How to change the menu background?

For those of you, who are not quite satisfied with the looks of the menu background, here are some hints on how you can change it to your own liking.

The default background

Main_MenuWhen you use dvdwizard fresh from the tarball without any modifications to the config file and without specifying a

custom background image at the command line, your menus will somewhat look like this:

 The background behind the button panel (translucent area in the bottom left corner) is made of two parts - a canvas an one of the chapter screenshots of your movie, fading around the edges into the canvas.

The deMenu_Canvas.pngfault canvas is a simple gradient from black to white (bottom-top) in the default PAL or NTSC resolution (720x576 or 720x480). The  chapter screenshot will be scaled down to fit into the area defined by $TVSIZE (either specified in the config file with TVSIZE or on the command line with -V or --tvsize, see FAQs) leaving a border of 20 Pixels around the edges. The aspect ratio of the picture remains unchanged.

Picture with blurred egdesOriginal PictureAfter scaling, a blurring effect will be applied to the picture, making the edges fade into transparency. On the right, you see the original picture and the result after fading the edges.

As the last step the blurred picture is printed onto the canvas within the $TVSIZE-area but anchored in the top-right corner, 10 Pixels from top and 50 Pixels from right. You see the result in the screenshot at the top.

This is the default creation of the menu background. The actions taken - blurring the edges, printing onto canvas - can't be changed, but you may create different looks to your menus by using other objects for canvas and picture.

Changing the canvas

The menu canvas for dvdwizard is defined in the config file. In the sample config file contained in the tarball, you'll find these lines:

MENU_CANVAS="gradient:white-black"    # Background texture for menu pictures
#MENU_CANVAS="plasma:blue-yellow -colorspace gray"

The first line is the active setting, the following lines beginning with # are commented out and are examples to what you may specify if you don't like the default "gradient:white-black".

The canvas can be anything, ImageMagick can start working on. You may supply a picture to serve as canvas or you may specify an expression for ImageMagick, such as gradient:, plasma:, xc: etc. For more information about creating a canvas with ImageMagick, refer to this site.

If you choose to specify your own picture as canvas, please note that it will be scaled to full PAL or NTSC resolution without honoring it's aspect ratio. So the best results will occur, if you supply a picture that already has the needed dimensions.

Here's an example, how the menu looks like with the following option:

Background with plasma-Canvas 


 Using a custom picture

Although the automatic chapter screenshot generation usually  gives good results, you may have a special picture, you want to see as menu background instead of a random scene from the movie. This may be e.g. the Cover-Image of a DVD or a photograph of your last vacation.

You may specify any picture for this purpose using the command line option -b or --vtsmbg. The image supplied will be scaled to fit into the $TVSIZE-area and then blurred at the edges into transparency. This effect is described on the first page of the article.

Custom ImageSo, if you want to supply the picture on the right as the background image to your menu, just issue





dvdwizard -b "bgpic_custom.png" ...

And the result may look somewhat like this: 

Custom menu

The canvas in this example was created with









MENU_CANVAS="xc: -fx rand() -blur 0x1 -shade 120x45" 

Using a fix picture/canvas

Let's say, you don't want to have a changing background picture for your DVDs but want to have always the same menu background regardless of what content you have on your DVD. This could be achieved by supplying always the same picture on the command line with the '-b | --vtsmbg' option but that's not very user-friendly.

For this reason, there is an option in the config file, named VTSMBG.

VTSMBG=""	# Background image to use for menus (blank: use builtin)

Per default, it holds an empty string to enable the automatic picture selection from the chapter screenshots. To disable this behaviour, you may supply a filename here that points to a picture which then will be used instead of a chapter screenshot. Here's an example:

Logo PictureVTSMBG="/work/demo/logo_dvdwizard.png"
MENU_CANVAS=" plasma:black-black -colorspace gray"

Fix Menu Background

As you see, the logo picture will be modified in the same manner as described before an printed onto the canvas.

However, there is a way to even prevent this and letting only the canvas serve as background to your menus (e.g. if you don't like the fading effect on the VTSMBG-picture). You may create an empty picture using the following command:

#> convert -size 720x576 xc:none empty.png

This will create a totally transparent png in PAL-resolution. In the config file, just specify


This will create all menu backgrounds purely from the picture specified in MENU_CANVAS. Of course you can have ImageMagick create a canvas for you as described before.

Here's an example created with

MENU_CANVAS="plasma:fractal -blur 0x5 -emboss 1" 

Canvas Only Menu Background



As you see, there are many ways to adjust the looks of the menu to your liking by using different canvasses and pictures. I hope the possibilities will serve most of your needs.

There are a few more adjustable parameters such as font sizes and used colors. To learn more about that, either read the documentation or have a look at the scripts directly. If you're a bit used to bash programming, you will easily find a clue where to adjust minor settings as needed.

If you still haven't found, what you are looking for, go and post your question in the mailing list.


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