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Jun 17, 2020 2:43 PM by Discussion: Skinning

Skinning is HARD. SkinStudio is CONFUSING.

I have collected a few tidibits along the way and have them saved as a txt file to reference when I forget what does what. I thought maybe I'd share this with the rest of you. Even though many already know these quirks, I'm sure that we are in a minority.

Don't look at this as a complete skinning guide. I have listed here just some of the oddities that are sometimes hard to remember. And I certainly don't have the energy to list all the mislabeled and legacy elements in SKS here.

 

I'll probably update this post as I remember things or are reminded of them in the comments.

 

The Start Menu Popup menu is not actually used where shown. However that menu IS used in 2 other places:
1. The commandbar view background with the "slider". Avoid using an image with rounded corners here, because WB will allways draw a square stroke around the menu. That stroke color is defined by the WindowFrame color in the skin defined system colors. Note: the WindowFrame color is rarely seen elsewhere but may show up in other areas like (properties dialog, Security tab and Previous Versions tabs). Text settings and mouseover image for this section are defined in the Toolbar style menubar button in the Edit toolbars section.
2. Taskbar toolbars (the flyout menu when you add a toolbar to your taskbar). Make sure you skin the menu items and define the text colors.
I think that it has always been the case that these areas have been defined through the Start Menu Popup but the difference now is that windows 10 does not have a native flyout menu so Start 10 uses the regular menu section for this.

The dropdown background and mouseover in the address bar (when you click on an arrow) is defined in the section Edit Explorer/ IE shell parts > Edit additional parts > Drop down background and Drop down mouseover.
There are no text color settings here because they are static and defined by the window text color (system color), so keep that in mind when you choose the image for your mouseover.
WB will add a stroke to this menu background, but it grabs that from an odd place (shocker). It takes the color from the outer edge of the Non captioned window edge which you will find in the UIS2 frames section.
The arrows themself (in the addressbar) are defined by the button text color in the skin defined system colors and do not change on mouseover.
Note: Button text color also effects the tiny up/down arrows in headerbars and other text in some windows/dialogs.

To skin the popup menu in the taskbar tray expander/show hidden icons, we return to the Non Captioned window edge, which as I mentioned in the section above, is found in the UIS2 frames section. Make this a solid square with no rounded corners or blank canvas around the image because WB/Win10 will add a hard-coded stroke and shadow to this image.

That's it for now. I may add reference images to illustrate at a later date. 

 

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Jun 3, 2020 5:51 PM by Discussion: Sneak Previews

Here's the first draft of a concept design I started on today.

Mind you, this is an early draft which could change drastically as I go along!

The skin name is Sol III because that is one of the names for Earth in the ST universe and also because there are 3 styles.

Update:

Added stripes. Cuz I like stripes!

 

And the evolution continues. Gone, are the black stripes on the top and bottom. Simplified the black area slightly then added the colored stripe down the middle. I think less IS more here......details need to enhance the skin, not muddy the look.

Shown here with the taskbar. Buttons shown: Normal, Mouse, and Selected/Active State. Finally a comm-badge as a start button.

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it's a thing

May 26, 2020 2:37 PM by Discussion: Sneak Previews

This is a design that I started on a while ago, but left "simmering" in my brain.

Problem is, I know of 2 skinners who have recently done "circuit board" themed skins recently. Then again, this design does differ significantly from the others.

What do you all think?

I would do a version where the label on the processor in the upper right, would be the user pic. The lights on the upper left would be animated (flicker/pulse or something...haven't decided yet) and the "lit" lights by the All Program and Start Button is showing the moseover/pressed/active state.

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May 16, 2020 1:02 PM by Discussion: WindowBlinds

Windows 10X is around the corner and it seems that Microsoft has plans of redesigning the traditional desktop to a more unified experience.

Windows 10 as it is, is a mishmash of modern (metro/windows UI) and traditional win32. Not very pretty. It's very confusing at times, as well when some things can be done through the classic control panel AND through the new settings. There are functional duplications all over the place.

10X is going to change all that. We can expect a unified look across the board. It's basically what they tried to do with Windows 8, but this looks like it could be more successful. Windows 8 tried to force everyone to turn their desktop into a tablet...which was not....popular at all. Win10X looks to give us the best of both worlds and from everything I've seen and read, they may just pull it off.

Does this mean the end for windowblinds? I think it may.

Question is: Is Curtains being developed with 10X in mind? How much of the 10X UI are we going to be able to customize? Only time will tell.

 

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May 8, 2020 8:18 PM by Discussion: SkinStudio

First of all, I LOVE SkinStudio! I've been using it since version 4!

Sks 6 saw a complete revamp of the interface which had a lot of people up in arms complaining about the new interface (anyone remember the clickable preview funtion we lost?) We finally got used to it and didn't look back.

SkinStudio has stayed more or less the same since v6 with some major and minor updates as we have traveled through xp, vista, 7, 8.1 and finally 10.

I have no problem with the interface at all. That's fine. Here's my problem:

 

How does Sks expect you to start a new skin? Well simple. Open the program and select "new skin" Great! Next? Select skin to base it on.....hmmm Diamond? Oh there's a dropdown. Hmmm....Diamond vista or xp?

OK. I choose Diamond since I'm not skinning for vista or xp. Great! Good to go! Oh, wait! Why does this skin have vista and xp substyles? NO ONE would like to start a new skin with complete substyles already there! I never make a substyle until the first style is 100% complete. I create my first substyle based on the finished style, I don't go hopping back and forth between. So ok. Gotta delete those finished subbys.

Now, I'm left with a clean base skin to start adding my images to.

Ok, skin's done. Time to make the .wba and upload. Let's use the clean skin funtion. Wow, lots of non referenced images there to delete. Makes sense, since there were many xp and vista images when I started. Let's go into the skin folder to delete the folder where the images went. Hey! there's still a TON of extra images here!

Ok, gotta go through and start deleting extra images. Oh crap! I broke my skin! I must have deleted something relevant. The whole shutdown section is gone on my skin because I deleted the xp and vista images for that section??? Can I go into sks and find those vista and xp sections and safely delete the code from there? Hmmm... no. Those sections no longer exist in sks. No way to get to these sections that are somehow referencing old images thus keeping them in the skin.

Anyway, I've deleted as much as I can without breaking the skin. I'm happy now.

 

That was a long winded way of saying that I would like:

1. The option to choose any installed skin from the dropdown menu.

and/or

2. Please give us a better template skin. One that's free of old unused, unsupported sections. And no finished substyles.

 

Now. I'm certainly capable of starting a skin differently. I can just open a skin of mine which has a similar color palette and re save it in sks as a different skin. I do, in fact have a template skin on my system called "Basic" for just that purpose. But I, as I stated in the intro, have been using sks for a while.

Think of the person just starting out in skinning. Sks is a puzzle to new people as it is. I think we owe it to them to give them a clean simple starting skin to make the process slightly easier.

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Xp style wallpaper for you lock screen

Mar 22, 2020 1:47 PM by Discussion: New Releases

Just a fun novelty I did for my Windows 10 lockscreen that I wanted to share with you. Xp style "logon"  for your windows 10 lockscreen.

These don't work as logons per se, but when you click on the screen the image blurs and your normal logon icon appears.

Link to the graphics: Link

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Apr 3, 2018 3:22 PM by Discussion: Laptops

Having some problems with my laptop. I'll try to describe the issue in detail.

 

A couple of months ago, I noticed that the ac adapter cord had loosened from the power brick. It still worked fine, but I thought it may be a hazard in the long run. I decided to replace it. Found one on ebay which when arrived appeared to be a genuine Asus product.....ie identical to the original in every way.

Everything seemed fine for a while, but then I left the laptop off for an extended amount of time (2 weeks). When I plugged in the lappy and started it up, the message in the taskbar sated that the battery was at 0%, but charging. Nothing unusual there, I thought. I used the laptop with it plugged in for a while and left it to charge over night.

Next morning, however it hadn't charged at all and would only start with the ac cord plugged in. I tested to see if the computer would start with the battery removed and the cord plugged in and yes...that worked.

Ok, so I needed a new battery. Ordered that and 2 weeks later it arrived.

Today I put in the new battery and plugged in the ac cord. The battery light turned yellow but only for a couple of seconds. I power up the laptop (still plugged in) and now the computer is running on 100% battery power (what little the new battery had in it from the factory) Unplugging and plugging in the ac cord does nothing. I then removed the new battery again and tried to start the pc with just the power cord. NOW THAT doesn't work!

Ok, next I put the old battery in and plug in the power. When I start up the laptop now, we're back to 0% and charging....but never charges!

So the new ac power cord tries to charge the old battery, but can't and will not charge the new one.

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May 13, 2016 7:03 PM by Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

Here's a couple of things I do when I'm not skinning for windows.

 

I work on a passenger ferry for a company called Color Line (http://www.colorline.com/crossings/from_germany_to_norway).

My workplace is in the buffet restaurant which is the largest restaurant on the ship (we can seat up to 650 at a time) I'm the assistant head waiter which means that I'm in charge of the reservations and seating chart. Always the perfectionist, I couldn't stand the blurry, copy of a copy of a copy seating chart we were using so I decided to do something about it!

I went into Photoshop and redrew the entire thing and here's the result:

I also did one for the A la Carte restaurant:

 

I've also discovered this cool online program which you can draw the floor plan of f.ex. your house. It's call room sketcher (http://www.roomsketcher.com). After drawing the floor plan, you can choose the wall and floor coverings/color etc. add furniture, then see the result in real time . I'm using the free version which only gives you smallish low-res snapshots of the room, but if you pay the annual fee you can take a 1st person 3D walk-through of what you've drawn. I was quite straight forward and I didn't have much trouble learning the proggy.

Here's the drawing I did of my house:

This drawing reflects how our house WILL look after we're done with some remodeling. The deck in the front is as we have it now but the one out back is quite smaller than pictured here.

 

Anyway it was fun to do!

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Jan 13, 2016 9:29 PM by Discussion: Skinning

It looks like MS has put together another patchwork UI full of inconsistencies. They just can seem to follow their OWN rules when "designing" an OS UI!

 

Here are a couple of thing I have discovered in the short period I have had access to WB 10 and Sks 10.

 

1. Right click menus (desktop and taskbar) are now using the skin defined system colors to skin the background rather than the graphic image.

Controls are as follows:

Background = menu

Boarder = button shadow

The text mouseover and separators are still graphic based.

 

2. Start Panel flyout menus: Same applies for background as above but here the text mouseover is also color defined rather than graphics defined.

Center = Menu highlight

Boarder = Selected item

 

That's all for now, but I'll update if I discover anything else. Feel free to comment with tip of your own as well!

 

If anyone is wondering how to change the mouseover image for the task view, taskbar search and notification icon on the taskbar, you need to skin the pinned item. Oddly it's not visible when using category view in Sks.....change to tree view to find it.

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Nov 10, 2015 9:01 PM by Discussion: Community

 

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