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DVD Menu Animator Update

 
 
Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      10-10-2010
Most of the tutorials on creating DVD-Video menus seem to involve Gimp (or
Photoshop). However, I don’t think these are the best sort of tool. What you
need is a drawing-oriented tool, which provides functions like aligning a
row of objects to a margin, or distributing them so they are spaced out
equally, so that you don’t have to tweak these sorts of things by eye. And
by working in terms of objects rather than pixels, it makes it easier to go
back and make changes, adjust positions, sizes, fonts etc.

In short, I think you should be using a tool like Inkscape
<http://www.inkscape.org/>.

Another important advantage of Inkscape is that it uses SVG as its document
format, which is fairly straightforward for other tools to process. And it
lets you attach additional information to objects in the drawing, like
object names and description text.

I’ve been working on a GUI tool <http://github.com/ldo/dvd_menu_animator>
that takes an Inkscape drawing as a starting point, lets you choose
additional colours for showing buttons in their “highlighted” and “selected”
states, and then outputs the results as three separate PNG files showing the
buttons in their different states, together with an XML file that spumux
<http://dvdauthor.sourceforge.net/> can use to generate the menu from these
images.

I depend on Inkscape to do as much of the work as possible. Not only does it
create the menu image with the buttons in their “normal” colours, I also use
it to define an additional layer in the drawing the sole purpose of which is
to contain the button bounds rectangles, together with their names and other
information. Makes it easy for you to ensure they’re properly positioned at
the design phase, and it’s another function I don’t have to provide.

The latest new feature is that it can now automatically save an alternative
letterboxed version of a widescreen menu that will display in the right
proportions on a narrowscreen TV.
 
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