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Unread 03-24-09, 07:42 PM   #1
Paantheaus
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Creating custom dashboard skins...

Repost:

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The one positive (admittedly selfish) byproduct of this ridiculous change in addon policy is that I found your project via your participation in the discussion. I downloaded it yesterday and have been test-driving it the last two nights. I was a big fan of photek before they abandoned the project and I really like how you incorporated many of the same features into one simple addon.

I'm enjoying it very much so far.

There are a couple minor problems I have it, though. First, I find the font size in the chat windows to be too big. Is there any way to reduce the size below 12pt?

Second, the textured background behind the top info is pretty distracting to me. It appears that you've duplicated the bottom background and flipped/floated it on top. I'd love to develop my own custom skin for it and release it, I just have to dig up some info on the process (.pla's, photoshop, os/x, etc). I saw the one available transparent skin, but I'm not in love with it.

Assuming I can get my skin working, I'll gladly donate. Thanks for all the hard work.

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You here, Erranthor?
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Unread 03-24-09, 07:50 PM   #2
spiel2001
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That I am.

And, again, thanks for the kind word... I've ruffled a lot of feathers over there ~lol~
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Unread 03-24-09, 07:55 PM   #3
Paantheaus
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Originally Posted by spiel2001 View Post
That I am.

And, again, thanks for the kind word... I've ruffled a lot of feathers over there ~lol~
No problem. And don't get me started on the ingrates... it's a mindset I can't begin to understand.

Anyway, I'm a web designer/developer so I'm not totally lost. If I can better understand how to create some skins, I'd enjoy releasing new ones periodically.
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Unread 03-24-09, 08:09 PM   #4
spiel2001
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~lol~

Yeah... they're an, ummm... interesting? bunch.

Anyway... it's really pretty easy to create textures for nUI's dashboard and upper console. For starters, the master graphic is 2560x512 -- it's a rule that the dimensions on all WoW textures have to be a power of 2... 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. The height and width do not have to be the same, but they do have to be powers of two on each dimension.

You're observation is correct... by default nUI does repeat the bottom texture flipped upside down on the top -- it saves size by using the same textures, but that is optional... you can have two separate sets of textures for the top and bottom.

There are is one more texture set you're probably not seeing, as well, and thats yet another copy of the bottom dashboard that's also flipped upside down and attached to the bottom the dashboard.

The top graphic and the "hidden" bottom graphic both extend off-screen... this allows them to "slide" up and down if the user has Fubar or Titan installed so that their buttons tie in seemlessly with nUI's artwork. If you have either installed, nUI will automatically detect them and "move" the upper console or lower dashboard to allow for them. Setting your Fubar or Titan bar background transparent causes their buttons to blend right into nUI.

Anyway, everything else that follows is true regardless of which graphic we're discussing...

The master graphic, once complete, is broken into five chunks from left to right across the graphic that are 512x512 in size. That's required because there's a "maximum" size for textures.

So, create your main graphic, then crop it into five square blocks 512x512 and save it as a transparent PNG. There's a free download app called "WoWImage" (you can google for it, I'm afraid I don't have a link handy) which you can then drag your PNGs onto and it will convert them to BLP which is WoW's native texture format. You can also drag a BLP onto it and it will convert it to PNG... neat little program.

After that, just look at the code for the "Thin Gloss Black" dashboard skin if you want to see how to do different top and bottom textures, or the "Gloss Black" skin if you want to use the same graphic just flipped.

I would be more than happy to help you with the Lua code if you need it when you get to that point.
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Unread 03-24-09, 08:26 PM   #5
Paantheaus
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Originally Posted by spiel2001 View Post
~lol~

Yeah... they're an, ummm... interesting? bunch.
/rolleyes

Anyway... it's really pretty easy to create textures for nUI's dashboard and upper console. For starters, the master graphic is 2560x512 -- it's a rule that the dimensions on all WoW textures have to be a power of 2... 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. The height and width do not have to be the same, but they do have to be powers of two on each dimension.
I was able to find some of this info floating around, not much else.

You're observation is correct... by default nUI does repeat the bottom texture flipped upside down on the top -- it saves size by using the same textures, but that is optional... you can have two separate sets of textures for the top and bottom.
I cheated and found a BLP viewer to check out the images. Would it be easier to use the transparent skin as a "base of operations" since it doesn't seem to repeat the background for top and bottom?


So, create your main graphic, then crop it into five square blocks 512x512 and save it as a transparent PNG. There's a free download app called "WoWImage" (you can google for it, I'm afraid I don't have a link handy) which you can then drag your PNGs onto and it will convert them to BLP which is WoW's native texture format. You can also drag a BLP onto it and it will convert it to PNG... neat little program.

After that, just look at the code for the "Thin Gloss Black" dashboard skin if you want to see how to do different top and bottom textures, or the "Gloss Black" skin if you want to use the same graphic just flipped.
Okay, I'm gonna try to tackle this tomorrow.

I would be more than happy to help you with the Lua code if you need it when you get to that point.
I'm interested in learning some Lua after this Blizzard/Addon debacle, so yeah that would be great.

Couple of other random questions:

1. Have you ever thought of overlaying QuestHelper's waypoints and coords onto the map in the bottom right corner? It works on the minimap as of right now. Obviously, I have absolutely no idea how much time it would take to get this to work or even if you could (setting aside QuestHelper's apparent mothball status moving forward).

2. I play on a 24" intel imac and switching from full screen to windowed mode (and vice versa) throws the UI completely out of whack. I'm getting white blocks where the various elements of the UI should be. Simply reloading the UI after switching screen modes fixes the problem (and honestly isn't that big of a deal), but I was wondering if there was any permanent fix. From what I've read, it appears to be a video card issue specifically with macs but I don't know that for a fact.
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Unread 03-24-09, 08:35 PM   #6
spiel2001
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Originally Posted by Paantheaus View Post
I cheated and found a BLP viewer to check out the images. Would it be easier to use the transparent skin as a "base of operations" since it doesn't seem to repeat the background for top and bottom?
It should be fine... I've not looked at the code (that's not one of my skins) so I'm not sure how the author implemented it. But it works, so as long as they didn't break the bar behavior, it should be all good.

1. Have you ever thought of overlaying QuestHelper's waypoints and coords onto the map in the bottom right corner? It works on the minimap as of right now. Obviously, I have absolutely no idea how much time it would take to get this to work or even if you could (setting aside QuestHelper's apparent mothball status moving forward).
I'm not sure what's going to happen there. Gonna wait and see. I've often thought it should integrate the battleground map. I don't think I could do it via nUI though... unless it truly is abandoned and I get stupid enough to pick it up (which I doubt) I don't know if it would happen -- it pretty much would have to be done inside of QH.

2. I play on a 24" intel imac and switching from full screen to windowed mode (and vice versa) throws the UI completely out of whack. I'm getting white blocks where the various elements of the UI should be. Simply reloading the UI after switching screen modes fixes the problem (and honestly isn't that big of a deal), but I was wondering if there was any permanent fix. From what I've read, it appears to be a video card issue specifically with macs but I don't know that for a fact.
This is a known bug in Blizzard's video driver code that randomly affects custom textures on certain video cards. It's documented in the patch notes for nUI if you want all the painful detail. Bottom line... avoid switching modes and '/nui rl' is your friend when you must.

I play in full screen windows mode full time unless I'm in a raid, in which case I'll switch to non-windowed mode and stay there the whole raid. If you're on a Windows box, the "Windows" key will drop you out of WoW and into Windows even when you aren't windowed and without breaking the textures.
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Unread 03-24-09, 08:42 PM   #7
Paantheaus
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Okay, thanks for all the info. Can anything be done about the font size of the chat boxes, btw?
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Unread 03-24-09, 11:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Paantheaus View Post
Okay, thanks for all the info. Can anything be done about the font size of the chat boxes, btw?

I think that might be covered here: http://www.nuiaddon.com/faq.html

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Unread 03-24-09, 11:05 PM   #9
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Hehe, it didn't even occur to me that the 2560 number was the main graphic size. When I was looking at the other images that are useable as replacements I thought they had to be individually set up. The best I could do was recolor them but then they didn't look so good so changed my mind.

Knowing this will help my next attempt whenever that is.

Thanks Scott.

So, create your main graphic, then crop it into five square blocks 512x512 and save it as a transparent PNG. There's a free download app called "WoWImage" (you can google for it, I'm afraid I don't have a link handy) which you can then drag your PNGs onto and it will convert them to BLP which is WoW's native texture format. You can also drag a BLP onto it and it will convert it to PNG... neat little program.
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Unread 03-25-09, 04:07 AM   #10
spiel2001
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Originally Posted by Paantheaus View Post
Okay, thanks for all the info. Can anything be done about the font size of the chat boxes, btw?
For now the only font size options available for the chat frame are the ones built into Bliz's settings menu for the chat frame. If it matters any, nUI is compatible with Chatter, Prat, etc.
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Unread 03-25-09, 07:03 AM   #11
Paantheaus
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Originally Posted by Silenia View Post
I think that might be covered here: http://www.nuiaddon.com/faq.html
I looked there first.

For now the only font size options available for the chat frame are the ones built into Bliz's settings menu for the chat frame. If it matters any, nUI is compatible with Chatter, Prat, etc.
Easy enough. Thanks.
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Unread 03-25-09, 07:10 AM   #12
spiel2001
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I think this is the FAQ you were being pointed to...

My font size is too small (or big)...

(strictly as a matter of record)
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Unread 03-25-09, 07:12 AM   #13
Paantheaus
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WoWImage program link:

http://files.filefront.com/wowimage+.../fileinfo.html
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Unread 03-25-09, 08:31 AM   #14
Paantheaus
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Quick test to see if I could get it working:

http://i43.tinypic.com/2v32c28.jpg

Now I can start working on some better ones :P
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Unread 03-25-09, 08:36 AM   #15
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Cool beans.

By the way... rather than post images on the other hosting sites, you can upload them directly to here... when you're posting a message, just scroll down the page a short way and you'll find a "manage attachments" button... you can just click and and upload up to four images at a time that are attached directly to your post.
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Unread 03-25-09, 01:57 PM   #16
Paantheaus
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first shot:

Click image for larger version

Name:	Picture 16.png
Views:	589
Size:	1.05 MB
ID:	2399
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Unread 03-25-09, 02:04 PM   #17
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Very nice... gonna be more than one who wants that.
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Unread 03-25-09, 06:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Paantheaus View Post
first shot:

Attachment 2399
Damn, that's nice! Very impressive!

Will there be a visible matching top panel without the tribal art?

I recently dusted off my photoshop... may have to give these UI layouts a whirl.
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Unread 03-25-09, 08:11 PM   #19
Paantheaus
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Originally Posted by Silenia View Post
Damn, that's nice! Very impressive!

Will there be a visible matching top panel without the tribal art?

I recently dusted off my photoshop... may have to give these UI layouts a whirl.
Sure. I can do that. I'm thinking about releasing them with/without the top panel. The top backgrounds really annoy me for some reason, am I alone? If I am, I'll just do the top/bottom ones.

I also want to start a "how to" column on creating custom backgrounds complete with links to the conversion programs and template photoshop files (with placeholders for content boxes and slices for 512x512 output).

Think people would be interested in that?

Btw, mains are a tauren and Nelf druid... so tribal art sort of fits. I'll do different ones too.
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Unread 03-25-09, 08:46 PM   #20
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Thumbs up

I would be very interested in that!
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