Altering iMovie

Before and After

iMovie's interface after we modified it (above), and the original version.

Apple's iMovie and iMovie 2 sport interface elements that are familiar to legions of QuickTime 4 and Mac OS X users -- brushed-metal facings and lozenge-like blue, transparent buttons. Although these applications boast an attractive appearance, there may be those adventurous souls among our readers who'd like to try their hand at customizing iMovie's countenance for the pure pleasure of doing so. Equipped with a copy of Photoshop and a utility such as Daniel Azuma's $10 shareware utility, FileTyper, you can. Here's how:

1. Open the Interface Files folder (Resources: iMovie). The files in this folder are the ones you'll work on. To be safe, make copies of these files and work on the copies. (The original iMovie has four of these files, iMovie 2 has seven files.)

iMovie Icons

2. Select the files you just copied and drag them onto the FileTyper icon. In the resulting window, change the File Type from face to 8BPS and the Creator from Hway to 8BIM and click on Change All. Click on OK to confirm your choice. This will make it possible for you to open the files in Photoshop.

FileTyper

icons

3. Open the newly changed files in Photoshop and select Show Layers from the Windows menu. Select the elements you'd like to change in the Layers window and color to your heart's content.

Metal Layer

4. To change the appearance of much of iMovie's metal frame, change the Metal Tile layer in the Materials file. You can change shelf colors in this same file by altering the ShelfWell, SlideSelected, and ClipSlide layers as well.

Coloring Metal Tile

5. To check your progress, drag the original iMovie interface files to a safe place, move the altered files into the Interface Files folder, and launch iMovie. There's no need to change the file type and creator codes back to their original settings. When you have something you like, save it in the Interface Files folder. (Be sure to keep the original files should you tire of your design.)

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