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Program your montage theme yourself !

updated January 17, 2010


Some of you have tried to program montage theme, and have some trouble to make what they want. We'll see how to proceed, step by step, to program a montage theme like those proposed on this site.
Some basic knowledge is of course necessary but not too much, you can believe me !

Before starting this tutorial, I invite you to read Guignol-Film valuable lessons (unfortunaltly only available in French, but don't hesitate to use an automatic translator, they are very interesting !). Needless to learn them by heart, however, the first is important because it details directory tree are where montage themes are stored, as well as the basic structure of these files.
To make your theme creation not too painful, at the request of one of you (E-N-C !), I created a Template of montage theme that you we'll just have to customize. This tutorial presents this Template and the different possibilities it open.

What canyou do with this Template

View synthesis of theme editing template
Let's start by analyzing which object are embedded in the Template of montage theme
  • It can handle 2 groups of 6 windows.
  • each of the 6 windows in each group display the contents of one of the 6 drop zones.
  • For each window of each group, motion effects can be dynamically set using keyframes, for Position (in 3D !), scale, and rotation (around the 3 axes).
  • In addition, it will be possible to define which part of the source images will be displayed, and to modify it along the theme.
  • It is of course also possible to program the movement of each group of 6 windows .
  • 2 text boxes are provided.
  • Then, it will be possible to directly program the movement of all the objects (2 groups of windows and the texts) to simulate camera effects.
  • Finally, the theme template offers, like for my themes, the possibility to select a background image in a dropdown list.

Figure besinde summarizes Template theme structure. I got it using the tool developed by Guignol-Film that you find here.
Of course, it would be possible to modify the template theme structure, but this will require a lot of skill. I therefore propose as a first step to do only minimal changes in this file, and you will see that you will be able to do very nice things !

Structure of the Template file


I have structured the Template file in seven sections delimited by comments :

Starting tag of each section will be     <!-- SECTION X: commentary -->
and ending tag of this section will be  <!-- /SECTION X: commentary -->

These sections only serve to navigate into the document, they don't have any other role in the theme.
  • Section 1 contains the definition of the background of the theme. We will focus on its customization later.
  • Section 2 is the list of source images that will be used by the theme. Typically, it consist in the 6 drop zones, but  also in three other objects that will allows to use other images than drop zones.
  • Section 3 defines the overall container of the theme (this container will not contain the background which will remain stationary at all times)
  • Section 4 describes the first group of 6 windows
  • and Section 5 describes the 2nd group
  • Section 6 deals with the 2 text boxes
  • Section 7 provides fades control for opening and ending transitions.

theme also contains a Template Object positioned between Section 1 and Section 2. A priori, there is no need to touch it, except to customize your theme signature.

WARNING: When building this theme Template, I think I hit a limit on the number of Studio parameters used when programming the key-frame sequences. Indeed, this template provides the ability to change much more parameters than necessary, in order to comply with your requirements without affecting the structure of the program. Adding a text box for example has caused strange effects (followed by a crash of Studio).
If you need to add other animated objects, it will be necessary to simplify the objects" keyframer" the theme of all the unnecessary parameters. from latest trail, it seems that the problem may also be due to the number of source images used in this theme.

Before starting, define carefully what you want to do !


programming a montzage theme is a fairly entertaining. However, it can quickly become a headache if you don't thinking ahead to what you want to do. If you don't, you may need to change repeatedly  many objects.

Loading theme  Template


Before going on tutorials to create your first themes, you'll have to download the theme Template detailed in this paragraph.
Theme Template loaded times

2 possibilities of Installation :
  • self-installing File .EXE (simpler!)
download theme-template.exe

  • .ZIP File to decompress (Vista and 7) in C:\Users\Public\Documents\Pinnacle\Content\ IMG-Templates (instructions here )
download 20cents Temp.zip


Now you just have to follow the documented examples to better understand how it works!
  • Example#1 to use the theme template to create a montage theme showing two rotating cubes face to face one another.
  • Example#2 to use the theme template to create a montage theme featuring two crowns of windows on different orbits and inclination.




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