Long, long ago, (back in November 2007) I started a series called "Ask the Masters." Response was great from the community and the Master Skinners and all was well.
Except two things weren't really well. First, one issue isn't much of a series. Two, one of the Masters responses got lost in the mail.
So, in an attempt to fix both items I'm kicking off the series again with a feature on SK Originals with updated responses to your questions.
Apologies to SK and the readers. Enjoy.
Question 1: How did you get started skinning?
I've always been into art and have been doing graphic design for quite
a few years now. I was one of those kids who painted his matchbox cars. Once I found out I could 'customize' my PC it was only a matter of
time I guess. I started with SysMetrix and then straight on to
WindowBlinds. The diehards of Skinning.net
at the time really 'pulled me under their wing' and... well... a few years later here we are.
Question 2: What is your favorite thing about skinning?
something new. I mean the 'tried and true' stuff is nice and usually
makes for good usability but I really like to do the ones that look
different. Just seeing the final overall project in completion and
basically creating a whole new environment is cool. Plus I just find it
fun, just wish I had more time to do it, would be nice to just skin all
day. Lately I've been more focused on usability as I've working my way
around SKS6, WB6 and Vista (as a whole, seeing I switched to it as my
main OS). Its a 'change of pace' but I think I'm going to go back to do
what I truly enjoy.. mix it up.
Question 3: What makes a good project?
Oh that's easy, that one where you get in this zone and you can't pull
yourself away from it. Maybe its the concept or the overall view you
can't get out of your head or something else. All I know is its good
when you just can't stop thinking about it or working on it. That's
besides all the usual stuff like design, cleanliness, usability ect.
But, from a skinners perspective, when your in that zone and the skin
becomes something personal and more for you and your 'idea' it doesn't
really matter what others might think of it... that's the best by far
because your going to put that extra touch in it then.
Question 4: What prompts you to develop a project? Do you ever get inspired by community requests?
ideas come from all over. From paintings to TV to a wacky dream, an
idea can come from anywhere. I have gotten ideas from the community at
large but not so many direct request in the past. My last few skins
however have been co-worked with individuals in some fashion or
another. The latest (and soon to be released) has been a very closely
worked on skin with a non-skinner but skinning community faithful,
wont say who till the skin is released but every aspect was mulled over
with them till everyone was happy. Not something for the 'faint of
heart' to try
Question 5: What is your interaction with the other Masters?
would say pretty good, I've talked to just about every last one and
some on a regular basis. Skinners in general tend to be a good group of
people and rather friendly. In many ways we have all been through a lot
of the same type of things so we kind of understand where each other is
coming from I think.
Question 6: What is your level of interaction with your "fans"?
if by fans you mean the community I think I'm rather active. I try to
reply to comments and help with questions. I do a lot of 'behind the
scenes' community related things so I think I interact indirectly in
that sort of way also. I'm also on the IRC a lot so there is a lot of
interaction there to. ...such a weird idea, me having 'fans' hehe
Question 7: What are the most important skills to being a (master) skinner?
really thought about it. I guess its a bit in how you present yourself
and in maybe an extra sort of checklist on those things you put out
now, make sure its 'perfect'. Keeping up with your current skill set
and expanding it too. As an artist your always wanting to expand on
what you already know and do anyway. As a 'Master' your expected to
have a certain 'quality' and bring that extra ~umph~
Question 8: What's the process that works best for you to complete a project?
mull over the idea and concept mentally for a good while, that could
take anywhere from a week to a month, after that I just dive right in
with a lack of fear to change things as the skin/project grows. I try
to let the skin take on a life of its own as I'm working on it. Other
then that its just digging away till its complete. I use all my skins
as I'm working on them, no matter how long that might take.
Question 9: What is the
back-story on your favorite project?
would be my Psycho suite I guess. I think I had more fun doing that set
of skins then any other to date (speaking of which, it might should be
updated lol). It wasn't the most well received as it was pretty weird
and a strange color but that just played into the whole fun of it for
me. I originally saw a painting on the book cover "Psychohistrical
Crisis" and was just inspired from there. I even read the book as I
worked on the skin (interesting scifi book btw if your a fan). I even
wrote the artist and got his blessing on it. All that together just
made the whole project that much more for me.
Question 10: How has Wincustomize changed your life?
has helped make me feel 'at home' on the net. I mean where else is
there such a large group of people who have a similar interest and its
all in fun. Its like a second life away from real life for me. I've
grown to know a lot of the people here rather personally and have never
had any 'problems' or the like (for the most part). Let me just say if
I never have before that...
I love all you people