[CD/DVD Development]

Interactive CDs may be created using numerous formats including Adobe / Macromedia Director, Adobe / Macromedia Flash, HTML / browser based materials and Adobe Acrobat. Even MicroSoft PowerPoint can be used to create interactive CDs. Tutorials for CD production are available on many Web sites, but here is little instruction on the extra steps that will "polish" the final product.

Custom Icons

[Watson application icon] Icons have really evolved in the past few years from the small mostly black & white stick figures to the large photo realistic art works which now appear in Windows XP and Mac OS X. This is apparent when you view some of the icons of teen graphics whiz Michael Matas. Apple Computer says "Quality icons are probably the single most visible attribute of your application on Mac OS X, so you should invest significant resources into your icon design." This is equally true for the CD-rom, the custom icon is the very first thing that the viewer sees.

Creating Custom Icons

An icon is a logo which conveys a strong message through a simple image. Draw rough sketches using color pencils to formulate some initials ideas. Other things to consider before starting the icon are:

Productions tools consist of an image editor that works in pixels, a vector based drawing program and shareware / freeware programs such as Iconographer or IconComposer (Mac) and AX - Icon (PC). For example, Michael Matas uses Adobe Photoshop while Berry White, another outstanding icon "graphiteer," uses Adobe Live Motion, a vector drawing program. I prefer to use Adobe Photoshop and Iconographer.

Open an image editing program and create an icon at 128 X 128 pixels. Using the "Navigator," view the icon at 37.5%, 25% and 12.5%, to see the denigration of the image as it is reduced in size. Check the look of the icon on different color backgrounds. When satisfied, save the graphic as a psd, jpeg or gif file. I save the image as both a psd and as a jpeg.

Open the jpeg and Copy the icon. Open the Iconographer application. Highlight the "32 bit Thumbnail" and paste the image into the work area (A.). Iconographer will import an images directly from an image editor, but it places a large black line around the imported image.

Click to activate the "Thumbnail 8 bit Mask (B.). Then go to Icon — Complete Icon (C.). Iconographer will generate all sizes of icon for both the Mac and PC operating system. Save the icon as .icns for Mac OS-X and .ico for PC.

[Iconographer]I use Iconogopher because it saves in formats for Mac OS 9.2.2, OS X, Windows and Windows XP. IconComposer only saves for Mac, while AX - Icon saves for PC only.

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Attaching Custom CD Icon

To attach an icon on the Mac system, double click the .icns file to open it in Iconographer. Click the Large 32 bit icon in the Members window. Select all and Copy the image. Click the new file or folder. Go to File — Get Info. Click the icon image in the upper left corner of the dialogue box and paste. The custom icon now appears on that file or folder. This icon can now be copied and pasted from the Get Info dialogue box to any file or folder.

For the Windows operating system, a custom icon appears in place of the generic CD icon in the "My Computer" dialogue box. This icon is attached to a volume via a short text script which can be created using NotePad or WordPad. Save the script as autorun.inf. Place the following script and the .ico file on the first level of a CD.

icon=NAME OF ICON.ico

Mac Open-Window Icons

Mac OS has always been an open window system. Click on most programs, any folder, or a CD icon and it produces an open window. CD producers have placed icons inside these open windows.

Producing a window icon is fast and simple. The programs which I use are an image editor and a shareware program — IconizerPro. Using an image editor create a icon. I suggest an minimum size of 144 X 288 px. Save it as either a psd, jpeg or gif. Again I save the file as both a psd and jpeg file. Open IconizerPro. Go File — Select Picture and navigate to the icon (1.). The image appears in the work area and the path with small logos appears in the Picture File box. Next go File — Select Destination (2.). Always place this icon in an empty partition created with the Toast recording program (see CD Recording). Set this partition window View Options. Go to View — View Options. Set Icon size 32 X 32 and click For This Window Only and Snap to Grid. Lastly, click the Iconizer button (3.). A window icon is created in the partition folder.

[IconizerPro]There are several shareware programs that can be used to create window icons, however, IconizerPro completes the project in a very direct, fast and easy way. I prefer it to any other
shareware program.

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Creating a CD Master

Unless you are recording only for the Mac or Windows platforms, CDs should be dual platform­ meaning that the information should operate equally well in both platforms. This limits the CD recording software which may be used. Most PC recording software does not allow Mac files. Many of the Mac CD recording programs don't recognize PC materials. Roxio Toast Titanium by Roxio (Mac Only) records CD with information usable on both platforms.

Open Toast. Go to Utilities — Create Temporary Partition. In the dialogue box, type the name of the CD in all caps. Use underscore for any spaces between words. Unless a much larger space is needed for either Mac or PC materials, type 325 for the size. Click OK. A partition is created on the desktop. Close Toast but do not delete the folder. Copy and paste an icon (see Attaching Custom CD Icon) on the CD Toast partition icon.

[Toast Partition Box]

Place all the Mac materials in this partition folder. Open the folder into a window and arrange the files, other folders and other visual materials as wanted. Size the window to only show the window icon and any other files such as a Starter. Files and / or documents that are not to be seen should be moved well outside of the open window. Although this window should remain open during the recording of the CD, it can be closed now. Open the side menu, click on Advanced and select Custom Hybrid.

Select ISO. Drag and drop all PC materials, including .ico file and autorun script etc, into the Toast window. Click the Settings tab and pull down the Naming arrow to Allow Mac Names.

To automatically open and run a executable file on the PC such as a Micromedia Director projector, add this line to the script:

icon=Name of the icon.ico

To open a non-executable file, such as a word processed document, pdf file or an HTML page within a specific program, the script is changed to:

icon=name of the icon.ico

The PC part of the CD is finished. Click Done to close the floating dialogue box. Click the Select Mac button. Navigate to the Mac partition. Notice that the icon is already present. If it does not show, there will be no logo on this volume. Check the Optimize on-the fly box. Click OK to close this floating box. Double chick the partition on the desktop to leave it open. Place the open window in the position you want. Insert a CD-R into your recorder and press the Record button.

This initial master should be checked to verify that it functions properly. When you are satisfied that everything is as you want, use the master to make multiple copies.

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Soft Wares

Icon Tutorials


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