Tired of using Desktop Visualizer eating up all your RAM and being a pain in the back with all those widget sizes?
Tired of not being able to make the phone look the way YOU want it?
THEN USE SS LAUNCHER!
This pretty unknown launcher could be considered as the evolution of Lightning Launcher. The Stock Layout sucks but who cares - if you are into theming, this is the launcher for you!
- LIGHT (1MB!!!) and blazing fast
- App Drawer Page on Homescreen
- Freely customizable Icons on Homescreen AND App Drawer
- Scrolling vertically on every page if you want it!
- No more Desktop Visualizer - easily resize your Icons and make awesome tiles!
- NO MORE GRIDS! Freely align widgets and shortcuts, even with Overlapping!
- Pretty much every feature you could ask for!
I barely see any themers using this launcher as it is pretty unknown (100.000 Downloads only), but on screenlicious you get a glimpse of what can be done:
1. Creating Tiles
2. Icons, Wallpapers and Background
3. Creating Previews
4. Rounded Tiles
There is some unneccessary stuff on SSLauncher. First, you should get rid of all the homescreens except for one, because the given templates are - sorry - horrible. You will most likely only use a Homescreen-Page and an Apps-Page.
To Delete a page, simply tap on your "Menu"-Button, select "Pages" and then "delete page".
Afterwards, you might want to get rid of the labels. They are handy if you use a lot of pages, but for really minimal results you should hide them.
To hide labels on top (only free-version - paid version has an option for it), hit the "Menu"-Button again, select "Pages" and choose "Label Fonts&Style".
Set the Font size to "10", then disable shadows if neccessary (set Shadow "Radius" to 0) and change the opacity of Active/Inactive Color to zero as well - simply
tap on the arrows on the right side in the "Active Color" / "Inactive Color" and set the Value "opacity" to zero.
To hide the status bar, tap on "Menu"-Button, "Preferences" and "Fullscreen". There you can also choose "Ignore page background" to get rid of the layer on the background page.
1. How to create your own Tiles
TypoClock Free Widget
Let's face it - it really sucks if your UI depends on the Wallpaper too much and if you have to build UI-elements into it. Every time you want to change your wallpaper, you have to
edit the PSD again too and this can be very annoying - not to mention the issue with Live-Wallpapers.
SSLauncher has 2 very unique features to avoid this: First, you can resize any widgets/icons FREELY, as there is NO GRID. Second, you can even let widgets/icons OVERLAP.
Basically, you only need a Tile and (optional) some content.
I want to give you a quick tutorial on how to use GIMP 2.0 for this purpose - I am a total noob by myself but this stuff is REALLY easy to learn.
Working with layers makes your life a lot easier. The awesome thing about customizing is, that you can get templates and lot of PSDs for free in the
internet, so you won't need to have epic-editing-skills but can edit the files as you need them. So download GIMP 2.0, and install it (it's free of course).
So here is how I create my tiles:
These 2 Guys are going to be your best friends and you wont be using much except for some tools. I will be referring to "Toolbox" for the left one and "Layerbox"
to the right one.
Step 1: Create a new Image with the size of your screen (most likely for SGS2-Users: 480x800). This will help you to determine the actual size of your tiles.
Step 2: Choose your wallpaper. This makes it easier to imagine, how everything will look like later on. Simply drag the Image into GIMP and it will appear as a new Layer.
Step 3: Scale/Move your wallpaper as you wish and when you are satisfied with the look, rightclick on your wallpaper in the Layerbox and choose "Merge Down".
Step 4: Create a new layer - this is going to be your tile. For the one as the picture above, I used 460x160 as dimensions, so I have some space on the sides. Fill the
Layer with some color so you can easily drag it around.
Step 5: Choose the background of your tile. Basically works the same as Step 2, but you might want to open a second GIMP-window for this purpose as it makes scaling easier. Make sure to drag it into your first window while you selected the tile in the Layerbox, so the picture will be cut off to the right size.
Step 6: Create another layer for the fontbackground. Width is the same as the tile, height should be according to the size of your font (I chose 20 as height). Fill it up with
some color again (I used grey) and drag it to the right place
Step 7: Add a font by using the tool from your toolbox. This might be a little bit tricky at first, you will have to type your desired text, then mark it and THEN you will be able to change fontsize etc. . I used Geosanslight, white font, Size is 18p.
Step 8: The last thing to do is to export the tile (to use it on your phone) and add some shadow. To cut out multiple layers, simply click on the eye in the layerbox so that you can ONLY see the layers you want to edit. In our case, just remove the eye on the "Wallpaper" Layer and only the tile with the text etc. will be left. Afterwards, hit SHIFT+CTRL+C so your tile will be copied completely. Now create a new file sized the same as your tile (460x160) in our case) and insert the tile.
Step 9: Now we gonna add some shadow. Click on "Filter", "Light and Shadows" and select "Drop Shadow". A menu will popup where you can set some values. I recommend to use a smaller Radius (I use 4, but it depends on the size of your image) and less offset too (I use 2 for both X-Offset and Y-Offset), so it will look cleaner.
Step 10: The last thing you have to do is to export your file - hit CTRL+E and export is as a PNG file to your desired location. FINISHED!
If you are able to do this stuff you can do a lot of theming already with little effort!
Adding the tile to SSLauncher is pretty easy once you got used to it.
Simply hold down your finger on the homescreen till the "New Object" screen shows up. Select "Shortcut" and choose a "target", the App that should be opening when you click on the tile. Then, select a "Style" - a lot of layouts are going to pop up. As we want a pure tile you should select the Icon without any text or backgrounds. Next, click on "Icon (Change styles of icon)" , then on "Icon (Select an icon Image)" , then click on "Add an Image" and choose the tile you want. Afterwards, click on "Icon Size" and resize it.
The actual size of the tile (460x160) might be too big, but you can rescale the tile on the homescreen anyways. I experimented a bit (the "Scale" tool from GIMP 2.0 really helps with getting the right size in the right aspect ration too!) and 375x114 should be the right size for our tile. This is essential to know if you want to add a lot of tiles and want them to look
Remember to ALWAYS scroll down and click on "Apply settings", otherwise ... well, the settings won't apply. You will have to do this twice. Now the tile will appear on your homescreen and you can rescale and move it around as you wish - the arrows will help you to align the tile perfectly!
To achieve the look from above, just add the widgets to your homescreen, rescale them and move them above the tile. There you go!
2. Icons and Appdrawer
Simple Text Icon Creator
There are a lot of different Icon-Styls with SSLauncher and you should figure out yourself what suits you best - plain Text, a Tile, Icons only, Icons and text... I just want to point out some things I noticed.
First of all, you should decide what kind of icons you want to use. I highly recommend the Jaku Icons, it's probably the easiest way to get your hands on a full set of icons. Many Icon packs lack images for certain Apps and this can be really annoying. There isn't an icon for everything on Jaku, but there is a lot of them.
Another way is to create your own Icons with Simple Text Creator. This way you can make simple Text-Icons for all of your apps, but some might not like the look.
With SSLauncher, you can edit/hide every single App manually and also hide Apps you don't have an icon for or which you don't use. There is no other launcher AFAIK where you can change the Icons in the App-Drawer manually. You can also rename, change Font-Color (at "Menu"-Button, "Theme", change the "Medium" Font") and also change the common settings for all Apps at once if you hit the "Menu"-Button, "Preferences" and scroll down to the Preferences for the "Apps" Page.
If you don't want to have the same wallpaper on your app drawer as on your homescreen, you should try Multi-Picture-Wallpaper. It allow you to set a different wallpaper for every screen. There is also an option for this in SSLauncher, but I prefer this way because it's easier. You can even decrease saturation and brightness, which looks pretty nice - I use the same wallpaper on my app drawer, but set the saturation to 40 percent.
You need to pay attention here because SSLauncher always uses 2 additional screens (one more on the left and one more on the right) which you can't see nor access. Still they are count by Multi-Picture-Wallpaper, so you need set a wallpaper for those screens too.
Finding the right wallpaper can be kind of an issue too but hey, there's an app for that. I like Wallbase HD the most, cause the wallpapers suit my taste. The App-Design is marvelous too, so it's definetly worth a try.
3. Creating a preview
Samsung Galaxy S2 template for the screenshots (Download attached), big thanks to Pethey, give him some credit! I just scaled it down to fit my needs.
So you got your homescreen finished and want to present it to everybody else? No Problem, just make sure to use a SGS 2 template and be proud of your phone too
There are a lot of PSDs for the SGS2 but for this purpose, I recommend mine because it is very very noob friendly and easy to edit. I basically merged all layers you wont touch anyways.
Step 1: Make some screenshots. 2 or 3 should do the work, better to have a few big screens than dozen small ones. On my ROM (Sensation Rom 3.5) you need to Hold down Power+Volumedown for a few secs. This might trigger your volume if you don't press the Powerbutton first.
Step 2: Open the Samsung Galaxy S2 - xcf which you downloaded in GIMP 2.0 and look at the Layerbox. There is a layer called "INSERT SCREEN HERE". Just DRAG your screenshot into that layer and it will fit in perfectly, I resized it to match the screenshot resolution.
Step 3: Open your desired background for your preview in GIMP 2.0. Now go back to your screenshot, click on "Edit" and then on "Copy visible layers" (or something like that, my GIMP is in german...). This will cause GIMP to copy the whole thing without having to merge the layers.
Step 4: Copy the SGS 2 with your screenshot onto your chosen background. You might need to rescale the image a bit - I chose 1280x800 as my Preview-Wallpaper and scale down the Device with the screenshot to an height of 780. Add some fonts if you want (dafont.com is a good place for getting fonts! Just download the ttf and install it like a program).
Step 5: Repeat Step 1-4 for every screenshot you want to include.
NOTICE: .XCF files are GIMP-Files. They arent pictures, cause the include layers and other informations to further edit the "project". You need to click on "File", "export to" and export it as jpeg or png to view it as an image.
4. Rounded Tiles (WebOS-Style)
Widgets on Screen:
ACWidgets: Your Calendar
Not sure if anyone is interested but I like to experiment with different tile-styles. So here is how I create rounded ones:
Step 1: Create a new GIMP File with the size of your tile - I choose 460x160 again.
Step 2: Drag the Wallpaper for the tile into the layerbox, rightclick on the wallpaperlayer and click on "Add Alpha" -
this will be the transparent background. Delete the white background-layer, you dont need it anymore.
Step 3: Now click on "Edit" and then "Rounded corners". Reduce the radius to 14, as you only want it to be rounded a little bit.
Step 4: Click on "Edit" again, then "downsize" (or shrink or whatever) - this is the space which is left around your tile. 2-4 px will do the job.
Step 5: Hit "Edit" again, then "invert" and then on Delete or CTRL+X. This will remove the edges so you only have your rounded tile left.
Step 6: Hit SHIFT+CTRL+C to copy all visible layers. Create a new layer sized "460x160" and hit CTRL+V to paste your tile into that layer.
This is important, because if you don't do this, the actual size of the Image will be the size of your wallpaper, messing up the shadow.
Step 6: Rightclick on your Tile in the layerbox and make it to a new layer. Add some shadow - "Filter", "Light and Shadow", "Drop Shadow".
Set the offset to zero, as you want to get the shadow all around the tile.
Finished! Now export your tile and have some fun