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Understanding themes

From: iDVD '09 Essential Training

Video: Understanding themes

Before we move on to the next chapter and start building an actual iDVD project in earnest, I want to take a little more time to talk some more about iDVD's themes because there are a handful of important things you should know about working with themes. As we have seen, themes are basically the dressing to your DVD project. Ultimately, your goal is put a movie on a DVD, but the themes are what give your DVD its menus and its look and feel. They are the first impression your viewers are going to get unless you decide to bypass themes all together which I'll show you how to do at the end of next chapter. We have already seen that iDVD comes with a ton of themes to choose from, and you might have notice that each theme has a little triangle next to it that you can toggle open to see all the other available menus in this family of themes.

Understanding themes

Before we move on to the next chapter and start building an actual iDVD project in earnest, I want to take a little more time to talk some more about iDVD's themes because there are a handful of important things you should know about working with themes. As we have seen, themes are basically the dressing to your DVD project. Ultimately, your goal is put a movie on a DVD, but the themes are what give your DVD its menus and its look and feel. They are the first impression your viewers are going to get unless you decide to bypass themes all together which I'll show you how to do at the end of next chapter. We have already seen that iDVD comes with a ton of themes to choose from, and you might have notice that each theme has a little triangle next to it that you can toggle open to see all the other available menus in this family of themes.

So under Center Stage, we have got the main Center Stage menu. We have a Chapter menu, and we have an Extras menu, and they each have a different look but they come from the same theme. We'll see the same sort of thing in all the other themes. For instance, we have Cinema here. I can toggle that open. There is the look for the main Cinema theme, Chapters, and Extras. To really keep your DVDs looking professional, it's usually best to stick with one family of themes, and not to mix and match them within a single project. iDVD will certainly let you do this, but generally it's not a good decision because drastically different themes for each menu can be disorienting to your viewers, and not all themes have multiple layouts or families.

All of these 7.0 and 6.0 themes have families. But once you get into the Old Themes, you will find a lot of themes in here that don't have arrows next to them. You can see some do but many don't, and speaking of these older themes, notice that some of the Old Themes are currently grayed out. See how these are sort of grayed out and unavailable right now. I can select the ones that aren't grayed out, like maybe Kids Theater, but I can't select any of these grayed out ones. And if I do, I get this message because when you install iDVD, it doesn't by default install every single theme because themes take up a good amount of space on your hard drive. And if you never use iDVD, you will have all this unused occupied space.

But if you do want to access to these themes, just Click on one of the grayed out themes, you will see this message telling you that the theme is available by installing the additional theme set. And you can do so one of three ways. You can Download Now to download the themes from Apple's website, or you can choose the Download Later, so that the next time your Mac does a software update check, it will list the theme set as one of the downloads that are available to you, or you can install from your iLife DVD, if you installed iLife from a disc. Notice that to install the additional iDVD themes, it's telling you that you must at least 700 MB of disc space available. But if you do want to install them, just pick one of these three choices and Click OK. I'm just going to bypass that for now.

Now if you are concerned about the amount of the space that the themes are taking up on your hard drive, you can move them to a second internal or even external hard drive. If you do move them to an external hard drive, just make sure the drive is connected to your Mac and powered on before you start iDVD. Let me show you where iDVD keeps its themes. I'm just going to hide iDVD for a moment, and open up a Finder window. So your iDVD themes are going to be found on your main Macintosh hard drive, inside the Library folder, inside a folder called Application Support, and in here, you will find iDVD and there are the themes.

Let me select that and choose Get Info, and you can see that the Themes folder even as it is right now is taking up over 500 MB of space. If we had all of the themes installed, we'd have over a GB of space being taken up here. So if I wanted to move these themes to an additional hard drive, and I do have another hard drive in my Mac here, Macintosh HD B. I will create a folder in there called New Folder, and I call it iDVD themes to just keep everything that's organized here. And let's open up another window here, a new Finder window, and I'll go back in to find my themes, Macintosh Hard Drive, Library, Application Support, iDVD, and I'll just copy these themes over into my second hard drive.

Now if you are working along with me, you don't need to move your themes. I just want to show you how to do so in case you ever need too. So our copies have been made, and now I can take my original themes folder and just drag it to my Trash, and once I empty my Trash, I'd have freed up that space. Now because you are working with files that are inside your Home Library folder, you will be asked to provide your Administrator Password here. All right, so now my themes have been moved to my second hard drive. Now if I go back to iDVD, notice what has happened here, my themes have pretty much disappeared because iDVD can't find them anymore.

So even if I go back to some of my 7.0 Themes and try to pick some of those, you'll see things are all kind of weird right now. I don't even see the theme there or there or there. So iDVD does not know where these themes currently are. So I need to go to iDVD > Preferences, Advanced, and I need to tell iDVD where to look for my themes.

So I'm going to Click Add, Macintosh HD B in my case, and iDVD Themes, Themes. I'll go ahead and close that. Now I need to restart iDVD. I'm not going to bother saving any changes because I have just been playing around. And then I'm going to open that project again. You can see 'Loading themes' and now when I pick some other themes, you can see that iDVD knows exactly where those themes are because I can see them all now.

So that's a little more info about themes and how they work in iDVD. The last thing I want to show you in this chapter is how to customize themes and save them, which we'll do in the next movie.

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iDVD '09 Essential Training

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