Where the doctor offers his skinning advice and frequently voices his rants and raves about our society.
~~~Volume 1, Edition 2~~~
Published on November 2, 2004 By qrush In WindowBlinds
Apologia/Disclaimer: This article is full of my highly biased and honest opinion. I have not yet begun to skin WindowBlinds, so I am a novice at skinning. These are simply my observations and rants about skins I liked...and a few I didn't. If you feel I didn't include a skin that deserves its rightful props, just drop me a comment, I'll be happy to add a skin to the list.

Another monthly article, here we go! This month saw the opening of the fall WB skinning contest, so several artists came out of a bit of sleep to try to rake in some cash. The Halloween spirit also brought about a ton of themed skins and suites. Hopefully we'll see a similar influx during Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season. As for the format for this edition, I've simply changed the Breakout Skinners to Featured Skinners, thereby highlighting more than just the new kids on the block. There weren't that many updates for this month, so I'm including a Highlights section to point out skins worthy of honorable mention.

Just a few editing notes...I composed this totally in ObjectEdit. Hopefully next month I'll use Dreamweaver, as a few tables could help. Just bear with the format, but I think the links and preview pictures are good enough. Thanks!

~~~Innovative Skins~~~

Longhorn Slate 4051 by Voodoo_FreaK

Most skins don't last on my computer very long, at the most one will last two or three weeks. This skin lasted for about a month until Skintendo came out. If I had to pick one skin to utterly replace the Luna GUI, I think most people would agree this one would do the trick. Longhorn Slate has immense functionality, and with the update earlier this month it's a lot easier to see and use. The toolbar icons are astounding, and the shell images are very detailed. Also noteworthy is the alternative shellstyle, which throws the links normally on the left of Explorer up to the top. It's hard to get used to, but definitely a nice deviation from the norm.

Skies by adni18

There's quite a few nice features in Skies. The start menu looks quite beautiful, and that start menu button reminds me of a KDE linux type setup. I find this skin appealing because it's one of the skins that matches almost perfectly with that slew of Aero DX Objects. The peculiar bump in from the menu bar to the title bar in windows is also a neat little quirk. This is another quality piece of work from the good Adni.

Skintendo by Hippy

This has to be THE most innovative skin in quite a whille. Hippy totally nailed the NES look, right to the little controller plugin ports. When I first applied this skin I even tried to click the Power and Reset button! I can just picture a NES sitting on top of Hippy's monitor while he was making this skin. The sounds are impeccable, and the windows are out of this world. I have no clue how he got the Min/Max/Close buttons to go into that controller, but that's definitely cool. I half wanted to drag the controller off! Also notable are the logoff/shutdown dialogs. Being a dark skin, the normal word processor colors are inverted, but if you can get over that for a while, this skin can bring back some good gaming memories.

TriAX by brewman

Upon seeing this on the IRC, someone mentioned "Does brewman has an obsession with windows flags?" Well, I certainly don't mind them. This spinoff on DogmaX definitely has more personality than its predecessor. The buttons are a lot nicer, and the skin focuses more on gradients than the blueprint look of DogmaX. The start menu is definitely worth checking out, as I love that logo that so subtlety blends in behind the icons. It borrows a lot from Dogma, but TriAX is definitely worth a look.

Luster by MikeB314

This skin immediately reminds me of glassy look of Inspirat from last month combined with the smoothness of Futurist. Some people don't like minimalistic styles (my personal opinion on them always changes), but Mike combines a glossy look with the minimalistic grey. I'm always a fan of Mike's preservance to fully complete a skin, from toolbar icons to new progress AVIs. I wonder if that start button was modeled after the Holiday Inn logo... But anyway, check this out if you're interested in the style.

Carillon by essorant

Carillon caught my eye because of the color scheme that Essorant picked out for this one. Usually skinners choose either one or two main colors for a skin, and stick with them. Carillon's almost Mac-like toolbars and slick taskbar merge perfectly with the green, red, and blue highlights that Essorant chose. In almost a lesson for how SkinStudio displays different phases of a button, each seemingly dull gray illuminates with color. The skin is lacking shellstyle images, but that can easily be fixed with a little SkS knowledge. This skin is one of the more interesting and different approaches in the library.

My Halloween by Xav73

Xav is truly the master of themes and I seriously hope this isn't his last skin. This skin blends two styles: wood AND the halloween theme. It definitely takes a lot of skill to make it look nice and still be functional. Although the text is somewhat had to see at times, the shell style images are creative beyond belief. Also, the sounds are very cool too! My Halloween would definitely scare the pants off of your normal GUI editing.

~~~Featured Skinners~~~

Cliff Pinchetti isn't a Journeyman for naught. This guy is one of the most productive of all skinners, he has at least a new WB or Sysmetrix out every week. I've used his Sysmetrix stuff for quite a while, but I didn't give a second thought until I saw his last few WB skins. He is definitely improving daily, and it shows! (Check out his new skin, CP38 WB!)

Steve Grenier
I really didn't notice this skinner until WindowsMax2, which caught my eye. Although it's a bit of a gradient overload, it's better than average. Check his stuff out!

Shawn has been a friend of mine for a while now, and his skinning skill can only improve. His RoxioEasyWB (see below!) has a very nice layout, and an awesome start menu. He's slowly moving away from simply porting skins over, but he keeps his traditional Windows-influenced style.

~~~WB Highlights~~~

RoxioEasyWB by wstaylor

CinnaWin by Russ T Bullethole

Rogue Proton Green by I.R. Brainiac

XP-XS by Snowman

EclipticSO by starone

Royale XP Inspirat by Frogboy

DogmaX v2a by brewman

Basaltedwb by NightTrain2002

M16 Dark by Michael Brandt

on Nov 10, 2004
Good article! I really like Luster as well as Skies.

Lookin forward to the next batch, with the WB comptetion and all.
on Dec 27, 2006
Resurrected by SpamBot...and well out of date....