Skinning HowTo/Basics

From Second Life Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This page is a stub. Improvements to this page are freely welcomed!

New skins have already been created -- see the page Skinning - Post Your Skins Here.

If you would like to add tutorials with more than Basic information, you might choose to name your page along similar lines:

  • Skinning HowTo/Resize the toolbar
  • Skinning HowTo/Changing a highlighting effect
  • etc

Contents

Intro

This page describes the skinning capabilities of Viewer 1.20 and higher, and until it becomes the official viewer, assumes you have the 1.20 Release Candidate installed.

The skinning capabilities of the Second Life viewer are currently limited, but will be continuously improved through the development of the Skinning Project. This document sets out some basic information about the structure and loading of UI textures, colors, floaters as defined in XML.

Caution is always warranted when making changes to Second Life's installed files. In some cases the viewer will crash if an XML file is missing requisite node or element, or if such an element is malformed/misspelled. Making a backup copy of the unaltered files is highly recommended. If a malformed file prevents you from running the viewer without an immediate crash, you will need to restore the original file; or re-install Second Life from the download page.

Helpful Tools

  • You will need an XML editor program for more easily making edits to an XML file.
    • One such editor that is free and open source is Komodo Edit.
  • Most Windows versions do not provide a thumbnail view for tga files (an essential feature while editing the skin files). Thumb Plug TGA is a free open source tga thumbnail plugin that will provide this functionality.
  • OpenSim is a free and open source version of the SL Simulator that you can run yourself. Next to your xml editor and imaging program, this will be your most important tool while skinning the viewer. Linden grid logins can be slow, or disabled, and are inconvenient for testing things like a one line edit of an XML file. Logins on a simulator running on your local machine are significantly faster than logins sent over the Internet, thus providing a quick and easy testbed for edits you've made to your viewer skin.

Its usefulness cannot be stressed enough when dealing with xml files that need a relog (such as colors.xml).

Useful menu items

  • Advanced > UI > Show Name Tooltops

Shows the xml file name or UI path of whatever element your mouse is hovering over.

  • Advanced > XUI > Edit UI...

A barest of bones xml file editor. Useful for testing spacing and layout for portions of the UI without relogging.

\SecondLifeReleaseCandidate\[SKIN NAME]\

(Note: colors.xml and colors_base.xml are now associated with specific viewer skins. Each skin folder has its own copy of colors.xml and colors_base.xml)

colors_base.xml

This file defines the basic colors of the UI as separately named nodes.

  • WARNING: It is highly advisable that you do NOT MAKE CHANGES to this file. Instead, copy & paste entries from this file to the next file (colors.xml) -- which overrides settings in colors_base.xml. The viewer will crash if any requisite entry is missing or malformed in colors_base.xml!

colors.xml

By default, this file has no entries. However this file can contains entries which will override any identically-named entry in colors_base.xml.

The format for specifying a color is

value="[R],[G],[B],[OPACITY]"

...where R,G,B,Opacity are in the range 0-255. For opacity, 128 is half opacity (ergo, half transparent).

(Note: Opacity is also sometimes called the Alpha value)

  • For example, you could copy the following entries from colors_base.xml and paste them into colors.xml, where you can make adjustments:
<!-- CHAT AND IM HISTORY TEXTBOX COLORS -->
<ChatHistoryBgColor value="0, 30, 80, 200" />
<ChatHistoryTextColor value="255, 255, 255, 255" />
<IMHistoryBgColor value="0, 30, 80, 128" />
<IMHistoryTextColor value="255, 255, 255, 255" />

\SecondLifeReleaseCandidate\skins\[SKIN NAME]\textures\ folder

2008-04-08: This is where the viewer's installed textures reside.

*.j2c, *.tga, *.jpg, *.png

  • Many of these textures have a filename by UUID
    • most of these are installed textures used on Orientation Island.
  • As part of the Dazzle project, every texture that is used in the UI now has a human-readable english filename... with the following EXCEPTIONS (these omissions will be converted in the Skinning Phase 1):
    • 7a0b1bdb-b5d9-4df5-bac2-ba230da93b5b.tga (Create tool iconic button)
    • 0098b015-3daf-4cfe-a72f-915369ea97c2.tga (Create tool iconic button, selected iconic button)
    • 3c18c87e-5f50-14e2-e744-f44734aa365f.tga (Scroll-left-to-firstone |< icon)
    • 7dabc040-ec13-2309-ddf7-4f161f6de2f4.tga (Scroll-right-to-lastone >|, highlighted icon)
    • 9cad3e6d-2d6d-107d-f8ab-5ba272b5bfe1.tga (Scroll-left-to-firstone |<, highlighted icon)
    • 89e9fc7c-0b16-457d-be4f-136270759c4d.tga (Volume "speaker" icon)
    • 5748decc-f629-461c-9a36-a35a221fe21f.tga (blank icon)
  • In a future phase of Skinning it is planned to move these UI textures to a separate folder so they can be found/manipulated together more easily.
  • In the past,icon graphics/textures had to have an image size that was a power of two (eg, 32x128, 64x128, etc), but now they can be any size (eg. a 24x96 image).

textures.xml

2008-04-08: Here is an example of some simple entries in textures.xml. They have no stretch rectangle defined, not preloaded, are not referenced by UUID:

  <icon_auction.tga/>
  <icon_avatar_offline.tga/>
  <icon_avatar_online.tga/>
  <icon_day_cycle.tga/>
  <icon_diurnal.tga/>
  <icon_event.tga/>
  <icon_event_mature.tga/>
  <icon_for_sale.tga/>
  <icon_group.tga/>
  <icon_groupnotice.tga/>
  <icon_groupnoticeinventory.tga/>
  <icon_lock.tga/>
  <icon_place.tga/>
  <icon_popular.tga/>
  <icon_top_pick.tga/>

scaling rectangles (scale_rect)

UI art textures are often stretched (scaled) in various resizing to accommodate different widths or heights of the same widget. In order to preserve a crisp look of edges, part of the image is 'preserved' or protected to not be scaled. By default, the stretching will preserve 8 pixels on all sides of the image.

  • To change this default, you set a <scale_rect /> element.

<scale_rect left="x1" top="y1" right="x2" bottom="y2" />

  • The pixel coordinates of the image here are counted from a (0,0) position that refers to the LEFT BOTTOM corner. (Like a Cartesian coordinate system in quadrant I.)
  • For example, this image toolbar_btn_selected.tga has dimensions of 128 pixels width x 24 pixels height: Toolbar btn selected.tga.jpg
    • The following <scale_rect /> code...

 <toolbar_btn_selected.tga>
       <scale_rect left="26" top="24" right="102" bottom="0" />
 </toolbar_btn_selected.tga>

  • ...defines a stretchable rectangle that preserves 26 pixels to its left & right:
Toolbar btn selected rect example1.jpg

use_mips

(under construction)

preload

Setting preload="true" means the texture is loaded at runtime, before the login screen appears. In general it is best to preload as few textures as possible, since this affects memory usage of the viewer.

Example:

 <checkbox_disabled_false.tga preload="true" />

\SecondLifeReleaseCandidate\skins\[SKIN NAME]\xui\ folder

  • XUI (pronounced zoo-e) stands for XML User Interface. XUI consists of a custom XML data format for describing Second Life's user interface, and the code which processes that data and integrates it with the Second Life viewer.

..\[lang] folders

When another language is selected in the viewer (Preferences > General > Language), then the files in the appropriate [lang] folder are loaded hierarchically on top of the en-us version, starting the next time the viewer is run.

If an element (or entire file) is missing in the [lang] version, then the viewer falls back to the value specified in the en-us version.

2008-04-08: Existing languages included in the viewer include:

  • \ko Korean
  • \ja Japanese
  • \de German
  • \fr French - not officially supported nor updated regularly
  • \es Spanish - not officially supported nor updated regularly
  • \zh Simplified Chinese - not officially supported nor updated regularly

The \[lang] version of floater or panel contains only the minimum values desired to override from the en-us version.

  • Generally this includes only a) the matching name= property and b) the translated string/label=.
  • However in some cases a separate per-language width may be specified, in order to adjust the size of a particular widget for that language only.

..\en-us folder

This folder is where the size of floaters, panels, and widgets are defined, as well the text strings in English used by the viewer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not ever change any name= parameters from the existing (English) name. The name= parameter is used to identify each node as expected when called in the viewer code, and to match it to other translations of the same node.

Related to localizations

A further discussion of the English text strings and how these are manipulated to make translations can be found at How to Localize Your World

Related to colors

2008-04-08: For purposes of skinning, it is important to note that there are still 2 XML files at this time which specify a color from within the \en-us folder. In the Release Candidate:

1. \skins\default\xui\en-us\floater_instant_message_ad_hoc.xml
  • contains a <text_editor /> widget with a bg_readonly_color, bg_writeable_color, text_color, and text_readonly_color:
A. Widget named "im_history"
<text_editor type="string" length="1" bg_readonly_color="ChatHistoryBgColor" 
	bg_writeable_color="ChatHistoryBgColor"
	bottom="-265" embedded_items="false" enabled="false"
	follows="left|top|right|bottom" font="SansSerif" height="239" left="5"
	max_length="2147483647" mouse_opaque="true" name="im_history"
	text_color="ChatHistoryTextColor"
	text_readonly_color="ChatHistoryTextColor" width="490" word_wrap="true" />
  • These 4 values could be set as either a named entry in colors.xml (bg_readonly_color="ChatHistoryBgColor") or directly as an R,G,B,O value (bg_readonly_color="50, 115, 185, 150")
    • Note: you can set a text color to any such <text_editor /> widget in the XML using the text_color= parameter.
2. \skins\default\xui\en-us\floater_chat_history.xml
  • contains a couple <text_editor /> widget with a bg_readonly_color, bg_writeable_color, text_color, and text_readonly_color:
A. Widget named "Chat History Editor"
<text_editor type="string" length="1" bottom="28" embedded_items="false" enabled="false"
	follows="left|top|right|bottom" font="SansSerif" height="74" left="5"
	max_length="2147483647" mouse_opaque="true" name="Chat History Editor"
	text_color="ChatHistoryTextColor" text_readonly_color="ChatHistoryTextColor" width="299"
	bg_readonly_color="ChatHistoryBgColor"
	bg_writeable_color="ChatHistoryBgColor"
	word_wrap="true" />
B. Widget named "Chat History Editor with mute"
<text_editor type="string" length="1" bottom="28" embedded_items="false" enabled="false"
	follows="left|top|right|bottom" font="SansSerif" height="74" left="5"
	max_length="2147483647" mouse_opaque="true"
	name="Chat History Editor with mute" text_color="ChatHistoryTextColor"
	text_readonly_color="ChatHistoryTextColor" width="300" word_wrap="true" 
	bg_readonly_color="ChatHistoryBgColor"
	bg_writeable_color="ChatHistoryBgColor"/>

Related to sizing

The XML files in this folder are also where you set the size (width=, height=) of UI widgets per floater, panel, etc.

The most comment parameters are listed here (under construction):

Common parameters

name

Required. The XML name of this element. The name must be unique to the floater you are editing.

  • IMPORTANT: As noted above, do not re-name XML elements, even for localization. Many of the element names are looked up by the viewer. If the viewer cannot find an element name it expects, it will crash.

String: name="input_first_name"

width

Required. The width of the element, in pixels.

For text, this defines the visible text as well as the clickable area. If the width of a text element is not sufficient to hold the text, the text will be truncated. This is most likely what you will widen when localizing the viewer.

For most other elements, this describes the dimensions of an element, such as a button, icon, panel, text_area, etc.

  • Tip: See the bounding boxes of all XML elements in the viewer: Advanced menu > UI > Debug Views.

Integer: width="140"

height

Required. The height of the element, in pixels.

For text, this defines the visible text as well as the clickable area. If the height of a text element is not sufficient to hold the text, the text will be truncated. This is most likely what you will lengthen when localizing the viewer.

For most other elements, this describes the dimensions of an element, such as a button, icon, panel, text_area, etc.

Integer: height="24"

left

Optional. Sets the position in the x dimension of the element's left edge relative to the container's left edge. Positive and negative values are accepted. A negative value will set the position relative to the right edge of the container.

Integer: left="6"

right

Optional. Sets the position in the x dimension of the element's right edge relative to the container's left edge. Positive and negative values are accepted. A negative value will set the position relative to the right edge of the container. Best used to align something to the right.

  • For example, given a floater with a width of 500 and a button we wish to right align in the floater, we can set the right to 490 -- this puts the right edge of the button 10 pixels away from the right border of the floater.

Integer: right="6"

left_delta

Optional. (use instead of left) Sets the position in the x dimension of the element's left edge relative to the previous element, or, for the first widget, the left edge of the container. Positive and negative values are accepted. Best used to left-align the current element with the previous element.

  • For example, given Button B with a width of 100, a previous Button A with a width of 50 and a distance between elements of 6, we would set the left_delta to -106, putting the left edge of Button B 106 pixels to the left of Button A. We use a negative number to move left, and a positive number to move right.

Integer: left_delta="-106"

right_delta

Optional. (use instead of right) Sets the position in the x dimension of the element's right edge relative to the previous element, or, for the first widget, the left edge of the container. Positive and negative values are accepted. Best used to right-align the current element with the previous element.

  • For example, given Button B with a width of 100, a previous Button A with a width of 50 and a distance between elements of 6, we would set the right_delta to 106, putting the left edge of Button B 106 pixels to the left of Button A.

Integer: left_delta="106"

bottom

Optional. Sets the position in the y dimension of the element's bottom edge relative to the container. Positive and negative values are accepted. For example, given a floater with a height of 300 and a title 20 pixels tall and we want , we can set the bottom to (NEED TO DO MATH, LOL) -- putting the bottom edge of the title 40 pixels away from the top border of the floater.

Integer: bottom="(NEED TO DO MATH, LOL)"

bottom_delta
follows

Optional. Sets which edge(s) an element follows when the containing element is resized. Specifying all edges results in an element that can dynamically resize itself with its container.

Values: left, top, right, bottom. String multiple values together using pipes.

The following example sets an element to follow both the left and the top, such as a floater's title may be designed: String: follows="left|top"

button parameters

scale_image

Optional. Specifies whether to scale the button art as its container/floater is resized. As of 1.18.x, all button art has this property set to true where the button size is not equal to 32x128.

Boolean: scale_image="true"

label

Optional. Label is the text on the button's face. Without a specified label (and no image_overlay declared), your button will be labeled "Button". String: label="Click Me!"

label_selected

Optional. Label is the text on the button's face when pressed into an 'on' state. Your button will inherit the label if you omit this property. String: label_selected="I've been clicked."

font

(under construction)

font_style

Optional. Styles the text. Allows multiple style selections. As of 1.18.x, the style options are:

  • normal: Apply the default styles of the selected font. (For example, SansSerifBold has a default bold style applied to it.)
  • bold: Bolds the text.
  • italic: Italicizes the text.
  • underline: Underlines the text.
  • drop_shadow: Old-style 1px offset of black under the text.
  • drop_shadow_soft: New-style 3px offset of blurred shadow under the text.

String: font_style="bold|underline|drop_shadow_soft"

halign

Optional. Controls horizontal alignment of label on button face. Options are "left", "center" and "right".

image_unselected

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the unselected/up and enabled button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_unselected="btn_square_32x128.tga"

image_selected

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the selected/down button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\[SKIN NAME]\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/textures). By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_selected="btn_square-down_32x128.tga"

image_hover_selected

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the selected/down and mouseover/hover button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/[SKIN NAME]/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_unselected="btn_square-down-hover_32x128.tga"

image_hover_unselected

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the unselected/up and mouseover/hover button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\[SKIN NAME]\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/[SKIN NAME]/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_unselected="btn_square-up-hover_32x128.tga"

image_disabled

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the disabled button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/[SKIN NAME]/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_unselected="btn_square-disabled_32x128.tga"

image_disabled_selected

Optional. Overrides the default button art for the disabled and selected/down button state. Art must be located in the ..\skins\[SKIN NAME]\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. By default, the button art is stretched to fit the specified button size.

String: image_unselected="btn_square-down-disabled_32x128.tga"

image_overlay

Optional. Applies an overlay image to the button. The button art will be sized to fit. As of 1.18.x, these icons should be 16 pixels high at maximum on a standard height 24px button to minimize scaling artifacts. Can be used with or without text. Art must be located in the ..\skins\[SKIN NAME]\textures directory within the Second Life application folder (on a Mac, this is inside the package at Contents/MacOS/Resources/skins/[SKIN NAME]/textures). Art must also be named in textures.xml with an assigned UUID. See image_overlay_alignment for alignment options.

String: image_overlay="icn_media-play_16.tga"

image_overlay_alignment

Optional. Sets the alignment of the image_overlay icon.

Values:

  • left: left-aligns the art on the button. This standard is used for new button art with text in the Dazzle branch.
  • right: right-aligns the the art on the button.
  • center: centers the art on the button. This standard is used for new button art without text in the Dazzle branch.

String: image_overlay_alignment="left"

text_editor parameters

max_length
embedded_items
font
word_wrap
hide_scrollbar
cursor_color
text_color
text_readonly_color
bg_readonly_color
bg_writeable_color
bg_focus_color

line_editor parameters

label
max_length
font
bevel_style
  • none
  • in
  • out
  • bright
  • line
  • texture
border_thickness
select_on_focus
select_all_focus_received
handle_edit_keys_directly
cursor_color
text_color
text_readonly_color
bg_readonly_color
bg_writeable_color
bg_focus_color

See Also

Other Tutorials

Resident Created Skins