[RELEASE] Back Row (Skin)

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djdafreund Offline
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Post: #16
Feedback is always good. I wasn't talking in terms of UI's, but just in general with art, being i've had 30 or more years of experience with and training. I know UI's are different though. And i also agree everyone has there own opinion. I don't usually believe in 'well documented' articles though, as there's thousands of things it's used in, yet can be totally different in each application, and usually never has a perfect solution for all applications. A 'Rule of Thumb' works, but look at SO MANY programs out there that are the most of popular in the public eye, and yet having totally different designs and alignments of everything in the GUI. Yet each one still special in it's own way. Look how big M$ is and decade's of experience, and still don't get things right, constantly changing it, until the majority of the people like it, even though GUI's have been 'proven' to have one main choice of design that works. I joke about that. Being the biggest company in the world.

And no, i don't take things as criticism. I welcome your comments and such. That's why this theme, IMO, is one of the best out there and only one i have been using for years and years. Sharpe has sculptured it from a base, by using A LOT of user's comments and requests. Without you guy's support and comments and idea's, it wouldn't be what it is today. So just as big thanks to you guys for help making it what it's become, and also thanks for all the good support you've given. (Mostly from the X-S scene community, but it's more proper to have it here now.)

And thanks for the nice words said. I'm very proud of Sharpe's work with this theme just as well. I've tried so many other's, and some have missing views i like, or some have too many things, and some just have some quirks i just can't deal with, always coming back. It just has everything perfectly done that i like in a theme. And keep's getting better. Your comments are always welcome my friend!!! Smile
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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #17
I'm wondering too... about the DVD case opening animation....it's very sexy... but not serving too much purpose... (but still I like eye candy!)...

Perhaps this could be extended for the Music and TV shows.

There's something in the back of my mind niggling me though... that the box opening should open to reveal something useful...CD art would be one possibility... or some additional info like plot, or cast etc. I know I mentioned it in my first post... but maybe the case opening (as it is now) then closing in reverse to show the rear with additional info on the rearview. A lot of animation I know... but then again, it's only a transition from one angle to another... so not THAT much work *grin*

I do agree there are some other skins with views that maybe this skin is missing.... but you can't do them all!. There are aspects of Aeon I love, and of Transparency!... and the Elipsis theme manages to put a little 'sex' into things... it just doesn't quite embrace fanart in the way I would like it to.
In my opinion, this skin isn't the best any single aspect of a skin, but reaches the best compromises... and so makes it the best overall skin (until I change my mind lol)


And for those reading who say "what about Alaska?"... I think it's a great skin and breaks a number of 'traditional' XBMC UI styles.... which is really welcomed in order to be innovative. It's just not for me.
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garyi Offline
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Post: #18
Hi nice looking theme. Can I switch off the 5-4-3-2-1 thing, and also the fonts on settings etc are so small as to be unreadable at any reasonable distance, could that be adjusted at all?
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pecinko Offline
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Post: #19
AnalogKid Wrote:I'm wondering too... about the DVD case opening animation....
.. box opening should open to reveal something useful...CD art would be one possibility... or some additional info like plot, or cast etc. I know I

Here are my thoughts:
-show DVD or Bluray disc when case opens, if content is SD or HD respectively
- I have a couple of DVDs which are not on HDD. Checking if a folder have fake avi file like offline 123.avi, and showing offline disc image instead of DVD/Bluray (this is specific, so please ignore if you do not find it useful)
- case could fully open and show media flags on the left part

Couple of thoughts considering home page:

- show recently added as 4/5 covers above NAV bar
- use this placeholders for weather as well (like Aeon)
- make settings window Aeon/Confluence like
- show shutdown in NAV bar (at least optionally)

AnalogKid, what are you missing from Aeon (just curious)?

My skins:

Amber
Quartz

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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #20
pecinko Wrote:Here are my thoughts:
-show DVD or Bluray disc when case opens, if content is SD or HD respectively
- I have a couple of DVDs which are not on HDD. Checking if a folder have fake avi file like offline 123.avi, and showing offline disc image instead of DVD/Bluray (this is specific, so please ignore if you do not find it useful)
- case could fully open and show media flags on the left part

Couple of thoughts considering home page:

- show recently added as 4/5 covers above NAV bar
- use this placeholders for weather as well (like Aeon)
- make settings window Aeon/Confluence like
- show shutdown in NAV bar (at least optionally)

AnalogKid, what are you missing from Aeon (just curious)?

Not wanting to threadjack abotu Aeon... but I'm missing stability with it... I was a huge fan of Temmi's Aeon45, but it's unstable currently (being worked on). In it's absence, this skin's really working for me, and highly stable.

I'm a coverflow fan... bug like the extra info popping up automatically etc... I slightly prefer Aeon's plain text home menu, but I can't stress enough how (for me), this skin is much more stable. The perfect skin for me would be a hybrid of this (Stability and some views), Aeon65 (Lowlist, Home Menu and showcase views) and Elipsis (attention to graphic detail, couple of their views).
There's not much to choose between them all. All damn fine, but stability will always be number one for me.
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djdafreund Offline
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Post: #21
Yeah, that's why there's so many theme's out there. Due to everyone having there own wants and style's. For me, this theme is perfect to me and has all the view's exactly how i would want them, but doesn't mean it's the same to the next person. But has more view's then a lot of theme's to still give the user enough to still customize it to there liking.

I like the idea of having the dvd box cover open to show actual dvd covers, however, it would have to be added to XBMC, as well as a new scraper (good luck with that) would have to be made to do this for this idea to be possible. It's nothing a theme can pull off by itself. But a nice idea though.

Also might look into some of the other mentioned idea's. Let's please keep discussion about this theme here only. Thanks.

Keep the idea's coming. Sharpe is great with being open with idea's if they can work with what's already there. Or workable modifications.

The 5-4-3-2-1 countdown as an option i am not sure about. In terms of doable that is. A lot of work was done to originally add it when it was made, as it fit's the whole "Sitting in a theater" persona of Back Row, and lot's a work also spent hand making the images from scratch (HD ones), but not sure if possible to add as a theme option. Maybe (Countdown - On/Off) or something. Also depends on capabilities. What resolution are you using BTW for the fonts being too small for you? And using widescreen or 4x3? All the fonts are pretty viewable on my xbox and computer by default.

Edit- See, Sharpe is already on an editing rampage. Let's see what happens. He's usually pretty quick to add idea's or fixing things. Smile
(This post was last modified: 2009-12-20 19:58 by djdafreund.)
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Sharpe Offline
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Post: #22
Yep these ideas are great and many thanks for coming up with them - it really does help motivate me.

With that in mind I've updated a few things based on some of the ideas here /Bigger fonts in the settings screen / More fanart in the video library & File mode views / Added more detailed weather info to the homescreen. - Always a work in progress

The movie countdown can be effectively disabled by using custom home wallpapers in skin settings - either by choosing multiple wallpapers or a single background - if that helps?
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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #23
Customised art (like rear covers) can be achieved using the path of the media file... and assuming a side by side file of 'rearcover.jpg' etc. This technique is widely used for the cdart.jpg files allowing users to actually show the real CD!

However... I would suggest NOT doing this for anything other than the CDart.png (which has become a pseudo standard amongst many skins). It works by having a setting in the UI to point to the root of your Movies or Music folders. Then deducing where to find the art in the following manner...

<MediaRoot>\<artist>\<album>\cdart.png (constructing the path from the Skin fields).

For a rear cover... I'd just suggest 'emulating' this... using infolabels... hard to explain in text... but basically have an anim that does the following:

1) Opens the box, revealing the cd image (using cdart.png technique above)
2) wait a few moments
3) close the box to reveal the 'back' of the box... but also then zoom and expand to much larger area thus allowing the info to be displayed (plot, album review etc etc)

Purely an idea!... nothing more, and it might be animation overkill!
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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #24
Sharpe Wrote:Yep these ideas are great and many thanks for coming up with them - it really does help motivate me.

With that in mind I've updated a few things based on some of the ideas here /Bigger fonts in the settings screen / More fanart in the video library & File mode views / Added more detailed weather info to the homescreen. - Always a work in progress

The movie countdown can be effectively disabled by using custom home wallpapers in skin settings - either by choosing multiple wallpapers or a single background - if that helps?

Great news!...
Are you aware that the fanart for weather can be weather context sensitive? So you get a snowy picture in snowy weather etc?
Forgive me if you know all this.... just not sure if you've stuck in a cave doing this work for a while! *grin* (it does happen!)
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djdafreund Offline
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Post: #25
I am wondering about the bluray box idea. We currently have a view that places a dvd box behind the cover image. I am wondering if there's code in place within xbmc that has any form of conditions, so if the tag that we now have is blue-ray, it would use a different image (which i'll throw together.) in place. And also doing something similar to tackle the idea of 'opening of the dvd box' to show something with a blueray disc, versus a dvd disc, or something along the lines, using the same tag reading process.
I am going to change the weather snapboard a little. Just smaller changes to the image.
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Sharpe Offline
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Post: #26
AnalogKid Wrote:Great news!...
Are you aware that the fanart for weather can be weather context sensitive? So you get a snowy picture in snowy weather etc?
Forgive me if you know all this.... just not sure if you've stuck in a cave doing this work for a while! *grin* (it does happen!)

It does feel like that sometimes - I'd never really paid much attention to the weather stuff (it pretty much rains all the time here) Smile

I've been looking into this and have now put it in as a setting under Skin Settings/Wallpapers. Although I haven't included any weather art. If anyone wants to use this feature you can put your own weather packs in the Back-Row\media\Weather\ folder and it should work when activated and using multiple homescreen wallpapers.

I've just tried it using the same weather background folder structure as ronie has used in his very good Transparency skin.

*Edit added functionality to choose wallpaper folders as AnalogKid rightly suggested.
(This post was last modified: 2009-12-22 15:05 by Sharpe.)
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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #27
Sharpe Wrote:It does feel like that sometimes - I'd never really paid much attention to the weather stuff (it pretty much rains all the time here) Smile

I've been looking into this and have now put it in as a setting under Skin Settings/Wallpapers. Although I haven't included any weather art. If anyone wants to use this feature you can put your own weather packs in the Back-Row\media\Weather\Conditional\ folder and it should work when activated and using custom homescreen wallpapers.

I've just tried it using the same weather background folder structure as ronie has used in his very good Transparency skin.

Getting better all the time!

One thing I would suggest... is moving the weather wallpaper out from under your skin... and do the same thing as done with music and movie wallpapers... have a setting pointing to the folder. Not all skins do this, but the better behaved ones do... this then divorces your skin from the user generated art (and makes for a much neater skin upgrade later where users don't have to worry about accidentally deleting their own content below your skin folder).

I know it's more work, but you've already used this (good) technique for the wallpapers in the home screen :-)

Transparency's good... very good... and highly stable. Aspects of it aren't quite to my liking, but I do jump to it in times of trouble just prove a skin is misbehaving (since Transparency rarely does)... and it usually offers most of the latest features in XBMC.


Stuff in this place moves so quickly sometimes, if you've got your head in the skin code for a week, the world has moved on!
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pecinko Offline
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Post: #28
djdafreund Wrote:I am wondering about the bluray box idea. We currently have a view that places a dvd box behind the cover image. I am wondering if there's code in place within xbmc that has any form of conditions, so if the tag that we now have is blue-ray, it would use...

Not dvd/bluray/hddvd AFAIK, but there is SD/HD in media flagging.

I personally wouldn't mind from which source actual media file is coming from, rather if it is now in SD (DVD) or HD (Bluray) quality. If that is what you are after, it could be achieved with XBMC media flag info.

My skins:

Amber
Quartz

(This post was last modified: 2009-12-21 18:05 by pecinko.)
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AnalogKid Offline
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Post: #29
pecinko Wrote:Not dvd/bluray/hddvd AFAIK, but there is SD/HD in media flagging.

I personally wouldn't mind from which source actual media file is coming from, rather if it is now in SD (DVD) or HD (Bluray) quality. If that is what you are after, it could be achieved with XBMC media flag info.

There are a few ways / strategies...

- One is to assume the source is in the path (so contains 'DVD','BluRay' etc)
This works well, but requires the user to have such strings in their media path, and many users don't like being forced to do this. And many don't care what the source was... they care about the ACTUAL resolution

- Another is to assume the source based on the resolution
This is not the best technique, since it's impossible to really know the source, and 'best guess' isn't foolproof. Just because a movie is 576 lines, doesn't mean it came from DVD.

- Another is to simply stick with resolution flags
This works perfectly and seems to fit the needs of most users... so > 576 lines is HD, > 480 is SD and <480 is low def (you get the idea!)

I am personally not in favour of the Bluray / DVD disc image... simply for the above reasons (it's not easy to KNOW which is which).
I am far more in favour of the cdart.png format which would allow the user to have an image PER movie... and if they really wanted to show BluRay or DVD... then they can copy their BluRay (cdart.png) image into the relevant movie folder. This way, ALL options are covered with one solution. The only downside is having the same image repeated in multiple folders... but it's far more flexible and powerful.
(This post was last modified: 2009-12-22 11:54 by AnalogKid.)
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richmond Offline
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Post: #30
sorry if this shows up twice, but the last post i was typing suddenly dissappeared on my and has not shown up in the forum as of yet.

First, i love this skin, and more importantly so does my wife.

I have two questions about its use that i hope someone can clear up for me.

first, when you select the videos button from the home screen, i always seem to get the options page pop up asking if i want to go to library mode, or change the view, once i do this i get into the library or if i just escape from the pop up i am in the files mode. Is this intentional or is there a way to keep the selection until i decide to change it. The reason i ask this is because i tend to enter my library via the videos button and having to select library each time seems a little odd. If there is setting, a point in the right direction would be truly appreciated.

Alternatively, if i am not expected to go to the library vie the videos button but rather the tv and movies buttons, then i ask if there is a way to change the default location to where these buttons take me when they are pressed. At present they take me to the titles area of the library for the respective buttons. Is it possible to take you to the heading that lists genres, titles, year... instead, or anywhere else for that matter. My tv shows are set up as genres, adult and kids and it would be great if the tv show button could direct us to that area or somewhere other than the titles section, is this possible or is there a setting for this that i am simply missing. Similarly with the movies section it too takes you to the titles area and i would like to know if that can be changed as well, again in my particular case, i would have it sent to the genres page, but the list of options for genres titles years ... would be excellent as well.

If this is an option already in the skin, please let me know where to find it as i have been unsuccessful thus far, alternatively, if this is not available is it at all possible to do either on my end by means of something simple (i have no programming skills) or as a request for a feature to be added.

Once again, wonderful skill with a very hight WAF (wife approval factor)

thanks.
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