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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Three custom themes for Aeon MQ5 Skin created by CW-KID

One of the great features of the Aeon MQ5 skin for XBMC is you can create your own custom themes. Themes are basically the background images that get displayed in the various areas of the XBMC user interface.

I have created three themes in Red, Blue and Purple colour tones, I spent a considerable amount of time putting these three themes together, searching the Internet for just the right images. All images are 1920x1080 or 1280x720 in size.

There are too many images in each theme to demo all of them, but below are a some sample screen shots of the main menu areas. Note there is more than one image for each menu item most have five images which will alternate.

Red tones theme:

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Blue tones theme:

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Purple tone theme:

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Installing the themes

You can download each theme from my Dropbox.

Red tones

Blue tones

Purple tones

Once you have downloaded each .rar file extract them in to the Userdata\addon_data\skin.aeonmq5.extrapack folder on your XBMC PC(s). If you don’t have this folder you need to install the Aeon MQ5 Extra Pack first.

In the screen shot below you can see the three new folders.

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Each custom theme folder contains 21 sub folders as you can see in the screen shot below. Each sub folder contains the various background images.

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Now you need to turn on the desired theme in the Aeon MQ5 skin.

Go to Settings – Skin Settings

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Select Themes from the menu on the left and scroll down on the right to select My Theme and turn it on.

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You will then see a screen like this, which gives you the instructions on how to create your own theme. Just select back to get out of this.

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Next you need to select the path of where your custom theme is located, browse to the folder Userdata\addon_data\skin.aeonmq5.extrapack and then select either the Red, Blue or Purple theme. I will select the Blue one in this example.

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Then select OK

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The blue theme should then be enable and you can see the path to the themes folder

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To change it to the Red or Purple themes just do the same as above but choose the correct folder for the desired theme.

Summary

I hope you enjoy these themes as they took me about three days to put them together!

Friday, 10 January 2014

New XBMC add-on – Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver

After switching from MCE to XBMC one thing I really missed was the MCE photo screensaver, as I would use that to view our family photos whilst listening to music.

There is a new XBMC add-on being developed called Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver which somewhat fills this gap and its certainly a sterling attempt!

The add-on has not been released in to the official XBMC repository as yet but you can find the forum thread for it here and there is a .zip file you can download and install in XBMC.

Just so you know what I am talking about the developer @Sphere has done a nice demo video:


There are several modes in which the screensaver can run in.
At the moment the add-on itself includes five complete unique looking modes:
  • TableDrop
    Should look like dropping images to a table as seen from above.
  • StarWars
    Good old star wars intro text effect
  • RandomZoomIn
    I like fireworks...
  • AppleTVLike
    Effect of images flying through the screen from the bottom to the top, at different depth levels.
  • GridSwitch
    A grid of images, with random switching new images, one by one.
These are screenshots from my HTPC running the screensaver:

TableDrop:

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StarWars:

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RandomZoomIn:

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AppleTVLike:

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GridSwitch:

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You can also in the screensaver add-on settings, set it to Random so then each time the screensaver is launched you will see one of the five modes. I think the AppleTVLike is my favourite one!
The screensaver as of version 0.10 can now also be launched as a Program add-on which was my feature request. And I will explain why you would want this.

Whilst listening to music and in order to have the screensaver automatically launched by XBMC after so many minutes, the default is 3 minutes, you would have to go in to XBMC Settings – Appearance – ScreenSaver and you would have to turn OFF the option: Use Visualization if playing audio.

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This would mean that when playing music the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver would always be launched and you would lose your skins Music Visualization feature.

Here is the Aeon MQ5 skins music playback fullscreen / visualization, which I like and want to see by default!

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So by making the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver also launchable as an XBMC Program add-on we can have the best of both worlds. What I have done is left the “Use Visualization if playing audio” setting turned on.
Then in the Program add-ons area I highlighted the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver addon and selected to add it to favourites.

(Don’t worry about the white square there is just no add-on icon been made as yet.)

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Bring up the context menu and select Add to favourites.

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Then using the Aeon MQ5 menu customization feature I was able to add this favourite to my Pictures sub-menu. (was renamed from Images)

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So now on my Pictures menu on the sub-menu I have an option to manually launch the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver.

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This means when I am playing music by default the Aeon MQ5 playback fullscreen / visualization will kick in. But if I want to view our family photos whilst listening to music instead, I would go to the Pictures sub-menu and launch the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver. Currently to exit the screensaver when launched in this manner, I think you have to either press Escape or Stop, Backspace still doesn’t appear to be working for me.

The Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver is easy to configure, in the add-on settings under Mode you can choose the default mode the screensaver should be launched into or you can choose Random.

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And then under Image Source, you just point it to the folder path where you photos are stored.

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Or if you prefer you can have your media library artwork being displayed instead. For example you can change the source to Movie and the Property to Fanart to have your Movie fanart images displayed in the screensaver

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Movie Fanart:

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Albums Fanart:

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Note: There doesn't appear to be an option to display TV Show fanart.

Summary:

This is the best photo screensaver for XBMC in my opinion and if you have been missing the MCE photo screensaver this could make you feel a whole lot happier!

Highly recommended add-on!

UPDATE: I've just noticed after launching the screensaver from the XBMC Programs add-on list, after a period of time my screen becomes dimmed. See screen shot below, not sure how to stop this from happening at the moment, will report back.























So looks like there are still some issues to sort out.