The Default Windows 7 Glass Shine...

Can I NOT haz it?

Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Kevin_Walter | Discussion: Skinning

I'm working on my first skin in years... in fact, I haven't even used WindowBlinds nor Skin Studio in at least 2 years. After staring at Aero for that amount of time, I decided to go on the search for something a little different. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted, and I found a lot of themes that were close... but they all had something about them that I didn't like. So... why not try my hand at making my own once again?

Cool story, right bro?

Anyway, I'm sat here working on this probably impossible theme concept that involves a transparent taskbar, part of the start menu, and the top and bottom window borders. These parts are meant to resemble frosted glass. They have a tiny bit of shine to them, but nothing major. 

My question is, is there not a way to disable the default glass effect on transparent windows and such for Windows 7? I could have swore that was an option before. I know you can't for Vista... but I always thought you could with 7. If it's possible, could somebody point me in the proper direction for getting that done, or am I just crazy?

Thanks in advance. 

Reply #1 Friday, May 17, 2013 6:36 AM

the default is "blur". look at the "extra settings" for the element that you are skinning. there is an option to to change that function (blur-transparency-no tranparency) for most of the elements that you mention.

hope that's what you're looking for.

Reply #2 Friday, May 17, 2013 10:48 AM

Well that sucks. I want the background to remain blurred on the transparent parts, but I don't want the shine effect.

Oh well, guess I have to live with it.


EDIT: One other question. Is it possible to have transparent search/address bars in Windows 7? I removed the background image, but there is a weird black box where the search bar would be on the explorer windows. I'm guess this is why most people just use solid white search bars... 


It's always the little things that kill a design....

Reply #3 Friday, May 17, 2013 10:46 PM

Just to clarify what I edited into my previous post... I would like completely transparent search/navigation bars. Is it possible to remove the blacked out part in this pic?

Reply #4 Saturday, May 18, 2013 8:12 AM

I tried the search area as a png and bmp with the same results that you're seeing.

it would seem that although the search field graphic is used for this area, that it may impacted by some windows7 hard coding as well.

rock and a hard spot?

Reply #5 Saturday, May 18, 2013 10:49 AM

I don't think so... 

This skin by neone6 uses transparent search bars, and I just downloaded and applied it, and no black bar.

So there has to be a way to keep the black bar from appearing. I thought maybe it had something to do with also having a transparent background, as the one in that skin is opaque, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as I replaced the background on my skin with an opaque white image and the black bar was still there.

I've seen other themes with transparent search bars that still have the black bar... but this one doesn't. Perplexing, to say the least...

Reply #6 Saturday, May 18, 2013 11:08 AM

Haha! I got it to work!  

Apparently, the entire area of the search bar image needs to have pixel data... even if that data isn't visible. I made the entire image black, then lowered the opacity to 50%, flattened the layer style, and then lowered opacity again to 1%. This creates an image with transparency so light, it's literally impossible to see unless you're really looking for it... but it's still there. BUT... no more ugly black bar! Woohoo! 

*dances a jig* 

Now, if only there was a way to change the ugly black text. But I know that's not actually possible, so I should probably quit while I'm ahead. lol

Reply #7 Saturday, May 18, 2013 11:55 AM

I did something like that with a 10-10-10 mask but didn't like the way the font looked (bold and squinched)


Reply #8 Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:21 PM

I'll take ugly text in one part of the design, over ruining the rest of the design any day. 

I knew when I was designing the concept for this skin that the search areas would be problematic, as I've had trouble when experimenting with the before. But that ugly black box looked far worse than the ugly black text that's left. And adding solid search bars would have killed everything I'm trying to achieve, so that was unacceptable.

Reply #9 Sunday, May 26, 2013 8:58 PM

I got some great information from Xiandi (Cyndie) the other week or so. The standard text color of black text can actually be changed in the sub-section of coloring in SKS that gives you the Windows "Default colors".


  Because I'm still getting used to Photoshop again after over a 10 year absence, I haven't tried changing that standard text color of black yet because All of the non-skinned apps depend on Windows standards color settings for their colors. I've spent over a week now learning what I can change and can't change but from the small color changes I've made to that section, my non-skinned apps now have a 3D look to their borders, scroll bars and the borders of pop-up windows such as enabled "Show Desktop" in the taskbar.


   I'm still experimenting with that section and have a lot to learn but with my current WIP, even the little button at the bottom of "Show Desktop" that moves the list down has a brand new 3D effect to it.


Normal Start Button




















After seeing all the different shines that ABC has applied to their "ABC" logo, I had the desire to make my own shines.

I've found some Wonderful "You Tube" video tutorials on creating different types of shines for buttons and you can find most of the different types of shines there so you can create your own just by watching them.


My You Tube search string was " Photoshop CS6 shiny buttons ".


I have to admit that my skinning skills are still at the Stone Age level for now while I learn how to take advantage of all that Photoshop has to offer but these tutorials sure have speeded up my learning curve. (Yes, I know that my Start Button graphic is a bit "Oblong", I'll be fixing that in it's next generation). I just wanted to show the nice shine effect that I found.

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