The Good Easy to use for simple jobs; automatically transcodes files; offers some higher-end features; menu design process fully integrated with Photoshop.
The Bad Supports only Windows XP; requires latest video drivers; limited interface; no QuickTime support.
The Bottom Line Adobe's Encore DVD is powerful authoring software with a friendly interface, but pros will want more.
Adobe Encore DVD
Encore DVD, Adobe's new professional DVD-authoring application, lets you have your cake and eat it, too. It's a tasty cake for beginners, with easy drag-and-drop menu creation and automatic transcoding to DVD formats--basic features common to lower-priced packages such as . But it's a filling cake, too, with a handful of professional-level features and tools including subtitles, navigation link overrides, and mastering options. Encore is well integrated into the work flow of Adobe's digital media tools, giving you more design control over your production. Still, Encore is Adobe's first attempt in the authoring space, and there are some unfortunate compromises with the interface and certain features. We prefer Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2.0 for its higher-end authoring options, but for Windows users, Adobe Encore DVD offers the most functionality of any similarly priced package.
Adobe Encore DVD runs on Windows XP only: it won't work with previous versions of Windows or the Mac OS. It's a fairly significant limitation, but it's necessary for Encore to take full advantage of Microsoft's new digital media architecture. (You are also required to update to &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Emicrosoft%2Ecom%2Fwindows%2Fdirectx%2Fdefault%2Easpx%3Furl%3D%2Fwindows%2Fdirectx%2Fproductinfo%2Foverview%2Fdefault%2Ehtm" target="_blank">Microsoft's DirectX 9.0.) Encore may ask you to update your video card drivers to avoid video playback glitches, as well. Once all of that's taken care of, installation is quick and easy. The program directory uses about 80MB of space for a basic library of buttons, graphics, and menu backgrounds. The installation disc also includes some 280 additional buttons, images, and menu backgrounds. Adobe's downloadable maintenance release 1.0.1 from December 2003 includes a variety of bug fixes and speed enhancements.
Encore's interface should be familiar and comfortable for users of other Adobe products. There's a Project window to assemble and organize assets andTimeline and Monitor windows. Adobe users will also recognize Menu Editor windows; Toolbars; and Layers, Character, and Library palettes similar to those in . Multiple windows can be nested with tabs to save space, but the interface has limitations: you can't resize the palettes or save window layouts.
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