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Create an original theme from a lower 3rd template

Updated September 25, 2010

bijoux fantaisie

My previous tutorial on how to change a theme produced by Pinnacle has given ideas to Eric. He has decided to share with us 3 lower Third adapted from the theme "4 - Lower 3rd" series Love delivered with Studio 12.
In Pinnacle Studio, open the montage theme album and select the series Love . click on "4 - Lower 3rd", and observe its progress.
After 2 seconds of inactivity, a constellation of hearts comes from the left, turning on itself, thus unrolling a banner containing the title.
As E-N-C shown, changing the images used by the montage theme will definitly modify its possible applications.

schema changes to the theme album/1 - Opening


I will explain into detail how to achive that. In addition, I will give you some tips to go a little further in customization, if you feel it !
You will see that it is not as complicated as you think, but despite this, to my knowledge, only 4 people in the world have published montage themes E-N-C Pixel63 , myself, and our master Guignol-film . So why not become the 5th element ?

copy the original file

First, we'll copy the file containing the source code of montage theme in a new directory. Doing so, you will be sure to keep the original theme that otherwise may become unusable.
The screenshot below shows you the directory where file is located and where it is in this directory. Simply copy the file (CTRL C), then go with Windows Explorer in the destination directory, and then, paste (CTRL V).
Note: If you use Windows XP, directory will be: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Pinnacle\Content\IMG-Templates\Love

modify the header of the copied file.

Once you made the copy, you had to rename the copied file to its destination name. In my example, I will give him the name: 222 - Lower Third C.ixl.
Then remember to change the header in the Scene object to update  file names and/or directories in the 3 locations where they appear.
In our example, we'll replace in the three locations highlighted the text  Love\4 - Lower 3rd with  ViewMaster\222 - Lower Third C

Create your Images

The tricky part is this one !. We'll replace hearts of the original theme with new images which will give its originality to our theme. Eric offered us bottles, flowers and film reels, for my part, and to illustrate this tutorial, I will take pictures to make an additional lower third for my Viewmaster serie that I've released this summer. To illustrate how, I'll explain the process ...

Having chosen the theme of Viewmaster, I'll use Google images to find photos or drawings related to this topic.
Using google image, simply type Viewmaster , and you will get many images related to your query in only a few milli-seconds. I select one that pleases me, and with a right click, I record it in a working directory to make some adjustments ...
Indeed, the images generally have a background that we will have to remove. For this, I'll use This is a free drawing software, which is quite handy for this type of work.

Shaping the image

In, I open the file I have just downloaded. This is an original red ViewMaster with a disc loaded. We will eliminate the white background (and the viewmaster's shadow).

Modify the image

I am lucky, the background color is almost solid. I'll use the magic wand tool to select all of the surface whose color is close to the point on which I will now click !
... It is rare to get a satisfactory selection from the first test. In general we must re-try several times by adjusting the tolerance parameter  until offers a correct selection boundary.
Once got, I erase the selected area with the Delete key.

tolerance of 50%, parts of the object are selected
tolerance of 25%, the contour of the object is properly defined. It will deal in the shade a second time
I delete the selected portion with the Delete key
I start by clicking the gray area
and erase the new selected area
After several iterations, the background was completely removed. The image is cleaned !

Before saving your work, attention must be paid to respect the overall geometry of the original image and positioning of the subject in the frame. The image we have just produced entirely occupies the frame and the frame is square.
By default, Pinnacle Studio will adjust the image to your project format.(ie your square image will be stretched horizontally to fill the geometry of your project in 16:9 or 4:3).
In addition, our picture will be much larger than the original one because it occupies the entire frame.
To correct this problem, we will enlarge the picture frame, withour enlarging the picture itself. can only do this through the "enlarge the canvas" in the  image menu .
A geometry of 720x480 gives good results ...

be careful to store the resulting file in a format that can manage transparency. The .png format is perfectly suited for that, as long as you choose the 32-bit format. (Corresponding to 8 bits for red (256 shades), 8 bits for blue, 8 bits for green and 8 bits for transparency.)

place your file in its target directory

Your file is ready. We will copy it to its destination folder which is in my example:
Windows XP : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Pinnacle\Content\IMG-Templates\20cents Viewmaster\-Assets
Vista and Seven : C:\Users\Public\Documents\Pinnacle\Content\IMG-Templates\20cents ViewMaster\-Assets

Customize the banner

The original mountage theme also includes a  banner that serves as background for the title. this band is also stored in a drawing file. This original file is :

It is best to keep the same framing for your new banner, this will save you having to change the framing of the theme in the source program, which is a bit harder.

So I save the file above in a working directory, then I open it in I'll replace the image content with the movie film that I use in other Lower Thirds of my Viewmaster serie. To do so, I open this second file, I select the used area with the selection tool, and then I copy (CTRL C). After that, I reselect the original image, and, in the edition menu , I chose copy to new layer . I' have just now to stretch this layer using the handles in the four corners of the image to get the dimensions of the original image.
Once this is achieved, just save the result into a new file using . png format (32 bits !).

Our files are ready, we can now make the adjustments in the montage theme.

point to the new images

Looking at the original theme when running, we can see that only these two images seem to be used. However, it is better to be cautious and perform a systematic search in the code. Using the text editor (I use Notepad), I search the string IMG-Templates\Love\ which is the path to the original files.
This string is found only 2 times for objects ImageExplicit # 2 and # 4.
To make our theme fully functional, we simply change the directory and file names in these 2 objects.

Take for example the object #2. I will change the directory name from  Love to  20cents Viewmaster and the file name from bar.png to  bar_viewmaster.png . Of course, inyour case, you will use your own directory and file names.
We will then do the same for constellation of objects in the object #4.

Here is what you'll get !

Build the thumbnail  !

Personally, working under Windows Vista, I have an integrated tool named "Snipping Tool" that can make copies of any part of screen and save it into .png or. jpg format.
I just have to run my montage theme in Pinnacle Studio, to stop the viewer at the selected time, then use "Snipping Tool" to catch the image I want to use for thumbnail.
Once the file is saved, I will reduce its size down to 320x180 format. This format is quite sufficient to build a studio-quality thumbnail of quality, and this will reduce the size of downloads! (This is good for our green planet )
This re-formatting will be done with using the function " resize" in  image menu

Stop now ?

Your theme is now 100% functional. It is entirely possible to stop there. It's a performance that only few people are capable ....

... but it is possible to do more if you want ...

Personally, I find nicer than the constellation of objects stops a few seconds once the title is displayed, before disappearing on the right. It's a bit more complicated than the above modification, but with a little method you will see that it remains quite possible.

Insert a pause !

Of course, we must first identify which Keyframer manages the movement of this group. Once again, the name of the object and the analyze of the timing of the theme will be of great help.
By analyzing the theme, we quickly found the Keyframer that manages the banner, title, and the group of objects of interest. Indeed, it follows a NullObject whose name is HeartGroup (we remember that the original theme contains a group of hearts that rotate around each other), and the movement acts on the parameter PositionX . So this Keyframer is the one we are looking for.

  <imgTimeCurve Name="PositionX" Pre="1" Post="1">
    <imgCurveKey Time="2" Value="-0.512" C0="0.33" C2="0.33"/>
    <imgCurveKey Type="cktLinear" Time="5" Value="0.688"/>

We see here that the group will be positionned outside of the screen (PositionY >0.5) at the time 5 seconds. When looking at the theme, I decided to stop the group at the position it occupies at time 4.5 seconds (4 seconds and 12 frames more precisely)

For this, we must accurately calculate the corresponding horizontal position. It travels a distance between -0.512 and 0.688 in 3 seconds, meaning a distance of 1.2 screen in 3 seconds. We want to stop the movement 0.5 seconds before the final position, ie 1/6th of the movement before its end. We must therefore subtract 0.2 screen to the ending position to find the wher to locate our pause period.

I must therefore include in this Keyframer an additional keyframe for the parameter PositionX at the instant time = 4.5 seconds with the Value = 0.488, then pause (2 seconds for example), then let the subject go away  ...

  <imgTimeCurve Name="PositionX" Pre="1" Post="1">
    <imgCurveKey Time="2" Value="-0.512" C0="0.33" C2="0.33"/>
    <imgCurveKey Type="cktLinear" Time="4.5" Value="0.488"/>
    <imgCurveKey Type="cktLinear" Time="6.5" Value="0.488"/>
    <imgCurveKey Type="cktLinear" Time="7" Value="0.688"/>

By doing this, you will see that the group stops as wanted, but it disappears almost instantly. This is because the source image of ViewMaster referenced in Object #4 has an end of life at 5 seconds. Just push it to 7 seconds, and then It works almost !

We realize then that the various objects stop turning on themselve at 6 seconds. So we need to go to change their individual movements ... Keyframer can be found under the following numbers #19, #22, #25, #28, #31, #34, #37, #40 and #43
In all these objects, we just change time ="6" with  time ="7".

Here is the result of these opertions :

Stop now ?

I now wish the constellation to be composed of many different objects. For example my red Viewmaster and also a disk.
For this I must first create an additional ImageExplicit to reference this new image in my montage theme.

The main difficulty is to find an object number not already used by Pinnacle. Fortunnatly, their tool has the good habit of numbering object in ascending order. I'll choose the number 99 which is not used. For convenience, I will duplicate the object #4 and then change the number and the corresponding file name ...
By the way, I delete by precaution the line containing the SourceRefId parameter assignment .

I must also declare this new object in the imgConnectionList by adding the line

<imgConnection Type="ctSceneToImage" FromID="1" ToID="99"/>

I still have to redirect Material objects to image #99 in their parameter MainImage .for the objects #21, #27, #33 and #39

Here are the final result we get!


It is of course possible to make many other changes, the only limit is your imagination. However, you could see that it is possible to customize a theme quite easily, thus giving you confidence in yourself to make more complicated changes.
When you will have produced your own creations, please send them to me, to share with all users who visit this site, and become the 5th element!

bijoux fantaisie

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Lower Third TutorialWednesday 17 August 2011 17:56:24

Video Examples are not available and are Blank ?

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Lower Third TutorialSunday 24 June 2012 17:43:07

Video Exampkes are still blank ??

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