Fuzzy Logic and I.R... well said.
When I started skinning, people frowned upon unoriginal concepts. If you made something similiar to someone elses work, you were called out by someone. Yes, it got piddly in some cases but at least the checks and balances worked. I remember someone making a stink because a skinner used a highlight technique that another skinner used. A little extreme on the pickiness but in actuality, that highlight was intellectual property. A lawyer could make a case of it.
After the libraries started to really fill up, coming up with an original concept was one of the tougher things to do. The more you skin, the harder it is to be fresh. I think alot of beginners (certainly myself included) get skinners block and force skins just to get something done. Here's a tip... If you have to put the color of your skin as part of the name (blue wall, red and white, black Vista, etc) you lost my interest already. Guess what? I can see that it is blue or black. You puting the color in the name tells me you never had any vision for the work from the getgo and there probably isn't any emotion behind it. There are obvious exceptions, but I think you all get my point.
Obviously XP users like their Vista skins or there wouldn't be 1000 of them out there. I don't hold that against them. Am I going to make a Vista skin and sell it just because it is the most popular thing? Not me and most likely, no other Master will because we skin because we have a passion for skinning. Eventually someones passion for money will overtake their passion for skinning and post such a skin but the Masters that I know would never do it. As I.R. said, Stardcok design has a different agenda than any of us so they cannot be included in any sensible discussion.
With the introduction of the Master Skin program, I feel it is more important than ever to protect each other's rights, including intellectual rights. This is not hard to do if everyone pays attention and speaks up regardless of the recoil they may suffer in return. We have download whores and they should be tarred and feathered. Skinning for downloads disrespects everything we all do. The sad thing is that the person skinning for downloads will eventually feel that energy come back to them in only negative ways. A year from now, your work will still be a rushed looking piece of something, your downloads will be 0, and most importantly, you will have less self esteem. You are not kidding any of us that pay attention. We have been around and know the tricks. If you update a screenshot and push a skin off the updated list, you should be shot, or at least neutered.
I am sure most of you have read what I said in a certain upload recently and thought it to be too harsh. I apologize if I offended anybody but noone is standing up calling for me to quit skinning. I was right and I have my first GUIO skin about half done.
I had to speak up and I had to do it publicly. That skin is a disgrace to everything skinning. Heck, in the beginning, even the beginniest of beginners would recolor default Luna images before releasing. How we got to accepting works with ALOT of default SKS template images untouched, I have no idea but it should not be acceptable.
I will be making a template skin for skinstudio that I hope to get Stardock to use instead of the diamond skin. Something such as this will prevent people from making similiar skins. Especially when all the default images are puke green or poo brown ( maybe a marbled mix of both P) ).
For the record, It took me about 2 1/2 hours to duplicate the skin I went postal on the other day. Thats right 2 1/2 hours. Guess what , mine was actually usable with 15 minutes additional work. If I were to upload it I would be a complete ass but according to currrent standards, it would be acceptable and anyone leaving negative feedback would be prone to flaming. It's just not right! The whole system is out of order becuase people look for ways to cheat the system in order to stand out. Where there is no talent, there is shennanigans.
My advice is simple and applys to everyone. (cause I am hungover and can't come close to saying it as eloquintly as Fuzzy).YOUR WORK CAN BE BETTER!
ps. Kitty, I don't think I am alone when I say that you have been a huge addiiton to the originality factor in this thing we call Skinning. Just go with the flow, your flakiness adds to your talent.