Skin artwork addons - what do we need?

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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #1
Hey all,

I've started doing some work on skin artwork addons. Currently I'm thinking really simply:

1. A single type of addon (xbmc.gui.skinart).
2. Basically dump the files in media/ in folders as necessary.
3. folders flag in addons.xml to say the addon contains folders of art rather than single images.

To make sure we get it right, I need to know what type of skinart addons you think are appropriate and/or what they will provide. Obvious ones:

1. Weather Fanart - there's currently one "definitive" weather fanart pack I think? This supplies directories of images.

2. Studio logos - again, I think there's currently one "definitive" pack. I'm not sure if we need some sort of studioname -> studioimage map file or not - eg are all studio names valid filenames?

3. Background packs - this is a tricky one at least until we have some sort of universal background selector in XBMC itself, which IMO should wait until we've figured out how to do the "universal homepage setup" thing.

Any others? What happens if there's more than one weather fanart pack made available and the user has both installed? What about two studio logo packs? What other artwork packs do we need that don't depend on a particular skin?

Cheers,
Jonathan

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mcborzu Offline
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Post: #2
2. Yea we all use the one pack, and in the future some skin and artist might want a colored pack. He can always use the way we do now and if there good quality they can become a new pack...

Are we thinking of these just splitting up for the sake of skin size or as an addon that the user can select via the Repo?

If it's selected via the Repo I think these should *require* skin support. Think of it this way, A user sees *Weather Fanart* addon and go "Oh this looks cool" downloads it but nothing changes in, say the skin "Night," cuz "Night" doesnt have support. Do we really want a disclaimer say this pack only works with skin x,y,z?

Same with genre images addon, a causal user should think they work with all skins not just x,y,z skins....

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Sranshaft Offline
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Post: #3
I would imagine giving the user a choice similar to visualizations / subtitles / lyrics. Have a single settings and if there are multiple weather / studio logos packs available, have a selection window popup and allow the user to choose which one they want to use.

I think the most important thing to have is a set naming scheme for these packs. If image 32.png in one weather pack represents rain, it needs to in every weather pack. I'm pretty sure this is the way it is now but the example should follow through to the other packs as well.

Another pack that could be included is the resolution / codec images. This is another one of those types of things that is pretty universal to all skins and most use the same, if not, a variation of the same images.

For storage following the same naming scheme already in place for add-ons would sufficient. Something along the lines of pack.weather.default, pack.studios.default, etc.

To that end, perhaps there should be an "official" pack for each of the types included with XBMC as there already is for the weather icons. A default set that any skin can take advantage of without having to include the actual images with the skin.

Going even further, how about add-ons for skin colors / themes? If the skin is in the repo, allow the user to select that skin and, if color or theme packs are available, have a new "Theme" button in the add-ons window. You could even have an entry in the Setting > Appearance dialog under the Skin Color / Skin Theme buttons like "Get more themes..." if they are available which would take the use directly to those downloads, similar to what is already present in the Video / Music / Picture add-on sections.

I agree with what Mcborzu said about skins in the repo should offer a guaranteed set of features. If weather packs are available in one, that feature should available in any other one. The hard part is where does one draw the line with features. Should one included every silly thing that is available in some form or another (clearart, clearlogos, CD spinning album art, etc)? I guess that's something that should be discussed in a different thread.

[Image: all-thin-fanart.jpg]
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Hitcher Offline
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Post: #4
Studios - https://github.com/ccMatrix/StudioLogos
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #5
I don't want any new settings if we can possibly avoid it. Thus the "do we really need more than one of them." If we can't avoid it, then so be it. Think of it this way: why should a user have to choose what set of studio logos they want - a logo is a logo - not as if there's multiple different versions of them that make a lot of sense.

I don't see the point of requiring a skin to use them if they don't want to - almost every skin that allows backdrops of one form of another will automatically do it anyway, as it just makes sense.

Cheers,
Jonathan

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Sranshaft Offline
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jmarshall Wrote:I don't want any new settings if we can possibly avoid it. Thus the "do we really need more than one of them." If we can't avoid it, then so be it. Think of it this way: why should a user have to choose what set of studio logos they want - a logo is a logo - not as if there's multiple different versions of them that make a lot of sense.

While a studio logo won't change, the style in which that studio icon is displayed might. Take the icons used in Jereon's reFocus for example. That have a slight white>gray gradient, shadow and outline that other skins don't have. No overlay or colordiffuse tag is going to reproduce that effect. The same could be said for weather packs. Not everyone is going to want a pack consisting of, for example, images of New York. They might want their own city or artwork or what-have-you...having a various collection of ready-made packs available to the user would help with this.

Having only one pack of these icons would, in my opinion, defeat the whole purpose of adding these kinds of images to the repo. If one pack is the only way to go, just include a default set of them with the XBMC installation like the weather icons.

I understand your reasoning behind not wanting to add new settings. I, myself, hate having to include every other setting under the sun in my programs. At the same time though, the same question could be made with the visualizations or the screen savers. Why include options to change them when they all do the same basic thing? It's giving the user a choice that really let's XBMC shine. Take the skin SLiK by Jezz X. It's a great skin and I've been using on and off for a while now but the one thing that sticks out at me are the resolution icons. They simply aren't my style. Allowing the user, myself, to change those icons via packs without having to ever touch a line of code / open explorer and copy/paste a new pack in there myself, would be fantastic. The skinner doesn't have to worry about multiple requests to change / include icon pack x and the user has the control to change those images to whatever style they want.

jmarshall Wrote:I don't see the point of requiring a skin to use them if they don't want to - almost every skin that allows backdrops of one form of another will automatically do it anyway, as it just makes sense.

While I don't think 'requiring' a skin to use a feature is what I was getting, I do believe that new users to XBMC come to expect a certain feature base for each skin they use.

Things like studio / resolution / codec logos, weather fanart, etc. could be a base level of a skin's features and are something I believe are already unspoken default features among the current skinning community.

These could even be displayed in the skin details dialog with a tick next to the features that particular skin has. This way the user knows going in that, yes this skin has feature x and not wonder why it's not there when they install it.

[Image: all-thin-fanart.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2011-02-22 10:03 by Sranshaft.)
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ronie Offline
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Post: #7
jmarshall Wrote:Any others?


- record label logos (similar to the studio icons, but for music)
- genre icons (one pack for videos / one pack for music. different skins use different packs, so this might be tricky)
- animated weather icons (instead of the default set included in xbmc)
- home weather fanart (this pack has just one image for each condition and are all variations of the 'little house on the prairie' backdrop)

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(This post was last modified: 2011-02-22 10:12 by ronie.)
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ronie Offline
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Post: #8
jmarshall Wrote:What happens if there's more than one weather fanart pack made available and the user has both installed? What about two studio logo packs?

if there's more than one pack available, i assume the skin simply can define the preferred one in it's addon.xml, by listing it in the <requires> section?

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Jezz_X Offline
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Post: #9
I think that the plan was to have a place in normal settings that user can specify which one they want to use
ronie Wrote:if there's more than one pack available, i assume the skin simply can define the preferred one in it's addon.xml, by listing it in the <requires> section?
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ronie Offline
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Post: #10
still think defining all packs required by the skin in addon.xml should be the way to go.
when installing a new skin, all required packs need to be auto-installed imo.

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Jaypeg Offline
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Post: #11
I don't know if it's possible, but I'd be thrilled to see choices for media flags in addons aswell?
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Jeroen Offline
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Post: #12
ronie Wrote:still think defining all packs required by the skin in addon.xml should be the way to go.
when installing a new skin, all required packs need to be auto-installed imo.

I agree. I think the focus should be to make it easier for the end-user in this regard.

For instance, I provide skinning support for several add-ons in my skin. While this all works basically I would prefer to have the code for these add-ons separated from my main skin code.

An example: recently support for the subtitles add-on in my skin broke because of an update of the add-on itself. In that case I have three options:

1. Make the user wait for an update in a milestone release of the skin;
2. Push out an update of the entire skin, just to fix one issue;
3. Put up separate xml's for people to drop them in the skin folder.

None of which are what I would call userfriendly. I understand using the repo would provide a way to push smaller updates but in my understanding the point of a repo is to use that for big(ger) updates.

So, if these were separated into separate add-ons / modules to the skin I would be able to update them separately and push a small update.
Basically upon installing a skin, the user could be asked to do a "barebones" install (just the skin), or select optional extra components that provide skinning support for add-ons, as not everyone uses (thus needs support for) the same add-ons.
(This post was last modified: 2011-02-22 13:44 by Jeroen.)
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Maxoo Offline
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Post: #13
jmarshall Wrote:To make sure we get it right, I need to know what type of skinart addons you think are appropriate and/or what they will provide.
Maybe Codec Flags too. There are several packs available.

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ronie Offline
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Post: #14
jmarshall Wrote:Any others?

genre fanart?

not sure if many skins use it though.

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djtoll Offline
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Post: #15
jmarshall Wrote:Any others?

I need
  • Artists Thumb/Icons (Music and Video) from the Database in the visualization ore other Dialog windows, not the info Dialogs.

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