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Thread: Color Keyboard Guide

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Thanks for the reply. It's not necessarily the theme that I like about that keyboard. It's the ease of use. The keys are bigger than a normal keyboard making typing
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    Thanks for the reply. It's not necessarily the theme that I like about that keyboard. It's the ease of use. The keys are bigger than a normal keyboard making typing MUCH easier and faster. I've looked at tons of CK keyboard and I haven't seen any keyboard with larger keys. Do you know of one off the top of your head?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nawlinsborn73 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. It's not necessarily the theme that I like about that keyboard. It's the ease of use. The keys are bigger than a normal keyboard making typing MUCH easier and faster. I've looked at tons of CK keyboard and I haven't seen any keyboard with larger keys. Do you know of one off the top of your head?
    Ahh... I see!

    You're probably right that there aren't many themes with larger keys out there... Of course you realize that a theme with larger keys doesn't actually change the size of the touch input areas, but it can help to make it feel a little better.

    One of the two themes I've made available myself is called WP7 CK, and was made to look like the keyboard from a Windows Phone. They're super simplistic visually (to match the Windows Phone UI), but also have keys that couldn't get much bigger...


    Here's a screen to give you an idea at least:








    There's a whole segment of the JB community who theme their iDevices to look like Windows Phones, and they love these keyboards... I personally would rather take a little more advantage of the amazing retina display, but I find myself rocking these rather often because it does somehow feel kinda nice to use.

    These themes are not currently available via Cydia, though. I made a thread here on mmi and have hosted them via MediaFire, so they have to be put onto your device manually for the moment. Also, when I created them originally, I foolishly made them retina only. I've been working for a long time on getting them as updated and organized as possible, to release on Cydia without creating a nightmarish mess (there's a ton of color variations, multiplied by several international variations), and I'm actually rather close to being ready to release the Qwerty-US versions which will be compatible with all devices.

    Most of that I mention just in case you happen to have a non-retina device... I'd hate to recommend you take a look, only to have them not work for you.

    If you are at all interested in looking into them any further, check out this thread to at least see the color variations:

    WP7 CK

    They are set up rather differently now in the form I'm preparing for Cydia, so if necessary, I can post a new copy of any you may want to check out (not to mention it's rather easy to make any new color mods desired, or possibly even add a bit of dimension if desired).


    Just let me know!


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    Default Got it!
    Got it Thanks!!

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    Hi.. I'm using color keyboard and its pretty cool but I only recently checked my chinese pin yin keyboard and noticed that the image for the keyboard was off. the pop ups are still in the right place but the keys are slightly lowered. See attachments for more detail. Can anyone help with this? I haven't seen a solution for it or anyone else who has this issue. Emoji keyboard is perfectly fine.
    Color Keyboard Guide-photo-1.pngColor Keyboard Guide-photo-2.png

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    It is a known issue and happens with image-based colorkeyboards when set to Chinese. It can be fixed either with an image-only keyboard with the layout changed according to your Chinese keyboard but the misalignment will then occur in your other language.

    A better fix would be to have a plist-only colorkeyboard theme, where only the code draws the keyboard. You'd then have the proper iOS layout per keyboard language.

    If its only 'emoji' you use as other keyboard language, and just the popular smileys, I'd recommend giving priority to your Chinese keyboard's appearance instead of the symbols'.
    The theme I run is 3 4 All, by Sk37cH.
    Free. For all devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by itzbilly View Post
    Hi.. I'm using color keyboard and its pretty cool but I only recently checked my chinese pin yin keyboard and noticed that the image for the keyboard was off. the pop ups are still in the right place but the keys are slightly lowered. See attachments for more detail. Can anyone help with this? I haven't seen a solution for it or anyone else who has this issue. Emoji keyboard is perfectly fine.

    Hey!

    Unfortunately this is a known issue that only happens with language setups that add that Candidate Bar above the kb, and when the theme uses background images like the one pictured (or any of the really nice looking ones)...

    It's been reported to the Dev (along with many other little bugs that have come up since the last Color Keyboard update), and would need to be addressed by him in an eventual (hopefully) update to the tweak.

    There are themes out there that don't use background images (check any of the ones that come with the tweak to see what I mean), and would not have this issue, though as I said the selection and quality of these themes that would work for you (for now) are rather limited.

    Here's hoping YS Kim makes a valiant return to do some iOS 6 updating once an untethered JB comes around!


    Alfroggy a step ahead! Lol

    Thanks as always!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfroggy View Post
    It is a known issue and happens with image-based colorkeyboards when set to Chinese. It can be fixed either with an image-only keyboard with the layout changed according to your Chinese keyboard but the misalignment will then occur in your other language.

    A better fix would be to have a plist-only colorkeyboard theme, where only the code draws the keyboard. You'd then have the proper iOS layout per keyboard language.

    If its only 'emoji' you use as other keyboard language, and just the popular smileys, I'd recommend giving priority to your Chinese keyboard's appearance instead of the symbols'.
    How would I give priority to my chinese keyboard or set up the plist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phatmartino View Post
    Hey!

    Unfortunately this is a known issue that only happens with language setups that add that Candidate Bar above the kb, and when the theme uses background images like the one pictured (or any of the really nice looking ones)...

    It's been reported to the Dev (along with many other little bugs that have come up since the last Color Keyboard update), and would need to be addressed by him in an eventual (hopefully) update to the tweak.

    There are themes out there that don't use background images (check any of the ones that come with the tweak to see what I mean), and would not have this issue, though as I said the selection and quality of these themes that would work for you (for now) are rather limited.

    Here's hoping YS Kim makes a valiant return to do some iOS 6 updating once an untethered JB comes around!


    Alfroggy a step ahead! Lol

    Thanks as always!!
    I see.. so the only known fix is to either use a default keyboard, disable my chinese pinyin or wait for an update to CK, correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by itzbilly View Post
    How would I give priority to my chinese keyboard or set up the plist?
    I've not been clear, sorry. That was a midst-of-the-night post. What other language keyboard do you use ?
    The theme I run is 3 4 All, by Sk37cH.
    Free. For all devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by itzbilly View Post
    I see.. so the only known fix is to either use a default keyboard, disable my chinese pinyin or wait for an update to CK, correct?
    Basically, yes...

    Don't give up on your Chinese Pinyin, though. Worst case scenario, I can code a plist only theme for you to use...

    It will look exactly like the iOS keyboard as far as shapes, Arrow Symbols, etc... but at least I could put together a color scheme that would best match whatever Winterboard theme you're using.

    Would you want something with some dark grays and orange to match the Navigation Bar and Buttons in your screenshots? Or did you really like the colors of the Color Keyboard theme you had armed for those screens?

    Let me know if you'd like me to play around, and if so, what you'd most like to see, and I can oblige as best as possible.

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    Default Help with plist
    Still new to the plist making area, so I was wondering if someone wouldn't mind looking this over and letting me know where I went wrong. The background images will not show up with this plist. Since the hybrid part of the guide was never added I am guessing at this.

    Thanks

    Color Keyboard Guide-plist.jpg

    Also, what descriptor do I use to colour the popup shown below......

    Color Keyboard Guide-photo2.png
    Last edited by RemusGrrrl; 10-13-2012 at 04:19 AM. Reason: add

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    Quote Originally Posted by RemusGrrrl View Post
    Still new to the plist making area, so I was wondering if someone wouldn't mind looking this over and letting me know where I went wrong. The background images will not show up with this plist. Since the hybrid part of the guide was never added I am guessing at this.

    Thanks

    Also, what descriptor do I use to colour the popup shown below......

    Hey!

    Welcome to the fun of plisting!



    My apologies that I've always had a hard time keeping up with updating this guide...

    Right around the time I got as far as it's current state, I started releasing just a few CK themes on Cydia, which began to exponentially increase the amount of users and themers requesting help via PM and email, and I've never caught up since. Lol



    As far as your specific questions...



    The "Hybrid" method really refers to the use of background images which include the "Keys" on them, and only the Text is left to be generated (and colored) by the plist code. This ends up requiring around 60 background images (varying slightly depending on coverage of NumberPads and Siri dictation)...


    It looks like your code so far only attempts to call a single background image to be displayed behind all of the different keyboard layouts, and not change the look of the "Keys and/or Text" at all, other than the Popup Text's Etch?



    Do you have the currently shown background image selected via the Color Keyboard Settings app under "Customize Backgrounds" and the Key Radius set from the Settings app as well?

    If so, once you have the proper code in place, you'll want to turn those features off, as they will override any controls included in the plist...

    With those features disarmed, you'll notice the iOS background which is a simple code created start/end gradient, is the reason you're image can't be seen.



    Several <arrays> are needed in the plist under CustomColors, in order to make that iOS "code created" Background transparent, so that your image can be seen. The following highlighted code accomplishes that. Notice the "00" (zero, zero) at the end of the background related Hex Triplets (FFFFFF00), those last two digits set opacity. 00 in that position is Fully Transparent, FF in that position would be Fully Opaque.










    The last three arrays in the highlighted area happen to color the blue "selected" key on the Popup in your screenie...

    UIKBColorKeyBlueRow1Highlight is the thin "highlight" at the top of that Key.

    The "Gradient" applied to that key is controlled by:

    UIKBColorKeyBlueRow1GradientStart is the Hex value at the top of the Key starting under the Highlight.

    UIKBColorKeyBlueRow1GradientEnd is the Hex value at the bottom of the Key.


    The "Unselected" Key on that Popup in your screenie shares the same values as the rest of the "unselected" Normal Keys on the Keyboard (which are currently unthemed).


    That actual (Variant) Popup (the White part under the "Keys") cannot be themed at all by Color Keyboard. Never been sure why... *Sigh*




    Moving on...



    I'm guessing that with the CK Settings app features turned off, you'd also notice that the Key Radius would be back to default...


    The following code just shows an example of using the <string>*</string> command. It would be needed under Alert and Standard Styles like everything else you've included so far, and anything inside it will be applied to all DisplayTypes (Delete, Return, Space, String, etc...) and ControlStates.









    So this <string> can be used at the beginning of a Style to set properties across the board, and then (if needed) individual DisplayType <arrays> can follow it in order to make desired parts different than those "global" settings.

    For example, you might use <string>*</string> to set up global properties for all Keys, and then include a DisplayType=Space <array> because you want the SpaceBar to look different...


    The above example shows several things needed for an actual "Hybrid" plist, so you'd probably only want to use a few of the <strings> involving Key Radius, Etches, or Colors you want to be applied in all instances...



    In your code so far, the one DisplayType <array> you have under each Style, is only affecting the included ControlStates: 1,4,5


    These ControlStates cover Normal and Variant Popups.


    You could include "3" in there (1,3,4,5) to make the included controls cover the normal "unpressed" state of the Keys on the Keyboard too, if desired...


    Let me know if you can, what you really want to end up with as far as what the Keys will look like (all the same, differently colored secondary keys like iOS default, etc...) and if needed I can answer any questions you might have as they come up, and/or get a plist together that will provide the ability to just plug in CustomColor Hex values if desired...


    Just let me know, happy to help however possible!




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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfroggy View Post
    I've not been clear, sorry. That was a midst-of-the-night post. What other language keyboard do you use ?
    I use English, Emoji, and Chinese Simplified (pinyin).. in that order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phatmartino View Post
    Basically, yes...

    Don't give up on your Chinese Pinyin, though. Worst case scenario, I can code a plist only theme for you to use...

    It will look exactly like the iOS keyboard as far as shapes, Arrow Symbols, etc... but at least I could put together a color scheme that would best match whatever Winterboard theme you're using.

    Would you want something with some dark grays and orange to match the Navigation Bar and Buttons in your screenshots? Or did you really like the colors of the Color Keyboard theme you had armed for those screens?

    Let me know if you'd like me to play around, and if so, what you'd most like to see, and I can oblige as best as possible.
    It's okay, I quite like the WP7CK theme but I can usually get by with the handwriting chinese keyboard..

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    Thank you for your help, and part of it worked. I did follow your advice about the background image and put the key background on it. However, I still can't get the darn thing to recognize the background images unless I add them through CK on my settings.

    After doing all the colour callouts, and setting them to transparent, below is what I am left with. Grr.....for some reason, the keys are now a black square.......I am about to pull my hair out!

    A question about the background images. I have them in the plist, but where do I actually put the images? I assume in the theme folder with the plist. Is that right?

    Color Keyboard Guide-photo4.png

    I really appreciate all your help, and the mention of no info on hybrid was not a dig.....I can understand being busy.

    So here is what I am after (in a nutshell)

    clear everything on the keys so only white letters, etc are there. The background images have the keys.

    Color Keyboard Guide-portrait2.png

    And somehow get the darn program to recognize my background images without going through settings, but I am willing to do that if I must. I was just hoping to be able to try to do themes for other people. (Not to mention, by now, I am determined to get the darn thing to work)

    Any help is appreciated, I have included a DL link to my plist if it will help.

    remusgrrrl.plist

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    Ok, here we go...


    There were just a few little things in your plist that were causing the conflicts, but there's a lot more to cover than the few probs you were having so far.


    Here's a screen of using your BG image, with your plist and those few bugs sort of worked out:








    I only included this screen to show that the Keys are a little mis-aligned compared to the iOS Text, but don't fret. Although it goes way deeper than just taking care of that, I'm hopeful that I can help make the whole process a comparative piece of cake.


    As I mentioned before, the Hybrid method ends up taking 60 or so total background images with the "Keys" included on them. Between Portrait and Landscape, and basically 30 different configurations of Key positions/sizes for each of those orientations to be covered by separate BG images, the iOS keyboard is one complicated animal these days.

    That's why I've always created my Color Keyboard PSDs to be "non-destructive", massively re-usable templates. I'm a "Group" groupie! I never merge anything at all, and I put every Layer into a Group one way or another. I set up so that every Key shape remains it's own separate Layer, and have all of the different needed Key shapes/sizes/positions included all in one PSD, in a semi-complex "Group struture", and straight abuse the "Show/Hide" state to include all Layouts in one PSD.

    This makes it easy to select large Groups all at once, and apply Styles to all Keys, etc. This makes the design part super easy, but the actual process of toggling the show/hide state of all that stuff to "build" each image, and save it named to work with the plist, a complete nightmare.


    Enter Photoshop Actions!!!


    Once I realized that you can "record" anything you do in Photoshop as an "Action", and never have to do it again manually, I nearly dropped a brick. Lol


    I immediately started organizing my PSDs so that I could go through the laborious task of Show/Hide/Show/Hide to save all of the individual images, and name them to work with my plists one more time, recording it as an Action, and never have to do it again myself. What once took me 30-40 min, now takes 30-40 seconds.


    Soooooo.....


    The only drawback was that I had a set of PSDs with natively sized Rectangle keys, and a set with natively sized Rounded Rectangle keys. I don't know of any magical way to "change" hundreds of 6px radius Rounded Rectangles into 12px radius Rounded Rectangles, and so on. To need keys shaped differently at all would require recreating them all and placing them where needed on the canvas and in the Group structure all over again.


    Enter Jahooba!!!


    I'm lucky enough to have worked with and become rather friendly with the brilliant themer Jahooba over the last couple years. He uses absolutely out of this world methods and software to create his unparalleled designs. So for him to have to put together tons of images, containing mountains of expertly crafted Keys, was all but impossible (at least taking mental fatigue into consideration) to take on manually.

    So, considering that there are actually only about 36 differently sized "Keys" between the Portrait and Landscape layouts, and they are just repeated over and over in different positions throughout the layouts, I started working on a way to use Actions to "import" those brilliant Keys of his, and place all of those crazy copies where needed on the canvas, as well as into the PSD's Group structure, so that Actions could also still be used to "Build and Save" the final images as mentioned above.

    Here's a shot of your Port image to help show kind of what I mean. The "highlighted" Keys are 5 of the 30-some "Key Shapes" that are repeated over and over:







    Of course, what Jahooba and I were working on also included all of the Text on the images as well, which ends up requiring 108 total background images instead of 60. Add Actions that auto-align hundreds of Text Layers over their respective Keys, Actions that can apply variable filters to each Key or Text Layer individually, and more... That's another project that I've unfortunately let slip into the "I can't handle all of this all at once" category...


    All of that blabbering to say this...

    I was able to simplify that process as far as using Actions for "Key importing" and "Final Image Rendering" for the Hybrid method. I've wanted to introduce it for a while and add the "Hybrid Method" portion of the Guide, just hadn't found the time to work out every kink to avoid an overwhelming onslaught of new Ps and Action support requests on top of it all. Lol.


    So, I'm thinking I'll include a couple .zips here, that have quite a few goodies for Hybrid CK theme automation, and if you and a few others try to see what you can do with them, maybe together we can figure out how to make them as user friendly as possible before I set up the Hybrid section of the Guide.


    Unfortunately, one thing that needs to be pointed out (and another logistical sticking point to releasing this content) is that most of the included Actions will only work on a Windows PC. This is only because of the directory vs. hierarchy difference in the file systems between PC and Mac. There are ways to "fix" the Actions once they are on a Mac, but it's kind of involved, and has to be done by the user (I don't own a Mac). I can get into it if any Mac users really want to try this out...


    This link has a finished Hybrid plist generally set up for your theme as far as Colors that the plist controls, and your Portrait image renamed to work with my system of image-naming just for the hay of it:


    remusgrrrl.zip



    This link has a .zip with all of the goods:


    Automated-Hybrid-CK-PSDs.zip


    There are two folders in this zip. Check out the ReadMe in the "CK Key Templates" folder first. It will begin to explain some basics about Actions in Ps, and using the included Actions and PSDs in that folder to create your "Master" Keys.

    There's a ReadMe in the "CK MAIN v1" as well, which will help explain the use of all of the PSDs together.


    Maybe begin by reading both ReadMe files, and let me know if it leaves a ton of questions.



    EDIT: I made a little change or two in the second (CK MAIN v1) ReadMe file, dl this one and read it instead:


    CK MAIN v1 ReadMe.txt


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    I can only try to imagine the work involved in reaching such solutions you both came to. Hats off chaps.
    The theme I run is 3 4 All, by Sk37cH.
    Free. For all devices.

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    OMG.....I had no idea it was so involved. But I love playing with PS so this should be fun. Thank you for the files, I can't wait to play now. It didn't surprise me that my background was off, I ended up resizing the keys and figured I probably didn't have it quite right.

    I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for everything.

    Edit: Okay, used everything, and OMG did it make things easier, Thank you for all the hard work.

    The only problem I can find is that the delete key is not rendered on any of the files.

    Color Keyboard Guide-hmmm1.jpgColor Keyboard Guide-hmmm2.jpg

    Edit: Nevermind...I must of done something wrong, everything is working now. Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by RemusGrrrl; 10-16-2012 at 03:20 AM.

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    Okie Dokie, new problem. I am assuming that I once again goofed in the plist somewhere. My keyboard is not showing small letters when the shift key is not pressed. It only ever shows Capital letters. Is that something I goofed up somewhere?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RemusGrrrl View Post
    Okie Dokie, new problem. I am assuming that I once again goofed in the plist somewhere. My keyboard is not showing small letters when the shift key is not pressed. It only ever shows Capital letters. Is that something I goofed up somewhere?
    No, not at all!

    iOS doesn't show that change between upper and lower case...

    That's why many themers preferred putting the text on the images for a long time...

    But nowadays you can get the "ShowCase" tweak from Cydia, and it makes iOS text on the keyboard show that change whether a CK theme is armed or not! Yeah!!

    Everything working out in PSD/Action land?

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    Everything is working fabulously, thank you very much. If you put the letters on the keys, do you only have to do it on the rendered keyboard pngs? I don't plan on doing it, just curious.

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    Awesome! Happy to help.

    Yes, you just put the text in place on the images you create, but it also makes the theme require 108 images instead of 60... The iOS text being used as you're currently doing, allows for many of your BG images to be shared by different layouts of iOS text that need similar "key" configurations, and it can change as needed over top of the .pngs in use. To include the text means you have to have a separate .png for absolutely every possible layout. Fun stuff...

  38. The Following User Says Thank You to Phatmartino For This Useful Post:

    Alfroggy (11-10-2012)

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