Adjusting Image, Text, and Menu Characteristics

DVDit! lets you do much more to text and button elements than moving them around the menu and changing their size and shape. You can adjust the color, saturation, and brightness for individual menu elements or the menu as a whole. Also, you can give text and buttons drop shadows using an intuitive and customizable tool.

Task: Change the Characteristics of Menus, Backgrounds, Buttons, and Text

The button at the top of the Button palette is called "GlassGreen." Don't let that stop you from turning it into "GlassRed." Follow these steps to change the characteristics of anything that appears in a menu:

  1. Select a menu and place some text and two buttons on it. Select all three items by Ctrl-clicking them in turn.

  2. Select Effects, Adjust Color from the main menu. This opens the Color Adjustment dialog box, shown in Figure 22.1.

    Figure 22.1. The Color Adjustment dialog box lets you change color characteristics of any object, menu, or combination of items you select.

    graphics/22fig01.jpg

  3. Open the Color Adjustment dialog box's drop-down menu. You have three selections: Current Menu Background, Selected Menu Items, and Current Menu. Select each one in turn and note how the display in the Color Adjustment screen changes. This is a very nifty tool. You can adjust any selected menu item(s), only the background, or the entire menu?background, text, buttons, and all.

  4. Make a selection and move the sliders. Turns out the GlassGreen button can be any color you want. If you check the Save Settings box, you can apply the same settings on other menus or menu items.

  5. Cancel out of the Color Adjustment dialog box. Select only the text by clicking it and then select Effects, Text Properties. This opens the Text Properties dialog box, shown in Figure 22.2.

    Figure 22.2. The Text Properties dialog box lets you fine-tune text, including color and brightness.

    graphics/22fig02.jpg

  6. The Text Properties dialog box lets you make the usual text changes, including font typeface, size, and bold/italic/underlined. It does have two interesting functions:

    • The Script drop-down menu lets you change the lettering from Western to five other alphabets.

    • The Color area actually controls the color and brightness. The top slider changes the text color, and the bottom slider changes the brightness.

  7. You can change the drop shadow characteristics for menu items by selecting buttons and/or text and then selecting Effects, Drop Shadow to open the Drop Shadow dialog box, shown in Figure 22.3.

    Figure 22.3. This interface makes adjusting drop shadow characteristics intuitive and, well, fun.

    graphics/22fig03.jpg

  8. The Drop Shadow dialog box is an intuitive and fun toy. Using simple sliders you can adjust the shadow's characteristics down to its color, blur, direction from the object, and opacity. Selecting Apply To: Items in Current Menu means any changes will affect all items equally, giving your menu buttons a more consistent and realistic look.

Creating Graphics for Use in DVDit!

DVDit! offers a nice variety of backgrounds and buttons, but its developers assume most users will opt to create their own graphics in Photoshop. If you do, here are three tips:

  • DVDit! resizes any graphic or still to a 4:3 aspect ratio. To avoid distorted images?flattened or elongated?here are two points to keep in mind:

    • Images for menu backgrounds should have a 640x480 resolution or a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you use less than 640x480, DVDit! will expand your image to fit, and it may not look as sharp as you'd like.

    • Images that you'll use as stills should have a 720x540 resolution or a 4:3 aspect ratio. For images that don't match that resolution or aspect ratio, add borders to properly size them. Again, lower resolutions will lead to less crisp-looking images.

  • When using Photoshop, to compensate for its square pixels and NTSC-DV and PAL's non-square pixels, create full-screen images (typically backgrounds) with Photoshop's opening palette set to 720x540, with Mode set to RGB color, and Contents set to Transparent. When completed, resize your graphics to 720x480. They'll look squashed in Photoshop, but when you import them to DVDit! they will look as they did when you created them.

  • DVDit! supports Photoshop alpha channel transparencies, even holes in graphics. Create a button with a transparency in Photoshop and then add slightly altered versions of that button in several layers within the same graphic. After you import this button to DVDit! (Theme, Add Files to Theme), DVDit! will display each layer as a separate button in the Theme window.



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