Creating buttons

The easiest way to understand how layered buttons are created is to look at the buttons included with DVDit Pro. These buttons are in DVDit Pro’s “Content” folder; in a typical installation, you can find them in C:\Program Files\Sonic\DVDit Pro\Content\:

DVDit Pro content folder4 Creating buttons

The “Button Objects” and “Navigation Buttons” folders contain basic layered buttons, whereas the “Frames” folder contains button frames, which display a thumbnail of the linked material when used in a project.

You can use these buttons as a basis for creating your own. Simply replace the contents of each layer with your own designs, then save the file under a new name in a new location. The following provide more detail about the buttons and their layers:

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  Basic layered buttons

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  Button frames

Basic layered buttons

If you open one of the basic layered button files in Photoshop, you can see the layers, named “Image” and “Overlay”:

DVDit Pro ps button5 Creating buttons

DVDit Pro can only use the button if it contains layers with these exact names. Files with different layer names can be imported, but no button is created if the file is dragged onto a menu.

The Overlay layer must be on top of the Image layer. If the Image layer is on top, the button does not display correctly in DVDit Pro.

Image layer

The Image layer contains the full-color button, which you see while working on a project in DVDit Pro. The button’s Image is created on a transparent layer; this lets you create non-rectangular buttons, buttons with holes in them, and even buttons with areas of varying opacity, so that the menu background shows through parts of the button.

Note that there are no layer effects. If you create a button design using layer effects, you must merge them together before you import the button into DVDit Pro. In the Photoshop file, the Image layer should be under the Overlay layer.

To merge layer effects:

  • Right-click on the Effects layer and choose Create Layer from the shortcut menu. Photoshop creates a new layer that is linked to the Image layer, like this:

DVDit Pro effects layer6 Creating buttons

  • Select the Image layer if necessary, then choose Layer > Merge Group.

Overlay layer

The Overlay layer contains the button’s subpicture image. The subpicture is displayed on top of the button, and its color and opacity changes when the button is unselected, selected, and activated:

DVDit Pro subpicture normala Creating buttons

DVDit Pro subpicture selected2 Creating buttons

DVDit Pro subpicture activated3 Creating buttons

Unselected button

Selected button

Activated button

In the normal, unselected state, the subpicture is usually made invisible by setting its opacity to zero. See Editing menu subpictures for information on setting the subpicture colors for the different button states.

In this example, the Overlay image is simply a black shape. There is no anti-aliasing or feathering around the edges, which appear jagged:

DVDit Pro ps button zoom7 Creating buttons

DVD subpicture colors are extremely limited, so each pixel in a subpicture is either a solid color or transparent. If your Overlay images have anti-aliased edges, those pixels will become either transparent or solid when the button is used in DVDit Pro. The jagged edges are less noticeable on a TV screen than a computer monitor, due to the TV’s lower picture quality.

Images in the Overlay layer can use up to four colors:

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  Black: Red 0, Green 0, Blue 0

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  White: Red 255, Green 255, Blue 255

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  Red: Red 255, Green 0, Blue 0

DVDit Pro bullet Creating buttons  Blue: Red 0, Green 0, Blue 255

Transparent areas of the layer are treated as white.

In DVDit Pro, you map each color in the Overlay layer to a different set of selection state colors:

DVDit Pro overlay color mapping8 Creating buttons

  • Black maps to the Pattern colors. In the example above, black images in the Overlay layer are invisible when the button is not selected. They turn 50% yellow when the button is selected and 50% cyan when it is activated.

  • White/transparent maps to the Background colors. Normally you do not want white/transparent areas of the Overlay to become visible,
    so the Opacity is set to zero for all selection states in the above dialog.

  • Red maps to the Emphasis 1 colors.

  • Blue maps to the Emphasis 2 colors.

See Editing menu subpictures for more information.

Button frames

If you open one of the frame files in Photoshop, you can see it has three layers: Thumb, Image, and Overlay:

DVDit Pro ps frame9 Creating buttons

The Image and Overlay layers are exactly the same in both basic buttons and button frames. The Thumb layer contains a single-color shape. In this example it is a reddish rectangle with rounded corners, but it can be any shape and any color except white.

When this button is used in DVDit Pro and linked to a title or menu, the Thumb shape is filled with a frame of the linked material:

DVDit Pro frame button10 Creating buttons

In the Photoshop file, the Thumb layer can be above or below the Image layer. When you use the button in DVDit Pro, the button frame always appears over the thumbnail of the linked material.

DVDit Pro will distort the frame if necessary to fit the Thumb shape. For example, if you create a button with a circular Thumb, DVDit Pro will distort the frame (by squashing it horizontally), then crop the parts that are not within the Thumb:

DVDit Pro circular thumb Creating buttons

Creating buttons