This tutorial was written by WebGizmos to go along with the ObjectDock Background Contest currently being run on WinCustomize. WG wants as many people as possible to be able to participate, so he's going to step you through the process of making a dock background that perfectly matches a WindowBlinds skin.
Outside of a little bit of format correction, this is the basic getting-started guide WG emailed me the other week. If anyone has any additions or clarifications to make to this guide, please feel free to post them in the comments section.
This is just a basic tutorial for creating a set of dock backgrounds from an existing WindowBlinds skin.
First get all the parts needed for your docks from the skin your creating them for. You can do this using a free version of SkinStudio. (Its much easier than trying to find them one by one in the skin folder)
Open your chosen skin you wish to create docks for in SkinStudio and the first thing you will see is the windows dialog or "Active Window"
From that you want to click on and save the following images as png files...
Top/Bottom/Left/Right sides of the window All Tabs (these would be labeled "Selected & Normal" on the bottom set...not the top set and clicking either one on the bottom will get you both images) All buttons ( these would be labeled "Default & Normal" and clicking either one will get you both images) These images will be used for dock backgrounds and your tabs.
Next, click on "XP Taskbar" and save...
Username bar at the top.
The bottom of the startmenu
The buttons on the taskbar
The above images can be used to make dock backgrounds as well as side docks and tabs.
(Bmp images of these can be opened using MSPaint...TGA or Transparent images can be opened and saved using either PhotoShop or Paint.net
Next, click on "End Session" and save...
Turn Off Computer (in some cases there will be images and text you will need to remove) Log Off Computer (same as above) Please Wait (In some skins this may not be useable as a background) You can open these using the drop down menu at the top where it says "Turn Off Computer"
These can be used for dock backgrounds as well as side docks.
From this point on just think of it as putting a puzzle together. You can open your images in MSPaint and make any adjustments or fine tuning there.
Add pink to the parts you want to render as transparent such as the corners and center area where the icons will reside.
Then you can open them in Photoshop or Paint.net to remove the pink and add transparency if that's your goal.
The basic construction of a dock background using images from a skin.
First create a folder you will save your images in and work from for your dock and save all the image parts listed above.
Now open the top image for the window dialog in MSPaint...right click on the image and click on "select all" to save the image to memory.
Now open the left side for the windows dialog in MSPaint.
Now before you paste your image saved to memory stretch the right part of the template to the right (about 250 pixels) and paste the top part you copied to that template and move it in place.
(When you open any image in MSPaint you'll see a small dot at the sides of the template, place you cursor there and then you can stretch it in the direction you want. Make sure you leave enough room to paste the next image you'll need.) Now save the Left & Top part of the background you just put together to your folder.
Now open the Right side in MSPaint...right click on the image and click on "select all" to save the image to memory..
Now open the parts you just saved and paste the Right side in place and save it again.
Now open the bottom image...right click on the image and click on "select all" to save the image to memory...and then open the last image you saved and paste the bottom in place.
As far as making docks from a screenshot...you are limited to what you see...but you can still make a full set of docks from one. All you have to do is cut and paste the parts in MSPaint and make all the needed tweaks to the images...define all the edges...use your imagination.
Thanks again to WebGizmos for taking the time to write this.