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First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

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nosanctuary
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First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

nosanctuary » March 9th, 2018, 4:39 am

Except for an onscreen notes skin that I'm currently working on, my desktop skin suite is done. There are a couple of things I'm still researching to tweak things a bit, but thought I would post what I have and get some feedback. ;-)
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jsmorley
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

jsmorley » March 9th, 2018, 11:17 am

Quite nice. I can't find a thing to criticize.
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eclectic-tech
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

eclectic-tech » March 9th, 2018, 2:47 pm

nosanctuary wrote:Except for an onscreen notes skin that I'm currently working on, my desktop skin suite is done. There are a couple of things I'm still researching to tweak things a bit, but thought I would post what I have and get some feedback. ;-)
Very clean and stylish! Nice work! :great:

I do have a few suggestions for you to consider regarding the placement and appearance of the skins.

Generally, I try to avoid forcing the position of a skin to a fixed position, preferring to let the end user place it where they want. In your quote skins, you use Padding=400,2088,0,40 to position the quotes, which is going to position it off the bottom of the screen for about half of your end users; about half of the monitors in use today use a resolution of 1366x766 or lower (reference: w3school 2018).

I would suggest changing 2 lines in [MeterQuote] sections of both skins:
X=(#ScreenAreaWidth#/2)
StringAlign=Center

This X value will position the meter in the center of the screen horizontally and the StringAlign=Center will center it. I changed 'CenterCenter' because that would also center the text vertically, and without a Y value, the top half would be clipped. This allows the string to be set to any vertically center position.

-=-

The flat style text works well with complementary wallpaper colors, but since you already are using some InlineSettings, I might suggest adding an InlineSetting shadow effect to make the text stand out against possible similarly colored backgrounds.

Add a ShadowColor variable that compliments the FontColor chosen; FontColor=0,0,0 | ShadowColor=255,255,255 to your variables.inc, then add an InlineSetting shadow line to the text meters.
InLineSetting4=Shadow | 1.5 | 1.5 | 0.75 | #ShadowColor#
shadoweffect.png
This shows it added to your clock and lovequote skins.

-=-

Your weather skin is good, the only issue I see is the size cuts off the last 2 days on resolutions less than 1920x1080.
This may not be an issue for half of end users, but a version that fits 1366x768 would make the suite more versatile.

-=-

In conclusion, your suite is very good looking, I do envy your artistic aesthetics... Sweet! :thumbup:
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nosanctuary
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

nosanctuary » March 9th, 2018, 3:29 pm

eclectic-tech wrote:Very clean and stylish! Nice work! :great:

I do have a few suggestions for you to consider regarding the placement and appearance of the skins.

Generally, I try to avoid forcing the position of a skin to a fixed position, preferring to let the end user place it where they want. In your quote skins, you use Padding=400,2088,0,40 to position the quotes, which is going to position it off the bottom of the screen for about half of your end users; about half of the monitors in use today use a resolution of 1366x766 or lower (reference: w3school 2018).

I would suggest changing 2 lines in [MeterQuote] sections of both skins:
X=(#ScreenAreaWidth#/2)
StringAlign=Center

This X value will position the meter in the center of the screen horizontally and the StringAlign=Center will center it. I changed 'CenterCenter' because that would also center the text vertically, and without a Y value, the top half would be clipped. This allows the string to be set to any vertically center position.

Great idea! My intention was to make it work for other resolutions eventually anyway, and just use the rainmeter options to keep it in place

-=-

The flat style text works well with complementary wallpaper colors, but since you already are using some InlineSettings, I might suggest adding an InlineSetting shadow effect to make the text stand out against possible similarly colored backgrounds.

Add a ShadowColor variable that compliments the FontColor chosen; FontColor=0,0,0 | ShadowColor=255,255,255 to your variables.inc, then add an InlineSetting shadow line to the text meters.
InLineSetting4=Shadow | 1.5 | 1.5 | 0.75 | #ShadowColor#shadoweffect.pngThis shows it added to your clock and lovequote skins.

It's funny you say that...lol - I would have gone crazy with shadows, but I thought I remembered reading somewhere that it caused Rainmeter to use more resources, and was trying to keep that to a minimum.One question regarding shadows - is there a way to add them to images? In my reading so far, I haven't had any luck finding information suggesting it's possible. I was trying to avoid needing backgrounds for the weather icons if possible. (Mostly just the current day larger one.)

-=-

Your weather skin is good, the only issue I see is the size cuts off the last 2 days on resolutions less than 1920x1080.
This may not be an issue for half of end users, but a version that fits 1366x768 would make the suite more versatile.

This one may take a little work...I'll have to tinker around with it and see what I can do.

-=-

In conclusion, your suite is very good looking, I do envy your artistic aesthetics... Sweet! :thumbup:
Thank you! This is a great community full of helpful people, and that really helped. :) Now I want to try creating themes, or a way to easily make a couple changes to colors, so it will fit with any background, as well as making it work across resolutions, as you said. The idea is that I can swap wallpapers every month, and keep the skins to colors from the wallpaper. This is how I liven up my day at work....plus everyone else enjoys them too. :D
nosanctuary
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

nosanctuary » March 9th, 2018, 3:32 pm

jsmorley wrote:Quite nice. I can't find a thing to criticize.
Thank you! I really appreciate the kind words - it's been fun figuring it all out. Well, except for anything involving math, lol. 8-)
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jsmorley
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

jsmorley » March 9th, 2018, 3:37 pm

InlineSetting=Shadow is a bit resource hungry, although only in a relative sense. Unless you have a really complicated skin and have a ton of string meters using a shadow, I doubt you would see any effect.

There is no way to apply a shadow to Images, other than creating a duplicate / offset copy of the image meter that uses ImageTint to turn it to whatever flavor of grayscale you want.

It's tricky to get skins that don't use a background image / shape of some kind to look great on any desktop wallpaper. What you might consider is having "light" and "dark" variants of your skin(s), which the user can load depending on which looks better on their system.

Another idea is to use the Chameleon plugin, which you can use to get the overall "luminance" of the user's desktop wallpaper, and set color variables appropriately. This is a very clever plugin and works really well, but I caution that the colors / luminance that it detects is based on what the source image is "mostly". This can mean that it can still depend on "where" on the desktop they put a skin, as it might be just right one place on the wallpaper, and hard to see on another.
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eclectic-tech
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

eclectic-tech » March 9th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Happy to criticize (help)! ;-)

Shadowing images is probably best done in a graphic editor; you may be able to fudge it in Rainmeter, but I think it would be a Rube Goldberg process. :17flag

You are right that using Inline Shadow can be expensive, but if you follow the advice here, and selectively apply it, the effect should out weight the additional CPU load.
Look forward to seeing your changes! :17good
nosanctuary
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

nosanctuary » March 9th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Oh, one thing that's realllllly bugging me - the AM/PM position relative to the Time is driving me nuts. Is there a way to superscript it with inline settings and add it to the same meter as the time? I know I can use them to change the font size, maybe I can use it to also change the position of that specific text?
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jsmorley
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Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

jsmorley » March 9th, 2018, 4:15 pm

nosanctuary wrote:Oh, one thing that's realllllly bugging me - the AM/PM position relative to the Time is driving me nuts. Is there a way to superscript it with inline settings and add it to the same meter as the time? I know I can use them to change the font size, maybe I can use it to also change the position of that specific text?
No, you can't change the "baseline" of text using InlineSettings. Sorry, but you will need two meters.
nosanctuary
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Joined: February 21st, 2018, 4:51 pm

Re: First attempt at desktop suite...constructive criticism?

nosanctuary » March 9th, 2018, 4:42 pm

jsmorley wrote:No, you can't change the "baseline" of text using InlineSettings. Sorry, but you will need two meters.
Turns out, that's not as big a problem as I was thinking. I just changed the AM/PM X value to be relative to the Time meter. Not sure why that didn't occur to me before. :confused: