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Guide to Skinning HD Loader

 This guide will show you how to create your own custom skin to use with HD Loader. Theres more to the skin than just a background change.
 You can use a variety of Paint Programs to create a skin. MS Paint is included with every Windows installation, but its not the best to use for great effects. The Gimp is a free program and has a lot of useful features to create some very nice skins.


Parts of an HDL skin:

Splash Image - displays while the program loads
Main Image -  the main background image
Buttons Image - displays in certain menus that have a selection to cancel or procede
Font Image - Displays the font for the text displayed
Text text - contains the text used for the various menus and for different languages
Colors text - contains the settings for color and transparency of the text, menu background and border

Most people wont change all of the parts to create a nice skin, mainly the splash and main images are all they change, but there are some really creative people and they will use all the parts to make a spectacular display.
The best way to start is to use the original images as a guide if its your first time attempting to skin hdl. You can just change them to your  imagination's limits. Advanced skinners can create an image from scratch.

Original Images and  menu layout image - Download


Image dimensions

Splash and Main image:
Width:   512
Height:  448
Image: Bitmap  (.bmp)
            

Buttons Image:
Width:    128
Height:    64
Image orientation:  Top-left @ 92 x 44  (button size is 92 x 22 each)
Image: Truevision Targa  (.tga)


Font Image:
Width:   256
Height:   256
Image: Bitmap (.bmp)



The menu placements cant be changed, so you need to create your skin based on their locations to avoid overlaps on your images. Ive included a layer image of the 2 list sizes, so you can use it to figure out where to place your designs. Keep in mind you can change the font and colors as well as customize the borders and menu background transparency when designing.

      

You can use the included templates as a layer over your image temporarily to see where the menu will be placed on screen. After you are satisfied with your creation, you can simply delete the layer and save your image as .bmp

If your image depends on not seing the borders of menu background, you can edit the color.txt to make them transparent for full color to total transparent. You can greatly increase the display by editing the color.txt


Editing the Colors Text

Each menu can be edited to change the color  and/or transparency to enhance your skin display. This can be a time consuming process as you wont be able to see the actual results until you have inserted it into HDL via the Patcher GUI. You will have to view it on screen and edit again if the results arent to your satisfaction.

The menu's are laid out pretty well in the colors.txt so there isnt much more to explain. Looking at HDL on your TV screen is a good idea to see how the menu will display, while you edit the colors/transparency.

The lines are as follows:

RRGGBBAA // X_Description

Where RR, GG & BB stands for the color and AA for alpha value. 1 in X means
the RRGGBB scale is between 00-FF, and 2 means it's between 00-80. Alpha is
00-80 meaning 00 is transparent and 80 is solid.

Example:  D5DAE380 // 1_Frame

To change a color you can copy and paste the HTML code  from your Paint program displayed when you change a color in it. Most apps will give you the color along with its value. Alternatively you can use an online HTML Color Chart.

Note: the actual color in HTML code may not be exact as it displays on screen in HDL, so experimenting is the best way to get it right. You may need to edit and patch HDL several time to get the desired look.

By looking at the onscreen display in HDL, you can pretty much figure out what in the color.txt belongs to whats shown and edit to your taste.


Language translations
Text.txt is mainly for language translations  and  this can be used to create your language displayed in HDL if there are none already translated. You just simply edit out one of the existing language and put your translation in its place. Then select the language you removed  in the HDL Patch GUI tab and your translation will be used. Its best to use the one included with the most recent version of the HDL Patcher GUI for best results, as it has changed since the original.

You can also use the Text.txt if you want to change the wording displayed in the menus, although its recommended not to do so if you intend to share your skin as a package.

Once you have everything you wish to edit for your skin, you can now insert them into a fresh HDL.elf , using the latest version HDL Patcher GUI and create the latest version of  HDL with your new skin. If your skin is designed for the bigger list, remember to put a check in the box for it in the Patcher GUI.


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