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 Author Thread: A rather long write up on some things in Windows Live Movie Maker (Progress Report)
moviemakerkid is not online. Last active: 7/28/2013 3:25:31 PM moviemakerkid
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A rather long write up on some things in Windows Live Movie Maker (Progress Report)
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 04:31 AM
I have been thinking a lot about some things in WLMM.
I figure if I share my thoughts other users will comment on them so I can see what they think.
I do not expect everyone to read this whole post but feedback is greatly appreciated. Comments, criticism, your thoughts, suggestions, compliments, whatever it may be.
I look forward to hearing from, Neophyte, Considerate_guy, PapaJohn, Rehan, PatrickL, and everyone else.
Not all things written here are made for commenting on, but just for reading.
What I have covered here:
Custom Icons
Custom Transitions
Custom Effects
Custom Titles
The New WLMX files
Why WLMM is not getting a lot of attention
How I made my Custom Title Overlay Effect

Custom Icons
This was a pretty much hidden customization in WLMM. Custom icons can be specified to any path through the .wlmx file. However is only limited to .ico files. However .ico files are rather low resolution and don't make the best custom icons. Even creating the highest quality ico will still look bad quality. So any .ico type is accepted by WLMM but this doesn't help much. Creating a .png file and renaming it to .ico will not work.
The question here is; Why would the developers allow the use of .ico files which are such low quality and why not use png? The only thing I can think of is to save hard drive space. (but this barely saves anything at all with a 64x48 resolution)

Now there is another area of custom icons. The MovieMakerCore.dll file stores all icons for all built in transitions, effects and titles. These files are .png 32-bit depth images. Only 32-bit depth png images are accepted. Any other image will not crash WLMM but show a blank area where the transitions/effect/title should be. Making it pretty much invisible and unusable. (It can not be selected) These images also use a 64x48 resolution. They can be replaced with whatever image you like as long as it follows the same image format.
The question here is; Is there a way to edit the MovieMakerCore.dll to use its built in images for custom added transitions,effects, and titles? This would also require adding new images into the .dll file, this part is easy. But changing another part of the file is also required to specify the .wlmx file name for the custom image. I believe its possible, I plan on opening the file with a hex editor to shed some more light on some things.

Custom Transitions
Creating custom transitions are very simple. I don't have a lot to talk about on this subject so it won't be as long. I only see a few problems with custom transitions in WLMM:
1. Custom transitions tend to disappear after saving your project and closing WLMM and re-opening. They also disappear randomly on some other things, this can be fixed with full screen but its still annoying and I would like for it to be fixed.
2. The customization of transitions is a little limited. In Movie Maker 6.0 we can use pixel shaders to create just about anything we would like. I guess at least using gradient wipes is still offered in WLMM. I hope to see this changed.
I noticed also there are some HLSL code in the .dll files which make some effects work. So I suppose the pixel shader implementation is still offered. But for now can only be replaced, and adding a new .fx file to the dll and making it work a long a .wlmx is out of the question, at least for now anyways.
Apparently I had a lot more to say about this than I thought, hehe sorry.

Custom Effects
I have spent a lot of time creating custom effects on WLMM they seem to follow pretty much the same format as custom transitions. Using images was a little bit more complicated but I eventually figured it out. Custom Effects work perfectly in WLMM and don't share the same bug as the transitions do which is nice. Customization is limited though, as stated above, using fx files is actually enabled, but they are packed inside the .dll files. I have not actually looked into replacing a fx file with my own custom code but I plan to soon to see how to works with WLMM and seeing if the .wlmx code supports it.

Custom Titles
Custom titles are a pretty different story from transitions and effects.
First I would like to say nice work to the person who made the Text Shadow title replacement. (I remember reading the post a while ago, i'm going to find it and link it back here)
Custom titles use .wlmx and also .wlms. The .wlms file basically sets the default attributes to the text of the title. These attributes are many things such as: (off the top of my head)
Font, font size, bold, italic, underline, and coordinates where the text is placed when adding the title.
New custom titles can not be added as of now. Why they can't be I do not know yet.
Effects and Transitions use a TemplateID and a TemplateTitle syntax.
The TemplateID is similar to the "guid" syntax in Movie Maker 6.0 xml files.
All TemplateID's must be different, the templateid just tells WLMM which file is which.
TemplateTitle is the name displayed in WLMM when you hover your arrow over it.
Custom Titles do not use a TemplateTitle syntax and it can not be added. For whatever reason it does not, which is why adding new titles is currently impossible. My thinking on this is that the Title names are specified in the MovieMakerCore.dll. And adding new Titles through this .dll should be possible once I take a better look at it.
However despite these problems the custom titles use some very extensive lines of code (also very hard to figure out which line does what because there are so many, making it harder for me...) that morph and move images very specifically using a lot of lines that tell the img how to move, when, how fast, etc. These lines are very specific which is why some titles are 50kb and higher because of the very specific code. Are there .fx file codes made for some of these titles? I think so but I can't remember when I looked at the .fx files, its been a while. Custom titles can be made for many many things with these.

Whats With This .Wlmx File Format?
I'm just guessing here but I guess none of the developers who made Movie Maker 6.0, made Windows Live Movie Maker. The sudden jump from .xml to .wlmx should not scare people as it is very similar. It uses a xml format pretty much. Has all the starting < and ending tags >, and closing tags /> They can also be opened with Internet explorer to verify that all tags have been closed and no errors have been made. The .wlms is an interesting development though, it is the same as .wlmx it still has a different extension. I guess to differentiate the fact that its not an animator in any way but just more of a setting file for .wlmx files.
.wlms files are made for the titles and how the text appears for anyone that doesn't know.

Why Windows Live Movie Maker Is Not Getting A Lot Of AttentionSad
This section is pretty self explanatory. Why I take an interest on WLMM:
1. I like the challenge on figuring out new things and expanding them for public use to get the most out of the application.
2. Believe it or not, a simple thank you or good work goes a very long way. Every user on this forum that has shown interest in me or my work has motivated me a lot so I must say thank you.
Why people don't have a big interest on WLMM.
1. Its not built into Windows Live Movie Maker. I wish it was it would probably help with some activity.
2. There is no timeline. The majority of people really hate this new development. I don't like it too much either but it is not that bad in my eyes.
3. Some other reasons I probably forgot.

How I made the Overlay Effect Title
I didn't want to post this over at the post where I announced the release of this Custom Title because its a long explanation. For those who are wondering how I went about doing it I will explain it here.
Picking the right .wlmx file to edit:
Whenever I feel like creating a new Transition, Effect or Title in WLMM the first thing I do is Open WLMM and take a look at the transitions, effects and titles. I look at pretty much each one carefully thinking how I can edit it to my liking. Once I find the Effect/Title/Transition I take a skim of its .wlmx file. If I like what I see and I think the job is doable the editing beings.
Removing un-needed lines in my custom title:
Some .wlmx title files are over 50kb making it a very big mess to edit it in notepad. The first thing I try to do is delete lines out of the .wlmx I do not need. This is done to prevent confusion and making it easier and faster to make my custom title. This is pretty straight forward to me now since i have been editing .wlmx files for a while now.
Removing the Bubbles:
You would think the bubbles use images to make them appear on WLMM, well actually they don't. They use code to make them appear and an image "dissolvenoise". Why this is used, I am not sure yet but it stabilizes the bubbles so they do what they need to. Deleting the lines that create the bubbles is all I needed to do for this.
Removing the LightBurst:
This one took a little bit more time. Deleting the lines that created the LightBurst cause WLMM to crash. So I had to work with the lines to make it pretty much invisible. The LightBurst used a custom image for it self and how it showed up on WLMM. So this was an easy task for me. I created a blank transparent image. And re-directed the code in the .wlmx file to use my blank image instead of the lightburst image. This removed the LightBurst.
Fixing the color of the image and making it cover the whole screen:
This usually takes a lot more tweaking but since I also made the overlay effect the syntax of the lines were pretty similar. Fixing the color is done simply by removing the lines that give it that monotone effect. Re sizing the image is done by changing a couple values.
Then since I am replacing a built in title, I can use a png file for its custom icon. This was pretty niceSmiley.
What files are replaced/added and why:
MovieMakerCore.dll - I replaced this to add the new icon for the custom title
Overlay.dll - This is added inside a folder called Titles and contains your image you want to overlay.
TextEffectCinematicCaption2LeftTemplate.wlmx - This is replaced because new titles can not be added. It contains how the custom title works.
This is pretty much what I did to create that custom title.

I covered pretty much what I wanted to talk about.
Feel free to ask questions.


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considerate_guy is not online. Last active: 11/26/2014 2:09:22 PM considerate_guy
movies.blainesville.com
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Re: A rather long write up on some things in Windows Live Movie Maker (Progress Report)
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 03:43 PM
Another problem with the WLMM architecture (for doing what we used to do in WMM) is that the transition time is limited to a maximum of 7 seconds. So even if we had more details on transitions and could make them work consistently, you couldn't do Picture in Picture, Greenscreen, Compositing, etc. except in 7 second increments.

My summary would be, if you are into customization, stick with the older versions until Microsoft publishes an add-on spec. And even then, don't expect to do anything like we did in the original WMM versions with two video clips on screen at once.

Blaine
Movie Maker (Custom Titles, Effects. etc.)Cool
WMM 6.0 on Windows 7 or 8
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PapaJohn is not online. Last active: 8/12/2014 6:55:13 PM PapaJohn
www.papajohn.org
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Re: A rather long write up on some things in Windows Live Movie Maker (Progress Report)
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 04:36 PM
Hi Moviemakerkid....

Thanks for the informative 'summary' and for sharing your findings. You've done a yeoman's job
digging into WLMM to see how things work and explore how one might develop 'add-ons'. In my
experience it's just as self-fulfilling and important to find out what doesn't work as what does.

I'll 100% support any 3rd party add-ons that tie into WLMM without having to crack any part of the basic app (exe, dll, etc.) without permission from the owner... but not pass along info about how to crack it.

Besides the legality of cracking software, in my experience it's the users who cause more issues than the hardware or software and I stop short of encouraging anyone to try such things.

I encourage you to continue exploring and discovering new things.

... my website isn't here... it's at www.papajohn.org
moviemakerkid is not online. Last active: 7/28/2013 3:25:31 PM moviemakerkid
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Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Total Posts: 1174
 
Re: A rather long write up on some things in Windows Live Movie Maker (Progress Report)
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 06:03 PM
Considerate guy
Ah yes I forgot about this problem as well.
This is true as of now. Hopefully their next Windows Live update is a big one and will change how things work making it more customize-able. I can hope right?Sad


Papajohn
Your welcome Papajohn.
I understand this and realize its not the best option but right now its the only option I can see. I'm not sure I would call it cracking certain files but making minor changes. I do realize this is an issue due to copyrights and such.
I will try my best to discover new things.


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