Skinning is HARD. SkinStudio is CONFUSING.
I have collected a few tidibits along the way and have them saved as a txt file to reference when I forget what does what. I thought maybe I'd share this with the rest of you. Even though many already know these quirks, I'm sure that we are in a minority.
Don't look at this as a complete skinning guide. I have listed here just some of the oddities that are sometimes hard to remember. And I certainly don't have the energy to list all the mislabeled and legacy elements in SKS here.
I'll probably update this post as I remember things or are reminded of them in the comments.
The Start Menu Popup menu is not actually used where shown. However that menu IS used in 2 other places:
1. The commandbar view background with the "slider". Avoid using an image with rounded corners here, because WB will allways draw a square stroke around the menu. That stroke color is defined by the WindowFrame color in the skin defined system colors. Note: the WindowFrame color is rarely seen elsewhere but may show up in other areas like (properties dialog, Security tab and Previous Versions tabs). Text settings and mouseover image for this section are defined in the Toolbar style menubar button in the Edit toolbars section.
2. Taskbar toolbars (the flyout menu when you add a toolbar to your taskbar). Make sure you skin the menu items and define the text colors.
I think that it has always been the case that these areas have been defined through the Start Menu Popup but the difference now is that windows 10 does not have a native flyout menu so Start 10 uses the regular menu section for this.
The dropdown background and mouseover in the address bar (when you click on an arrow) is defined in the section Edit Explorer/ IE shell parts > Edit additional parts > Drop down background and Drop down mouseover.
There are no text color settings here because they are static and defined by the window text color (system color), so keep that in mind when you choose the image for your mouseover.
WB will add a stroke to this menu background, but it grabs that from an odd place (shocker). It takes the color from the outer edge of the Non captioned window edge which you will find in the UIS2 frames section.
The arrows themself (in the addressbar) are defined by the button text color in the skin defined system colors and do not change on mouseover.
Note: Button text color also effects the tiny up/down arrows in headerbars and other text in some windows/dialogs.
To skin the popup menu in the taskbar tray expander/show hidden icons, we return to the Non Captioned window edge, which as I mentioned in the section above, is found in the UIS2 frames section. Make this a solid square with no rounded corners or blank canvas around the image because WB/Win10 will add a hard-coded stroke and shadow to this image.
That's it for now. I may add reference images to illustrate at a later date.