More than 42,000
tutorials downloaded!

ReelDVD Motion Menu Basics

  • Once you've read these basic rules, you should move on to our practical tutorials.
  • This page will offer some basic knowledge about Reel DVD and Photoshop that will be necessary to produce Motion Menus. These items will be referred to later in our tutorials.

1. How an Overlay Works:
A Motion Menu is made up of two source files. The video stream, your motion background, and the overlay, the file that will actually become your buttons. You will import them both into Reel, video first, then the overlay on top. The pics below demonstrate how Reel treats these files. The pic to the left is the source file from my NLE (editing program.) The pic to the far right is the overlay file I created in Photoshop. The center shows how Reel merges, or layers, the two together.

  • Notice how the video does have a few still images... title etc. If there will be any still images on your menu that will not be involved with the interactivity of the menu, I recommend you render them within your background video. The following example does show text in the overlay that will not be "highlighted." It is generally best to render these items with the video. When rendered with the video, many effects are available to you, but not when used within an overlay for ReelDVD. Overlays have numerous limitations that will be discussed below.
  • The checkerboard pattern in the still overlay is used by Photoshop to denote a transparent background. When it is imported into Reel, Reel recognizes the background as white. Reel reads all pure white as transparent by default. This may seem redundant to mention, since it all ends up transparent, but it will be important to know later.

2. Acceptable Colors in overlays.
Reel will recognize only four colors in a motion menu overlay. If any item in your overlay is not made up of one of these pure colors, Reel will not display it. The following colors are acceptable:

Pure White

Pure Black

Pure Blue

Pure Red

  • It is unimportant if these are not the colors you'd like to see in your final menu. These are simply the base colors Reel will recognize. They can be adjusted once overlayed in ReelDVD.
  • The numbers in parentheses, i.e. (0,0,255), refer to the RGB standard, or Red, Green, Blue. These can be easily selected in Photoshop using the Color Picker shown to the right.
  • Double click on the color swatch within the toolbar (highlighted area to the left. This loads the Color Picker window. Change the RGB values in the fields to the right of the color palette window to select the pure colors as the foreground, or working color.
Need more detailed training?

3. Aligning your overlay.
To be sure all of your "highlights," areas that change color when selected in your menu, overlay properly on your video background, start with a screen shot of your motion video background. It is best to use an image exported from ReelDVD to ensure that your video and overlay will be properly aligned. To do this, select the video within Reel that will have the overlay so it appears in the preview window. Go to FILE>EXPORT VIDEO IMAGE AS...

  • Import your screen shot into Photoshop.
  • Add a new layer onto the image using the layer palette shown to the right.
    ( If you Photoshop will not allow you to do this, you must go to "Save As" and save the file as a .psd. This is Photoshop's format, and also the format that ReelDVD identifies the best.)
  • Draw or type your highlights on top of this screen shot.
  • When done drawing, remove the visibility of the screen shot background by deselecting the eye next to the "background" layer. Save your image as a new .psd file. If a layer is marked not visible when it is saved, ReelDVD will not see it. Don't delete the layer, as you may want to return later to adjust highlights. You can do so by opening the saved .psd file in Photoshop and clicking on where the eye would be in the layers panel again to make it visible once more.

If including text in your overlay, be sure to TURN OFF Anti-aliasing on your new type layers. Anti-aliasing smooths the edges of text by blurring and blending them slightly. This will create very jagged edges when the .psd file is imported into Reel. Reel will automatically convert all imported files into a .bmp file. Bitmaps (.bmp) do not support anti-aliasing.
To do this: Choose Layer > Type> Anti-Alias None