of Sony. So the work flow is going to be, drag theme onto scene selection page FIRST, then set all properties and completely ignore the "Save as Theme" or using any previously saved theme because that function is broken and does not work as expected.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 01:55 PM   #8
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DVDA Themes Folder

The Themes folder for my system (I am using DVDA Pro 4.5) is:

C:\Documents and Settings\“My computer name”\Application Data\Sony\DVD Architect Pro\4.5\Themes

Replace “My computer name” with the folder that is applicable for you.

I hope this helps.
Tim
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Old May 1st, 2008, 09:29 PM   #9
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I hope this helps.

It sure does Tim. Thanks a lot!!
That explains why I couldn't find it by doing a search for "_Themes".
I'm sure Jason will be even happier :-)
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:53 PM   #10
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You bet!

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Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
I hope this helps.

It sure does Tim. Thanks a lot!!
That explains why I couldn't find it by doing a search for "_Themes".
I'm sure Jason will be even happier :-)
There it is. Who would have thought. To add to the annoyance, that is a user specific directory! So how are other users supposed to know under which user name to find the themes?

Any way, thank you for the bit of detective work.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 01:44 PM   #11
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With all this in mind, what else are people using to make their DVD's? I find DVDA to be so obscure that I have no desire to try and wade through what it would take to make something really look good.

There must be a better program for creating menu's, buttons, background media etc.

thanks folks,
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 04:46 PM   #12
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For much of my work I use DVDA for menus and such BUT I do on occasion depending on the look I want use Photoshop to create menus and text.

Don
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:53 PM   #13
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PhotoShop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt Lee View Post
There must be a better program for creating menu's, buttons, background media etc.

thanks folks,
Milt
I use PhotoShop for all of my elements (backgrounds, buttons, text, etc.). I do not use any of the stock elements that are provided with DVDA.

However, I have been using DVDA for many years and it is by far my favourite program to author my DVDs. I like the flexibility DVDA offers and have been able to customize all of my DVDs exactly the way I want them.

I do agree that it can be very time consuming to adjust the properties of every element (button navigation, end actions, loop points, etc.) but I am always pleased with the final outcome. It is worth the extra effort. And after time you become much faster at making these adjustments.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 04:08 PM   #14
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Faster over time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Ducharme View Post
I do agree that it can be very time consuming to adjust the properties of every element (button navigation, end actions, loop points, etc.) but I am always pleased with the final outcome. It is worth the extra effort. And after time you become much faster at making these adjustments.
I tried using Nero (I think) and I got annoyed at the lack of features. This was when I very first was looking into DVD delivery of video (4yrs ago or so). THe combination of Vegas and DVDA was potentially the single biggest selling point for me regarding the Vegas+DVD software package. They both worked so well together and DVDA would change almost anything you wanted on the DVD. Want a different end action for just this clip? No problem. Want the left button on this menu item to go all the way over here? No problem.

That it takes a while to learn shows there is room for improvement. But that the power is there shows some foresight on Sony's part. Now that I have 3 years experience mastering DVDs with DVDA, I don't know that I would switch to anything else, unless the alternative made adding alternate video & audio tracks easier. I once wanted to include both the 60i and 30P versions of a movie as well as the 5.1 and stereo audio tracks on the same DVD. I tried for hours to get playlists, or various combinations of alternate audio tracks / video angles to work and it just never seemed to work. In the end, I delivered two DVDs, one for the 60i version for all the family & friends, and one in 30p for the groom who had a nice SD 480p set.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 08:47 AM   #15
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I've been spending some time trying to edit the architect themes... the help file provides a quick overview of how to do this, but I haven't been successful. I basically copied the "Wood theme 2" thm, and renamed the copy to RyansTheme.thm. I proceed to edit the <name>, <author>, etc. tabs. I must be missing some obvious step in the edit process, because architect refuses to recognize the new theme.

Also, the help file includes the layout for creating a menu in photoshop. My focus, right now, is to build a simple menu with the "cursor" style buttons. (translucent when non-active.) I've read the thread on this topic, but I must need to re-read it., because that isn't working, either.

These are no quick-solution problems... but I'm still enjoying the learning process.

One thing is for sure... I recently bought Adobe Encore... and though it has a more cosmetic workspace, it's surprisingly more complicated and buggy than architect 4.5.
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