Posted Monday, July 25, 2005

Expand Your iDVD Menu Designs

Don't look now, but here comes another week. I had a busy but fun weekend. The iDay seminar I hosted in Santa Rosa was a blast; we spent over four hours exploring every nook and cranny of iPhoto, dipping into Photoshop Elements and iDVD, and wrapping up with some editing tips for iMovie. My thanks to the North Coast Macintosh User Group, especially Lorene Romero, for their help in making it a fun and successful day.

Which brings me to today's tidbits. has introduced a new library of menu themes for iDVD. The new Family ThemePAK is a $39US collection of ten themes for iDVD. The themes fall into five largely self-expanatory categories: Mitzva, Home Improvement, Paradise, and Playroom. Shown here: the Home Improvement theme, whose faint background blueprints glide gracefully across the screen as the menu plays. now offers an even dozen set of menu themes for iDVD. They're all beautiful, and they're a great way to expand your menu design options and go beyond the themes that Apple provides. The company also offers several free themes that you can download; many of them are also included on the DVD that comes with my book.

Another Menu Design Tip
Here's another menu-design tip; this one is from my book, and I demonstrate it on the book's companion DVD.

If you've creating a DVD containing some slide shows, why not use one of the photos from the slide show as the DVD's menu background? You can replace a DVD menu background by simply dragging the photo from iPhoto (or from the photo browser in iDVD) into the menu area of the iDVD window.

If the current menu theme contains drop zones (those special areas into which you can drag a movie or some photos), the drop zones will remain when you replace the menu background. To remove them, press the Command key while dragging the image into the menu.

One problem with this trick is that your photo is likely to overwhelm the text and buttons in your menu. Here's how to make your photo background more subtle. In iPhoto, duplicate the photo, and then open it in iPhoto's edit view. Next, use the Adjust panel's Brightness and Contrast sliders to give the photo a faint appearance. Use this altered version as your menu background.

There's more. There's oh-so-much more about iDVD authoring in The Macintosh iLife '05. What's the best way to create a slide show: within iPhoto or within iDVD? How can you ensure reliable burns? What's the easiest way to move buttons from one menu to another? How do you create your own motion menus?

It's all there, in 345 full-color pages and a two-hour, 43-minute instructional DVD. It's the world's best-selling iLife book, and it's yours for $23.09 on Amazonó34 percent off the cover price. Learn more, then order what one reviewer called "the best computer book ever, bar none."