Thank The LORD! Transparency is finally working for ASE bitmap images
An Ugly Past
I'll admit. We've really struggled with the sex-appeal of the user interface for a long time. Our images & icons & symbolisms have been too convoluted and difficult to interpret sometimes. The themes haven't been consistent, with huge variations in style between tabs of the same subsystem. We're not really graphic designers, but clients like ribbons and symbolic images to represent commands, making them easier to recognize at a glance without a need to read what the command is. Makes sense. I like that too when I user other applications.
Less Really Can Be More
The first things we did was drastically simplify our approach to symbolism. We're not Autodesk and we don't have their resources in people that specialize in doing ONLY this type of work. So we had to strip our style down to ONE-LINE designs. Besides, Microsoft does in in their latest versions of Outlook. Super-clean. After seeing theirs, I was conviced that was the way to go for two major reasons:
Easier to understand
Faster to produce
This made all the sense in the world, so we went full-steam ahead with these values etched in our coke-bottle lenses.
Transparency Is No Longer Voodoo
For years I've tried unsuccessfully to make transparent images work. I wanted to be able to show the same image on a dark or a light windows theme without that ugly background making it look like it was hot off the press of my gradeschool art class table (5th grade, MAYBE!). Then by the grace of God, it fell right in my lap. I realized what I'd been doing wrong with transparency all these years. Before you start sending me links about how to translate color 192 to transparent png images, please don't browse to that folder. That had zero to do with where we went wrong.
... And no. I'm not going to tell you. :-)
A Sample for Both Theme Styles
Check out how nice these came out. I'll let you read the 2,000 words that the images are worth instead of me typing them all.
Check... Check... Check it out. We think you'll agree it's a step in the right direction: