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New Skins (?) - Printable Version

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- shapeshifter - 01-14-2003

Check out my new desktop and let me know what you think, specifically of the plugin skins. If there's enough interest (read: pretty much any interest), I'll make the skins fit other sizes (they are currently only designed to fit next to 24x24 icons. The icons on my desktop are 30x30, but the plugins are on a seperate toolbar set to 24x24), and maybe some different color schemes. I'd probably be happy to take requests for modifications to these skins, too.
A little more about the skins. From left to right (after the 14 icons for menus and shortcuts) there's Net Monitor, with two bar graphs representing download and upload speed, overlayed by two user selectable values. I chose down and up percentage to more closely match the Drive Space plugin (the next plugin, which isn't skinnable - yet Wink ). The two graphical drive letter representations are actually part of the net monitor skin, but can be easily removed. After Drive Space is Weather Monitor, which includes a graphical display for each of the major weather conditions designed to match the wallpaper, along with temperature (top) and humidity (bottom) readings. Next is the Winamp Control plugin, which has volume control, song position display, and play controls across the top and song title display on the bottom. The System Monitor plugin (next) also isn't skinnable (yet Wink ), but I'm using the modified version that allows you to change the background and frame color. Finally is TLB Clock. The graphic on the right changes to indicate am or pm. The date display above the clock is Dave's Quick Search Deskbar (not a TLB plugin). I couldn't get TLB clock to let me use a different set of numbers for the clock display and date display, so I had the use this alternative. Maybe Yuri could add that functionality?
Anyway, I know they're pretty simple (some might say boring?), but I think they have sort of an elegant, functional appeal. Let me know what you think...

- Denis - 01-14-2003

A very nice job, shapeshifter. Very elegant indeed. Smile
That must have taken you quite a while to "polish". Wink
And where did you get that wallpaper from, it looks great too? Big Grin

- shapeshifter - 01-15-2003

I got the wallpaper from deviantART. The original is a bit bigger, but rather than lose any of that amazing detail, I cropped it to fit my desktop.

- Denis - 01-15-2003

Thanks shapeshifter, it's now on my desktop too. Smile

- shapeshifter - 01-15-2003

Would you be interested in any of the skins and/or icons to go with it? I've never made skins or icons to upload before, so I'm not sure what other people look for. I usually just make them for myself. If you don't like the colors, they can be changed easily enough. Size and layout aren't much more difficult. If they're just not your style, what style do you like? Feel free to criticize, just try to make it constructive. (These questions are for everyone, BTW, not just Dennis, so feel free to jump in. Smile )
What size and layout does everyone use for their icons (2 rows of 16x16, 1 row of 48x48, etc)? Do you like your plugins bigger, smaller, or the same size as your icons? Do you prefer efficiency, aesthetics, or a blend? Do you like your plugins to match each other? Your icons? Your wallpaper? Something else? I've got tons of other questions, but these should be enough to get you started Wink

- Denis - 01-15-2003

Thanks shapeshifter, I'm quite happy with my toolbar as it is (16x16 icons, mail monitor, killstart, presstar), but will definately give you a shout if I change my mind. Smile

[Image: desktop.jpg]

The icons represent:
- PresStart.
- Internet Utilities.
- Miscellaneous Tools.
- Multimedia Tools.
- Drives (includes "My Documents", Partition Magic, DiskKeeper).
- Mail Monitor.

The closed window is of this page (I now use Phoenix as my main browser, and would recommend it). Wink

Maybe if you had 16x16 icons. Big Grin

- shapeshifter - 01-15-2003

Very slick.. streamlined and efficient. I like it. The icons I have are available in 16x16, but frankly, they look like poo. I might be tempted to make some small icons, though. Any style/color scheme preference?

- Denis - 01-15-2003

Well, we have to thank Yuri for giving us the ability to make such streamlined and efficient toolbars. Smile

As far as icons are concerned, anything that would fit the above theme really. Wink
I quite like the idea of "squarish" icons like the ones you did.
Maybe with a touch of a different color per icon to add some contrast and help distinguish them.
Or by changing their hue slightly, as in:

[Image: multimedia.gif] [Image: mail-monitor.gif]

but obviously much nicer. Big Grin

Or greyish but with tiny colored frames.... (edited)

- shapeshifter - 01-16-2003

In the interest of making good, easily recognizable 16x16 icons, I decided on a few characteristics, based mostly on Dennis's suggestions. 1) They should match all the default Windows XP themes. What better way to accomplish this than to use the default Windows XP icon color scheme? 2) They should be as clear as possible. To achieve this, I "zoom" in on the focal point of each icon. A coordinationg border gives the icons a clear threshold. And 3) They should be different enough so that no two icons can be confused at a quick glance.
It's a slow process, but here are 2 from my new "Small Packages" series, representing PressStart and Mail Monitor. Let me know if I'm on the right path.

- shapeshifter - 01-16-2003

Here's a snapshot of the different sizes of each, in case somebody is interested in the larger sizes.

- shapeshifter - 01-17-2003

I made a few tweaks on the 16x16 versions and they are a little clearer now. Other formats are the same.

- Denis - 01-17-2003

Looking good, shapeshifter. Smile
I can't wait to see more. Big Grin

- shapeshifter - 01-17-2003

Dennis, could I get you to send me a picture of the 48x48 versions of the DiskKeeper and PartitionMagic icons? I'm redrawing all the icons from scratch at 128x128 using vector graphics, and I just need some sort of reference for those two. You can post them here, email them to me, ICQ file transfer, whatever.

- Denis - 01-17-2003

I would but I'd need some kind of icon extractor. ???
Any advice as to which one to get, as the list is endless?
It might even be an icon editor (MicroAngelo, Icon Edit, Icon Cool, Icon This, Icon That, etc etc)? Wink
A free one would even be better. Big Grin

Thanks in advance. Smile

- shapeshifter - 01-17-2003

I use IconWorkshop from Axialis Software - a great program for creating and editing icons. The bad news is, it's not free. The good news is, it does have a free trial period. IW will allow you to extract icons embedded in .exe or .dll files (as well as standard icon file formats). It supports virtually any size icon (standard or not - doesn't even have to be square) in 32bit (24bit color + 8bit alpha blended transparency = WinXP), 24bit, 8bit, 4bit, and 1bit color depth.

Ok, I'm starting to sound like a paid spokesperson. So unless Axialis wants to start paying me like a paid spokesperson, let's move on Big Grin

At any rate, I don't necesarily need the actual icons. If you can just create a temporary folder in windows explorer, copy those two .exe files to it, set it to display tiles (right click -> view -> tiles), and take a screenshot, that'd be great, too Smile. Feel free to crop it, but don't resize it, please. If there are some other icons you want redone that you think I probably don't have, include those, too.