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How to Make the Notification Backdrop Background Semitransparent (or just change it)

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By jprocha101, Member on 4th December 2010, 04:24 AM
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There a few good ROMs out there for the Epic, but if you are like me, you like to tweak them a little bit so that they are more personalized. I like when the dropdown background of the notification bar is semitransparent. I looked around on XDA and other some other sites and couldn’t find a tutorial on how to do it FOR THE EPIC 4G. SOOOOOO……I figured it out all by myself. Since I feel like sharing today, here is a tutorial on how to do that. You can also use an image that has 100% opacity (in other words, not transparent).

Before you continue, you
1) need have a rooted phone,
2) need have SDK/ADB setup for you Epic,
3) you have WinRAR or 7-Zip (I will be using this), and
4) have Gimp installed on your PC.

There are various threads on rooting and ADB here on XDA if you haven’t done that yet. As far as 7-Zip and Gimp are concerned, just be a tad resourceful and Google them and you’ll find the files can be downloaded.

Also, I am using a Windows machine, I don’t have a Mac (see the proof in my wallpaper in the screenshot below) or use Ubuntu so don’t ask! :P


ALWAYS CREATE A BACKUP BEFORE SWAPPING SYSTEM FILES!!!!!!! ALWAYS!!!!!

First off, here is what my Epic is sporting…today.

Click image for larger version

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Step 1 - Get an Image

Find an image you want to you use. Just Google some images or backgrounds and find one, download it, and then save it to your desktop.

Step 2 (this one is not as easy as Step 1) – Make the Image Semitransparent

Now if you don’t want the image to have any transparency or aren’t feeling adventurous today, skip ahead to step 3.

Open up Gimp and window will pop up that has the Gimp mascot watermarked in the background. Drag your image from your desktop into the window. The image will now appear in the Gimp Window. From the menu at the top of the window select Windows-->Dockable Dialogs-->Layers (or press Ctrl + L, whatever floats your boat).

A new, smaller Window should have opened up. In this Window there is a slider control labeled “Opacity”. Remember that word from the beginning of this post? Well right now it should say 100%. Click the slider then drag it to the left until the desired opacity level. I am using 85% on mine. Personally, anything under 50% I find unpleasant, but heck, to each his own.

When you are done making your image slightly, or highly, transparent, go back to the Window with your image in it and select File-->Save as (or press Shift + Ctrl + S, to keep your boat afloat). A few confirmation pop ups will appear;
first one is the Save Image confirmation – click Save,
second is the Do you want to replace it? confirmation – click Replace,
and the third is the Save as PNG confirmation – click Save.

Success!!!! Your image is now transparent. It may not look like it on your desktop, but trust me, it is.


Step 3 – Extract twframework-res.apk

Go to your tools directory in the location you have your Android SDK saved. For me its “C:\Program Files (x86)\AndroidSDK\tools” and I am sure yours will be different, just make sure you are in the tools folder.

Once in the tools folder, make sure a file in the folder is not selected the press shift on your keyboard and right click your mouse. Select “Open command window here” from the context menu.
A command prompt window will open and type in “adb pull system/framework/twframework-res.apk”. Then click the Enter button on your keyboard.

Go back to the tools folder and you will have a file called twframework-res.apk. If you have never done this before, CONGRATULATIONS! You have extracted your first system file from your phone.


Step 4 – Replace status_bar_background.9.png

Return to your image on your desktop and rename it “status_bar_background.9.png”. Windows may fuss about changing the file type or something of the sort, just click Yes or OK. If Windows doesn’t fuss, then your PC must like you more than mine likes me (actually it’s just because your image was already saved as a PNG file type).

Next you need to open up your twframework-res.apk file. This can be done by attempting to open it and selecting the extractor of your choice as the default program, or by remaining it to include a “.zip” at the end of it. That would make it “twframework-res.apk.zip”. Once open navigate your way to \res\drawable-hdpi\. In this folder there you will find the status_bar_background.9.png that is currently being used, you can drag it to your desktop if you want to save it for later use or just in case you don’t like your new setup. Now drag the status_bar_background.9.png image from your desktop into the drawable-hdpi folder. Press OK on any popups that show up.

If you renamed your twframework-res.apk file change it back to twframework-res.apk, NO EXCEPTIONS! Now your twframework-res.apk contains the image of your choice.


Step 5 – Push twframework-res.apk Back to Your Phone (Phew! Last step, all…most…there…)

Go back to your command prompt and enter the following 6 commands. Tip: ignore the $ and # signs, if your phone is properly rooted you won’t have any issues.

adb push twframework-res.apk sdcard/twframework-res.apk
adb shell
su
remount rw
cat sdcard/twframework-res.apk > system/framework/twframework-res.apk
reboot

Your phone will now reboot.

Ladies and gentlemen, hopefully mostly ladies, you are now done and your phone now has a touch of you.
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4th December 2010, 04:47 AM |#2  
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Great little tutorial. +5 for a little extra effort.

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4th December 2010, 04:54 AM |#3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanfritz1

Great little tutorial. +5 for a little extra effort.

Why thank you

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4th December 2010, 04:21 PM |#4  
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Great job. Would you be willing to share your theme? I have been looking for a black theme like yours. Following your process with change the backdrop only correct.
4th December 2010, 05:50 PM |#5  
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Originally Posted by ptfdmedic

Great job. Would you be willing to share your theme? I have been looking for a black theme like yours. Following your process with change the backdrop only correct.

Yes, it will only change the backdrop. To get it to look like the screen shot you need to change a few more files in a couple different places.

I could tell you which files need to be changed and give you the correct images. PM me if you would like to know.

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5th December 2010, 06:32 AM |#6  
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jprocha, have you discovered what any of the other images in the framework archive are for? I am considering experimenting to see what effects can be acheived, so any headstart is appreciated

It will probably take some time, but a full guide for skinning the interface could be useful...

Side note - has anyone tried setting their wallpaper to an image that has parts at 100% transparency? The system doesn't write anything to the screen for transparent pixels, so it leaves a sort of afterimage when you slide from one screen to another
6th December 2010, 04:08 PM |#7  
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Awesome job, I tried to figure this out when I first got my epic, and failed miserably. Now I am sure I can do it! Thanks again!

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6th December 2010, 10:50 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by styles420

jprocha, have you discovered what any of the other images in the framework archive are for? I am considering experimenting to see what effects can be acheived, so any headstart is appreciated

It will probably take some time, but a full guide for skinning the interface could be useful...

Side note - has anyone tried setting their wallpaper to an image that has parts at 100% transparency? The system doesn't write anything to the screen for transparent pixels, so it leaves a sort of afterimage when you slide from one screen to another

i don't have immediate plans of creating a full guide. But the easiest way to find out what images are being used on the screen is to compare the images in the stock rom to the ones in a custom rom that looks very different from stock ie emotionless beast. Just notice what is different and you should be able to figure it out.

Let me know if you are having any trouble finding a specific image and I'll try to help.
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