Choosing the Menu’s Background

The first step in creating a menu is to choose its background. The menu background can be a still image or a video clip.

Still Images for Backgrounds

You can use a wide variety of graphic formats as still backgrounds in DVD Studio Pro. See Using Your Graphics Program for a list of supported formats.

For best quality, be sure your graphic:

  • Matches the menu’s resolution and aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9): If you are creating 16:9 menus in SD projects, or with the 720 x 480p, 720 x 576p, or 1440 x 1080i HD resolutions in HD projects, be sure the graphic is anamorphic. See Creating Graphics to Use in Menus and Choosing an Aspect Ratio for details.
  • Conforms to the broadcast video color space: Graphics that look stunning in your graphics program can look very different when viewed on DVD. Most graphics applications let you scale colors to NTSC or PAL color space.

DVD Studio Pro automatically scales the size of the background graphic to fit the frame size if necessary. This can result in the menu’s background color being visible along some edges.

Note: The color of an empty menu’s background can be set in the Menu pane of DVD Studio Pro Preferences. By default this color is set to dark gray.

Video Clips for Backgrounds

Assigning a video clip as a menu’s background creates a motion menu. The video can be an animation or live action. Often the video is actually a still background with several small moving images representing scenes you can jump to. See Creating Video for Motion Menus for more information on creating the video.

You can choose what happens when a menu’s video clip reaches its end:

  • It can simply stop, displaying a still image of the last frame.

  • It can loop, jumping from the end back to a point in the video clip that you choose.

It is common for a menu’s video clip to have a relatively complicated introduction—perhaps with the buttons flying in and a piece of dialogue providing the audio—and then resolve into a mostly still graphic, with lights flickering or objects moving in a repetitive way. This kind of design makes it easier to create a loop that jumps from the end back to the loop point as smoothly as possible.

See Configuring Motion Menu Settings for more information on setting looping options.

Assigning a Background to a Menu

There are several ways to assign a background to a menu. Use the method that you feel most comfortable with. In all cases, these methods also replace an existing background.

Assigning a Menu Background Using the Inspector

You can assign a menu background using the Inspector. With this method, you can only choose from assets already imported into DVD Studio Pro.

To assign a menu background using the Inspector
  1. Select the menu and make sure the Menu Inspector displays the menu properties.

  2. Choose a background from the Background pop-up menu.

The selected file appears as the menu background.

Assigning a Menu Background by Dragging

You can assign a background to a menu by dragging the asset from the Assets tab, the Palette, or a Finder window.

To assign a menu background by dragging it to the Menu Editor
  1. Select the menu in the Outline or Graphical tab or choose it from the Menu Editor’s View pop-up menu to display it in the Menu Editor.

  2. Locate the background file you want to use in the Assets tab, Palette, or Finder window.

  3. Drag the asset to an empty part of the Menu Editor and pause until the Drop Palette appears.

  4. Choose Set Background from the Drop Palette.

The background appears in the Menu Editor.

To assign a menu background by dragging it to the Outline or Graphical tab
  1. Select the menu in the Outline or Graphical tab or choose it from the Menu Editor’s View pop-up menu to display it in the Menu Editor.

  2. Locate the background file you want to use in the Assets tab, Palette, or Finder window.

  3. Assign the background file to the menu by dragging it to the menu’s name in the Outline tab or the menu’s tile in the Graphical tab. A box appears around the name or tile to let you know the menu will receive the background file.

The background appears in the Menu Editor when you release the mouse button.

Choosing a Menu’s Background from a Layered Photoshop File

You can choose a layer (or several) from an Adobe Photoshop format (PSD) file to use as the menu background. One PSD file can supply backgrounds and overlays for several menus.

To choose a menu background from a PSD file
  1. Either create a new menu or select an existing one.

  2. Click the Menu tab in the Menu Inspector.

  3. Assign the PSD as the menu’s background by doing one of the following:

    • Choose it from the Background Asset pop-up menu in the Menu Inspector.

    • Drag it to the Menu Editor and choose Set Background from the Drop Palette.

      The PSD file’s layer names appear in the Background area of the General tab.

  4. Select the checkboxes next to the layers that make up the background.

    Figure. Section of the Menu tab of the Menu Inspector for selecting background layers.