Don't want to create a new theme but want to adjust one? SOL

The point of this thread is pretty well spelled out in the subject. Now I know some things that I wish may just not be possible and I may have to compromise one thing or another, but we’ll get to those answers in time. First a little background for some context - I’m a new WD SMP owner, I’ve had it about a week. I’m a programmer professionally holding a BA in Multimedia (emphasis in Game Design), so I know a little something about code and UI design. I previously owned a custom-built HTPC that was getting a little long in the tooth, but I decided I didnt want to tinker with the thing anymore so I bought: a Roku, then returned it; a Sony box, then returned it. Then finally landed on the WD SMP.

The thing is great but after a week, there are just some little details I wish I could change for the better (according to me.) I have spent all week reading these threads, learning about theming, and trying some themes out. Almost none of the themes do what I want or they’re just not my taste. Basically, I want an out-of-the box experience that’s tweakable in small ways. So even though I’m a programmer, I do not wish to spend my time learning the ins-and-outs of WD’s XML files nor spending hours in photoshop making graphics. I want it to just work - that’s why I got rid of my HTPC.

I originally had a long, drawn out post with many of my tweak wishes but I decided to trim it down to a couple questions at a time so none of my ideas get lost in other discussion. I’ve spent a week reading and searching these threads, so if you know of a thread that answers my questions and I may not have seen it, by all means, please link me.

Now I’m generally fine with the Mochi theme but I see there are definitely better looking themes. The reason I want to stick with Mochi is it does everything out of the box as its supposed to while custom themes are designed based on that designer’s preferences (such as self-aggrandizing text or logos pasted all over the theme). Some others look really good but just don’t suit my tastes. For example, I don’t want snakeskin and a woman’s shadowy profile on every page. It looks fantastic, just not my taste.

So 1st question: I haven’t seen the PSD’s of the main pages available for download for any theme. It’d save me a bunch of time if I can find a theme I mostly like and just change the 1280x720 images to my liking. Are these around already and I’m blind? Do authors share them if requested?

Additionally, I don’t think I want a moviesheet theme (I’m not wholly decided yet.) My family likes to play music and have the slidehow on in the background of our family photos. Our plasma becomes a jukebox/digital picture frame quite often. Changing how the slideshow works just to accomodate a moviesheet theme (however good it looks) eliminates other functionality I wish to have.

2nd question: does using a moviesheet theme preclude me from the slideshow functionality? I really don’t want a 5-minute delay on photo slideshows just so I can accomodate a semi-static moviesheet theme. Is anyone else using all this functionality with a moviesheet theme and found a happy compromise?

The answers to these two questions will help me decide to go the moviesheet route or not.

Answer to 1st  Question: I changed the background of my SMP using a Picture in the Photo library section. The Photo is always shown in the background when browsing the SMP except for when you’re using an App.

Answer to 2nd  Question: The reason the Moviesheets have to be semi-static is because it will show all pictures associated with the video file including the thumbnail for the file. Unless you plan to create a Moviesheet for every image in the background, you don’t need the Slideshow feature.

I’ve also tried several themes and I have come to love the Mojo Theme. It keeps the alot of the good features of the Moochi Theme but tweeks some areas that make the browsing experience more enjoyable (in my opinion). Also Mojo Theme includes a Thumbnail generator Tutorial which creates a nice reflection effect when browing my movies as shown below.

Good luck going forward.

Thanks for jumping in Wolmerian, however the answers provided don’t really address the questions asked.

Question #1 was not “how do I change the background?” That info is cleraly in the user manual. The question pertains to using a moviesheet theme and if anyone shares their original PSD’s (or GIMP files) so others can modify them to suit personal tastes. I haven’t really seen these files being shared throughout the forums and I don’t even see a lot of requests for them. So I’m wondering if I’m just missing them before I go bothering the theme authors for them.

Question #2 wasn’t “why do I have to change the slideshow settings to accomodate a moviesheet theme”, but rather, has anyone found a happy medium between using a moviesheet theme AND the slideshow functionality for photos?

Answer to question 1: No.  For the most part themes are the creation of the themers and the elements of each theme represent hours upon hours of work.  Asking a themer to share his/her work is no different then asking any other artist to share the pieces of their work so that you can modify it the way you want it.

However, with that said, some themers do share some of the PSD (XCF) files for modification.  Each theme and themer is different on that though.

But if you are not happy with a particular theme and want something to suit your particular taste, then you are welcome to create your own.  And you can start here: http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Streaming-Discussions/ATTENTION-THEMERS-OSD-for-1-09-10/m-p/416832/highlight/true#M9329

Answer to question 2:  No.  This is a limitation of the firmware.  You can either have moviesheets display correctly or you can have photoslide show function for photos.  You can set the transition time for less, but in doing so you have to remember that it will affect moviesheets.

“Answer to question 1: No.”

Well, that’s unfortunate. I would think an open community that shares themes would also share the art and assets to encourage others to not only use their themes, but to learn the art themselves thus growing the community. Shame really. I know I can make my own theme if I had the desire. As mentioned in my OP, a lot of the themes out there are really fantastic, there’s just some small details I would prefer to change on almost all of the one’s I’ve tried. Why reinvent the wheel when all I need to do is change the hubcap?

Thanks for the link, I’ve gathered a few of the “how to theme” links and found the original WD documentation as well. Maybe someday I’ll decide to tackle it myself.

Thanks for the discussion on the moveisheet questions - I think I’m still leaning towards not using them. The firmware limitations and the absence of modifiable assets by theme authors pretty much eliminate the customizability I desire.

I know I had more questions about little details about the SMP but dang it if I can’t think of them now. I guess I’m tired.

It’s easy to create your own theme. I don’t share my themes here, but you can create whatever you like. I believe the best option for you is to merge some existing themes to a new theme.

My biggest problem with all the people here who create themes is that the themes are never finished. They create only pages they find important and there are allways pages which are left out and I don’t like things that are not 100% correct.

If you have some html knowledge it’s easy to modify things. It sounds like you can do this.

I would suggest to dowload a couple of themes and also the original theme here and look how they work. It will take some time to get used to it, but if you know how it’s easy to modify things.

Most theme builders here have good design skills (ok, the screenshot here is not a good example with the green colors…), but they lack some code writing skills and are more focussed on showing off than to create a 100% theme.

But well, for most users who don’t understand html / xml or don’t want to take time to modify things it’s a good forum. I would suggets just to create something for your onw usage and not to share it. Sharing here is only cost you time to answer questions about things people don’t want to find out themself.

mrvander wrote:

“Answer to question 1: No.”

 

Well, that’s unfortunate. I would think an open community that shares themes would also share the art and assets to encourage others to not only use their themes, but to learn the art themselves thus growing the community. customizability I desire.

 

Well, there is as difference between having an open community were themers share freely, without any cost to you, these themes that have at times taken hundreds of hours to create and giving you our indiviual art work.

     Why reinvent the wheel when all I need to do is change the hubcap?

If you’re wanting to put in those terms, then you already have the ability to change the “hubcap”.  You have the theme and it can be modified to your likeing.  But that’s not what you are asking when you want someone to share their PSD/XCF files.  That’s more like asking someone to give you the whole car in pieces so you can assemble it in the manner that you want and that’s just not going to happen.

Just because we openly share our themes with the community, doesn’t mean that we are willing to give away all our creations.

“My biggest problem with all the people here who create themes is that the themes are never finished. They create only pages they find important and there are allways pages which are left out and I don’t like things that are not 100% correct.”

This is what I’m finding exactly. Hence my question about obtaining the assets. Based on TW’s response above (I will give others the benefit of the doubt he doesn’t necessarily speak for the entire community) and from what I’ve found scattered throughout the community, it appears people are willing to share their knowledge, just not their “work” beyond, as you say, just showing it off. These aren’t Picasos - they’re a hack for an consumer electronic device.

So I guess if I want things “my way” I’ll have to do it myself as people here only go as far as showing off their work as opposed to truly sharing it. Unfortunately for me, as stated in my OP, I don’t wish to take the time for total theme learning right now so I guess I’ll just stick with Mochi. Heck, I don’t even want to take the time to reverse engineer (e.g., magic wand and careful selections) the JPG’s or PNG’s in the theme files hence why I was asking for the original PSD’s to speed things up.

I will say though, If I ever do learn theming from top to bottom, I intend to share the entire work for others. Heck I may even put together a more comprehensive “how to” document since all that info is incredibly scattered. It’s a great product, it’s a great community, there’s just room for improvement on both fronts.

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“My biggest problem with all the people here who create themes is that the themes are never finished. They create only pages they find important and there are allways pages which are left out and I don’t like things that are not 100% correct.”

 

Well, if you don’t like that a theme is not “100%”, then you are welcome to create your own.  But one reason, at least for the SMP, that themes do not appear to be finished is because their is a size limit on the theme size.  Take my Mojo theme for example, it is more complete for the HUB than is is for the SMP because I had to modify it for the SMP to get the size down.  It is as large as it can be to be usable for the SMP.  30MB is as large as a theme can be for the SMP and Mojo is just under that.

 

“This is what I’m finding exactly. Hence my question about obtaining the assets. Based on TW’s response above (I will give others the benefit of the doubt he doesn’t necessarily speak for the entire community) and from what I’ve found scattered throughout the community, it appears people are willing to share their knowledge, just not their “work” beyond, as you say, just showing it off. These aren’t Picasos - they’re a hack for an consumer electronic device.”

 

No, I don’t speak for the entire community, however, we themers do speak to one another and I can pretty much guaranty that no themer is going to be willing to give you their PSD/XCF files to modify (with some exceptions).  Yes, we are willing to help you gain the knowledge to create your own theme, but you have no right to our original work and themes are not a “hack”, a hack would be if the FW was altered, not an alteration in the UI which was given as a FEATURE of the product.  Also, the images may not be on “Picasso’s”, but that doesn’t mean that they in themselves aren’t original works.

 

“So I guess if I want things “my way” I’ll have to do it myself as people here only go as far as showing off their work as opposed to truly sharing it. Unfortunately for me, as stated in my OP, I don’t wish to take the time for total theme learning right now so I guess I’ll just stick with Mochi. Heck, I don’t even want to take the time to reverse engineer (e.g., magic wand and careful selections) the JPG’s or PNG’s in the theme files hence why I was asking for the original PSD’s to speed things up.”

 

That is fine as you are have no obligation in using anyone’s theme.  Theme’s are here for the benefit of the community to USE, not to modify in the ways that each individual want’s the theme to look.

Thanks, TW. Those are exactly the answers I was looking for and explain why I was not finding the assets around these boards. You confirm our earlier assessments.

Option #1: If one wants to be a programmer and artist, there’s lots of info to be had here.

Option #2: If one simply wants to be a user and adjust a couple things, see option #1.

The themers here put hours upon hours putting these themes together. TW and Devicious like to create themes from their own minds, visions “They” see in their head as perfect and work hard at it and share for free. JoeySmyth likes to take brilliant themes from other better media systems and some how manages to impliment them here. All 3 have struggled and figured out ways around the limitations and constant FW updates where WD keeps breaking things.

All 3 share all their knowledge and contribute to all theming questions to the best of their ability.

They start creating themes and get berated and criticized before the design is finished. I surprised they have not stopped designing completely due to the lack of respect that a lot of users give them here. They do it for themselves as a hobby. They have jobs and families and still find time to spend hours on these great themes.

When they design these themes, like mentioned above they have a vision. You can ask about a change, and IF they like the idea, they may implement it, but chances are it doesnt fit into their vision so it wont happen. If not, the code is there, you can make your own changes, and if you ask nicely they will even assist you with knowledge to help gett eh modification done. But if you want to modify their artistic designs and visions, its not going to be handed to you on a silver platter. you are going to have to work for it.

@dutchuser if you are such a masterful coder and designer and have made 100% complete themes but decide to not share, you have no right to be harping on the themers that do share their hard work.

It would be nice if someone could take the time to say, make a starter guide for making such themes. Maybe make a bi-monthly feature that everyone could follow ?

I personally would love to get involved but where does one start ?

However I think the themers in here are right in not revealing their work, is that not like asking microsoft for Win8 code so you could make it better ?

Keep up the good work guy’s…