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Old 01-02-2008, 10:38 AM
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How-to: Creating a Complete Theme

My fellow PPCGeeks...

Many have asked me about my theme and I am now compiling a tutorial on creating a complete theme that will include the load screen, Slide2Unlock (optional), Today screen, Dialer and Comm Manager. I will be updating this as time progresses.

Please keep in mind that for those who operate on different carriers, phones, and software you will likely have slightly different variations: Sprint users often have animated startups and WM5 devices might have slight difference as well. Some Comm Managers will vary in style but most most of the file names will likely be the same. Hopefully this How-To will also help you get started off in the right direction in case your particular application is not discussed or found here...

First you will need several programs and I will provide links to all of them below. But before we begin cutting, pasting and installing, always makes sure to save backups of all original files to be modified to a folder on your device or PC that is well labeled so that all of these original files can be re-installed if necessary. Soft resetting after installing will help to enable just about all of the changes you make and should be seen in the next boot-up.

The programs...

1. Activesync - PC-loaded program necessary for transfering the files to and from your PC & PDA.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobi...ivesync45.mspx

2. ThemeGenCE - PC-loaded program that will allow you to create a Today theme and either load from or to your PDA.
http://www.freewareppc.com/misc/themegence.shtml

3. RCMod - PPC application for modifying the text, top & bottom bars on your PDA.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=325323

4. M$ Paint program or equivelant. A design program that can be used to create ot modify pictures, etc. I use Paint or you can use this...
http://www.getpaint.net/

5. Tiermann's Dialer Skinning Tool - Terrific PC-loaded program for creating all kinds of dialer skins for your device created by PPCGeeks very own. I want to personally thank Tiermann for this program!
For those looking to skin your dialer (TDial 1.1.0, 12-09-07)

I will also note here as a reminder that anytime you take files off your PPC, or before you add them to your PPC, to remove any of the read-only, archive, etc properties on them. this will facilitate transferring and editing more smoothly.

We will start with the Boot up\Splash screen...

In my PPC \windows directory is a file called Welcomehead.96.png. This is one of the start-up screens that I will modify. To begin, create a 240 x 320 pixel non-animated image, save it as a .png and name it Welcomehead.96.png. Now place this new image in the \My Device directory on your phone. Using a PPC resource tool such as Total Commander, SKTools, Resco File Explorer, etc, copy your new image from the \My Device\welcomhead.96.png location to the \Windows location. You will recieve a prompt asking if you want to continue overwriting the existing. Click yes. This part is now complete and upon bootup you will now see your image. For those who have a .gif file, you will need a progrma cable of creating a multiple frame animated picture (.gif). Once a .gif is obtained or created, rename your new one the same as the old and overwrite the older one using the steps above. Some animated .gifs and wallpapers can be found here...

1. http://forum.xda-developers.com/show...light=animated
2. http://www.pocketpcthemes.com/animated.asp
3. http://forum.xda-developers.com/show...light=animated

Now for the Today Screen...

Hopefully by now you have experiemented a little with ThemeGenCe. It will take some time using the program before you understand the full capabilities of this program but the rewards later are very satisfying. The utilities in this app are straight forward and loading to & from your device will become a snap.
So now we will create a theme for your Today screen in both portrait & landscape modes. Again I create a base background(s) for portrait and landscape using a paint program and load it through ThemGenCe where it can be further manipulated. Starting with a standard 240 x 320 image will provide the base. You cannot load animated .gif backgrounds as ThemeGenCe will reduce it to just one frame. Animated themes will likely have to obtained and installed through Animated Today... an PPC application which will load and run a animated theme in the background.
Once you have a theme designed you can either opt to install directly to your device or save it as a .tsk file on your PC (which will have to be manually transfered using activesync). Once your theme is loaded to your device, it's time to get that matching task bars and text. With RCMod installed on your PPC device under Start\Programs\RCMod, click on the options you want and highlight your color preference. Now your theme is beginning to come together.

Optional...

If you have the Slide2Unlock program installed on your device, create (2) 240 x 320 pictures; one in portrait and one in landscape. No matter the original format, save both as jpgs. Name the portrait: wallpaper.jpg and the landscape: wallpaperL.jpg. Delete the (2) existing images in the \My Device\Program Files\S2U2\gfx folder place your new ones here. Now for some clock fonts. I acquired mine from HHC (HTC Home Customizer). Example: Using the Alien Round I renamed HH_Home_0.png - 9.png to just 0.png - 9.png, deleted the rest, renamed the folder to clocksHS and placed in \My Device\program Files\S2U2\clocks. In S2U2 sroll down to Clock Font Folder and select clockHS\. You can also install a animated .gif file in the gfx folder and set it as your wallpaper. Read here for more information on the Slide2unlock animated wallpaper settings...

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=353008

Soft reset once your images are uploaded and saved in the Slide2unlock Settings.

Now for the dialer...

Using Tiermann's program on your PC, load a background image and create both a portrait & landscape dialer theme. Again, only time invested in experimenting and tweaking will yield fantastic results as Tiermann's program is option-laden. Once you have created your dialer theme, save it and the program will package your theme to your PC into a folder containing all of the .png images PLUS a .cab which you install just like any .cab file.

Note: I had initial difficulty with my custom dialer by it not showing up after installing & soft resetting and found out that I had to install first this dialer: http://www.freewarepocketpc.net/ppc-...aler-skin.html
and then my custom one over/after it. If you have the same issue with your dialer and follow this step, DO NOT remove the Black Dialer after installing your custom one. For some technical reason the custom dialer .cab might be missing a file that the Black Dialer installs. But all should be well with your custom dialer after this step.
Again, thanks to Tiermann for this very well developed tool! A must have for the PPC tweaker!

And lastly, the Comm Manager...

This one took me a little time to find and figure out and actually... it wasn't that difficult. However, the Comm Manager will have to be designed manually; that is there are no programs for easily computing an end result which can be easily installed. However, the files (at least on my device) are easily obtainable.
In the \Windows directory, locate and save to your PC using activesync these files:

L_BG - landscape background of your Comm Manager
P_BG - portrait background of your Comm Manager
Status_On - icon indicating the on status
Status_On_Disable - icon indicating status not used
Status_Off - icon indicating off status
Status_Off_Disable - icon indicating status not used

Again, using the trusty and durable paint program of choice, modify these .png images to your liking. Remember to save whatever you create to the corresponding .png file and rename so that it will overwrite the existing. Overwrite the older with the newer using Total Commander or simply use Activesync and drop the new files over the older ones. If you run into a overwrite error, remember to remove any archive, read-only, etc properties.


Finished...

You should now have 4-5 screens from startup to operation that express your favorite team, hobby, passion & liking that is seen on just about every screen. The more you tweak, install, remove and repeat the more masterful you will become in creating a truly unique and thorough theme. This was done on a Alltel PPC-6800 running WM6 but I think this will work on many devices running both WM5 & 6. My device still runs smoothly with NO lockups, freezing, lagging, etc and I now have a matching and intriguing theme to show off. Please post results, comments and theme ideas here as I would like much to see what others create and would like to share!

Everyone:

Please help to make this as complete as possible. I will update this as my own experiences grow but I would like to recieve everyone's participation to make this as complete as possible. Many thanks to everyone here for their time & support in helping me to find the answers that have now culminated into this thread and I hope this will provide others with a good starting point...

Update 1/4/07: I am posting a folder with my Legendary theme including dialer .cab, icons, wallpaper's, welcomehead.96, clockHS, etc for those who might be interested.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Legendary Theme.zip (780.6 KB, 379 views) Click for barcode!
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Last edited by xweaponx; 01-10-2008 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:56 PM
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Bonus!

I am pleased to include codyppc's Personalizer! This handy little app will allow you to enter custom text that will replace the carrier/wasted space on your Today screen, dialer, slide2Unlock screen, etc. You can reset your device and your text will remain. Adds that little extra to your personal theme.
Available here: Personalize you operators (carrier) name - APP- FREE

Thank you codyppc for your Personalizer.cab and hardwork!

This was created without using wisbar advance. I am sure some will see the creative themes that were created using wisbar but if you prefer to forego the wisbar route, then this tutorial should provide you with the base to create your own ideas!

Additional:
I also wanted to make note that it will still take more to make a theme look like this. Besides the backgrounds (which basically this tutorial describes) there are the plugins, apps and programs that add the extra flair and design. The programs/rom I have installed and notably visible that my theme comprise's of:

Custel's Custom Rom V1.1
HTC Home Plugin V2.0
HTC Home Customizer V1.0
SPB Pocket Plus V4.0
WeatherPanel V2.5.1
Slide2Unlock (S2U2) V0.95

Plus a crap load of customized icons created and altered using Photoshop CS2 (which has a 30day free trial)

Last edited by xweaponx; 01-10-2008 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:48 PM
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This thing needs a sticky...lol Eventually I'd like to try this... no real time right now to mess with it...
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:30 AM
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The RCMod link at freeware isnt working .... can someone provide a zip or cab please
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:36 AM
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Impressive post. Very useful.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:14 AM
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Day-amn! I can't tell you enough how great a post this is. I've wanted to make a kick-ass theme of my own for a while, but I was honestly a bit lost. I've seen some different tools out there, but was unimpressed with their functions or costs. Your tutorial looks like I might actually be able to pull this off. Kudos.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsall_cooool View Post
The RCMod link at freeware isnt working .... can someone provide a zip or cab please
I have replaced the link above with a better one.

Last edited by xweaponx; 01-04-2008 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:31 PM
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I added some additional information & links. Hopefully this will become a more thorough guide.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:23 PM
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Awesome. Thanks!!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:40 PM
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Wow

Thanks! I have always wondered how to make dialers and comm managers!

I second the sticky... Admins??

Great work! Keep it up
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