Category Archives: Customisation

Customising GTK

Since I seem to be on the ‘gnome customisation’ band-wagon at the moment, I thought I would look into trying to make my own GTK+ 2.0 themes, along the lines of some of the excellent ones I’ve found at places like this.

For those of you eagerly anticipating a nice clear ‘How-To’ on the subject, I’m afraid I was defeated. If you are interested in making your own theme, then the Gnome Wiki has a tutorial here, which is probably best combined with simply going into the directory of a nice simple theme you like and having a look at the gtkrc file.

I decided that this degree of customisation was a little too difficult still at this point in my Linux education, so I started looking for alternatives. I found some fantastic examples of the sort of things I could do here but sadly very little explanation on how to do them myself.

Just as I was about to give up, I was thrown a lifeline of hope by another IRC friend.

The Gnome Color Chooser

The Gnome Color Chooser

Gnome-Color-Chooser is a GTK theming application, available for download off the Ubuntu Repositories. It doesn’t modify your existing theme at all, but simply super-imposes it’s own theme on top through a ‘tick box’ system. Simply untick the boxes, and you have your original theme back as good as new. Only tick some of the boxes, and you end up with a combination of your existing theme and Gnome-Color-Chooser’s additions.

It’s very easy to lose a lot of time to playing with this app, so to help you along, I found a couple of other tools which are quite useful.

  • ‘The Widget Factory’ can be installed from the Ubuntu Repositories. It is, quite simply, an application that creates a window full of widgets, so that you can see exactly what your new theme will look like. It can show your current theme, or any of the themes that you have currently installed, without you having to set them in Appearance properties.
  • This website provides a very good color picker, which is very handy with all those color options to choose from in Gnome-Color-Chooser!

I’m still looking into ways to create a proper GTK+ 2.0 theme, and any pointers are appreciated. For the moment though, this will leave me enough to be going on with, I think. I hope it helps you as well!

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How To: Making ‘Flame’ Backgrounds in Gimp

I’ve had a few questions about how I make my current background. It was a trick passed on to me by a friend in IRC, and I’m more than happy to pass it on to anyone else who is interested. You don’t need any artistic skill, just Gimp.

A minimalistic look with Embedded Terminals

A Screenshot showing my Homemade Background

To start with, open Gimp, and set the background colour to the colour you want to use for your image background. Then start a new image. Set the image size to your monitor resolution, and under ‘Advanced Options’ change ‘Fill with:’ to ‘Background colour’

Now make a new layer, and choose ‘transparency’ as the Layer Fill Type.

Next, <right-click> on the image and select ‘Filters –> Render –> Nature –> Flame’.

The 'Flame' Render in Gimp

The'Flame' Render in Gimp

First, go to the ‘Camera’ tab and choose a zoom level. We’ve found that 3.00 works pretty well. Then hit ‘Edit’. Here is where you have the fun. At the bottom, the option ‘Variation’ can be changed to create a wide variety of effects. I chose ‘Linear’ but you can use any of them. Have a flick through them, and hit ‘randomise’ ever so often, to see the options. You can also adjust ‘speed’ to get different effects. Keep playing until you find one you like.

Choosing a Flame Effect

Choosing a Flame Effect

Once you’ve chosen and hit ‘okay’ you go back to the original Flame window. Now play with the zoom some more, and the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ coordinates, until you’ve got things just right. Don’t worry about colours for now, just hit okay. It will take quite a long time to render the effect.

Once it’s done, we can play with colours. <right-click> on the image and choose ‘Colours –> Colourise’. This will give you a window you can use to play with the hue, saturation, and lightness, until you get the colour effect you want.

This shows you how to get one layer of flame. However, you can also superimpose different layers with different colours very easily. Just add a new layer, and proceed as above. The possibilities are almost endless!

Below is a marble-like example I made with one layer, using these methods.

A Pink Marble Effect

A Pink Marble Effect

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