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During past week I have uploaded quite a few wallpapers and vista logons. Most of them have been rejected. For some I could somehow understand why but for the below logon I don't understand why it doesn't meet WinCustomize "guidelines" so can someone please help me and tell me why so I can modify it as I think it is quite a good logon that many would download. Thanks!



UPDATE: The skin is now live you can get it here
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Hello,
When I click on 'Photos' link on my personal site it gives me an error page http://lifeisagame.wincustomize.com/error.aspx?b4084a44-7a6c-4ed1-a337-9d02332392eb

Please help.
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Hello.
I would like to create a similar effect that they have on this website Laptoping.com when you click on an image whole page fades to black and in the middle a white box opens with image enlargement and close buttone.

Does anyone have any how to do that?
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Creating AVI animations in Flash tutorial Part 3

May 28, 2007 10:02 AM by Discussion: WindowBlinds Tutorials
This is the final part of my ‘Creating Shell Animations for SkinStudio’ tutorial series. If you haven’t read Part 1 WWW Link and Part 2 WWW Link I suggest to go through them before proceeding with the final part.

In this part I will show you how to use the ‘Explode’ effect that is ideal to use for the ‘Empty Bin’ and ‘Permanent Delete’ animations. To get started either open the source file with which you ended up at the end of Part 2 or click here WWW Link to download it.

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STEP 1
First we need to delete the right folder as we don’t need it in this tutorial. To do this select the ‘Selection Tool’ and select the folder (1) and press key ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.



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STEP 2
Next we need to remove the second half of the animation as we will replace it later on with the 'Explode' effect. Click on the last keyframe (1) and press 'Shift+F6' to remove it.



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STEP 3
Now we need to remove the 'Motion Tween' of the second half of the animation. First click on the frame next to the middle keyframe and press 'F6' to create new keyframe (1) and then right-click on it and select 'Remove Tween' (2) from the drop-down menu. We needed to remove the tween because the 'Explode' effect can't be applied properly on the 'Motion Tween'.



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STEP 4
Now the fun begins. Right-click on the object you wish to 'Explode' (LOL) and select Timeline Effects>Effects>Explode (2) from the drop-down menu.



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STEP 5
After completing STEP 4 an 'Explode' window opens. I suggest you to try-out different settings until you get the desired effect. I used the below settings for this tutorial. First select the duration of the 'Explode Animation' you want (1). After that set the direction (2) in which the explode fragments should move to after the explosion. Next are Arc Size (3) and Rotate Fragments by (4). As I wanted that my fragments don't fly around too much I set them both to 20. The higher you set these numbers the bigger the explosion. Finally set the size change of your fragments if you wish to do so (5) and the final alpha of your animation (6). You should just leave it on 0% as this will make all the fragments disappear. When you set all the settings click the 'Update Preview' button (7) to see your animation. Please note that every time you change a setting you will need to hit this button to see the changes. Once happy with the explosion hit 'OK' to insert it into your flash document. You will probably need to wait a few seconds so please be patient.



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STEP 6
The final step you need to do is set that the explosion plays only once in case you still have some extra frames after it so it will not loop. In 'Properties' (1) tab click on the 'Loop' and select 'Play Once' (2) from the drop-down menu.



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Press CTRL+ENTER to preview the animation and if happy with it export it to AVI as described in Part 1. WWW Link



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This part completes the tutorials that you will need to create all the 'Shell Animations' so now you are ready to create stunning animations. You can download the final source file here WWW Link. Please post in comments your final results or if you have any further questions. Good luck!
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As Adobe CS3 has shipped here are some alternative icons

May 2, 2007 8:14 AM by Discussion: Icons
Many people don't really like the new Adobe CS3 icons. That's why QuarkVsInDesign.com created a competition for creating new icons for CS3. Yesterday the winners were announced and their icons are available for download here. WWW Link

I entered the competition with my Adobe Creative Suite CS3 FX pack and won 3rd place. You can download my icons here. WWW Link

Also my friend Debeli entered the competition with his icon pack that you can download here. WWW Link
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Creating AVI animations in Flash tutorial Part 2

May 2, 2007 6:20 AM by Discussion: WindowBlinds Tutorials
This is a follow-up tutorial from my Creating 'Shell Animations' for SkinStudio Part 1 tutorial. In Part 1 I showed how to create a simple animation in Flash using motion tween effect. If you have missed out the Part 1 then I suggest you to read it first WWW Link before proceeding with Part 2.

At the end of Part 1 we ended up with an animation that looked like this:


In Part 2 we will continue from where we finished in Part 1. So if you don’t have the source file from Part 1 you can get it WWW Link here. Now we are ready to start. Flash offers some additional effects from just motion tween that we used in Part 1. You can animate brightness, tint, alpha and transform.

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TRANSFORM
First we will go through the transform animation. Remember the ‘Free Transform Tool’ that we used in Part 1. The same tool will be used for animating. Let’s say that we would like the ‘AB’ object to become bigger in the middle of the animation, rotate a bit and transform. In order to apply an effect in a place that you want you will need to create a keyframe.

So first click on the frame 17 in layer ‘animation’ and press ‘F6’ key to insert a keyframe (1) and then select the ‘Free Transform Tool’. Now you can rotate, resize and transform the object.

If you position the mouse cursor on the any of the small squares (2) the cursor will change to two-way arrow and that means you can resize the object by left-clicking and dragging.

When you position it over the edges (3) it will change into two opposing arrows and that means it will skew the object.

Finally if you position it a bit outside of the corners (4) it will turn into a round arrow and in this case you can rotate the object.



Try them all out a bit until you get the desired transformation. Once finished press CTRL+Enter to see the result.



Free transform tool is a quick way to transform your objects. But if you need to precise when transforming your objects you can use the ‘Transform Window’. If it’s not open you can bring it up by pressing the CTR+T and enter the modifications you want to make.



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BRIGHTNESS, TINT, ALPHA
Now that we have transformed the object we can also apply some animation to its color and transparency. Click on the keyframe that you created earlier (1) in this tutorial in ‘animation’ layer and then with the ‘Selection Tool’ that we used in Part 1 as well click on the object (2) that you transformed and in ‘Properties’ window (3) some options will appear.





In this tutorial we will focus on options in ‘Color’ section. When you click on the drop-down menu you should get the following options. None, Brightness, Tint, Alpha and Advanced. They are pretty self-explanatory.

To change the brightness choose (1) Brightness and set the percentage you wish to use.

In Tint (2) you set both colour and the percentage you wish to apply.

In Alpha (3) again only the percentage of the transparency you wish to achieve.

Finally the advanced option click on the ‘Settings’ (4) button that appears and you will get a new Advanced Effect window (5) where you can set combinations of all Tint and Alpha effects.



Press CTRL+ENTER to preview the animation and if happy with it export it to AVI as described in Part 1. WWW Link



This covers the basics of animating in Flash. You can get the final Flash source file WWW Link here.

Note that you can apply the effects that we used in this tutorial on any keyframe that you create. So for example you could make the object in the first keyframe red in middle green and transformed in the final keyframe transparent to 0% so that it will gradually disappear imitating the delete action.

There is one more part Timeline effects like explode and blur which I will cover in Part 3 of my tutorial.
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Need help with fixing some bugs in WindowBlinds skin

Apr 15, 2007 9:27 AM by Discussion: OS Customization
Last week I finished my 1st WindowBlinds skin and now I am starting to notice some bugs and I started fixing them but I can't seem to find a solution for the 2 following bugs.



I get a white border around the scrollbar and don't know how to remove it.







The second bug I need help with is that the 'Normal' text appears in SkinStudio in pink eventhough I set it in black. When skin is applied the text is black but still I'm worried that something is not good if the text shows pink in SkinStudio. So if anyone knows what I did wrong and how to fix it would be great.





Thanks

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Creating AVI animations in Flash tutorial Part 1

Apr 14, 2007 4:46 PM by Discussion: WindowBlinds Tutorials
A week ago I have posted a 4-day series of articles that you describing my progress of creating my 1st WindowBlinds skin. You can view articles WWW Link here and download the skin WWW Link here. In one of my articles ‘unclerob’ asked me to create a tutorial on how I created the animations for my skin. It seems that this month will have for me more 1st time experiences then just a WindowBlind skin as I decided to post my 1st tutorial on WinCustomize.com.

I used Flash to create the animations because I’m quite skillful with it as I’ve been using it since the Flash 5 release 6 years ago and it’s really easy to draw and animate graphics. OK, enough talking let’s get started. You can download the source file used in this tutorial WWW Link here.

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STEP 1
First create a new document and then click on size option (1) and ‘Document Properties’ window will open where you enter the title (2), set dimensions to width 272 px and height 60px (3), choose the background color of your animation (4). Make sure it matches the color of the background of your dialog windows. Finally set the frame rate (5). I recommend the rate of 10 frames per second.



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STEP 2
Next we need to create layers where we will create some objects later. In this tutorial we will need 3 layers as Flash animates all the objects in the selected layer. So we have to make sure that the objects that we want to animate and the ones we don’t are not in the same layer. Create layers by clicking on the ‘Insert Layer’ icon (1) and rename them for reference into ‘background’, ‘animation’ and ‘foreground’ (2).



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STEP 3
Now that we prepared the document and layers we the fun begins. First click on the ‘foreground’ layer to tell Flash that you want to draw and object in this layer (1). Then select the ‘Rectangle Tool’ (2) and the properties window will show the below options (3). Choose the stroke color and thickness and the fill color to suit you. Finally draw an object (4).



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STEP 4
Now we will ‘skew’ the object downwards to create the feeling of an open folder. Select the ‘Free Transform Tool’ and double-click on the fill of the object to select both fill and stroke. Finally position your mouse cursor on the right-edge of the object and click-hold and pull it downwards a bit and release it (2).



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STEP 5
We also need to add the back cover of our folder. Click on the ‘background’ layer (1) and repeat the steps with the ‘Rectangle Tool’ (2) and ‘Free Transform Tool’ (3) from the STEP 4 and now your folder should look something like this (4).



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STEP 6
Next we need to duplicate the folder to the other side of the document. To do that you need to select the folder with the ‘Selection Tool’ (1) and draw a rectangle around the folder to select both front and back cover (2). Finally press and hold ALT and then click and drag the folder to the other side of the document and release the left mouse button followed by the release of the ALT key. I recommend to hold SHIFT while dragging to make sure both folders are aligned.



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STEP 7
Now we will ‘mirror’ the duplicated folder. If you have deselected the duplicated folder repeat selection method from the STEP 6. With the folder selected open the ‘Transform’ panel (1) and make sure that the ‘Constrain’ option is switched off. Finally add a - in front of 100.0% (3) and press ‘Enter’ to apply changes and Flash will mirror your folder (4).



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STEP 8

If you are happy with your folders lock the ‘background’ and ‘foreground’ layers to make sure you don’t move them by mistake while working in the ‘animation’ layer. You can lock layers by clicking on the black dot in the ‘lock’ column (1) and (2). Dots will turn into small locks when clicked to show that the layer is locked for editing.



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STEP 9
Now we need to create an object that we will animate moving from the left to the right folder. Click on the ‘animation’ layer (1) and create an object with ‘Rectangle Tool’ (2) method that we used in the STEP 3. You can either create more objects in it or as in this tutorial add some text (4) with the ‘Text Tool’ (3).



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STEP 10

Now we need to insert the amount of the frames we want to create for our animation. I recommend 35 frames for your animation. Before inserting more frames move your object with the ‘Selection Tool’ inside of the folder (2). To insert frames click the 35th frame of each layer (3) and press the ‘F5’ key to insert frames (4).



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STEP 11
Now we will convert our object into ‘Motion Tween’. Right-click anywhere in the timeline of the ‘animation’ layer (1) and select the ‘Create Motion Tween’ option from the drop-down menu (2). Finally select the last frame of the ‘animation’ layer and press the ‘F6’ key to insert a keyframe.



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STEP 12
Next we need to determine the final position of the animated object. To do that click the last frame of the ‘animation’ layer and move the object with the ‘Selection Tool’ (2) to the desired location (3).



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STEP 13
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Press CTRL+ENTER to ‘Test Movie’.



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STEP 14
If you are happy with your animation you should export it to AVI to use in SkinStudio. Go to File>Export>Export Movie. In the ‘Export Movie’ window type in the ‘File name’ (1) and choose the ‘Windows AVI’ from the file type menu (2) and press ‘Enter’ key.



In the next window you will see the settings for exporting to AVI. Make sure that the ‘Width’ and ‘Height’ are 272 and 60 (1) and that ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ is on (2). For video format I recommend 16 bit color (3) with both ‘Compress video’ and ‘Smooth’ options turned on. Finally choose ‘Disable’ sound format (4) as our animation doesn’t contain any audio and click ‘OK’.



In last Export window you will be able to adjust the compression options. You can test a bit different codecs and compression options but I recommend to use the ‘Full Frames’ compressor for best results (1).



There you go we have created an AVI animation for the SkinStudio in Flash. We used only basic animation options in this tutorial. Flash comes with lots more effects which I will cover in my next tutorial. The exported animation created in this tutorial looks like this. Please note that the actual exported AVI is better quality then the below exported GIF.

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My subscription runs out in May 2008

Apr 11, 2007 4:28 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize Site Issues
When I try to download something I always get the page saying that I have to subscribe eventhough my subscription runs out in May 2008.

Help please!
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lost in moderation

Apr 10, 2007 8:30 AM by Discussion: WinCustomize Talk
Yesterday I uploaded my WindowBlinds skin and it appeared in Moderation. But today it disappeared from there but it doesn't show in My Skins either. So can someone tell me what happened and should I upload it again or not.



Thanks
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