Thursday, 28 August 2008

Echo August 2008 News

New Icons

We've created/fixed some new icons, concretely:

  • preferences-system-date

  • preferences-system-firewall

  • preferences-system-users

  • printer

All of them are used in they System -> Administration menu and part of our work towards filling this menu with Echo icons (since most of applications in there don't have even new-gnome-styled icons).

"Huge" icons - 256x256

With the introduction of One Canvas Workflow (will be explained bellow) I decided I could try doing more detailed and realistic looking version of the printer icon:

Nicu was seemingly pleasured with the new introduced HW brand - Echo and noted that if such device indeed existed it would definitely worked with Fedora out of box.

I'd like to hear others opinion of using such style for these icons. The basic differences from other styles are semitransparent borders (usually with opacity set to 0.3) and more detail. Other than that it remains same as other sizes. If we agree on this style, I'll add it to Guidelines, together with source for the echo brand ;-)

One Canvas Work-flow

Together with creating the printer icon, I explored jimmac's idea of one canvas workflow. In my short experience it is superior work-flow to our current one and also makes automating many steps of icon creation easier. Most importantly it helps artist to focus more on the process of designing/drawing the icon rather than various "secretary" jobs around...

Together with the desire to automate as much of the secondary work as possible I needed to bring the work-flow to yet another level - so you need to add label to the 48x48 icon (which therefore needs to be
grouped) and set it to scalable. It is so that the script can recognize that it's the very icon intended to be installed into the scalable folders (and delete the rest).

Initial screen-cast showing this and subsequent commit of the icon to git is available at my fedorapeople page.

I'd like to make this work-flow the preferred one for echo-icon-theme creation so if no one steps in, I'll add it to Guidelines.

Current version of template which can be used as base in Inkscape to create icons using this work-flow is attached to a mail I sent to fedora-art-list.

Automating The Secondary Jobs

One Canvas work-flow makes one thing much easier - ability to create script which takes the source icon and add it to git repository. I called this script echo-add-icon and it's already available in echo git repository. It takes the source SVG, generates PNGs for all included sizes and SVG for the scalable "size" and put all, including source into their rightful places in the git repository. The original source is put into /sources/base/one-canvas/ to make it distinct from the legacy sources (i.e. one source SVG per one size). It currently pushes only to base folders, but can be easily extended to ask if we want to push to base or to extras.

It does not make branch specific changes (i.e. adding symlinks / adding to build system) but I hope to implement it as well in some future version of the script. It also does not push the changes back to fh.o only prints a message to the user that he should do so.

Another script is meant to simplify the git set up process. I called it echo-set-up and is also uploaded to git. It does all the steps needed for starting work with the repository.

Yet another script is make for updates (useful e.g. when we introduce new branch to echo git repo). It updates all branches, if some of the branches is missing, it correctly creates it. I called it echo-update and it's also available in echo git.

I also plan to add one another simple script, probably called echo-new-icon that would take latest version of the one-canvas template and create new icon (with given name) from it. Similar to what rpmdev-newspec do for spec files ;-)

I plan to package these scripts for fedora under the name echo-artist, therefore I added some necessary things like license (LGPLv2.1+) or credits (since the first script is based off jimmac's).

Echo for F10?

It has been briefly discussed on the fedora art list whether to include Echo in F10 as our default icon theme and whether submit it as a Feature. Many people seemed to agree that it would not hurt pinging fesco about it, but that the main decision would probably be done by Art and Desktop teams.

Further Plans

Apart from creating new icons and plans mentioned above, I also hope to update/extend various echo related how-to's to reflect the new methods of echo icon creation/addition.

Apart from that I'd like to make some "promo" page that would be intended for potential contributors and contained all info they need to know to get started and other similar info.

Request for Feedback

As usual, I am more than open for all kinds of feedback, especially about the huge size guidelines, the new scripts and one canvas work-flow. If you have ideas how to further improve some of the above mentioned things, or just comments to what I said, would like to start contributing to Echo, ... feel free to reply either here, in comments, drop a mail in fedora-art-list, or, if you wish, drop a private e-mail to me (you can use e.g. the fedora address: mso AT fedora project DOT org [note: the address is "obfuscated" as a spam prevention and there are not any spaces in the original]) :)

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