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[HOW-TO] Begin Making Themes


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#1 Guest_BDH_*

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:19 PM

Couldn't find a good place to post this so I figured this was as close as I could get lol. Mods if there is a better place for this, please move to that section instead. Thank you!

 

Hi there! So you want to start making themes?? I'm going to help you get started very easily! I'm warning you now though, this is A LOT of work and will use up A LOT of your time!

Prerequisites - These are what you'll need to start making Themes:

Winrar - 32bit: http://www.rarlab.com/rar/wrar420.exe 64bit: http://www.rarlab.co...rar-x64-420.exe
7zip: http://www.7-zip.org/download.html
Apktool - http://d-h.st/VWo
Java6 - http://www.oracle.co...dk-6u37-oth-JPR
Notepad++: http://notepad-plus-...oad/v6.2.2.html
Paint.NET ( a very good and FREE image editor: http://www.dotpdn.co....10.Install.zip

Download and install Java JDK 6 (make sure you get the right OS build and either 32bit or 64bit)

Download an install Winrar. After installing, your zip files will now have an icon that looks like a stack of books.

Download Apktool. After it downloads, right click the zip file and click on "Extract Files..." and extract the Apktool zip to your desktop.

Download and Install Notepad++

Download and install Paint.NET
 

 

Getting Started:

On your phone, using a root file explorer like Root Explorer, navigate to /system/framework and copy/paste the framework-res.apk to your external sdcard. SystemUI.apk is located in /system/app

Also do the same with whatever apk you want to edit (there is no promise this will work with downloaded apps from the Play Store, this WILL work with any app that is in the /system directory.)

For purposes of this guide, we are going to assume you're editing the SystemUI.apk and the framework-res.apk because these are the 2 main files for making a theme for a ROM.

Now take whatever apks you are editing and move them to your PC.

Now let's go back to the Apktool folder on your desktop. It should look like this:

zjtjz5.png
sp9axf.png

Take those apks you took from your phone and place them in the Apktool folder like this:

2aikps5.png

Now go back to your desktop. Now we're going to hold the "shift" key, and right click on the Apktool folder. On the menu that pops up, select "Open command window here"

Now you should see this:

smapmd.png

Obviously, your path to Apktool will not be the same as mine, that's irrelevant. (Note: Anything you type into the command prompt IS case sensitive! Make sure you type everything correctly, or just copy and paste the commands from here!)

In that command prompt window, type the following code:
 

apktool if framework-res.apk

What this code does, is install the framework-res.apk in case it's needed to edit any other files (and it will be).

Now you should see this:

iwn5dw.png

Now it's time to decompile the SystemUI.apk for edits, for that you will use this command:
 

apktool d SystemUI.apk

Your command prompt should now look like this:

t8rjao.png

Now go back to the Apktool folder on your desktop and you'll notice there is now a folder in there named "SystemUI" this will be where you make your edits. A few tips: Most of the images you will edit will be in the /res/drawable-hdpi, folder. DO NOT EDIT ANY XMLS OR IMAGES THAT END IN .9 THESE CAN CAUSE SERIOUS SYSTEM ISSUES! READ UP ON THEM BEFORE YOU START EDITING ANYTHING IN XML FILES OR .9 IMAGES. When editing images, make sure the image keeps the EXACT same file name. You cannot change the name of any icons.

Ok so let's say that you have now finished all of your image edits and you're ready to see your own work! That's the simple part (as long as you didn't mess anything up lol).

Ok now after editing, go back to your command prompt window. If you don't remember how to do it, hold down "shift" and right click on the Apktool folder, then select "Open command window here."

If you closed the command window earlier, you need to reinstall the framework-res.apk with "apktool if framework-res.apk"

Now in that same command window, type or copy/paste the following:
 

apktool b SystemUI

Note, you are building from a file, so make sure you DO NOT put ".apk" after SystemUI.

Now you should be looking at a screen like this:

x3tuyx.png

Now navigate to the apktool folder again and go the following directory /apktool/SystemUI/dist

Inside there is your newly built SystemUI.apk, however, you're not going to use it lol. You're only going to use parts of it.

Rename that new SystemUI.apk to something distinguishable, like "newSystemUI.apk."

Now right click that new apk and hover over "7zip" and select the top option which is "Open Archive"

A new window will appear:

15nni13.png

Now go back to the apktool folder and open the old SystemUI.apk the SAME WAY! Right click, hover over 7zip, select "Open Archive."

The same kind of window will pop up.

Now here's where things get a little tricky.

You're going to need to put these 2 7zip windows side by side!!!

Like this:

wk305t.png

Now hold down "ctrl" and highlight the following items in the NEW apk window:

  • res
  • resources.arsc

 

Now drag and drop both of those items into the OLD apk window.

Close out all windows

Now take that OLD SystemUI.apk which has the new images in it, and place it back on your sdcard.

Use a Root File Explorer on your phone and move the SystemUI.apk to /system

Now press and hold on the file and select "Permissions"

Make sure the permissions look like this:

4pzdp1.png

Now move that apk to /system/app

Now reboot smile.png

Your phone should boot backup normally and you will see the changes you made.

Now repeat this process for every apk you're editing.

If your phone fails to boot, you messed something up, seriously you did lol.

A few more tips and notes:

SystemUI's and framework-res.apk's are NOT inter-changeable. You cannot take these files from other ROMs and place them in yours. 
Again, DO NOT touch the XML files, or the 9 patch images (images that end in .9) until you have read up on them A LOT. There are tons of posts that talk about dealing with .9 images and XML edits.


If you get any errors with apktool, post it here and I will try to help as much as I can.

NOW GET OUT THERE AND MAKE SOME THEMES!!!!!


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#2 usmcamgrimm

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:19 AM

 I'm warning you now though, this is A LOT of work and will use up A LOT of your time!

 

 

lol THAT'S an understatement!

 

Seriously though, I would be happy to help anyone with questions also.


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#3 jayrod

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:06 AM

Very true! Depending on how much you are trying to change.. it is very time consuming!

Not to hijack but another very useful and powerful theme/apk editing tool is VTS.
It uses apktool and handles multiple frameworks,has an built in XML editor,handles smali and more but is more user friendly than command line and has been invaluable to me. I wrote up a quick" how to" over in the RAZR themes( I think) as well as a. 9 guide.


Also..I'm not the most known or the most talented when it comes to theming but am willing to help.

Sent from my BSC testing FJ bionic courtesy of livinginkaos
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#4 johnthehillbilly

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:12 AM

+1 for VTS :) absolutely a more user friendly editing tool (not to discredit apktool tho) :)

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#5 zooyork0721

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:58 AM

second what usmcamgrimm and jayrod said!!

 

and i am also more than willing to help anyone who needs help :)


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#6 livinginkaos

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:22 AM

I give you guys all the credit! Wow, I downloaded everything and thought I'd mess around just so I knew enough to be dangerous, but man, what a time taker! I don't have that to spare these days. You guys are awesome!
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#7 megahertz1970

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:40 AM

I extracted the apk tools zip to desktop and I didn't get a folder like you show. The only thing that looks like that has a java symbol not a folder symbol. So I'm lost already. Please help? I would really like to learn how to do this.



#8 usmcamgrimm

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:45 AM

I extracted the apk tools zip to desktop and I didn't get a folder like you show. The only thing that looks like that has a java symbol not a folder symbol. So I'm lost already. Please help? I would really like to learn how to do this.


When you extract apktool, put the three files in a folder that you'll be working in. I have a folder for the theme I am working on, with those 3 files, the apks I'm working on, and the folders for the extracted contents of the apk.

Tapatalking from the pits of hell with my Slaytanic Rage machine!
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#9 Guest_BDH_*

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:55 AM

I extracted the apk tools zip to desktop and I didn't get a folder like you show. The only thing that looks like that has a java symbol not a folder symbol. So I'm lost already. Please help? I would really like to learn how to do this.

 

When you change the extraction point to your desktop, you'll need to edit the textfield at the top of the 7zip to say "apktool" at the end, otherwise it will extract the 3 files to your desktop and not in a folder.



#10 Tomsg123

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:00 PM

Nice thread Hicks this is exactly what I am working on right now also.



#11 johnthehillbilly

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

Hey BDH.... I figure you already know about this but some may not.... and it MAY be somewhat less intimidating for new themers .... basically apktool GUI :) ....
http://forum.xda-dev...d.php?t=1978776

I've been using it..... works pretty well :)


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If you are feeling generous and would like to buy me a drink.... coffee :)


#12 Tomsg123

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:43 PM

How to use APKTOOL to theme and edit android apps PART 1

 

How to use APKTOOL to theme and edit android system apps PART 2

 

Basic Rom editing and themes on any rom

 

VIDEOS By ME :-)


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