Xion Audio Player

A note to all skinners

Skinning Questions, Suggestions and Ideas

Postby logokas » March 27th, 2008, 10:22 pm

I've gone through the skin database for Xion here a good 4-5 times, all 29 pages as of now.

to summarize it up, i think that Xion skinning has been made so easy, people with a lack of understanding about optimal viewing and functionality have made skins that really make my eyes hurt. I'm not naming any names here for the sake of not getting my head chopped off. Instead i'll hand out some pointers.

-Keep your skin simpler. There's a big difference between high functionality and mixed-up-pot-of-a-player-that-has-50-buttonlike-things-on-it-that-mislead-everyone. Obsolete designs are no good. You just can't turn a sand hourglass into an understandable audio controlling device. Same goes for the 20-30 alien dashboards i've seen. No thank you.

-Good coloring. You can't mix red and blue together in a natural way unless you're designing a policelight-shaped player and are using the right shades of red and blue ( That's actually a darn good idea for a design ).

-More style. less useless stuff. If anyone here doesn't know what that means, here's an example.

ImageImage

Image

-Size. Nobody wants an audio player that fills half the screen. Sure it might be cool to look at for about 5 minutes but when you're doing something, it just gets in the way and soon you just minimize it away or just change for a different skin.

-Bug free. This isn't as much of a problem as much as it more of a guideline.

I hope to see more professional skins around here, it really is a shame how many skins made for Xion are practically useless. the only ones i've really found of use are AgSio, Valiant and currently GreenXion.

Note: I am not a skinner myself but i'm pretty sure my design taste would allow me to produce an above average result.

Don't take too much offense of what i have said, now. :>
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Postby SLoB » March 28th, 2008, 4:32 am

heheh, you raise a good point logokas, its pretty much like you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink ;)

It has always been about design imo with Xion, the coding is taken away by the Xion engine but it should not mean that corners or time is cut on the design aspect, in fact due to there having to be no code the design aspect is free to take longer to produce better skins.
The problem is what constitutes a good standard skin, many skinners are self taught which can also mean they might not have read much about design aspects but should do to give themselves a better understanding of the subject and applying that to their skins.

Although I agree with your examples, there are lots of skinners with varying degrees of knowledge and skill but with time and persistence they can aim towards better quality skins.

There are also a lot of reasonable small good skins that are useful, but that is also a matter of taste in the eye of the beholder.

What you will also find is lacking especially in this very forum is constructive critique, whereby a skinner can ask about his/her skin in the pre-release section to get feedback on what works and what doesnt and then try to improve upon it.
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Postby Cliff Cawley » March 28th, 2008, 7:40 am

SLoB Wrote:What you will also find is lacking especially in this very forum is constructive critique, whereby a skinner can ask about his/her skin in the pre-release section to get feedback on what works and what doesnt and then try to improve upon it.


Its a shame about this, what happened to your workshops, SLoB? :P

The thing is, when something is made easy, everyone would like a chance to have a play and then show it off to their friends, family, etc.

By uploading their skins here, it means this is possible and makes everyone feel proud.

Obviously not every skin will suit everyone. The larger skins can be used for a jukebox system where you don't need to use the system to do work, but just have it sitting in the background playing music at a party or something.

I've been thinking for a while that I should extend the Tutorials I've made and move it to a Wiki to allow those who feel they can contribute, to help out anyone who is willing to learn.

Obviously it will take the time of those who have the experience and won't go anywhere if they don't want to participate.

Cliff :)
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Postby logokas » March 28th, 2008, 7:50 am

I agree on your parts. However the Pre-Release board and it's critics are a little too nice to newcomers. Sure you want to be nice, but i think it's better to do the world a favor then let someone slip by.

The skin database should be slightly more organised aswell. At the rate new skins are made, the list of pages will just keep growing. There should be some categorizing and probably convert the skin files to .xs ( or whatever the final choise on the extension was ).

You'd need a good few people for that, though.
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Postby Cliff Cawley » March 28th, 2008, 2:09 pm

logokas Wrote:I agree on your parts. However the Pre-Release board and it's critics are a little too nice to newcomers. Sure you want to be nice, but i think it's better to do the world a favor then let someone slip by.

The skin database should be slightly more organised aswell. At the rate new skins are made, the list of pages will just keep growing. There should be some categorizing and probably convert the skin files to .xs ( or whatever the final choise on the extension was ).

You'd need a good few people for that, though.


You can choose to sort the skins list in several ways, however by default its simply ordered by most recently updated. What kind or organisation were you thinking over what is currently there?

I'll be changing the skin files to .xsk in the future. Build 95 supports it, however I will need to get the other skin sites out there to change all of their new submissions to .xsk as well.

It'll happen gently so as to not upset existing users who may get confused with the changeover. I'll still support .xsf in the end, however it will auto rename it during install to help with the cross over process.

Cliff :)
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Postby logokas » March 28th, 2008, 4:36 pm

The current organizing features don't actually sort the skins as needed.

The sort by author feature is useful only if you're looking for a specific skin and know the author, or want to see one's other work. The list should be categorized better, adding at least 5-6 types would clear things up better. i could even name them up right now:

Tech
Abstract
Futuristic
Classic
Player

These might not be exactly the best kind of categories but they'd do just fine. the existing database would have to be sorted with the new values but new uploads would just have to put a category during the skin entry.
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Postby Cliff Cawley » March 28th, 2008, 5:30 pm

logokas Wrote:The current organizing features don't actually sort the skins as needed.

The sort by author feature is useful only if you're looking for a specific skin and know the author, or want to see one's other work. The list should be categorized better, adding at least 5-6 types would clear things up better. i could even name them up right now:

Tech
Abstract
Futuristic
Classic
Player

These might not be exactly the best kind of categories but they'd do just fine. the existing database would have to be sorted with the new values but new uploads would just have to put a category during the skin entry.


Fair enough, I guess I can add these when I get a chance :)

Cliff :)
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Postby Cliff Cawley » March 28th, 2008, 9:34 pm

logokas Wrote:I agree on your parts. However the Pre-Release board and it's critics are a little too nice to newcomers. Sure you want to be nice, but i think it's better to do the world a favor then let someone slip by.


Just so you know the Pre-Release board and it's critics are just everyday forum users. We have a lot of great people on these forums. Sometimes they're busy doing other things.

Cliff :)
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Postby xonenine » March 30th, 2008, 2:47 pm

thats a good point about skin size. Are you running Excel while you listen, or using Media Engine in a car? Quite a difference.
xonenine :D
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Postby skryingbreath » April 18th, 2008, 10:38 am

Best advice to give someone who is trying to improve their skins is to make it functional with 3 usable buttons. You can make a series of great designs with only pause/play, back, and next. Everything else can be toggled via context menu and is generally wasted space. Skins are meant to be floating, low-resource control panels that give you access to the functions you need.

Also a note on design. Take a Colour Theory class. It will help you immensely. In a perfect world you should learn how to draw and paint (if it takes you less than 4 years you're doing it wrong) before you can really master any digital tool.

SLoB Wrote:What you will also find is lacking especially in this very forum is constructive critique, whereby a skinner can ask about his/her skin in the pre-release section to get feedback on what works and what doesnt and then try to improve upon it.

That's because once you actually give someone a critique here or in any online community they get pissy and tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.

Oh, and hi.
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Postby logokas » April 18th, 2008, 3:08 pm

skryingbreath Wrote:Best advice to give someone who is trying to improve their skins is to make it functional with 3 usable buttons. You can make a series of great designs with only pause/play, back, and next. Everything else can be toggled via context menu and is generally wasted space. Skins are meant to be floating, low-resource control panels that give you access to the functions you need.

Also a note on design. Take a Colour Theory class. It will help you immensely. In a perfect world you should learn how to draw and paint (if it takes you less than 4 years you're doing it wrong) before you can really master any digital tool.

SLoB Wrote:What you will also find is lacking especially in this very forum is constructive critique, whereby a skinner can ask about his/her skin in the pre-release section to get feedback on what works and what doesnt and then try to improve upon it.

That's because once you actually give someone a critique here or in any online community they get pissy and tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.

Oh, and hi.


<3
I shoot and ask questions later.

Take no offense of it.
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Postby xonenine » January 8th, 2009, 12:58 am

I guess ideally it would be nice to have a board of three or more individuals who would pre-rate the skins.I dont believe a low score would be the end of the world for most artists.And it would clean up the skins catagories some for browsing, even more so if there was a "highest rated" sub-catagory within the catagories.We have some very discerning people here, whose opinions are beneficial and It would also be an opportunity to give them a little recognition as accomplished artists w a new badge or something...

xonenine :)
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Postby SLoB » January 8th, 2009, 7:09 am

hmm - part of the problem though is design is a hard beast to judge without prejudice

I think if the skin has the main requirements, something to move it around, stop, play, songticker, timer and a brucie bonus pl button then it can be in any shape or form so I don't think it would help to get just a few people to judge it.
what's one mans rubbish is another mans living kinda thing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder etc...

also scores are irrelevant imo, yea its nice to see some kind of rating but again theyr subjective and not everyone has the same tastes, styles, likes/dislikes, sense of etc...
At the end of the day if a few people get satisfaction out of using a skin then the job is done
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Postby ganeshkmr21 » March 3rd, 2013, 2:56 am

I had designed many skins before but never tried to make a playlist.
when i was tring to design a playlist skin recently, I was continuously failing. I would be thankfull if any one figures out my mistakes. am posting the .PSD file link below.

http://www.mediafire.com/?g1g89zxm72f1kgm
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