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Working with BlackBerry Themes

This tutorial will show you how to create themes using BlackBerry Theme Studio v5.0, despite the fact that v6.0 is out in its beta release. Theme Studio v5.0 is recommended for new users and works with a wide variety of BlackBerry phones, so we will stick that that version. If you are a more experienced user, v6.0 is what you are looking for. Keep in mind that v5.0 will not support smartphones using the BlackBerry 6 operating system, such as the Style 9670, Bold 9780, Curve 9300, Torch 9800, and others.

  1. Working with BlackBerry Themes
  2. Creating a BlackBerry Theme
By: wubayou
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March 28, 2011

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Before you can jump into the process of building your own BlackBerry themes, you will need to download BlackBerry Theme Studio software first.  BlackBerry Theme Studio is a free tool that allows you to create themes, animated content, graphics, and more for BlackBerry smartphones.  The software is Windows-based and works on your computer, so you will have to be running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Professional.  Other system requirements include 400MB of available hard disk space, and BlackBerry Device Software v4.2.2 and up. 

The download link to Theme Studio can be found here:


As mentioned, we will be using Theme Studio v5.0, as it's the best choice for beginners and it is also the most recent full release available at the time of this writing.  Click on the link for Theme Studio v5.0.  To download the software, you will need to be a BlackBerry Developer Zone member.  If you are one already, just enter your login credentials.  If not, you will have to register to become one by filling out some basic personal information.

Once you are past the registration process, download the software and install it onto your computer.

Introduction to the BlackBerry Theme Studio Interface

BlackBerry Theme Studio is divided into two main platforms: the Composer and Theme Builder.  Composer is a tool that helps you design and create the graphics you want to incorporate into your new themes.  It's a nice tool for those who do not use other design programs like Photoshop.  You can tweak images, animate content, and more.

Theme Builder does just what its name suggests.  It helps you build your themes.  Since you will be using Theme Builder to create your new themes, let's break down some of its features. 

The left side of the Theme Builder houses the Preview Window.  This shows a virtual model of a BlackBerry smartphone so that you have an idea of what your theme will look like on an actual phone.  It will change as you change the various elements of the theme you are composing.

The right side of the Theme Builder interface houses the design center of the program.  The most important segment on the right side is the Inspector panel.  This panel separates the various elements of your theme into different categories.  Icons represent the different categories, and this is what you will use to import your theme elements. 

Importing theme elements is the basis of the whole creation process.  As such, here is a brief breakdown of the different categories in the Inspector panel, from top to bottom.

Banner: Use this to change banner items like icons for battery life, clock style, etc.

Home Screen: Use this to change your background and other items found on the home screen.

Application List Screen: Use this to shuffle the order of applications, their icons, and more.

Controls: Use this to change menus, dialog boxes, etc.

Message List: Use this to change the look of message windows.

Phone Screen: Use this to change graphics associated with incoming calls, ringtones, and more.

Lock Screen: Use this to change the appearance of lock screen font, background, etc.

Global Items: Use this to change the look of items such as progress bars, the hour glass during load times, and more.

The Catalog panel falls beneath the Inspector panel on the right side of the user interface.  It holds things such as sample graphics that you can use if you want to play around with the Theme Builder at first.

The final section on the Theme Builder's right side is the Alignment window.  This is what you use to change the spacing, size, and alignment of your theme elements.

Now that you are acclimated with the layout and features of Theme Studio v5.0, it's time to go ahead and build your new theme. 

>>> More Smartphone Development Articles          >>> More By wubayou

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