Encore Menu Pixel Aspect Ratios
I am having a problem with my aspect ratios in encore. I made a menu in photoshop, 720 x 480, and import it into after effects. I animate what I want, and have it end on a "static" image of the .psd file. In other words, the end of the animation and the start of the static menu are the exact same image, aspect ratio and all. when I import both into premiere, set the animation in a menu as the first play with an end action to the "static" menu, the static menu seems to squeeze in vertically, making all the elements of the menu jump to a different position. I have thought for hours about how to solve this, and have had no success. HELP!
Also, how do you make a menu that has music playing in the background for both the initial animation as well as the menu itself? If I do it this way, there is a few seconds of no sound while the dvd skips to the new menu...
Sib Ntsib Dua
So what pixel aspect ratio did you use in Photoshop and AE? It sounds like you produced a square pixel file out of Photoshop, but went to non-square out of AE. The shift is happening as Encore is transitioning between the non-square version and the square version, which it is having to resample to non-square itself. Use non-square all the way (requires Photoshop CS or CS2) and you should be in much better shape.
RE: the background audio, you can't have audio that bridges timelines or menus. It's a limitation of the DVD spec. What you could do instead is tack the static menu onto the end of your animation (say 30 sec. worth, or however long your music is going to loop), then make the whole thing a motion menu with a loop point. Probably a bit of a waste of space on the final disc, but it keeps the audio and video all within the same menu, so you can get around the limitation.
My question then is this.. How do I make a motion menu in after effects and export it as a menu rather than a movie file? I read something about Encore having an "Edit with Adobe After Effects" feature, but I can find this feature nowhere within my version of Encore (1.0) Also, is there a way within Encore to edit a motion menu? I assume there is no way to set keyframes within timelines...
Sib Ntsib Dua
The Encore related features are in AE 6.5. Since you only have Encore 1.0, I'm assuming that you also only have AE 6.0.
There's nothing special about making a motion menu. What you have to remember is that the motion part is really just a background movie file. It's not any different than preparing a background in Photoshop. (One thing that might help with your workflow is if you export the last frame of your AE comp as a PSD file. Comp > Export Frame > Photoshop Layers.)
The usual workflow would be to create all of your buttons in Photoshop, import the PSD file to AE as a comp, add your animation, and then export from there as an AVI or MPEG. Then take the PSD file (which has your button highlights) and the new animated background into Encore and combine them there.
This tutorial at Adobe's site may help, though it may refer to AE 6.5/Encore 1.5 specific features.
Doog's tutorials may also be helpful.
And no, you can't edit a motion background for a menu within Encore. You can always edit the static content (buttons, text) that goes on top of the background, just like any other menu, but you can't animate things like you can in AE.
I am actually using AE 6.5 with Encore 1.0. Is there a setting within AE to do this? From everything I have read, it seems as though it is a feature within Encore... Correct me if I am wrong.
Because I am an idiot, let me see if I can repeat the process to you and you can verify it for me...
1) Create the menu in Photoshop
2) Animate the elements that I desire in AE
3) Export the Movie as an AVI or MPEG
4) Import into Encore
5) Create a timeline that starts with the video, then afterwords ends on the STILL of the .psd for the menu
6) Set the loop point AFTER the static .psd has started
7) add in whatever audio I want.
Is this correct?
Sib Ntsib Dua
Well, almost. Whether or not you use a loop point depends on how you set things up. There are two ways to do a menu with an animated intro:
1. Create a timeline that has an animation. That timeline's end action is a menu that is exactly the same frame as the last frame of the animation. (This is what I think you've been doing.) The downside to this is that you can't have audio that bridges from the animation to the menu. There's no need to set a loop point with this setup.
2. Create the animation, but end it with a 30 sec. (or however long you want) freeze frame of the menu. This whole animation will be the background video of a motion menu. Set the loop point to where the animation begins and the still menu starts. The benefit of this is that you can have audio crossing over from the animation to the menu. But you'll also need to import a separate PSD file that has your buttons, and start your menu from that, because the motion background can't encapsulate that kind of data. (Likely, you'll have created this PSD file before starting work in AE, so it's not that big of a deal. But remember to hide all the layers in the PSD but the button highlights.)
I hope this clears things up a little. Again, the benefit of using AE 6.5 is that it has functions for creating the Encore button layer structure in the AE comp, and then (a still frame of) the comp can be exported as a layered Photoshop file. So technically you don't need to even open Photoshop to get this done, though personally I would still start there.
Thanks Timothy! You've solved what seemed to be forever a mystery to me!
I am assuming that you hide everything EXCEPT the highlights because the highlights will shop up on the motion background, making it appear as though the buttons are statice, and not part of a video file... Once you set the loop point past the initial animation, it appears as though you are still on the "static" menu.
Thanks for all your help!
Sib Ntsib Dua