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Computer Arts Special

  1. Getting Under the Skin of Windows Media Player 7

It’s about time Indian designs and creativity ventured into the exciting new world of digital skin-design. An exclusive article for beginners on how to create your own visual user interface for your favourite MP3 music-playing software.

Don’t you wish you had a soft, smooth, and silky skin? A skin created and nurtured to perfection, without blemish, and given that expert touch in Photoshop? Yet for all its greatness, Photoshop 6 cannot brighten, soften, blur, and color-correct your skin. Except of course, on your scanned photos.

Nevertheless, Photoshop makes a great tool for creating awesome skins for Microsoft Windows Media Player 7, WinAmp, Sonique, and the new breed of music and video playing software. Almost every MP3 user out there has one of these utilities running somewhere in the PC’s background, pelting out their favourite music with spectacular visual effects.

An alternative sub-culture of skin-collectors roam the net.

But fear not, Pamela Anderson need not yet sound out the Animals Right Movement she so dramatically endorses. For a ‘skin’ in the digital world is just another name for a visual user-interface.

From the fantastical, the whimsical, the medieval, the industrial, the post-modern, to the futuristic… as an interface a skin adds no functionality, only augments the mood of the beholder.

So, break free from the knob-laden minimalist cubic boxes in dull metallic grey colors that have become the bane of home stereo and entertainment systems. In the new age, the stereo system has become software, free-of-cost and freely downloadable.

Only your imagination limits
how it should look and feel.

All you need is Photoshop and the trusty old Notepad in the Accessories folder. Even MS Word is overkill. And you thought you needed a degree in rocket science.

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14 February 2003 © niyam bhushan

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