Aston Toolbars are one of the most tricky elements to skin for many Theme creators.
On the one hand, creating a primitive Toolbar is simple: just make one image and repeat
it for all the states, but that's far not the best you can do.
Basically each of the two Toolbars consists of 13 frames, and some of them might be
Sample Toolbar image from Roman Osadchy's Ocean
The first frame is usually a small arrow, triangle, dot or something else against the
pink background. It defines the item, poining that a certain element has a sublevel. You
may surely leave this frame blank but in this case the Theme's usability will be
"In wild" this looks like:
The following frames are divided into three parts. Each "third" represents
a certain sublevel of the Toolbar and its normal, highlighted and pressed states.
So, overall, the Toolbar frame list consists of the following images:
- Non-empty sublevel indicator
- The first "third": the first level Toolbars
- The second "third": the second level Toolbars
- The third "third": the third level Toolbars open up
- The fourth "third": the third level Toolbars open down
As in most cases both third level skins are identical you can either use the same
images for them or just not place the last three frames at all thus creating only
Note: for the Toolbars you can only use 1 bit "magic pink"
transparency. For the first level Toolbar you cannot use any kind of transparency at
all. Using PNG images is impossible.
Let's have a look at the "Ocean Morning" Theme Toolbar, created
by Roman Osadchy as a sample.
Each Toolbar may have a header: two-state image, displayed on top of Toolbar.
The topmost image is used for inactive state and the bottom one is seen when you click on
the Toolbar header:
Sample Toolbar header from Dmitry Prosvirnin's "Aston
The limitations are similar: only "magic pink" may be used for
Note: don't try to make headers wider than Toolbar cells: the
skin will be stretched anyway.
Don't think that the skin above is the only possible. It's excellent, but
not the only one. Just have a look at some other works:
Left Toolbar skin from Dmitry Prosvirnin's "Cell"
Theme (made in 2002 but still looks fresh and neat)
Left Toolbar skin by mrbiotech, "Cerevisiae"
Left Toolbar skin by Smanic, "Xbox" Theme
Don't forget, that there're two Toolbars in Aston, not just a single one.
Thus you can give them a completely different look (if it fits your Theme's
concept, of course) although this is far not the most popular solution: many designers still
prefer "mirroring" Toolbar frames :)