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I'm interested in learning to Skin Driveline... where to begin?

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  • I'm interested in learning to Skin Driveline... where to begin?

    I don't know anything about making skins, but noticed lots of other Front Ends have skins, and I want to try my hand at it, maybe coming up with a few color variations and stuff like rounding corners of boxes and buttons, and other fun stuff.

    What recommended reading, and software tools would I need?


  • #2
    I think this is a good idea rray! I would love for peeps to work some of their magic on Driveline in the skin dept. It would surely help out Clockwork, so that instead of skinning could be coding better and more features. I think it's mostly xml stuff but Clockwork will clarify and offer pointers as needed.. Good luck SNO


    • #3
      I spent the evening messing around last night, and found I could change the look of buttons by overwriting them with .png files named the same as the original. That has me thinking I could possibly create my own using a drawing program. I have Corel Draw, so I am going to mess around with that some tonight. I seen some buttons out there that look wet and almost 3D, so now I want to play around with that idea.


      • #4
        I am actually very happy with the way Driveline looks and operates as is, I would like to see more eye candy on things like obd2/tpms/phidgets. But for ease of use and just working its great! SNO


        • #5

          I've been a little tied up for the last few days. But I saw your video, and I can see that you're playing with the skin files. Looks like you're getting the hang of it pretty quick. If you have any questions, let me know. I should be more available during the week, and be able to write up some info about the skin files.

          Google Image search is a good place to find icons. I recommend using PNG for everything, as it supports transparency, and is a lossless compression.


          • #6
            I too really like Driveline as is, but I am one of those guys who like to customize anything and everything, if even just a bit. Now I can say mine is a little different:

            I went through all the trouble of adding album art to all my MP3's, so I wanted the album pictures just a bit larger, so I re-arranged the media player page:

            I made the volume bar a bit wider for my wife, because the car is bouncy while driving:

            I also changed the arrow icons to slightly different ones, and took out the unused DAB and XM radio buttons:

            I also changed the grid at the bottom to a purple bar, and found a PNG of my car for the main page, as well as more buttons:

            I also changed the icons in the tools page:

            And the buttons on the power options page to wetter looking ones:
            Last edited by rray; 12-20-2012, 07:05 PM.


            • #7
              Nice Job! rray.. you have some talent and an eye. Keep posting your pics. SNO


              • #8
                I wanted the skinning system in DriveLine to be self-explanatory, and I also wanted to make it so the skins control as much of the program as possible. This way, you can make DriveLine look completely different, and still function the same (or function completely differently). From looking at your rapid progress on modifying the skin, I think maybe I achieved my goal.

                It's great to see someone else's ideas for the layout and images. If you want, I can look into creating a "Skins" sub-forum and you can have a thread for your skin. There aren't a ton of DriveLine users, but some additional skins might help change that.

                Also, if your media files/folders contain multiple artwork images (ie front and back covers), clicking on the album art will cycle through all available images for the current media.


                • #9
                  Because I know so little, I just overwrote the .PNG files in the DefaultSkin folder, and added fonts to the Fonts folder , and in the RRAY folder I modified the layout in the Skin_Frame_Visualization, and set the font in the Skin_SkinVars file.

                  What I am wondering is if I should have put the .PNG files somewhere else, or if they will be overwritten when new versions are loaded?


                  • #10
                    I had done all that skinning in notepad, then starting up Driveline to see how the changes look. It's kind of slow going.

                    I was wondering if there is a way to see screens in a window, kind of like when using the old MS Frontpage to make a web site let you see the page as it would look on the web, but another screen let you see it as html looks in notepad?

                    You would need a template file, correct?


                    • #11
                      I will have to give this some thought. I think it's a good idea. I can probably whip something up next week that would be able to make things a little easier. My first thought is that I will make a separate EXE that can be used to render a specified XML file without having to load all of the DriveLine services (OBD, GPS, etc). This should make it faster and easier to test changes to individual files. And it will have a refresh button so you can make changes to the XML and hit Refresh to see the changes. I'm excited to see what new changes you're working on.

                      As for me, I've been sort of MIA for the last week. Between xmas shopping and a new girlfriend, I've been a bit tied up. Not to worry though. Next week at work is a complete blow-off, so I will be working on DriveLine more.


                      • #12
                        Playing with the skin again today. Trying a "Blue" thing...

                        It's actually fun to see how subtle changes can make the whole thing feel different:


                        • #13
                          I broke down and bought Corel Draw X6, and spent the weekend learning how to make my own buttons and icons. I already am familiar with using Corel Draw 9, 11, and X4 to draw vectors for laser cutting, and raster engraving, but using it to make things like "Wet Look" buttons is new.

                          I am still playing with the blue look, (because it matches the stock interior lighting in my car) but will get into different colors too, because it's actually kind of fun working on my own "Skin".

                          So Jesse modified the code to make it much faster to see changes, and yesterday I got to really use the "F7" feature. What I have is 2 screens on my main PC, and Driveline will open on both. I minimize one, and open the screen file I am working on, make my code changes then save, and hit the F7 key, then Driveline restarts and I can see the changes very quickly.

                          When I am done with my "Button Blues" skin, I'll post screenshots, and will offer it up for those interested to try it.



                          • #14
                            Excellent rray! I can't wait to see your work. SNO


                            • #15
                              im glad it's all working out. cant wait to see your skin.

                              im on vacation in florida at the moment. long drive from michigan.