Now we move on to the buttons. Before we import and apply them, I would like to go over a few things. Hopefully this will be of help to someone down the road. It will probably make the more experienced skinners cringe because of my description and method. If there is a better way, I hope they will jump in and explain it.
First, lets take a look at the buttons for Diamond.
Where you see orange, it is actually transparent in the skin. (I added the orange so you could see the actual size of the full png) The buttons are uniform and pretty basic. (Not to take away from anyone's work). Using Frame Builder or making a png with all six images is fairly easy when your buttons are minimal in design. Now look at the buttons for Roan.
The first thing you may notice is that the top and bottom margins are larger as well as the spacing between the images. Now, I want to post one more image before I try to explain what I did when importing these.
The above image is of three different drafts of the same button. Notice how they are centered (or not centered) in there areas.
There were several issues I faced after I did the drafts and then tried to import and apply them. It's something I have dealt with in previous attempts (because my designs are coming from a lack of experience with SKS) and I always seem to forget about.
- I forgot to take into consideration the stitching along the top of the taskbar. When I tried to apply buttons with no margins at the top and bottom, they would overlap and cover the stitching. I COULD have left it alone and gone this route, but in my head, I wanted the stitching to show. In image with the beige BG, I made the actual png size larger (55x52) and nudged the button down. When I imported it. the top stitching showed but the button was too far down AND it covered the stitching when I tried to use it in a TOP positioned tasbar.
- I nudged it up in the brown bg image but it still did not appear the way I wanted in the top taskbar.
Besides trying not to overlap the stitching, I ran into the issue of the icons for the buttons overlapping the gold rings. No matter what I did, I could not get them centered. IN Windows 7, the text margin settings are no help. After closer examination, I realized to have the icons centered correctly, or at least not overlapping the gold rings, I needed to adjust the button image and not just the position. This meant removing the shadows on the ends and nudging the rings a couple pixels towards the outer edges of the button. The result is the image with the orange background.
Then I imported it and just had to play with the paint and text margins until everything was centered. I had to go back to photoshop a few times as well and nudge the buttons around in the 52x55 background.
All of this was tedious (for me) and frustrating. It's the kind of thing (in the past) that has made me give up on a skin and threatened to beat me down again here with this one.
I guess what I want to say is that I believe there is a lot you can do with your designs. There is also a lot you just can't do. You won't know for sure until you try. (I was sure I would be giving up the stitching before I even started on this.) With the buttons, I had even started new designs. Before you let the frustration get to you, I strongly recommend just closing the skin and walking away for a day or two. In my case, I have a bad habit of insisting a square peg is going to fit in a round hole and will go blind trying to make it happen.
In the Roan Taskbar and Button Update II download, you will find the individual buttons in psd format (you can save into png yourself) as well as pngs for all of them, already assembled into one png. Applying the png that is assembled is pretty straight forward. If you want a taste of what I went through, you can try and recreate the buttons in individual images/frames and applying them that way. At the very least, it is interesting to see how much difference a nudge here or there can make the overall application of the images.
Before I go ahead and show how I applied the buttons...
If any of the more experienced skinners see mistakes or an easier way to do this, please post it the thread so everyone can see and I can curse you for the rest of the week.