Old 07-09-2020, 02:56 PM   #1
juliansader
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Default REAPER theme + Windowblinds = Wow!

I recently bought WindowBlinds for Windows 10, and I am delighted by how it turned out. Dare I say REAPER looks... elegant?

Windowblinds can access all those parts that REAPER's own themes can't touch, such as the menu bar and the MIDI editor combo boxes. And it can change not only colors, but even shapes and mouse-over effects.

It takes a bit of effort and tweaking to make a REAPER theme and a WindowBlinds skin work together properly, with all colors and fonts matching, but at least WindowBlinds comes with a user-friendly "Skin Studio" to help with building skins.

I suggest that anyone making REAPER themes should consider making an accompanying WindowBlinds skin too. Your efforts will be so much more satisfying if you can finally get *everything* in REAPER's interface to fit your theme!
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:08 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info.

Don't you happen to also use StartIsBack https://www.startisback.com/ ? I wonder how it would work together with WindowBlinds.
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Old 07-09-2020, 05:05 PM   #3
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How is the cpu and memory footprint? I used it like 20 years ago and back then it was horribly slow.
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:53 PM   #4
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Any examples of what this can look like?
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:31 PM   #5
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Is it possible to apply the skin only to Reaper’s windows?
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juliansader View Post
I recently bought WindowBlinds for Windows 10
There are known incompatibilities with Windows 10 so be very careful or you'll have issue with lost icons and worse.
I know from bitter experience.
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:57 PM   #7
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I didn't even know WindowBlinds still existed. Used it for a while way back in '99 to make Win look like a Mac.
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Old 07-11-2020, 04:26 PM   #8
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How is the cpu and memory footprint? I used it like 20 years ago and back then it was horribly slow.
I haven't done extensive stress testing, but I haven't noticed any slowdowns. According to Windows' Task Manager, CPU usage remains exactly the same when WindowBlinds is activated, and memory footprint is a tiny few MB.


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Any examples of what this can look like?
Imagine your favourite REAPER theme, but with all colours of all UI elements and all window backgrounds matching perfectly!

A stash of user-created skins can be browsed at WinCustomize.


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Is it possible to apply the skin only to Reaper’s windows?
AFAIK, WindowBlinds doesn't offer an whitelist of applications to skin, but it does offer per-application settings, so that you can exclude individual applications. If you only want to skin REAPER, you have to exclude each of your other applications individually (which is what I did).


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There are known incompatibilities with Windows 10 so be very careful or you'll have issue with lost icons and worse.
I know from bitter experience.
The newest WindowBlinds is "supposed" to be compatible with Windows 10 up to 1909, so I hope I don't run into any trouble.

I did encounter some glitching, where some windows backgrounds suddenly turned white or transparent, but these could be solved by restarting WindowBlinds.

I should note that I am happy to put up with some glitches if it means that I never ever have to see Windows' ghastly default pale blue menubars again.
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Old 07-13-2020, 03:43 PM   #9
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Seems like there’s another similar app that has a lot of options as well. WinAero Tweaker.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:39 PM   #10
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The WinAero Tweaker is not really a skinning tool.
Yes - It can change some aspects of the ugly Windows 10 gui.
No - Changing those white buttons and input fields that are destroing any Reaper Theme is unfortunately not possible.

@juliansader
Could you share your Windowblinds skin?
I always wanted to do my own Windowblinds skin with the same goal in mind, but have not found the time to do it yet.
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:59 PM   #11
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the win 10 compatibility is vastly improved in the recent versions. I find it is quite fast with very little impact on system performance.

The ONLY issue I have is I have the mixer full screen on my second monitor and there is a border that creeps on to the other screen. I am sure it is a WB issue... I just cannot figure out how to fix. The window padding setting from Win 7 is no longer supported.

But otherwise, WB is awesome.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:17 AM   #12
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I did encounter some glitching, where some windows backgrounds suddenly turned white or transparent, but these could be solved by restarting WindowBlinds.
I have WindowBlinds myself, it is glitching with reaper, I find that I need to reply the theme 3 to 7 times before the white is completely gone. But you will also have some windows un-readable. WindowsBlinds also come with a program that will let you modify the theme you have, I've been working on changing the theme colors but none of the changes seem to work.

The good thing about WindowBlinds is that you can apply the windows default theme when you need it and then reply your dark WindowBlinds theme when you want it. but again it will have some problems.

To me WindowBlinds is the best alternative available without hacks to the OS, and is the only one to allow you to change quickly between the windows theme and WindowBlinds theme.



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Old 07-17-2020, 07:18 AM   #13
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I am really skeptical of these programs, when windows updates, for instance
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:33 AM   #14
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I am really skeptical of these programs, when windows updates, for instance
So far that has not been a problem, but it still has it's own problems (Not a perfect solution )but better that Hacking the OS, which I think would cause problems because of OS updates.


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Old 07-17-2020, 08:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Brian Merrill View Post
I am really skeptical of these programs, when windows updates, for instance
For the standard, OS provided window borders, WB has not glitched on me yet. For the non-standard window borders (chrome, reaper floating windows) WB can get a little wonky.

But for the everyday stuff... it is rock solid.
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:48 AM   #16
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For the standard, OS provided window borders, WB has not glitched on me yet. For the non-standard window borders (chrome, reaper floating windows) WB can get a little wonky.

But for the everyday stuff... it is rock solid.
Well the only reason I have WindowBlinds is for Reaper, so the problems that I'm talking about is with Reaper & Windowblinds.

The PC that WindowBlinds is installed on, is for Reaper use only.

So I feel that WindowBlinds with a Dark theme for use with Reaper, currently is the best solution for now, despite it's problems.

Will wait and hope the developers will soon allow users to change the colors to other parts of Reaper.


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Old 07-17-2020, 08:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Audio Enthusiast View Post
There are known incompatibilities with Windows 10 so be very careful or you'll have issue with lost icons and worse.
I know from bitter experience.
specifically with windowblinds or other skinning tool
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:05 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jason Brian Merrill View Post
specifically with WindowBlinds or other skinning tool
I've never have had that problem, but again all you need to do is just change back to the default theme (That's windows 10 theme).

Any Hack to the Windows OS will cause you problems. WindowBlinds does not hack your system as some other ways that some users offer (Change DLL files edit the registry, etc...). WindowBlinds will only cause you some aggravation, but is easily corrected by by going back to the windows 10 theme.

So far it's the safest way to get a dark theme, it's just the same as using Reaper themes.

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Old 07-20-2020, 05:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Brian Merrill View Post
specifically with windowblinds or other skinning tool
Apologies for the late reply Jason, I'm only on here infrequently.

It was with Windowblinds. While changing themes I would lose icons for file types and not be able to get them back. There would be blank file icons for .wav and .mp3 files, amongst others. I had to contact support and try several fixes to get them back with a remedy that was effectively a Windows shell hack. As I recall, it was a pain in the ass.

Windowblinds may work great for others but for me on Win 10 there were glitches I wasn't prepared to live with.
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Old 08-14-2020, 03:14 PM   #20
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@juliansader
Could you share your Windowblinds skin?
I always wanted to do my own Windowblinds skin with the same goal in mind, but have not found the time to do it yet.
I currently prefer this modified "Night Shine" skin, with colors customized to match my REAPER theme.
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Old 08-23-2020, 11:17 AM   #21
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I don't get the hype..

can you share a screenshot ?



can we change the skin of menus somehow ?
I just cant stand this old gray menus, they kill the look of the themes... :X

no matter how hard I try, reaper still looks like a WIN95 under cover program -.-

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Old 08-23-2020, 12:20 PM   #22
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Win95 is beautiful though
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Old 08-23-2020, 12:32 PM   #23
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ok it seems that windowblinds can actually color these menus! ^_^


but I still think that these should be themeable from withing reaper.

thanks guys
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Old 08-24-2020, 03:49 PM   #24
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I don't get the hype..

can you share a screenshot ?[/img]
This is how the automation menu and some windows look in my theme:





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Old 08-25-2020, 12:33 PM   #25
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Did you create this windowblind theme?


what is this Rotate fx ? where to get it ?
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Old 08-25-2020, 03:00 PM   #26
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Did you create this windowblind theme?
No, it is the free Nightshine theme, with a few of my own customizations to remove the "blocks" in the menu bars.


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what is this Rotate fx ? where to get it ?
It is part of the Ambisonic Toolkit JSFX for REAPER.
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Old 09-01-2020, 11:47 AM   #27
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To use Penumbra requires changes to your Windows system and makes it difficult to change things back if you want.
Another forum member stated that he had problems with using WindowBlinds, it messed up his icons. WindowBlinds only changes the icons, if the theme you use includes them.
If you uninstall WindowBlinds without first re setting the default windows 10 theme, then yes there will be problems. But again that was not caused by WindowBlinds, but the user.

But understand this, WindowBlinds is not perfect when it comes to skinning Reaper. Below is some photos of my current WindowBlinds that I now use (Thanks to juliansader)
He uses “Night Shine” and I was using “Dark Mode”, both were created by the same person (Vad_M) and are almost identical, but I like Night Shine better.

Now onto the Problems with WindowBlinds
Below is what it looks like when everything is working correctly.


98% of the time the theme will not correctly theme windows.
The next 5 photos show subtle changes to the theme (Keep reapplying (Instructions below) the the theme until it’s correct)




Below is the Best that you are going to get, but you no longer see some of the controls


Just change to another window or effect and back, and the controls will be there, but there is just two problem left


Top menu bar is clear, and I have not found a way to fix this yet (The wallpaper on my PC and where I have the window placed does not cause me any problems)


Here is how it looks where I have in in my window layout


You may notice that my controls (Gain, Freq & Bandwidth are darker), you can change them in your theme, it’s “gen_volbg_horz.png”, “gen_panbg_horz.png” & “gen_volbg_vert.png”.
Just adjust the colors to what you want.

I started out with a trial version of WindowBlinds first, then I bought it ($9), you do not need any other package for this to work.
Beware and careful on the themes you download, you only get about 8 to 10 downloads and then you need to pay more to download more.
Hint: I did find that went to another PC to download themes, it will let you, there by getting more themes for free.

WindowBlinds is not perfect, but it’s the easiest way to correct the problem and the easiest way to go back to the windows default if needed (go back to the default windows theme before uninstalling WindowBlinds to prevent problems).

Use ReaEQ to get the theme correct (Visual confirmation)

Use Configure WindowBlinds "Apply to Desktop" until everything is correct.



So that everyone understands it’s really a Microsoft Windows problem, not Cockos.

The developers most likely would need to do a complete rewrite of Reaper using the latest tools, but doing that most likely would cause all current Themes, Scripts, Templates, and on and on, to no longer work. I know, I’ve experienced this very thing with another software. Many of the users were very mad.

I’m sure the developers are looking into a way to correct this problem with a without a complete rewrite of Reaper. Until then I will wait and use WindowBlinds to make this bearable

Robert.

Last edited by rncwalker; 09-01-2020 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Get images to show
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:08 PM   #28
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98% of the time the theme will not correctly theme windows.
Did you type this correctly? I.e. does WindowBlinds really only work 2% of the time on your computer? If so, that would be quite disappointing.
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:30 PM   #29
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2% of the times that I open Reaper, everything works ok!
98% of the time I need to reapply the Theme until everything is OK.

Reaper works fine

Windows works fine, it just those few "Old" pieces of code in windows that does not play nice with WindowBlinds.

Just so everyone knows, the Problem is only with "Cockos VST's" everything else is fine.

All in All, I just apply the theme until everything is ok.

By the way, this is being done on a freshly installed OS and Reaper, so the system is clean.

@juliansader,

Do you have these problem?

Robert
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:41 AM   #30
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Another forum member stated that he had problems with using WindowBlinds, it messed up his icons. WindowBlinds only changes the icons, if the theme you use includes them.
If you uninstall WindowBlinds without first re setting the default windows 10 theme, then yes there will be problems. But again that was not caused by WindowBlinds, but the user.

That is extremely presumptuous of you to say and completely wrong. I did select the default Windows theme before uninstalling and yes, all my issues were caused by WindowBlinds. I had corrupted icons and graphics while I was still using WindowBlinds and that was the issue. Customer Support confirmed it was WindowBlinds that caused the issues and tried to help me fix it. His response was "Oh yeah, this happens". They couldn't fix it. Neither could I, and I'm very-well acquainted with PC tech (I knew more about the technical aspects than the guy on support did). I got a full refund, no questions asked, just like that.

I didn't want to spoil anyone's fun with my original post and I was being polite with the truth but the reality is that it's dangerous to screw around with windows graphics on this level because it interferes with deep elements that may cause corruption of the OS or worse.

The hidden time-bomb with WindowBlinds is when Windows gets updated new code that interacts with WindowBlinds which could damage the integrity of your OS. You could end up with corrupted graphics, a failed boot or worse. As one Microsoft engineer told me: "Don't mess with system graphics and shell, it's not worth it".
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:40 PM   #31
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@juliansader,

Do you have these problem?
I sometimes see the white or transparent backgrounds (never the transparent menu bars), but this doesn't happen often -- as far as I can tell, only when I sleep and wake my DAW -- and I can fix it with a single "Apply style to desktop".
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:41 AM   #32
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I of course deleted windowblinds

reaper should look good on its on.
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:11 PM   #33
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I don't get the hype..

can you share a screenshot ?



can we change the skin of menus somehow ?
I just cant stand this old gray menus, they kill the look of the themes... :X

no matter how hard I try, reaper still looks like a WIN95 under cover program -.-

Windows 95's menus didn't look like that. They weren't flat white. They were an embossed, light neutral gray -- more NeXT than macOS. To wit:


Last edited by maralatho; 09-18-2020 at 04:18 PM.
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