New Homescreen inspired by AndroidAndMe.com
MyColorscreen screen of the day 12/14/2011!
The customizability of Android can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand I don’t have to look at something boring like pages full of just icons. But on the other hand, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stick with something for more than a month or two before wanting to create something new. I therefore spend a night or two staying up til the wee hours of the morning planning new ideas, photoshopping icons, and finding ways to make my vision a reality.
|From AndroidAndMe.com’s mobile site.|
My latest creation originated one morning when I was reading the latest android news instead of trimming my scraggly beard or eating a healthy breakfast. I went to androidandme.com on my phone’s browser and was greeted with a very well designed mobile web page. I liked it so much that I decided I had to try and see if I could create something similar for my phone. The following will not only explain the process I went through to create the homescreen, but some tips that you may find useful next time you want to create something unique.
ADWLauncher EX – Launcher Replacement
Multipicture Live Wallpaper – Allows each screen of the homescreen to be a different image
Minimalistic Text – For clock, date, and other text
Desktop Visualizer – For shortcuts of different sizes to apps/folders with custom images
Tasker – For unread sms count and latest sms text, sender, and time
Application Folder – Folder popups, previously reviewed here
Phantom Music Control – Hidden music controls
Minimal Reader – Minimalist RSS Widget
Widgetsoid – Power control widget
My first step is to bust out the pen and paper to plan my attack. This is optional, but I find that if I get my ideas on paper first, the actual creation process is much quicker. I also tend to come up with “brilliant” ideas only later to forget them…if they’re on paper I can always be reminded of my original idea and respark the creation process later. If you draw it out and decide you don’t like it you can always scratch it out and start again, but if you’re making the homescreen and sorting through ideas at the same time, it can sometimes lead to some headaches.
To further assist in preparation, I clear my homescreen and use empty Desktop Visualizer widgets to plan out placement of icons and widgets in accordance to my plans. It also helps me get an idea of what size grid I need to use (numbers of columns and rows in the homescreen settings, many 3rd party launchers allow you to change these). For reference I used 6 columns and 10 rows to make each cell smaller and close to square.
Then using Photoshop (or a free image editor like gimp, paint.net, or pixlr.com) I start making the backgrounds for each page. For those who are new to image editors, layers are going to be your friend. Layers allow you to modify single aspects at a time without affecting the rest of the image. I make the base later one of the images above with the Desktop Visualizer template. I then create a layer on top of that to create the background colors for that screen. I make the second layer temporarily transparent (opacity in photoshop) to allow me to see how things are lining up with the template.
Next: icons. Here you have a couple options. You can create/find a whole bunch of icons and use Desktop Visualizer to put them on the background, or you can put the icons on the background and use Desktop Visualizer with a clear image over the background icon. The first option is much better if this theme is something you’ll keep for a while but might switch out apps and icons. For me, I change my homescreen setup often so I cheat and put the icons on the background itself. This saves a little time but the main advantage is that it uses less ram. A clear png is less than 1 KB compared to an icon which can be anywhere from 5 to a couple hundred KB. This saves me several MB of ram usage and if you have a phone with only 512 MB of ram you’re going to want to save any ram you can.
If you chose to make individual icons then find out roughly what the dimensions are of the Desktop Visualizer sections on your template and create your icons to that size. If you’re just going to stick them on the background continue using layers and opacity like you were when creating the background.
The AndroidAndMe.com Homescreen
Now that I’ve gotten that little lesson out of the way, I’ll go ahead and show each page with a brief description of the included apps/widgets.
The next page is the Social page which combines all the ways of communicating with others into one handy page. Followed by Faves with all of my favorite apps.
For the Games and Tools pages I couldn’t figure out anything to fill the white spaces at the top so I decided to make them resemble the comments section from Android and Me.
Let me know what you think!