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Imagination is a lightweight and simple DVD slide show maker for Linux. It meets the needs of people who need to quickly make an attractive DVD or video file slideshow for a presentation.

Imagination enables you to create slideshow projects that you can then export to various file formats. The most common way people use Imagination is to export their projects to .vob files, with which one can then burn a DVD playable in a normal DVD player. You can also export projects to various video file formats for playback on computers.


Non-portability of Project File Workarounds

Although a very useful program, you should be aware that Imagination project files (.img files) are not portable. This means you can run in to some issues if you try to author Imagination projects across more than one computer or username. This section first gives a basic understanding of the issue, and then gives three workarounds.

Why Non-portable?

Imagination project files are just simple text files with the .img extension. The reason they are not portable is because they contain the absolute path to objects you place in to your slideshow. Following is an example of the text for slide 1 of a slideshow. Take special note of the filename= section:

[slide 1]
anim id=0
anim duration=1
text pos=4v
font=Sans 12
font color=0;0;0;1;

In this example, the home directory is located at /home/abcname/ and the image thorax.jpg is in the path /home/abcname/Presentations/Imagination/anatomy-presentation/media/thorax.jpg. If you were to move this Imagination project file to a computer with its home directory located at /home/xyzname/, the paths to the image files will break; thus, your project file will be broken.

Workaround One

The recommended workaround is

  1. Begin and complete your Imagination projects on a single computer under a single username
  2. Do not move any of the media files (images, video clips, audio, etc.) once you've placed them in to your show
  3. Do not author your projects to an external drive

By doing those three things, you've solved the portability issue by simply avoiding it altogether.

Workaround Two

Another workaround is to use the same username across your Linux computers and to make sure you copy over the exact file structure when moving projects and their resources. Because the file paths will be the same, your project files should be fine.

CAUTION: Don't think this means you can just keep all of your slideshow resources on an external drive. Since Linux may assign a random path string to external drives, your project file would still be broken when you move it. Please don't author your Imagination projects to an external drive.

Workaround Three

The least desirable workaround is to move projects in such a way as to retain their file structure, except the username (which you cannot really do), and then edit the Imagination project file to change your slideshow's media resources from absolute paths to relative paths. If you really must make your projects portable, following is how:

Let's say that user abcname creates an Imagination project located at /home/abcname/Presentations/Imagination/anatomy-presentation/draft-first.img

Resources such as images, sounds, etc., reside in the sub-directory /home/abcname/Presentations/Imagination/anatomy-presentation/media/

Now let's say that user abcname wants to move this project to a computer with the username xyzname.

  1. Copy the entire file structure and contained files of /home/abcname/Presentations/Imagination/anatomy-presentation/ to /home/xyzname/Presentations/Imagination/anatomy-presentation/
  2. Open the .img file (Imagination project file) in a text editor
  3. Change the paths to each resource file by substituting "." for the home username directory.
would be changed to
Note that you are replacing /home/abcname with just a period. That is what changes the home directory path from absolute to relative.
4. The Imagination project file should open. So long as you otherwise move the project with its file structure in place, the same should hold so no matter the username.
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