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Addon Spotlight: Skinner

Sean Forsgren

For today's Addon Spotlight, we'll be spending some quality time with an addon that serves one function; to make your UI look very, very pretty. I only recently began using Skinner, as I hadn't ever bothered to change the default skins of my UI. Skinner will apply different backgrounds to the different windows of your UI, from your character sheet to the Auction House interface. It will also handle skinning many of your addons, tying your UI into a neat, attractive package.

You have the option to skin just about any part of your UI, as well as creating background panels on the top or bottom of your screen. When I don't auto-hide Fubar, I like to have it sitting on a gradient-background courtesy of Skinner.

There is also an option to create a viewport, which changes the size of the rendered world, allowing you to put UI elements outside of it. There are a number of options and ways to configure this one, so check back after the break.

Gallery: Skinner Addon | 4 Photos

Skinner actually provides a function I didn't even realize I would become so attached to. As the screenshots show, I've become attached to a dark blue and near-black gradient. All together, I feel like it cleans up the default frames considerably. It almost makes me feel like I'm playing a new game!

To access the configuration options, you can use a few different methods. You can use this command:

  • /skinner
This will list a series of options in your chat frame, but this can quickly become a cumbersome way to configure the addon. If you use Fubar, Skinner has a drop-drop down menu, which allows access to the many options, and is slightly less of a pain to use. I would recommend installing an addon like Niagara, which allows for a proper configuration interface. Whichever method you opt for, you've got a number of features to choose from.

The "Bottom Frame" and "Top Frame" will simply add a frame to the bottom or top of your frame, similar to the background of FuBar, but you can make this much larger. This is a great way to create a background for your actionbars and/or a more attractive background for Titan Panel or Fubar.

You can select "Character Frames", "NPC Frames" or "UI Frames" to choose from a list of frames you want skinned with your background. This is where you start to tie your UI into a neat visual package.

The "Viewport" allows you to add frames all around the screen, literally changing the resolution you're using, which lets you to place your UI elements all around your screen without getting in the way. (At the cost of some screen space, so I don't necessarily see I benefit from this feature.)

There are a number of fairly self-explanatory options, allowing the user to change the colors of the gradient, height of the gradient's fade and so forth. I suggest experimenting with these in order to grow comfortable with their use.

Let's say you want to use your own texture for the background, well look no further, this addon can do it! For the sake of clarity, I will quote the Ace wiki page for Skinner.

"To use textures as the backdrop to frames as opposed to a colour you need to do 4 things:

1. Turn off the option to use the default backdrop, either via the FuBar plugin or using the slash command /skinner bd default
2. Specify the texture that you want to use, either via the FuBar plugin or using the slash command /skinner bd backdrop <filename>

<filename> uses the format Interface\ChatFrame\ChatFrameBackground without a file extension. The texture file must be in either TGA or BLP format.

3. Change the Default Backdrop colour to have a value higher than 0, otherwise the Texture won't be visible, either via the FuBar plugin or using the slash command /skinner cp backdrop to use the Color Picker
4. Reload the UI, /rl"

Basically, drop the file you want (of the appropriate format), into the stated folder and use the /slash commands to assign the background. Honestly, I haven't done this one yet, so I would highly recommend you refer to the Ace Wiki site for help.

Finally, I want to quote the wiki on how to skin different addons, like Lightheaded, Chatter, Recount and Omen, just to name a few.

"Skinner has sub-directories, AddonSkins and SkinMe.

To have an Addon skinned, move or copy its file from AddonSkins into SkinMe, then Exit and restart, the addon will then be skinned :)

All the files from AddonSkins can be put into SkinMe with no detrimental effect. If you don't have the addon loaded then the skinning code will be removed from the addon memorypool."

Now this I have done and its very easy. Simply navigate the file structure to your Addons folder, then open the Skinner folder. In there you will find a folders named AddonSkins and SkinMe. In the AddonSkins folder you will find files named for numerous different addons. To skin the stated addon, simply copy or move the file into the SkinMe folder. There you have it; your addons are skinned. (You'll notice I've skinned all of the addons I used as examples, so it works like a charm.)

That's it, troops, a highly configurable addon to turn your UI in a neat, visually-congruent package. Try this out, I think you'll it! All you need to do is download it and install it to get started! Dismissed!

Are you an addon-addict? Is your User Interface a living work of art? Welcome home, my friends! Every week, Addon Spotlight profiles a different addon, brings you mod-related news and dishes out free addon advice. See out what's been said and done in the addon community by checking out past features or our addon and UI directory.

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