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  1. The Totally ridiculous motion, switched, D-FX menu's in DVDLab Pro guide.

    There are so many unique ways to create a menu worthy of your best video. There are already guides to making motion menus, guides to making switched menus, and guides to using D-FX. In this guide, I am going to combine the lot, to make an outrageous menu, just to show the possibilities. I hope you will learn a little bit about the inside workings of DVDLab, and are ready to go beyond a simple text link to "Play Movie".
    This guide assumes you have a basic knowledge of DVDLab (or Pro) and are comfortable importing assets, making chapters, and manipulating menu objects. If you don't feel comfortable yet, you might want to try starting with my beginner's guide, and maybe move on to my neon links guide before tackling this one.

    This guide is divided into 3 sections. Switched menus, D-FX, and Motion menus, and may be taken as three separate guides.

    Section 1, Switched Menus.
    To start, you need (at least) two videos, (hopefully) with audio. The "movies" referred to in the rest of this guide.
    Import into dvdlab, and demux if necessary. Right click in the Project box, and Add Movie, so you have 1 menu, and 2 movies.
    Drag and drop video and audio from your assets, into movie 1 and movie 2, and we proceed onto making the menu(s).

    The menu of course, starts as a black box, a clean slate, with only your imagination to paint it. It can be as simple as two text links, or switched text links, motion clips, switched motion clips with audio, or D-FX switched motion clips with audio...and just about any combination of them.
    For the purpose of this guide, I will be using the default, built in backgrounds, buttons, and objects, along with stills from our movies. You can import your own backgrounds, stills, text, or just about anything you want, using other tools, such as DVD Menu Studio. The idea is to gather all the assets you need for the project, and import them all to dvdlab first, then get creative with it all.
    First, I want a background. If you want to use your own, import it, and hold down the shift key, while dragging it to the menu.
    For this project, I want text links (you can use objects too), motion clips, and a ton of effects.
    I'm using 1 main movie, and 1 special features movie.
    *Right click in the Project window, and select Add Movie, so you now have 2 movies and one menu.
    *From assets, put the Main movie and audio into movie 1. Put the Special Features movie and audio into movie 2.
    (* If you have already done this as mentioned in the preamble, ignore these two steps).
    Next, I get my background from one of DVDLab's standard backgrounds.
    Open Menu 1 by double clicking it in the Project window. Drag and drop in your background.
    Now create the text. I'm going to use 1 main movie, and 1 special features movie, so my text links reflect that.

    Now, right click on Play Movie, and link it to MOVIE 1, Movie Start.
    Right click on Special Features, and link it to MOVIE 2, Movie Start.

    Now add a frame to hold the switched menu, motion clips, and then add effects.


    Section 2, D-FX Skip this part if you don't have DVDLab Pro, and move down to Section 2b, Switched Menus.
    Here's where we start to make the magic.
    I want to add some special text effects, as well as something more for the frame. I chose a wide frame on purpose, it shows off the effects better.
    Click on your first menu item, the Play Movie link/text, and then click on the D-FX button. If you don't have DVDLab Pro, you can still generate switched menu's, but without the effects. In that case, jump down to Section 3, Motion menus.
    You're presented with this window:

    Play around with the effects, there are literally hundreds of options, until you find the one you want.
    I'm sticking with a blue theme, so I'm going to choose Plasma, Lumi Blue, and leave the rest of the defaults alone.
    Do the same to your next link/text, or apply something different. You choose
    For the frame, I choose the same scheme, but slide it's transparency down to about half. This allows the bevel edges to show nicely, and still maintain the plasma effect.

    Once you have your links and frame adjusted on screen how you want them, it's time to add the switching menu bits.

    Section 2b, Switched Menus, the actual switching portion of this guide.
    DVDLab makes this too simple, with a "Generate switched menus" wizard. Click the magic wand up top, and select it.

    In the window that pops up, I like to lock the menu items (see red arrow) and because I'm using a blue theme, I want to change the selected items color to a light blue. This only flashes on screen for a split second, but gives the visual hint that you've selected a different item.

    The next screen gives you more options, and I usually just leave things alone, because I want an exact duplicate, including my D-FX effects. The whole point of a switched menu is to appear seamless between selections.
    Make sure everything you CAN put a tick mark in, HAS a tick mark in it Click OK.
    You will now notice that DVDLab has added a menu, and renamed the first one. A quick look on the Connections tab, shows what has happened.

    To have an object show which selection is highlighted, generate switched menus as normal.
    On Menu1SW1, to to the LINK tab. Select the object that is NOT selected, usually the second link to menu 2.
    Make it Invisible Normal.
    Now on Menu1SW2, select the object that is not selected, in this case, the link to menu 1.
    Make it invisible normal.
    eg.
    I have two movies, both with text, and an arrow beside.

    Link the top arrow to movie 1.
    Link the bottom arrow to movie 2.
    Click the Wizard, and generate switched menus.
    On Menu1SW1, make button 2 Invisible normal.

    Make sure the slider for #3 is all the way left, or you'll get an ugly purple box around your selected object.

    Go to Menu1SW2, make button 1 Invisible normal.

    Make sure the slider for #3 is all the way left, or you'll get an ugly purple box around your selected object.
    You now have a switched menu with unselected objects invisible, but the text always visible.
    Now the whole switched menu thing is done. Too simple. You can compile your project here, using dummy movies and see how your D-FX look onscreen, but we're not done yet.
    In order to actually switch the menu, we need to add something to switch. This can be stills or clips. For this section, I'm using clips taken from the Movie and the Special Features. If you don't want Motion Menus, jump down to Section 2c, Switched Menus with stills.
    Click on Movie 1 in your working window. This loads it into the preview window. Now click on Menu 1. Click and hold in the preview window, and drop it INSIDE the frame you have in menu 1.

    Resize it carefully to just barely fit inside your frame. Once done, we need to get the frame over top of it, not behind it, so we "Send it backwards" by clicking here:

    Next, click on Movie 2 in the working window, and click on MENU 2. Click and hold in the preview window, and drop it inside the frame. Resize carefully, and Send it backwards, just as you did on menu 1.
    This sets up DVDLab for motion menus, the next step in this guide.
    If you DO NOT want motion menus, then see section 2c at the end of this guide.

    Section 3, Motion Menus
    This is where the D-FX and switching effects are generated.
    If you want 10 seconds of audio playing in the background of your motion menu, import it from assets to the audio track of menu 1 now. Do the same for menu 2, although I find that audio of 10 seconds detracts from the seamless switched menu jumps.
    Click on Menu 1 in the working window. Select Menu, Render Motion.

    You are presented with this window:

    Here is where you select the 10 seconds of motion video you want, that will appear inside the frame of menu 1. You can have more, or less than 10 seconds, but beware that the more time you want, the larger your motion menu will be, and leave less room for the actual movies.
    Use the "Set Start Point", and "Fine Scrub" to find the first frame of your 10 seconds (300 frames).

    Once you have the start point where you want it in the preview window, you can choose two encoding methods, as well as the bitrate for the motion menu clip.

    I prefer to use the built in mpeg encoder, and find that 5000kbps is plenty for almost everything, and probably overkill. If you have a larger frame, with corresponding larger video, use a higher bitrate if needed.
    Click the Render button, input a unique name (I use "motion1" for menu1 and "motion2" for menu 2), and DVDLab will generate the motion menu, put it in assets, and inform you that you are setting a motion menu.
    This warning has saved me plenty of time, because it makes me rethink my menu, to make sure I have included everything I needed before rendering.
    It only takes a few minutes.
    Repeat this section for Menu 2.
    You are now ready to compile and burn your project.

    Section 2c Switched menus with stills.
    DVDLab makes this too simple, with a "Generate switched menus" wizard. Click the magic wand up top, and select it.

    In the window that pops up, I like to lock the menu items (see red arrow) and because I'm using a blue theme, I want to change the selected items color to a light blue. This only flashes on screen for a split second, but gives the visual hint that you've selected a different item.

    The next screen gives you more options, and I usually just leave things alone, because I want an exact duplicate, including my D-FX effects. The whole point of a switched menu is to appear seamless between selections.
    Make sure everything you CAN put a tick mark in, HAS a tick mark in it Click OK.
    You will now notice that DVDLab has added a menu, and renamed the first one. A quick look on the Connections tab, shows what has happened.

    Now the whole switched menu thing is done. Too simple.
    In order to actually switch the menu, we need to add something to switch. This can be stills or clips. For this section only, I'm using stills taken from the Movie and the Special Features, however, you can use any picture you have in assets.
    Click on Movie 1 in your working window. This loads it into the preview window. Now click on Menu 1.
    Use the scroll bar, Play, or FFWD to find the frame you want to use as your still.
    Click and hold in the preview window, and drop it INSIDE the frame you have in menu 1.
    Optionally, drag and drop your picture from assets to the frame.

    Resize it carefully to just barely fit inside your frame. Once done, we need to get the frame over top of it, not behind it, so we "Send it backwards" by clicking here:

    Next, click on Movie 2 in the working window, and click on MENU 2. Find the frame you want to use for the still, click and hold in the preview window, and drop it inside the frame. Resize carefully, and Send it backwards, just as you did on menu 1.
    You are now ready to compile and burn your project.

    Final notes:
    a) Switched menus actually work better with stills, than with motion. They switch faster, and appear more seamless, but the switched motion effect is visually stunning, especially with D-FX.
    b) Compile the project with "Dummy movies", and test in a GOOD software player such as WinDVD Platinum. I have found other software players don't show the switched menu effect very well, if at all. Once you're satisfied that it switches the way you want, colours are the ones you want, and the start and end frames of your motion are correct, you can compile and burn.
    c) If you change any aspect of either menu, you must duplicate it exactly on the other menu, or the switching looses it's smoothness.
    d) If you change any aspect of the motion on your menus, D-FX, or start/end points, or length of the motion, you will have to re-render the motion menu. It's much easier to get it right the first time
    e) If you have more than 2 movies, or want to incorporate a scene selection menu, I'll leave you to see if you can figure that out yourself

    Feel free to post comments, critique of any sort, or questions you may have regarding the processes used in this guide.

    Cheers, and happy DVDing,
    Jim (aka reboot)
    Cheers, Jim
    My DVDLab Guides
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  2. Update:
    Added a section on switched menus with buttons.
    Other comments:
    If you want (semi)seamless switched menus, don't use motion or transitions.
    If you want transitions, and/or motion menus, don't use switched menus.
    Cheers, Jim
    My DVDLab Guides
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  3. Member burnman99's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Arkansas/USA
    Search Comp PM
    hey reboot, can you only make those menus in dvd-labPro or can you use regular dvd-lab. I know the regular version can do switched and it can do motion, but am not sure if it can do em both at the same time.

    Thanks!

    Rog
    There are many ways to measure success. You just have to find your own yardstick.
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  4. Yes, regular DVDLab can do switched motion, but not D-FX.
    Cheers, Jim
    My DVDLab Guides
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  5. Member burnman99's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Arkansas/USA
    Search Comp PM
    Can regular DVDLab do both switched & Motion at the same time? Sorry should've asked this before.

    Rog
    There are many ways to measure success. You just have to find your own yardstick.
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  6. Yes. It's all just above you in this guide.
    Cheers, Jim
    My DVDLab Guides
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