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How to modifiy a montage theme in Pinnacle Studio?

Updated September 5, 2010

bijoux fantaisie

Looking through various forums, I realize that many of you ask if it is possible change a montage theme provided by Pinnacle Studio, and if so, how?.
If you are a regular visitor to this site, you already don't have any doubt that such an operation is quite feasible. It is nevertheless a delicate operation that needs expertise, patience and some trial ...


Michel, a visitor of this site, asked me for a small modification of one of the themes of the very nice Album serie shipped with Studio 12 and Studio 14. Personally, I love this series that I find one of the most successful done by Pinnacle.

Place theme 1 - Opening from this Album serie on your timeline and look at its chronology. After an opening on the cover of the album, it opens and shows a title page. The title page turns, and then shows a page with 4 photos. Then the theme zooms in on the first windows, then shifts to the second, and finally zooms in on the 4th to end the theme. As you can see, the third picture is not really highlighted, which is a shame.

Michel wanted to modify the theme in such a way that the camera movement goes on the third windows before zooming in on the 4th photo.
The following figure illustrates the movement of the original theme, and movement that we would like to program instead of it.

schema changes to the theme album/1 - Opening

We will detail step by step how to achieve this result, but before starting, be sure to copy the file you want to change (here 1 - Opening.ixl ) under another file name, or in another directory. (I chose to create a file Michel.ixl ). Doing so, you will not risk any damages on your original theme 1 - Opening ...
Remember to change in the file header and in Sceneobject file and/or directory names in the 3 location where they appear.

Some tips to read Pinnacle themes ...

Firstly, you must know that Pinnacle's developers have a design tool to built their themes, certainly in HFX Creator style, which help them a lot to built the .ixl  files containing montage themes source programs, which are, in such case, generated automatically by the tool. It is therefore usefulless to expect any comments in the program ... However, it is common for themes designers to give object names that inform about their function
In addition, this tool has the quality to provide a code structure relatively constant.
  • object Scene is of course always the first object of the theme
  • followed by source image objects (drop zone, background images, text, etc...)
  • then we'll found the Template object which manages the user interface of the theme editor.
  • then all other objects ... In general, the first object is a container NullObject which will contain all the objects of the theme, to emulate camera movements over the whole scene simply by applying a variation of the parameters position, scale, or rotation on this container.

How to recognize it ?

In our example, the camera movement on the 4 photos page starts at time 8 seconds, then zooms, then a rightward shift, with possibly a small rotation. The movement ends precisely at time 21 seconds. You can found these moments simply observing the montage theme scheduling using Studio viewer. We'll search for Keyframer manipulating parameters ScaleX, ScaleY, and ScaleZ between times 8 and 21 seconds. In our case, these Keyframer should logically be applied to the container object that includes all the objects.

Firstly, verify the existence of such a container object ...

Master of the container tracking camera


As expected, we find this object not far from the source images and Templateobject.
When existing, this object is often called Camera or Master Camera .
Pinnacle's montage theme builder aims to place objects movement management, like Keyframer, just after the Material or NullObject correspondents. In case of doubt, you can always check the connection in Section Connection objects

Location of objects that manage the movement Keyframer

Again, objects Keyframer #19 and #20 seem to correspond to those that we seek, because they act on a container itself contained in the overall montage theme container's (which name is Master camera ). The name of this container is BookNull , which is an other indication of the fact that this object is indeed the container managing the book!

vérification connections in Section imgConnectionList


We've detected objects to be changed, it now remains the hardest, change them !. Firstly, analyze the montage theme timing using Pinnacle Studio Viewer. To do this, drag the theme on the timeline and scroll slowly with the time cursor, or frame by frame if you want to be more accurate.
  • t = 11 seconds: stabilizes the image centered on the first picture of the page.
  • t = 13 seconds begins moving with a panoramic movement to photo 2
  • t = 16 seconds the image is stabilized on the second photo
  • t = 18 seconds begins movement with pan and zoom into the picture 4
  • t = 21 seconds : the movement is stabilized with a full screen zoom on the photo 4.

The theme remains stable two seconds on each photo and make each transition in 3 seconds. To achieve the desired effect, I chose to accelerate slightly the transition to the 3rd picture. It will only lasts 2 seconds. So I will insert a sequence of 4 seconds for the move towards the third picture and the settling time above. The timing will be now :
  • t = 11 seconds: stabilizes the image centered on the first picture of the page.
  • t = 13 seconds begins anew with a panoramic movement to photo 2
  • t = 16 seconds the image is stabilized on the second photo
  • t = 18 seconds : the movement resumed with pan and zoom into the photo 3
  • t = 20 seconds: the movement is stabilized with a zoom in on photo 3.
  • t = 22 seconds begins pan and zoom into the picture 4
  • t = 25 seconds: the movement is stabilized with a full screen zoom on the photo 4 to end the theme.

change the duration of the theme

end of the montage theme should therefore be postponed for four seconds, bringing its total duration to 29 seconds. To change the duration of the theme, open the file ( Michel.ixl in my example), go into the Scene object , and change the value of the parameter SceneDuration to give it the value 29 .
Then, using the text editor, replace all in objects End ="25" by  End ="29"

change the position of the handles (for Studio 14 only)

As we change the length of the theme, it is necessary modify in accordance parameters OrigLeadOut and CurrLeadOut if they are present in the Scene object !

Postpone the end of the theme

Changing the duration the theme has not changed the time at which the various actions are taking place. We'll have to do it by hand, but we're lucky, only a few action occur after the point where we had inserted our sequence, the work will be done quickly.
Anything that happens after time 18 seconds corresponds to movements designed to prepare the full-scree zoom on the photo 4. So just whenever you find a setting time in an object keyframer, and its value is strictly greater than 18 seconds, simply add 4 seconds ...
With Studio 14, Please do not forget to change at the same time the value of the parameter TimeL whose value is expressed as 1/100, 000th of a second, but must express the same moment that time which it is in seconds.

After reading the theme, we see that the objects to be modified are: #19, "20, #29, #30 and #33.
The other object of the theme correspond to time preceding the sequence we have inserted. So there is no need to change them.
However, we observe that objects ImageExplicit corresponding to the drop zones 1,2 and 3 on a life limited to 21 seconds (items 3,4, and 5). We must therefore also add 4 seconds to bring their life to 25 seconds.

change the life of the drop zones

If all as been correctly done, your theme Michel.ixl now lasts 29 seconds, but after our modifications, the motion between picture 2 and picture 4 lasts 7 seconds and not 3. We have still to create movement to and from photo 3.

Insert the move to photo 3

We had identified earlier in this tutorial that objects #19 and #20 ran the camera movement. However, interpretation of these movements is very sensitive since built through a theme builder and not programmed directly.
We can still see that the values of all parameters of these two objects are almost stable between 11 and 13 seconds and on the other hand between 16 and 18 seconds, corresponding to focus on photo 1 and photo 2.
We will first create the key frames corresponding for time 20 and 22 seconds. For this I suggest you copy and paste the  imgCurveKey tag used for key image 18 seconds two times in a row just behind, and change the value TimeL and Time to indicate the instants 20 and 22 seconds.
Findind the good values for each of the 6 parameters PositionX, PositionY, PositionZ, RotationX, RotationY and RotationZ for time 20 and 22 seconds will be our next operation.

Here, take the parameters one by one and try different values. Personally, I started with the object 20 and the parameter PositionX giving the value it had at time 11 seconds (zoom in photo 1 ), then I fumbled to find the correct value for PositionY to focus on photo 3. The value of PositionZ did not need to be adjusted.
The effect is nice, but lacks of a small camera rotation to be smoother. It is necessary to change also keyframer #19. Again, I had to test some values to find the desired effect.


Here is the result:

You have still to create the theme's thumbnail, doing  screen capture of a chosen moment in the previewer and then give this file the name Michel.png to customize your theme in this series. And it's done!

More details ...

Full details of this modified theme can be analyzed in this theme you can be downloaded below ....

Themes" Change" loaded times
Created September 5, 2010
download Theme_Modification.exe . self-installing .exe file

Of course, this is only an example and many other situations may arise when modifying a theme. Studio 14 users may attempt to do the same thing with the  Album2 series that is very similar.
For any questions about Theme changes, feel free to contact me.

bijoux fantaisie

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Written by
El Titi
1 messages

PeticionTuesday 10 April 2012 20:00:20



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