"Some believed we lacked the programming language
to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species,
human beings define their reality through suffering and misery.
The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept
trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was re-designed
to this: the peak of your civilization". - Agent Smith (From the
If you want to download the
Matrix menu example I have made, I have uploaded it to Myspace
WARNING: If you
can't download it its tough! Myspace is a Bunch of Crap! I'm
looking for a better place now.
you have to join myspace.
The zip file is 13MB and contains
all the pictures and video animation, subtitles and INI files.
It will play in MicroDVD player but when you click on the play
movie or specials they wont play because I'm not uploading 650MB's
of the Matrix just to show the menu....well, I could, no...I'd
better not..he, he! Anyway, its chopped into two parts and needs
to be rejoined with HJSplit which is also found in the myspace
folder. I hope you like it.
In my last tutorial I explained the basics of creating a
DivX that had chapter listings, subtitles and alternate language options.
All these extra features rely on the MicroDVD Player. Now I have decided
to finish the job and explain how to make those cool menus that every
DVD seem to have. These menu rips will almost completely match those of
the original DVD's. In fact, if someone didn't know any better they probably
wouldn't even be able to tell that your film wasn't a real DVD! MicroDVD
Player is even able to present menu links over the top of moving film
sequences just like the kind you would get in such films as The Matrix
- truly amazing stuff!
I'm sure after this goes on line a whole host of tutorials
will appear teaching the would be DVD ripper all they need to know about
menus 'n' stuff, just like they have with many of my guides. It doesn't
bother me so much because it still helps to teach others and will bring
a higher percentage of good quality rips for everyone ;^)....But just
remember one thing, you learnt it first on the Digital Digest website!
Don't let anyone tell you different!
Obviously Locutus is a man who doesn't like to settle for
second best =^). The MicroDVD Player has functions that are able to mimic
a real DVD almost exactly in terms of features. But these features came
at a cost, namely, that that we learn how to create a correct .ini file
to use them :^(.
Actually, these menus 'are' all pretty easy to do. The only
real problems are keeping track of what you are doing. You will be testing
your newly created .ini file and the MicroDVD Player will come up with
a vague error message in German! This is where it can get very frustrating!
Usually it is just a minor mistake that was made, but if you are doing
a very complex menu system with actor profiles and other special features
etc., then it can take a long time to track down the problems! Sometimes
a helpful message will pop up telling you which line in the .ini file
has the error. In this case just count down the lines and check the settings
in this area of the text file.
Note: I would recommend that you have the original MicroDVD
documentation handy for quick reference. If you haven't already read through
it, it may be an idea to have a quick browse for a while first to get
the general idea of what it is capable of. That documentation explains
in full detail ALL the features.
First we will restrict ourselves to a boring set of pages
with no animated sequences. Open up the MicroDVD Ini Editor, like we did
before, and lets get better acquainted with the controls. Press the new
page button and up pops this windows again. Right-Clicking on any Menu
area (ie. Main, Movie or Menu in this case) you will bring up a list of
useful options. These are not always vital but are there to save you having
to type out all the commands. As you can see here I have set up a basic
demo .ini file with the Title 'demo'. The CD ID is just 123, use any numbers
you like. I have put the Movie inside a folder on my CD and called it
Video. So under the Movie section I have to tell it Directory=Video, duh!
The actual file inside the video folder I called 'film.avi' so I had to
tell it where that was too. All this you should already know by now though.
Menus are created just like web pages, so if you understand
how to make a web page then you have a head start. The 'MENU' box at the
bottom of this ini editor is only there to explain where the "web pages"
are kept and a few other minor details. It has nothing to do with the
actual set-up of the pages. You have to imagine this menu box as just
a bunch on links to your 'real' pages. If you Right-Click and select 'Insert
Default Entries' a whole list of things will be pasted into the box. This
is like a questionnaire that needs to be filled out. Any settings that
you do not want or need can be deleted in the same way you would in any
word processor. Lets go through the options I have:
Directory=Menu. This is the Folder where I am going
to keep all the Menu "web pages". You can, of course, just whack everything
on the CD without any folders but I think keeping them in folders makes
it easier to see what you are doing. Everything related to menus, all
your film sequences, all your pictures and so on, must be kept in this
single folder. If you have no folders it will assume they are just on
the CD and not in a folder.
Size=800, 600. This is the size of the menu pages
that will be displayed. I have selected 800 pixels across by 600 pixels
down which is one of the PC standard resolutions. You can also try 640
x 480, 1024 x 768, 1152 x 864 or whatever you like. If you are using a
movie sequence for your Menu you do not need to set the size because it
defaults to the movie size.
StartPage=1. When you start your DivX playing, MicroDVD
needs to know which menu page to show first of all. From this page the
rest of the menu pages can be accessed. All pages you create are given
a number so I have chosen page 1 as the start page. This can be likened
to a websites Home Page.
MenuPage=1. The Menu page is the page that contains
all the menu options. This is different from the StartPage only in that
MicroDVD will go automatically to this page when you stop the movie or
when it ends, whereas the StartPage will only appear when the CD is first
inserted. I have chosen page 1 again; this means that both the MenuPage
and StartPage are the same page, which will contain all the selections
that both need.
AudioName=. For those boring DVD nav menus that have
no animated pages and no sound, you can specify the name of an audio file
(WAV, MP3 etc.) here that is played as background audio whenever the menu
pages are running.
Note: The AudioFile is played only when the page being
displayed is a still image. When a video page is active, the Audio file
is paused and restarted when a still image page is active again.
ChaptersPage=2. Since MicroDVD has special chapter
selection buttons it likes to know where these Menu pages are too ;^).
No big deal, if you have a chapters page say which page number this is.
If you don't have chapters just don't put this line in.
SpecialsPage=3. Specials are the additional movies
you get on a DVD such as the Making of the Film or extra scenes that were
cut out of it to fit it into a time slot. If you have any special features
on the DivX then you can tell MicroDVD what page to display first to let
the user select these options. Specials can also be where, like in the
Matrix, you are given actor profiles and so on to read. These are all
done as separate "web pages" just like anything else. If you don't have
any Specials just don't put this line in.
Okay, that's it! If you always keep pages 1, 2, 3 & 4 as
your start, menu, chapters, and specials pages then you will never go
wrong ;^). So lets start making our pages.
Creating Menu Pages
Menu pages are literally nothing more than a picture (or
film sequence) with links on them! If your original DVD has just pictures
for its menus, instead of any animated stuff, I would strongly suggest
you just rip those from it =^). The easiest way to do this is to navigate
the menu using PowerDVD (or any other player that allows image capture)
and hit the camera button to take a snap of the screen. Open a good Paint
Package such as Adobe Photoshop, Paintshop Pro etc., and select Edit
> Paste. Then save your grabbed page.
If you are not lucky enough to have these rather expensive
Paint Programs there is a free program called IrfanView which does the
job excellently check out my dowload section. I recommend that you save
each page as highest quality JPEG to save memory unless the image sharpness
is absolutely vital. If you don't have PowerDVD you could try hitting
the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard and then pasting
I'll probably say this again but it is helpful if you know.
If you have an animated menu AND use still pictures in your menu too,
the pictures must be the same resolution. So if your animated menu movie
clip is 640 x 480 then your still pictures must also be saved as 640 x
There are many ways to rip the menu's from a DVD. As you
probably know, both the animated menu's and the still pictures
are recorded as a single movie. For still pictures this movie will look
rather like a slideshow when played back. The DVD .ifo file knows what
parts to play back but all we get when we rip it is the movie. Anyway,
this movie is usually the smallest Vob file on the DVD. If you just want
to use still pictures encode it with uncompressed AVI or Huffyuv MJPEG
for highest quality. If you want an animated DVD start up to your DivX,
encode it like any other DivX movie. When done you can get the pictures
by opening the DivX movie in VirtualDub. Then you can chop out the movie
sequance as you like. Then to get still pictures, move to the picture
you want in VirtualDub and choose Video > Copy
source frame to clipboard. Then paste it into Paint Shop or whatever
art package you are using.
I will explain how to do still picture menu's first.
Building Menu Links
Lets take a gander at the ol' Pages+Selections section of
the MicroDVD .ini Editor. Now don't get confused here, ignore all lower
boxes. The Picture File selector Box and the Movie File Boxes are only
there to help you quickly reselect stuff you have already made. The same
goes for the larger box in the middle that has 1: 2: 3: in my example
picture. That bit is only to help you jump from one page to another, you
can just as easily scroll down to find the section yourselves. In short,
the only box that concerns us now is the top one. Right-Clicking on the
PAGES+SELECTIONS heading brings up the list of options seen on the right
of this picture. They provide some very useful functions indeed. Ignore
the New PAGE and SELECTION Wizards as they will soon get confusing and
they will only do what we are now anyway.
Lets make our first page. Right-Click and select insert
PAGE Section. A whole bunch of crazy crap will suddenly appear i.e:
Go to the [Page=] bit and tell it the page number you are
creating, in this case it is page1 so you will put [PAGE=1]. For now,
delete all other options except these vital ones:
Background Mode=. This tells MicroDVD this page will
display either: 1 a video sequence or 2 a picture. Since
we are only dealing with pictures choose 2. So we put: BackgroundMode=2.
PictureFile=. Most importantly this tells MicroDVD
what picture this page will display. So choose your main menu picture;
mine was called main.jpg so I put PictureFile=main.jpg. If you cannot
remember what you called the picture, Right-Click after the "=" part and
choose the option 'Insert Picture File'. It will then let you browse for
the picture you want. Select the picture and click Open. The correct name
will be put in and you will notice that the .ini Editor also opens this
picture to show you what it looks like. If the picture gets in the way
just close it for now.
PictureDuration=. MicroDVD lets you set how long
the current page will be displayed. This time period is counted in seconds,
so if I put: PictureDuration=10 then the picture would display for ten
seconds only. If you put: PictureDisplay=0 the picture will display forever
until you choose a link on it. If you do choose to set a time bracket
in which to display the picture you must add for your next line the page
that the picture will go to after the time limit has run out. This is
done by putting: JumpAtEnd=. The number after the "=" represents the page
it will jump to. So to recap, to make a page 1 display for only 10 seconds
and then jump to page 2, you put:
SelectionAvalable=. MicroDVD must know if this page
contains any links that the user can click on. 1 means Yes, 2 means No!
We want to add some links to this page so we will choose: SelectionAvalable=1.
Creating Page Links
So you have created your first page: the Menu Page. Now
we have to add links on this page. Right-Click under the page text you
just created and choose 'Insert SELECTION section' this will bring up
another bunch'a'crazy crap =^) (see below picture). Number the selection
heading by putting a 1 after the "SELECTION=" sign just like we did with
the Page Section. In other words it should read [SELECTION=1] but any
number will do providing you don't use the same number for another selection
on the same page.
It is important to remember also that, although the [SELECTION=]
heading looks like a separate page (because it has its own heading), it
is actually still part of the [PAGE=] section above it. ALL [Selection=]
details found underneath a [PAGE=] heading belong to the page above. To
illustrate, look at the example below. In this example selections 1, 2
& 3 all belong to page 1 whereas selections 1 & 2 below it will belong
to page 2.
A selection is basically another name for a Link. The commands that are
put underneath each selection heading will either take you to another
page, or perform some kind of action such as starting your movie. Under
the Selection heading you will usually have the following options:
Area=. This is literally the position of the link on the screen.
It is defined by four numbers representing the four points of an imaginary
box surrounding the text or icons on the page. I will show you how to
get these Area Positions very soon.
Action=. This tells MicroDVD what will happen when you click on
this link on the page. Each action is given a number thusly:
1. Go to Page
2. Run Movie
3. Go to Chapter
4. Display Message (in pop-up box)
5. Run Special Feature (movie)
6. Change Language
7. Change Subtitles
8. Return to Movie
These options need no detailed explanation, but if you need
more details on using them check out the MicroDVD documentation.
If you Right-Click after the "Action=" sign and select the
'Insert Action Number', it will let you pick which option you want to
use as your action and paste it in.
Parameter=. This command is directly connected to
the Action= function. If, for example, you chose Action=1 which means
'Go to a Page' the only way it will know what page to go to will be if
you tell it the page number in the Parameter= part. So if I want a link
to take me to page 2 I would put the following:
Note: CopyFrom= is an advanced option just delete it for now! What
does it do? Well if you find that the settings for each page or selection
are almost identical except for a couple of settings, you can then set
CopyFrom= to the page number or selection number that is almost the same.
MicroDVD will automatically use those settings as default for the CopyFrom
page. Then any commands you put after the CopyFrom= page will override
the ones that were copied. See the MicroDVD documentation for a full explanation.
The Link Position
Lets define a link for page 1. We have already inserted our selection
(link) and our page looks like this:
Note: Don't forget the above is just one page, the selection part
under it is just the properties of the first link on the page!
Okay, open the 'menu.jpg' picture by going
to Edit > Open Picture File.
Up pops the Main Menu picture that you ripped from the DVD. We need to
put the position of the first link (Chapters link) after the 'Area=' option.
So use the mouse to drag a mask box across the word 'Chapters'.
Now, Right-Click just after the 'Area=' option in the .ini editor and
choose: 'Acquire Area From Picture'. MicroDVD ini Editor will now paste
the position you just highlighted:
In the picture above I have set the PictureDuration to 10 so it will
jump to page 3 after 10 seconds. For a page that doesn't move choose PictureDuration=0
and don't add the JumpAtEnd= at all.
Note: If you are making a video sequance as a menu instead of a picture,
the easiest way to find the positions of the text on the video is to capture
it as a picture first (with VirtualDub not MicroDVD) and then open it
in MicroDVD to get the position. But more about video menus later.
Since this link will take us to another page that contains the chapter
listing, we will set its action to 1 (ie. Go to Page) and the Parameter
will be 2 (2 is the chapters page number). It will look like this:
Your Next Link
Now do the same again for your next link on this page ie:
1. Choose 'Insert SELECTION section' and number the selection ie:
2. Highlight the area of the next link on the page and choose 'Acquire
Area from Picture'. The next in my list is the 'Specials' "page".
3. The action will be Action=1 (go to a page).
4. And the Parameter=3 (it will jump to page 3 which is my specials
And do the same again for the next link on this page and the next and
the next until all the links for your page have been done! Now that the
links on your page are finished you can start on page two.
Start page 2 the same way you created your first page...to recap:
1. Right-Click and choose 'Insert PAGE section' and put the number
of the page ie [PAGE=2].
2. Set BackgroundMode=2 (picture only page).
3. Set the PictureFile=chaps.jpg (my chapters page picture is called
4. PictureDuration=0 (picture will stay on the screen until a link
5. SelectionAvalable=1 (Yes, you want to be able to click on the
Once that is done you can add your links again as described in the "Your
Next Link" bit above.
Continue to do this with every page you make just like you did before.
Essentially that is all you need to know to create a very complex menu
system with just pictures - so go for it!
Advanced Page Options
Okay, that's about it for pages, I'm not gonna spoon feed you on this
one =^). Just mess about with all the settings until you make a working
set of pages. But perhaps I had better briefly explain some of the more
advanced options pertaining to page creation that you may have missed.
ActionAtEnd=. Remember I explained that the 'JumpAtEnd=' option
will automatically jump to another page once a certain time limit is up.
Well, the action at end is almost the same except instead of jumping to
another page it will perform an action. You use the same action numbers
that you would for a link action. So if you were to say:
This set-up would will wait for 10 seconds and then Run the movie from
the start. Other actions are:
1. Go to Page
2. Run Movie
3. Go to Chapter
4. Display Message (in pop-up box)
5. Run Special Feature
6. Change Language
7. Change Subtitles
8. Return to Movie
Note: Links can also trigger multiple actions. For that purpose, the
Action entry can hold multiple numbers, separated by a "#", e.g. "7#1"
to change the subtitle and then jump to another page. The parameters also
have to be separated by a "#". Remember that the parameter for action
4 (Display Message) not contain "#" characters as they would be interpreted
as parameter delimiter.
Creating Animated Menu's
You would think that creating an animated Menu system would be much more
difficult than just doing pages, but actually there is very little difference!
All pages and links are done exactly the same, except instead of opening
a picture to define where the links are found, you just open the video
clip. You will select your Link areas just like you would on a normal
picture =^). But instead of using the 'Acquire Area from Picture' option,
you will Right-Click and use the 'Acquire Area from Video' option. Easy
huh! Because of these similarities I will only explain those details that
I haven't already explained concerning video backgrounds. If I don't do
it this way my short article will turn into an entire book or something!
All video sequences used for the menu backgrounds must show the links
as part of the actual film. This is important because MicroDVD
doesn't let you display any text other than subtitles over the top of
a video sequence (unless I've missed something?). So if the original DVD
has movie clips with the links already pasted on top of the movie screen
then you are in luck. Otherwise you will need to use a professional Video
Editing package to edit your video sequences and place text over your
video clips, and re-save them like that.
Another thing that is very important to remember is that all video
sequences that you use in your menu backgrounds must be the same .avi
file! In other words, if you have three different sequences and wanted
to use one for each page, you must merge them together into one single
file first. Let me just say that once again, you only get ONE video file
to create all of your menu backgrounds with! This being the case, if you
have more than one film sequence you want to use, you must take all the
sequence avi files and merge them together using something like Peck Power
Join. Power Join should work okay with these files because your intro
sequences must be pretty small files anyway. If not, try merging the .Vob
intro sequences together into one file with Vobmerger or whatever you
prefer to use.
Setting Up the Animated Page
Okay, lets take you through making a single animated menu. Start to create
your new page as you would a normal non-animated page. Right-Click and
choose 'Insert PAGE Section'. Again you get loads of settings ie:
Just delete the ones you will not use. So delete the last three 'Default'
and 'Prohibit' Selection options. Delete the 'PictureFile=' and 'PictureDuration'
because you are not using a picture on this page. You can also delete
'JumpAtEnd', 'ActionAtEnd' etc., until you are left with the options shown
BackgroundMode=. We have set the BackgroundMode to 1. Remember
I said that setting it to 2 tells MicroDVD the page is a picture, well
setting it to 'BackgroundMode=1' tells MicroDVD it is a film sequence
SelectionAvailable=. Again this is set to 1 as this film sequence
has links pasted across the screen. So setting 'SelectionAvalable=1' means
links are on this page.
VideoRange=. We haven't seen this feature yet. It tells MicroDVD
to start playing the film sequence from one position in the film to another.
This is rather like making chapters or subtitles, you have a start frame
number and an end time number. To make life easier for you, you can get
the start and end points by opening the movie ie:
Using the Position Slider Bar (below) to position your film at the frame
you wish to start from. You can also use the pause, fast forward etc.,
buttons just like any movie player. The important thing is your current
position frames number (as indicated in my picture with the Current Position
Move up and click just after the "=" of 'VideoRange='. Now Right-Click
and select 'Acquire current frame from video'. The .ini Editor will now
paste the current film position for the first frame number of the Video
Range. Use the Video Bar to move to the final position that you wish to
play for your page and press pause again. Now go up to the .ini editor
once more, select 'Acquire current frame from video' again and you will
have the final position that your page will play to.
Make sure that the start and end positions are separated by a dash "-".
In the example above the start position is frame 500 and the end position
is frame 2000, so I put VideoRange=500-200.
Before we move on it is important to remember that we are not playing
the whole .avi file as a background sequence. We are merely picking out
clips from it which we will play on our page.
VideoLoop=. Unless you tell the video to loop it will play the
frames you specified on your page but when it gets to the end the screen
will just stop! You have a choice, either continue to loop this sequence
over and over again until someone chooses a link, or get it to play once
and then set an action at the end, such as jumping to another page. Setting
1 mean Yes and 0 means No! By choosing VideoLoop=0 you are
saying that you do not want the video to loop after it gets to the end
frame. By choosing VideoLoop=1 (as in the above case) we are saying loop
this frame forever or until someone clicks on one of the links.
That's it! This is all you need to know to make a repeating movie sequence
in the background of your menu page! Creating links for a movie sequence
page is EXACTLY the same as doing it on a page, do go to it! To recap:
1. Choose 'Insert SELECTION section' and number the selection ie:
2. Highlight the area of the link on the page and choose 'Acquire
Area from Video'.
3. Set the link 'Action=' (setting 1 means go to a page).
4. And add the Parameter= (which page you are linking to).
And do the same again for the next link on this page and the next and
the next until all the links for your page have been done! =^)
I think I have covered everything you need to know to get started on
your own intro sequences with or without movie backgrounds. For detailed
descriptions of all the functions MicroDVD can do just refer to the Documentation.
But perhaps a few final tips to help you get going would be in order.
When you are using the MicroDVD .ini editor to get area positions for
a link on a video, you cannot actually see the area that you are selecting
like you can with the picture files. Hence, I would strongly advise that
you take a snapshot of the video clip first. With this picture you can
map out the positions of your links exactly. The important thing is getting
the positions right, it doesn't matter how you get them! Use VirtualDub
on your menu movie and copy the frame you need.
Pictures & Video
Most DVD's use both still picture menus and a movie background for their
menus. The important thing to remember is to make sure the pictures you
use as pages are the same size as your movie menu. Otherwise the links
will all be positined wrong!
If you do not want a video sequence to loop forever you can set it to
jump to another page or perform another action when it reaches its end
frame. Set the just set VideoLoop=0 and choose one of the action commands.
These are done pretty much the same as I have already indicated:
Go to Page
Go to Chapter
Display Message (in pop-up box)
Run Special Feature
Return to Movie
So lets say I want my DivX to open with an intro sequence and then jump
to the menu page. Also the menu page has a single link on it that plays
the movie. I would make something like this:
Notice that I have no parameter after my action. This is because Action=2
is to run the film and so I don't need one. But lets say, for example,
I wanted to do the same thing but this time I wanted the link to to go
to page 3 instead, I would put:
That's it! I hope you have had as much fun as I did designing these freaky
little menus =^). And finally a word from our sponsor:
WHAT IS THE MATRIX?!
"It's that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something
was wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there,
like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad, driving you to me.
But what is it?" - Morpheus
Duplication of links or content is strictly
prohibited. (C) NICKY PAGE 2000