Recoloring skins does not change the original author's copyright, nor does it make such skin yours. If you recolor a skin it icon that has not been made by yourself you may not upload or share a recolored skin without the original author's permission.
Ok, so I'm in the subject of recoloring for quite some time now. I've written a few routines to recolor skins SkinStudio can edit and a few for icons (which it can now edit too), then I thought "Heck why not apply those to things SkinStudio knows nothing or very little about? Let's try that
SkinStudio does not write anything to your original file during the whole process, and after you're done with the recoloring it will prompt you for the new name for the recolored skin/zip so you may specify another name and leave the original one untouched (which is probably always a good idea).
Most skin formats are just a bunch of bitmaps packed into a zip file and bound together with a definition text file, in form or either ini or xml (well those of them who have at least some logic in them). Let's try Winamp...
Abracadabra - That's one fine skin I really love design of and in the same time I cannot stand its colors. Sorry Renato it's a bit too saturated with blue for me. (he's a good friend of mine - I'm sure he'll understand).
But that's not a problem any longer. Let's open it in SkinStudio and recolor:
File->Batch Processing->Recolor icons or images in a &zipped file (Winamp / WMP / and other skins)
then browse to "C:\Program Files\Winamp\Skins\"
folder and open the "Abracadabra.wsz"
SkinStudio can open any skin file in a form of zip, but it's you should still know which file to open and what extension does it have. Besides it never hurts to try any file. The worst you will get is that SkinStudio will not show you any files to recolor after you select the skin file to open.
Before you proceed I suggest that you know some basics of the recoloring. I strongly recommend that you read this previous article concerning recoloring icons
Oh yes, previously I've forgotten to tell you about a nice big preview that will really come in handy with this article. You can enable the big preview with the "See the big picture" checkbox in the lower right of the dialog. Let's see... This is what we have at first:
And here after I've adjusted the source and target settings just like in the previous article
. Only that this time it started to make the grayscales distorted. which required me to set the "colorize grayscales" checkbox into the unchecked state (Pointed at with the lower hand-cursor on the picture below) - to make SkinStudio ignore grayscales completely in the process.
Notice that there is additional "Saturation tolerance" trackbar right to the previous "Fuzziness" trackbar (Pointed at with the upper hand-cursor on the picture above). What it defines is how much color may be different from grayscales (how saturated) to be still treated as grayscale and ignored. This needed to be added because it produced really ugly effects with bitmaps with pixels "nearly grayscale but not quite". 20% on that scale is ok in most cases but you may want to experiment with it to achieve best results. I actually like that what I have here already so I will now press the "Apply" button to make the colorization happen. SkinStudio will then recolor the bitmaps (again - without touching the original skin) and ask you for the new name for the skin. Let me name it "Abracadabra_olive.wsz
" and press "Save"
Now, let's go to WinAmp and select the new skin... Hocus Pocus... Abracadabra...
Now that's something I can use with my current theme.
If you know a little about WinAmp skinning you probably notice dthat I have cheated you a little (but only for your own good). I actually made SkinStudio know a little about WinAmp skins. Just enough to recolor the font and visualization colors defined inside WinAmp's skins. If you are an author of a program that stores its skins like that and would like me to add some special treatment for its skins please contact me through the comments to this article. (I'm not very keen on pasting my mail publically - I get my share of spam already)
If you recolor skins like Windows Media Player that has some color maps inside them (thich means the colors in the maps is crucial to stay unchanged, please uncheck them in the list of images before applying the colorization. Wach image has its owh checkbox left to it. Mask images are quite easilly distinguishable from the regular images. Most of them have just shapes of solid color in the shape of e.g. buttons that you will most probably see on a similar bitmap in the skin.