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Author Topic: 2nd Stage Standard View Skin- Available here, all black and shiny  (Read 45901 times)

Mr ChriZ

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Introduction
This is the 2nd Stage Mega Skin.  It's free!
It's an evoloution of my Intentions, and has gone somewhat beyond them!

I first started this project along long time ago, in a house far far away.  Since then I've moved 3 times, and at least two christmas's have passed.

2nd Stage is still not quite finished.  Theres a few little bits here and there which need a spare hour or 6 spent on them.
Some graphics remain from Intention, most of them won't stay.

Unfortunatley my time for these little projects is always a bit hap-hazard, so I may get time to sort these bits and pieces out within a week or
too and but then again maybe not!

Most of what I've created has used a number of techniques including staring blindly at the computer screen for too long, occasionaly looking at a tutorial fromwincustomize.com, and the occasional bit of pure will power for the pixels to move into the right places.  In other words I'm not a graphics designer.

Please note the current edition of this skin does not have a stop button.  As soon as I work out where I'm going to put it,
I'll release a stop button.  For the moment use engine breaking, and don't go to fast.  (You'll save fuel this way too).

Screenshots
Playing Now Area
High Resoloution Album View

Things you'll need.
- Media Center 12 or later


Download from...
The skin can be downloaded from:
:Here:

You'll need to extract it and drop it into your Media Center Megaskins folder.
Skin Dated 27/01/2010

Things I know need sorting.
x. Lots of polishing is still needed here there and everywhere, quite a few out by 1 pixel problems.
x. Most graphics which remain from Intention
x. The Burn CD has black on black text (Keep Poking JRiver, I still think they should do something about this ;-)
 
The future
Over the next few weeks i will continue to polish it and take in peoples comments
before releasing the final release version.
If you think you can do a much better job of a particular graphic, feel free to post a copy!

Additional Notes:
2nd Stage was developed on my Dell 20" Wide Flat Panel.   Oddly this skin looks rubbish on CRT's.  Feel free to play with MC's contrast/brightness effects to try and make the skin look as good as possible.

All Graphics are Copyright, please don't use them except for personal use without prior consent.
Porting them for other applications maybe only be performed with prior consent.

Modifications for personal use are fine, and please feel free to upload modificiations here, but please always keep a link back to the original skin here.
Please note MC's Standard skinning engine is not a method of dynamically moving the buttons around, this is why all skins have the buttons in the same place.
Some areas are not as configurable as I might like.  Many things I can't change.


Acknowledgments
Corel and Adobe for creating such awesome products.
Anyone who gave some helpful pointers along the way.
JRiver for such a cool skinning engine, and the free copy of MC12 for my lil projects!

I should thank Design Tribe for a bit of inspiration here and there, so here's a link for their wonderful website.  Tom and Mike are good friends of mine, and if you're looking for a new Design, and a funky looking website, and have more money than i've got, then talk to these guys.

datdude

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 02:07:21 am »

The evolution, has begun!

I plan on changing the main text color to that of the text in the Tag AW.  I think that will look look better, imho.

I think the top player part of MC is awesome except for the progress bar.  Too dark in color, would be really cool if it was more of a really light blue/purplish kind of like the volume bar, and maybe have a little bit of that graph like texture on it like in the player button area.

It seems like you are going for a combination of really glitzy type art work which I like but also for bare bones simplicity as on the column headers.  I think these (along with the pane headers) should match exactly the same level of art on the main player header.  Light on top, fading to dark on bottom.  That would look nice for uniformity which I think is the key to any great skin.  You are almost there!
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StFeder

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 07:09:27 am »

Impressive work! The tabbar looks amazing!! Also the top area, the action window and the tree! And I like the little running man closing icon.

I think the top player part of MC is awesome except for the progress bar.  Too dark in color, would be really cool if it was more of a really light blue/purplish kind of like the volume bar, and maybe have a little bit of that graph like texture on it like in the player button area.

+1 for this! It's realy hard to see the progress state. Another bothersome thing is the divider between Search field and the Progress bar. Looks a bit displaced. Perhaps you can dismiss this  ;)

I don't like the very small close / minimize / restore icons, because they don't fit to windows xp/vista design.

Icons in the top toolbar are bigger than the toolbar. I'm not sure if the white (grey) line at the top of the window has to be there... perhaps if this is removed, the icons will fit better.

The volume slider (is it still the one used in intention skin?) does not fit to skin design in my eyes... Perhaps the volume button should differ more when switched to mute mode...?!

I like your repeat button, cause it's very easy to figure out, if it's in repeat all or repeat one state. But up to now, there is no difference between shuffle and shuffle automatic.

Very nice work!! I hope you'll find the time to work on it a bit, it is defenitly worth your time ;) I'm looking forward to the next version, hopefully with stop button  8)
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StFeder

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 07:55:12 am »

Played around with it a bit and found some other things.

I think these (along with the pane headers) should match exactly the same level of art on the main player header.  Light on top, fading to dark on bottom.  That would look nice for uniformity which I think is the key to any great skin.

Played around a bit. I also think the column header need some polish. Not sure if I'd like datdudes suggestion. Perhaps it'd look better to fade the other way: from dark on top to light on the bottom... But as long as they don't stay solid black in the final version I'll be happy :)

The small divider between the rating points (when no star is given) should be removed (List_Rating.png). I think, the middle image (the left star) must be moved one step to the right to solve this.
BTW: I love your star-design!!!!

To me, the vertikal list divider is to bright. Should be a darker grey.

When editing a field, the text is to dark and very hard to read.
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 04:08:20 am »

Thanks for the comments so far!

I'll take a look at your star suggestions StFeeder, I don't use ratings so it's a bit difficult for me to know what works!

The Track position bar looks fine on my screen, but I think many of the problems come from such large variances between screens in brightness and contrast.
Since it's a standard view it's not designed to be seen from a distance, but I can sit 4 meters from my 20" screen and still tell where the track position is.

Probably easiest if people try just changing the colour on this particular graphic to meet your needs.

The close, minimize buttons are going to be improved they are a left over from Intention, and the horrible zooming thing is a quick fix thing I done last year.
Saying that, I'm not going to copy Vista's buttons.  They are horrific in my opinion.
I prefer them being small.  If people want the Vista ones then do some screenshots and import them!

Originally Intention had the gradiented column headers.  Comments I was getting was there was to much bevelled look, so I decided to scale it back and focus on making the surround look shiny and then a flat look in the actual views.
The bevelled column headers looked very wrong, it stood out which I didn't want it to do.

The bevelled green needs to go, but beyond that I'm no going to change much here.   

The shuffle automatic button, I'm not sure if I can do this.  Can you point me in the direction of another skin that does this? Noire doesn't.

Cheers,
Chris.

StFeder

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 08:57:14 am »

I'll take a look at your star suggestions StFeeder, I don't use ratings so it's a bit difficult for me to know what works!
I tried to work on this. You can see my suggestion here. Feel free to use, change or discard it.

The Track position bar looks fine on my screen, but I think many of the problems come from such large variances between screens in brightness and contrast.
Since it's a standard view it's not designed to be seen from a distance, but I can sit 4 meters from my 20" screen and still tell where the track position is.

Probably easiest if people try just changing the colour on this particular graphic to meet your needs.
OK, thats a deal ;)

The close, minimize buttons are going to be improved they are a left over from Intention, and the horrible zooming thing is a quick fix thing I done last year.
Saying that, I'm not going to copy Vista's buttons.  They are horrific in my opinion.
I prefer them being small.  If people want the Vista ones then do some screenshots and import them!
I didn't want to say I want to have vista buttons, I just was kind of thinking, that the small buttons don't fit in vista design. But as longer I use the skin, the more I like the small buttons...

Originally Intention had the gradiented column headers.  Comments I was getting was there was to much bevelled look, so I decided to scale it back and focus on making the surround look shiny and then a flat look in the actual views.
The bevelled column headers looked very wrong, it stood out which I didn't want it to do.

The bevelled green needs to go, but beyond that I'm no going to change much here.   
Well, I also played around with this and I like the bevelled look better... I'd use the "List_BrowseHeaderBar.bmp" for the normal (unselected) section in "List_HeaderBar.bmp". But it's just my personal taste.

The shuffle automatic button, I'm not sure if I can do this.  Can you point me in the direction of another skin that does this? Noire doesn't.
Sorry, I missed this! Perhaps I should post it as a request in the board...

Please don't forget about the text color during in place editing! This appears if the edit field is a drop down field which, for me, is every field beside the name field. Text very hard to read during editing.

And don't forget: 2nd Stage is a great thing! I love your skin  :D
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 09:01:03 am »

Please don't forget about the text color during in place editing! This appears if the edit field is a drop down field which, for me, is every field beside the name field. Text very hard to read during editing.

And don't forget: 2nd Stage is a great thing! I love your skin  :D

I'll definitley look at that edit colour, that's definitley not intended!

Thanks =)

JONCAT

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 11:34:15 am »

I like it, but the whole zebra look with alternating grey & black is just plain gaudy, and highly objectionable from a usability standpoint. Sorry, but take a look at Solid Noire. why not just use black, and maybe add some subtle red lines if you need to have that delineation between items. I think viewing text is much cleaner and easier in something like Solid Noire (negative). Other than this aspect...incredible work.

DC
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2008, 11:36:42 am »

I like it
I like this bit.

, but the whole zebra look with alternating grey & black is just plain gaudy, and highly objectionable from a usability standpoint. Sorry, but take a look at Solid Noire. why not just using black, and maybe add some subtle red lines if you need to have that delineation between items.

DC

It wasn't me  ;).  If someone can tell me away of stopping it do that I'd love to make it just black!

Beatnik62

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2008, 11:47:07 am »


Nice sikn, a bit to dark for my taste, but a really good performance.

Beatnik
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 11:59:42 am »

Nice sikn, a bit to dark for my taste, but a really good performance.

Beatnik

Thanks  :)

Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2008, 08:54:43 am »

I like it, but the whole zebra look with alternating grey & black is just plain gaudy, and highly objectionable from a usability standpoint. Sorry, but take a look at Solid Noire. why not just use black, and maybe add some subtle red lines if you need to have that delineation between items. I think viewing text is much cleaner and easier in something like Solid Noire (negative). Other than this aspect...incredible work.

DC

If you take a look at the XML File there's a section called List
<LIST>   
    <Colors Text="397b9f" Back="000000" SelectedText="FFFFFF" SelectedBack="000000" Current="FFFFFF" />   

The bit that says back chooses the colours for the list back.
For Noire it's set to FFFFFF.  It does still do the zebra thing as that's what MC does it just uses a different shade, only by luck
for Noire it's more subtle.

I've used 000000 for black, and as a result it chooses that shade.

so there's nothing I can do about it. =(

I think the skinning engine really needs some polishing here and there to allow more tweeking and a few issues resolving,
but it doesn't seem a high priority on the development list.

As a single artist?/designer/developer my thoughts don't get much love, so if you'd like it to change you need to poke MC's dev's.

tcman41

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2008, 07:54:14 pm »

Could someone perhaps post a rapidshare link for 2nd stage skin, i cant seem to download it from the site listed.

TC  :)
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WinoOutWest

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2008, 01:13:01 am »

I tired to download as well but got a corrupted file error when trying to unzip.
Would love to get my hands on this skin.
Cheers!
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Alex B

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2008, 02:05:07 am »

Could someone perhaps post a rapidshare link for 2nd stage skin, i cant seem to download it from the site listed.

For now, it is available here:
http://rs51.rapidshare.com/files/137453504/2nd_Stage_10062008.zip
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2008, 02:07:58 am »

Thanks Alex!

tcman41

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2008, 08:25:55 pm »

thanx for the alternative link for the skin, really appreciate it.
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StFeder

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2008, 12:12:22 pm »

Any progress here?!
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prod

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2008, 07:25:13 am »

I've been using Theatre View mostly so never got round to installing this - however since I demoted my laptop from HTPC the other day thought I'd give your skin a look.

I love it. I've put the "Flip Colours (1)" effect on in Skin Effects and it really looks gorgeous, so thanks v much.
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2008, 09:35:44 am »

Thanks!  I'm starting to forget what home looks like, but if I ever go back there I will try and do some more of this stuff soon!  ;D

prod

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2008, 09:03:23 am »

Funny, I've been seeing a little too much of home recently. Enjoying the time off though.

The skin looks pretty much the done deal to me - or maybe I just haven't got the over-critical eye? Puts the default ones to shame.
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lynott

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2008, 06:50:46 am »

Hi!

The skin is awesome, but there is no progress-bar slider.  It is impossible to see the song progress, and hard to fast forwrd tracks.
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StFeder

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Re: 2nd Stage - New Skin
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2008, 06:57:46 am »

I had the same problem with the Track position bar. Mr ChriZ gave me this reply:

The Track position bar looks fine on my screen, but I think many of the problems come from such large variances between screens in brightness and contrast.
Since it's a standard view it's not designed to be seen from a distance, but I can sit 4 meters from my 20" screen and still tell where the track position is.

I solved this by re-adjusting the settings of my tft. You also could change the skin-files in the 2nd-stage folder called "Playerbar_Slider***.png" to make them fit to your needs.
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lynott

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2008, 11:15:05 am »

That worked. Thanks :)
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DarkPenguin

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2008, 12:25:44 pm »

I like this skin quite a bit.
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2008, 12:49:10 pm »

I like this skin quite a bit.

Thanks!  :)
Hoping to get this to Release soon.

mjh992

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2008, 06:58:29 pm »

This is an awesome skin it looks great on my 32" lcd. its now my favorite. this is a bit off topic but looking at your screenshot of the skin i noticed u have Film, Tv Series links there on the left. just wanting to know how you acheived that. thanks
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2008, 08:13:57 am »

This is an awesome skin it looks great on my 32" lcd. its now my favorite. this is a bit off topic but looking at your screenshot of the skin i noticed u have Film, Tv Series links there on the left. just wanting to know how you acheived that. thanks

Thanks! I'm currently working on a simple Theater View Skin to go with it.  With a bit of luck I may have it released over the next month.
As for adding the views, you can add them at root level by selecting a root level view scheme and then going to add view from the view menu.
In MC13, it gives you the option to add it as a root level view, in MC12 it just add's the view where you have currently got something selected.

Let me know which version you are using and I can give you more details about the rules I have used to set up the views.

http://img37.picoodle.com/img/img37/3/12/13/f_TVSeriesViem_b4a0e42.png

http://img26.picoodle.com/img/img26/3/12/13/f_TVSeriesSeam_afa979c.png

http://img33.picoodle.com/img/img33/3/12/13/f_TVSeriesEpim_774025f.png

mjh992

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2008, 10:14:52 pm »

Let me know which version you are using and I can give you more details about the rules I have used to set up the views.

Atm im using mc12 but i will upgrade soon. if u could supply a how to that would be very much appreciated. im a bit of a noob. :)

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Mr ChriZ

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Re: *NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2009, 05:58:28 pm »

I've dusted off 2nd Stage and tweaked a few graphics.  It's rare I've got the patience to sit in front of the machine now a days, but today was one of those days.

Included in this release:
Better Windows Controls - Maximize, Close, Restore, Minimize.
New Display View Looks more like Noire
Minor pixel tweaks here and there

I know there's still much work to be done in some of the smaller form controls.  2010 looks good for this.

I want to say again what an awesome package Corel Draw is.  I create most of the vector's in this, before taking them over to Photoshop for pixel tweaking and resizing.  Version 11 was good but buggy, I'm currently on a 30 day trial of 14, and the bugs now seem to be gone, and it just works beautifully!  It's a shame there isn't a cheaper way to buy it for personal use however (same with PS)  :-\

prod

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Re: *NOT SO NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2009, 03:56:45 am »

Thanks mate this is still the most lush skin by a country mile. And second place goes to Intention.  :)
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: *NOT SO NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2009, 05:01:35 am »

Much appreciated Prod =)

Merv

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Re: *NOT SO NEW SKIN* 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiney
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2010, 05:07:55 am »

Hi Mr ChriZ,

I hope you get to read this - not a lot of postings here lately

I've been using your Second Stage skin...what can I say, you're obviously a perfectionist.

The three dimensional effect is superb ! The carbon fibre look of the transport control area is stunning !

The things that I would love to see are:

A stop button

Search box in matching red (as per Intention skin)

Progress bar in a slightly brighter red (the line is quite narrow and hard to see)

Theatre View in a matching theme

Hope you get some spare time at some stage to get back to this project...from what I've read you're very busy    ;D


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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2010, 11:22:19 am »

Thanks  ;D.

I'm off to South Carolina for a week and have another secret mystery media center project on the go at the moment, which is probably the closest I've ever come to releasing something which is actually complete for MC  ;)

However I am intending to get back to the skinning sooner or later....

Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2010, 05:29:41 pm »

Small update fixes two issues:
1.  Build 110 ish changed the way the skinning engine worked, as a result display view looked a bit weird.  Resolved with help from Matt.
2.  A dodgy slim view file slipped in last time.  This has been put back to how it should be.

Matt

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2010, 05:36:26 pm »

I really like this skin.

Build 134 (coming in a few days) should improve the look on dialogs like DSP Studio where the gradient background of 2nd Stage wasn't being nicely drawn.  Previously each control would get its own gradient, but the new build should look like one continuous gradient.  Just let us know if there are areas that still have this problem after trying the new build.
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2010, 05:41:26 pm »

Thanks!  I've just submitted that release the skins/plugins page as it never made it there.
I notice all of the combo boxes draw correctly now a days as well where they didn't before, so thanks for that too.

221bBS

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2010, 11:56:29 am »

I just started using this skin and it looks GREAT!!

I've noticed a few things...

1) When using the tag window (bottom left window) and I click on a field to edit the text color becomes gray on a black background becoming hard to read.



2) In the picture above, the 1st field named p/s is an expression field and is highlighted a different color.  But the difference is very subtle, any chance on changing it to be more noticeable?

3) The scroll bar is hard to see.

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mib4755

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2010, 03:53:30 pm »

Hi Chris,
really nice skin. Thanks a lot for all the work.

One question though:
Opening main.xml in firefox gives an error
in line 85 column 59

 
Code: [Select]
<Entry Name="Button" Bitmap="Frame_Button.png" Colors Text="FFFFFF" Margins="2,2,2,2" NumberImages="4" 
----------------------------------------------------------^


I tried to correct that. Would that be about right then?
Code: [Select]
<Entry Name="Button" Bitmap="Frame_Button.png" Margins="2,2,2,2" NumberImages="4" DrawMode="REGION_B_STRETCH">
      <Colors PressedText="FFFFFF" OverText="FFFFFF"/>
</Entry>


Thanks again
  Michael
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2010, 04:31:37 pm »

Thanks Michael.  I'm not entirely certain why you'd want to open the xml in Firefox.
I've tried a few other skins and it seems many of the main.xml files don't render properly.  
I guess the actual spec for the xml isn't technically valid XML.
I'm sure you're right however if that works!

However since MC is the only thing that really needs to read it I guess for most people it's not really a problem!

I tend to use Textpad when editing the files.
Cheers,
Chris

mib4755

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2010, 12:39:09 pm »

Hi Chris,
that's fine for me then. I don't worry too much  :) and it's working anyway.
It's just, as an IT guy, I like well-formed XML  :-X

Thanks  a lot
  Michael
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2010, 02:30:21 pm »

Message for Epken:

It should work under Windows 7 x64 ,  I have it running on Vista x64 no probs.
You have it in the folder:
Media Center\Skins\Standard View\2nd Skin
?

Ps your Inbox is full.
Regardless it's better to write posts as then everyone can see them.

Alex B

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2012, 03:33:34 pm »

The old links are dead. Here is a new link:
https://rapidshare.com/files/778158944/2nd_Stage_27012010.zip

An old screenshot (MC14):

Click to enlarge.
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2012, 04:55:08 pm »

Thanks Alex

connersw

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2014, 01:34:58 pm »

Just found this skin today for the first time, and I am really digging it.  I love the gloss black shiny look.  Nice work -- thank you. 
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Mr ChriZ

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Re: 2nd Stage - Available here, all black and shiny
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2014, 09:38:35 am »

Glad you like it.  It's getting a bit old now.  One day I'd love to come back to it and create something a bit newer. 
Unfortunately most of my time goes into cruise parking systems now a days.
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