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Skinning uLaunchELF v 4.21

uLaunchELF has been improved with new options for skins. Version 4.13 added the use of a GUI skin as the main menu. There are 2 types of the GUI you can create with graphics for the main menu. This allows you to make  a nice GUI looking theme that is different from the regular background skin used with the rest of uLE.
The first GUI type is where you create a background and place buttons, custom text, or icons where the text for the buttons are normally. You would use the 'Menu: ON" option for this .
The second GUI type is where you can turn off all the text displayed on the main menu and create the GUI skin totally with images/icons, whatever you would like to see instead of the text from uLE. You would use the 'Menu: OFF' for this.

uLE has also been given the use of a skin CNF file to save the skin settings so you dont need to re-configure it everytime you wish to change skins. With the use of multiple CNFs, you can create multiple themes that can change the entire way uLE is displayed and switch between these CNFs with simple button presses.
 I will cover this after we make our images


What you need:
Image to use if your not designing your own {High Resolution is best}
Templates  - These will guide you on the layout of uLE
uLaunchELF 4.21 - If you dont have it already
A method to transfer your skins and CNFs  with uLE and back to the PC.   I recommend a USB stick , makes editing much easier.

I've provided some controller buttons you can use if you wish for your GUI skins. Also included is a larger size, thanks to katananja for sharing them.
Controller Button Images


Skin Images

Select a high resolution image {1280 x 960 is good} you want to set as the background  for both the Skin and GUI Skin. They can be different if you wish.
Or you can create your own design using the following image sizes.

Here are the sizes you should use for the skins:

GUI - w: 640 x h: 480
PAL - w:640 x h: 512
NTSC - w:640 x h: 448

Create Skin:
Im using the GUI Skin for our demo. This one is for the "Menu:ON" option. The other GUI type doesnt require any templates, since no text will appear.
If your using an image, you can resize using the above specifications.
Create a New Image  if you want to design your own.




Unrar the Templates somewhere on your PC. There are 3 sets of each for use with almost any Paint Program.
I will be using Paint Shop Pro and the .psd templates for this tutorial.
Copy the template and paste it as a new layer over your  Image.  Change the opacity/transparency  so its see thru if not using the .psd templates



Check in the Layer Palete that your  Image is the 'selected' layer and not the template. Should be "Background" in Paint Shop Pro.



Now create your design using the template as a guide on uLE's layout. Its up to you on what to make, so i cant be of much help on that part.

NOTE: If you havent used the latest version of uLE {4.21 as of this tutorial} then look it over as new 'Micro-Icons' have been added and you will want to  keep your skins so that when an icon is "marked" for copy/paste, the mark will show thru. (see "Example image for editing" further down)

  
 
You can create additional Layers over the background, keeping the template on 'top', so you can still see it to guide your next layer.
Ok, so you have a design made and everything looks good. So delete the Template layer from your image {make sure its the selected layer in the Layer Palete} and Merge any other layers that you might have made to get the desired look for your image.



Save as .jpg

Ok, so you have a basic understanding of how to make your skin. So go ahead and make the other skin(s).  Experimenting is your best teacher, as you will learn what looks best thru trial & error. Copy your images to your PS2 and load them in uLE, look it over in the various menus to be sure its fitting correctly.


 HOW-TO: Apply a skin the first time, for those new to using a skin.

Copy your skin images to a USB Stick and insert the USB stick in your PS2. Run ulaunchELF.
Copy your skin to the location you want it, if you dont want to load it from USB each time you boot uLE. Then return to the Main Menu.

Main Menu - press SELECT button  for the configuration menu.
Configuration Menu -  select Screen Settings
Screen Settings - select  Skin Settings  {first check the text color will be visible when you apply your new skin}
Skin Settings
  • Press O on the Skin Path and locate the normal Skin, adjust the brightness if necessary, then press "Apply New Skin" to  use it.
  • Next press O on the GUI Skin Path and locate the GUI skin, depending on the type of GUI you made set the "Show Menu: to ON or OFF, then select Apply GUI skin. You will see the GUI skin when you return to the  Main Menu.
Press RETURN  {once}





 Next we will set the colors and create a SKINS.CNF. Once your advanced with using a CNF, you can create it on the PC and load it in uLE when you place your skins there at the same time.



Configure and Create a SKINS.CNF

You should still be at  Screen Settings, if not go to it. In this screen we want to change the colors for each text and icons to look good with our new skin.

Color1 - Background color is the color you will see should your skin get deleted, corrupted or moved from the path in the CNF file. It is also the background color for the submenus when you select 'Popup Opaque :ON'
Color2 -  uLE version display, Frame, submenu 'unselectable' text and Scrollbar
Color3 -  Highlighted text and the text above/below the Frame
Color4 -  Normal text and the selected text in the submenu
Color5 - Folder Icons and the Graph for FREE space in HDD status
Color6 -  ELF file icon and Graph for USED space in HDD status
Color7 - All other files icon
Color8 - Not used

Now go thru the remaining settings and set them  to what looks and works best with your skin. You can return to the Main Menu , goto FileBrowser and look at various screens & menus. See how the icons, text, scrollbar, submenus,etc  look and then return to the configuration screen to adjust if necessary. You might even need to go back to your paint program if your image/design didnt come out right and adjust the images/designs.

Example skin that needs editing:



Once you have everything perfect and dont wish to ever have to set all that again should  you change to another skin, you can select 'Save Skin CNF'.
A menu opens to choose a save location.
After selecting the folder to save it in, press START button to give it a name {otherwise it wont save} Advise: use the same name as the skin name.

If you plan to create a Skin Package to share, you might want to consider both PAL and NTSC skins and use the SKIN.CNF you just made for the other regions SKIN.CNF. This will need to be done on the PC. So copy the skin.cnf  you just made to the USB stick and lets go to the PC with it.


Skin CNF editing

If you going to make a theme that uses multiple CNFs and skin images, then its much easier to create them on a PC using a text editor.
 Now open a new document with your Text Editor {NotePad will do} and drag the  CNF you made with uLE for your skin into it.

Its pretty easy to understand what each is for, but its very important to edit them correctly or your display will not show as you intended it to.

The colors are the same as in the display in uLE's Screen Settings menu, so you must use the numbers from that screen

GUI_Col_1_ABGR = 00xxxxxx
GUI_Col_2_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_3_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_4_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_5_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_6_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_7_ABGR = 00
GUI_Col_8_ABGR = 00

Placing the skins on a MC in either slot will work if your Path is set to "uLE:/ skinname.jpg, rather than having a specific location on 1 MC. So when creating a CNF its best to use this path when sharing skin packages.

SKIN_FILE = uLE:/skinname.jpg
GUI_SKIN_FILE = uLE:/gui_name.jpg


SKIN_Brightness = 50       { adjust for your skin to the desired look if some details arent showing properly}
TV_mode = 1/ 2       { 0 = Auto,  1 = NTSC,  2 = PAL }
Screen_Interlace = 1       { 0 = OFF, 1 = ON }
Screen_X = 632 / 652       {  NTSC / PAL }
Screen_Y = 50 / 72       {  NTSC / PAL }
Popup_Opaque = 0       {  0 = OFF, 1 = ON }
Menu_Frame = 0       {  0 = OFF, 1 = ON }
Show_Menu = 1       {  0 = OFF, 1 = ON }


Now just save the document as skinname.CNF  {put whatever you want to call your skin for the skinname}

Mutliple Skins Themes

By using multiple LAUNCHELF.CNF files in conjunction with skin CNFs, you can create a 'dashboard' style theme like an XMB look for uLE. These are useful with the option Show Menu:  OFF

Heres a few skins used together with multiple CNFs as an example:

GUI skins

             

Normal Background skin



Skin Theme designed by  dra6onfire


If you plan to package your skins for others to use, you should  create the following:

  • GUI skin
  • NTSC skin
  • PAL skin
  • skinname_PAL.CNF
  • skinname_NTSC.CNF

Optional:

I always create a SYS-CONF folder {with icons} an recommend this as a default install for first time users. I put everything in this folder and  a ReadMe on how to install the skins.
I have a ready to use folder and a ReadMe if you wish to use it for your distribution package. Download them HERE
  • Multiple Launchelf.CNFs  for both PAL & NTSC {if  your skins use them }
  • A ReadMe if you use multiple  CNFs, give basic instructions to use the CNFs and the button presses for them. Its also a good policy to include the version of uLE the skin was made with, in the event of future changes.
  • Separate folders for PAL and NTSC if there are a lot of skins and CNFs, to make your users choose the correct files for their region.

Its always a good idea to check on any updates for uLuanchelf that may affect how your skins might change with any new updates, so you can update your skins for the new version.

You can find updates in our forums and on the Homepage.



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