Designing Your Theme
Before you do anything, you should design how you want the various elements of your theme to look. Things will go much more smoothly and quickly if you already have a mock-up of the windows already drawn. You might want to take a screen snapshot of an existing window from Platinum to get basic dimensions down (Cmd-Shift-4). If you're using Photoshop, putting each theme element (close box, scrollbar arrows) on it's own layer will make things easier when you're ready to transfer things to your theme.
You might also want to consider how your target theme has it's resources laid out. All but the most basic editing is going to require that you edit the layo resource that tells the Appearance Manager (AM) how to draw your theme elements.
This is probably a good time to introduce the theme elements you'll be dealing with. A breif description of the main theme resources is below. The document "Resource Documentation" contains detailed information about these resources and more.
This is one of the graphic elements used by the AM to draw your theme. It is comprised of a series of images and masks. Things like scrollbar arrows or window edges are usually pxm#s.
This is the resource that tells the AM how to draw various theme elements (like a document window, or a scrollbar).
This resource is used to hold brushes and some graphic items for the theme.
This resource has a list of all the other resources in it, if you add a resource you need to make sure it goes in here too.
This is a list of colors or patterns used by your theme. There are two sets, required and user.
This is another way to draw theme elements, generally used when the object is a rectangle, like a bevel button.
This resource has a list of theme settings for things like the menu bar height or slider widget width.
The first thing you need to understand is that due to the incomplete nature of ThemeMachine, this process is not for the new user. You need to have some technical ability, and you need the following:
After you get these tools, and are finished reading this document, I recommend you read the other documents in this section.
- Theme Machine
The latest version (0.4d) can be downloaded from our developer's download page. It contains many improvements from the previous versions, so you *will* want to check it out.
Pixie is also on our dev site. No longer required, Pixie allows you to create pxm# resources that are any size or kind. At this point, it is only needed to create indexed color pxm# resources. Read the pxm# resource documentation for more information.
You only need ResEdit if you plan to use Pixie. It can be found on the Apple developers site.
You will need this comercial resource editing tool to edit elements of the theme that can't be done right now with Theme Machine or the other free tools. Basically just to edit LAYO items. If you don't have it, and don't want to pay for it, then contact one of us on our mailing list, you might just be able to bribe us to edit these for you ;-).
- Resorcerer Templates
Available from our developer download site. You need this to enable Resourcerer to edit the different theme resources.
- An image editor
You will need a basic image editor to be able to design your theme elements, for pasting into ThemeMachine. GraphicConverter will do just fine.
- A theme (other than Platinum)
You need this to base your modifications on. Many can be found at our themes section.
- Subscription to the macthemes mailing list
Trust me in that you will want help on doing some of this stuff.
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