Vista WB skinning shared knowledge and tips thread

Don't keep us in the dark.......make us wise!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 by 2of3 | Discussion: Skinning

As many have learned, Skinning for Vista has presented us with new challenges/limitations.

My hope for this thread is that skinners will send me tips and "rules" for building a Vista blind.

I can update this post (with credit to the sender) if skinners want to PM me with tips. That way they will be easier to find instead of people having to search through thread comments .

I'll also divide these tips into sections as more content gets added


- Make sure to make the programslist (starpanel left side) wide enough for the application text's if you plan on having it animated. Failure to make i wide enough for the content and mouse over the to long text will repaint the startpanel and trigger the animation from the beginning again.

- the two small images that make up the bottom corners and bar in the IE7 tabs have to be saved as Indexed .bmps.

In Photoshop > Menu > Image > Mode > Indexed color > Save.

- Skin the right and left tab images. It looks much more refined when complete.

- The bottom bar content margins are based on your Start Panel's left and right pane margins. You cannot adjust the size of the Vista log off buttons. Trick it out with transparency.

-For the start menu search icon. Take a look at the size of your bottom image. If it's over 58 px tall, you need to bring it down below. 58 is the magic number before the search icon aligns properly.

- The favorites menu can't be transparent but the typical drop down menu can be. Make separate images for those menus.

- The Forward and Back IE7 navigational arrows are a nightmare to skin. We are currently limited as to what we can do due to different icon sizes.

- Use glyphs on buttons when possible to avoid stretching issues on buttons. The new layer feature will help a lot in this regard.

-The default white text on the command bar buttons is controlled by the 'windows background' color in the skins 'basic' color section.


Color legend:

Night Train






Articles of interest:

The Blur feature and effecting Shadows

SKS6 - 'Edit Vista Part Colors'


Learn together with I.R. Bainiac:


Start Menu Open help thread:


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Fuzzy Logic
Reply #41 Wednesday, February 4, 2009 3:29 PM

I'd like to see skinners set fonts for all items, especially the taskbar gripper and the quick launch buttons. I use taskbar toolbars and if these fonts aren't set they look grotty.

Reply #42 Wednesday, February 4, 2009 6:22 PM




Reply #43 Wednesday, February 4, 2009 7:25 PM

Took me a while to figure out where you were quoting that from, John


Any insight on reply #28?

Reply #44 Wednesday, February 4, 2009 11:38 PM

It's true, kitty. When I renamed aero frost to intoxica, it didn't work. I suspect that it's not a good method to rename a skin that already has a substyle. I noticed that when I went into the skin folder, there were a lot of images that were named AeroFrost(imagename).tga while some images were just (imagename).tga. There were also AeroFrost.UIS files as well as intoxica.UIS files in the folder.

When I start a skin, I always just click on new skin and give it the name rather than using another skin as a template. Then I complete the vista version and add a substyle. Next, I create a .wba and move the skin to my xp machine, make my adjustments, and complete the xp shellstyle, animations, etc.

That's how I did the ZubaZ blind and I'm not aware of any issues with the skin.



wow, thanks for that 20f3! sorries i had to ask you to do it......ill have my pc back tomorrow, it just needed a new power supply....i will follow what you said.......and hopefully I will have luck wtih it.  I normally do that, but Ive always had issues with stuff not working for me.....its prolly just only me cause im soo kooky.......but ill give it a go tomorrow night with my new "intoxica" skin.........huggles for your help!!

..with regards to #28 ....ive always used the molten skin size for the Branding....not sure what that size is, since i dont have sk atm....hopefully its the same size as you said.

Reply #45 Wednesday, February 4, 2009 11:43 PM

while im here, i did think of a good tip..

when doing the group menu box, some skinners also do a 'bar' across the top,it looks nice, but in photoshop the font goes outside of those bar boundries and it looks sloppy.

2. when doing the taskbar, make sure you double it so you can see if your image is going to stretch and look crap, or look good, this applies to traynotifyer too......sometimes ive seen skins where the image stretches horribly, and its not a good look.  there are some pc users out there who use their taskbar as double height constantly,not just the normal height.

Reply #46 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 5:28 AM

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