As requested, here is a new beginner's guide to skinning with skinner4moto - a great program created by Knapster. This guide contains all of the info you need to get started creating and installing your own skins. It does not cover all of the functionality of the programs involved, but it gives you a good starting point to explore the possibilities on your own.
2. Skins Manager
3. Any image editing tool (ex. Adobe PhotoShop, Jasc PaintShop Pro, Corel Draw, etc)
4. Any GIF animating tool (ex. GIFAnimator, UnFreeze, etc)
*Note – You can download the Motorola Modding Software Suite, which contains all of the software listed above (except for the photo editor) by following the link in my sig.
Once skinner4moto is installed, ensure that you have the most current ski definitions by downloading this file and unpacking its contents to your C:\...\skinner4moto\data folder.
Brief Overview of skinner4moto
1. The menu bar can be seen on the left hand side of the screen. This will allow you to open skins, save skins, control program options, etc.
2. The preview window is just to the right of the menu bar near the top of the screen. This shows you what the standby screen of the skin you are working on will look like on your phone. The view settings can be found just to the right of the preview window.
3. The grouped elements window can be found to the right of the preview window settings. This window allows you to browse through various common elements of your skin. When you highlight an item in this window, the controls for each selected item will appear to the right at the top of your screen and can be easily adjusted.
4. Beneath the preview window and grouped elements window, you will find a series of radio buttons. These buttons will be used to select and view different parameters that you would like to adjust within your skin.
5. The bottom portion of skinner4moto contains the spreadsheet view of the various skin elements.
Creating a New Skin
For new skinners, the best way to start is to use a skin you like as a template. For this guide we will use the stock Moto skin that comes on many Motorola phones.
1. First, open skinner4moto. The Moto skin will load automatically when you start the program.
2. Start by adding a wallpaper that you like. Make sure that it is the same dimensions as the wallpaper currently used with the skin.
a. With “Wallpaper” selected in the grouped elements window, click on “choose pic” in the top right-hand corner.
b. Browse to the JPEG or GIF file that you would like to use as the wallpaper for your skin.
3. Now you can start making some basic adjustments to items on the standby screen like digital clock, analog clock, date, operator, and the icons.
a. Choose the item that you would like to adjust in the grouped elements window. “Operator Font” is chosen in the example below.
b. Adjust the font color, outline color, and color transparencies with the color controls in the top right-hand section of your screen. The color can be changed by clicking on the colored box next to “Color”. The transparency must be a value between 0 and 255, where 0 is solid and 255 is invisible.
c. Use the position controls at the bottom to move the item up, down, left, and right.
4. Once you have positioned all standby screen items to your liking, you can now begin creating/adding new images to your skin. These images will make up all of the graphics contained within your skin.
a. Click on the “Pictures” radio button (highlighted in blue below).
b. Scroll to the image that you would like to change in the spreadsheet view. Once it is highlighted, you will see the image you have selected in the window to the left of the spreadsheet view.
c. Click on the “edit GIF” button at the top of the spreadsheet view. (*Note that you should use an image editor capable of creating GIF files with transparency, such as the ones mentioned in the tools section of this guide. To choose an editor click the “Options” button on the menu bar, then click the “select extern GIF editor” button and browse to the EXE file of your chosen editor).
d. Use your image editor to make your desired changes or delete the image entirely and use the empty space as a template for your new image. Use your GIF animator to compile any animated GIFs that you would like included in your skin (such as highlighted icons and the menu button animation).
e. Save the finished image in a new dedicated folder on your PC as you will be editing many GIFs. Make sure that you keep the exact same filename. Any changes to the filename will result in errors.
f. Now back in skinner4moto click on the “change gif” button and browse to your newly created image.
5. Once you have edited all of the images to your liking, you should now edit the various font/object colors within your skin.
a. Click on the “Colors” radio button (highlighted in blue below).
b. In the spreadsheet window, you will see the various editable items in your skin (identified in columns H and I) along with their associated color and transparency. (*Note that many descriptions are missing in column I. If there is a color that you would like to change and it is not defined in column I, you must unfortunately find it by trial and error.)
c. Adjust a color by highlighting it and clicking on the colored box in the top left corner of the spreadsheet window.
6. Once all of your desired changes have been made, click the “Save as...” button on the menu bar. Name your skin exactly as you wish it to appear in the skins menu on your phone.
Uploading a Skin to Your Phone
Uploading skins to your Motorola phone is quite simple using Skins Manager.
1. Connect your phone to your PC using your USB cable only (Bluetooth is not supported).
2. Open Skins Manager and wait for it to display a list of the current skins on your phone.
3. Click the “Install” button.
4. On the “SKI patches” screen, DO NOT check any boxes. Simply click on “OK”.
5. Now browse to the skin you would like to install and select the SKI file. The skin and wallpaper will be installed to your phone.
6. Once the skin is finished being installed and your skin list is refreshed, click on the “More” button and restart your phone.
1. When opening a skin, the SKI file must be in the same directory on your PC as all of the related DAT files and the wallpaper.
2. Check the “Light-Skin” box in the menu bar if your skin will use the original icons on your phone. If you insert new icons into your skin make sure that the “Light-Skin” box is unchecked.
3. If you would like to add multiple images to your skin (such as an entire set of icons from another skin) you do not need to add them one at a time. Skinner4moto creates a temporary folder in your skin directory that contains all of the GIFs in your skin. This folder is only present while your skin is open in. You can access it by clicking on the “gif directory” button at the top of the spreadsheet window while in the Pictures view. Simply copy all of the new images into the gifs folder and save your skin in skinner4moto. Be sure that you close the gifs folder before exiting skinner4moto or an error may occur.
4. Make sure that the transparency of the “soft button font normal” and “soft button font pressed” grouped elements is set to 0 along with any font outlines. Any value other than 0 may cause errors to occur.