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    Using transparency in Aston

    From the version 1.9.0 on, Aston Shell Themers can use 32 bit images in their works.

    First ofl all, you must keep in mind one simple thing: when working with Aston you can deal with two kinds of transparency:

    • "magic pink" (1 bit transparency)
    • 8 bit alpha transparency

    The difference between the two is obvious when you look at the image below:
    Transparency distortion

    [AD voice on] The left part of the image is made in 32 bit PNG while the right one is ordinary 24 bit bitmap. [AD voice off]
    We've tried to place both pictures on different backgrounds and here's the result. By applying various tricks we can reduce the visibility of rough edges on the left but we cannot disable it completely just like we cannot add transparency to the "atmosphere" part.

    "Magic pink" transparency is called so because by default so-called magic pink (255,0,255 RGB) colored areas are completely removed by the program during rendering, so instead of

    magic pink: original image

    one can see

    magic pink: resulting image

    depending on the background, of course :)

    Note: transparent areas must have exactly (255,0,255 RGB) color and no other. So areas with (254,1,254) will remain pink! Be careful.

    Save images with the "magic pink" as 24 bit BMPs and make sure this color is not "magically" displaced with another one ;) That's why we warn you against using various "optimizations": in 24 bit it might be (255,0,255) while at 8 bit it may turn into (250,5,255) and we bet you won't tell the difference relying on your eyes.

    In order to use alpha transparency just create 32 bit PNG file and "feed" it to Aston. Piece of cake! ©

    Reference table

    Here's a reference table, showing where one can use Transparent elements and where he/she cannot.

    Element type "Magic pink" alpha transparency (32 bit PNG)
    Desktop icons OK OK
    ANK objects OK OK
    Desktop plug-ins OK OK
    Taskbar skin NO NO
    Taskbar state buttons OK OK
    Taskbar plug-ins OK OK
    Tray skin NO NO
    Start button OK OK
    Main Menu NO NO
    Toolbars, level 1 NO NO
    Toolbars, levels 2-3 OK NO

    Generally, don't use transparency for Taskbar, Tray and Main Menu. Also be aware of Toolbars limitations.

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