OSMC and Skins - What features/views do you want in a new skin?

Hi all.

I’m a newer OSMC user but a very long time user of XBMP in that i was using XBMP on my original modded XBOX back in the days and am amazed at where it has gone since then!

So I’m now back into the Raspberry Pi3 and OSMC worlds and am building several setups for older relatives. With that in mind, I also decided it was time for me to get back into the GUI/UI/Skinning world and have noticed a need for a possible update skin for OSMC based on the OSMC skin. My main issues with this default skin was the blue transparency on a custom background and limited views when in videos, tv shows and movies. mainly, no view that shows the plot when selected.

With that in mind, what are some things you want to see in a skin? What are things you hate in skins that authors do?

Here is my project/skin goal list/criteria:

  1. Early builds of skin will be purely based on the latest OSMC skin over at GitHub - osmc/skin.osmc

  2. Skin will be a ‘night’ type of theme initially and optimized for night viewing. i may try to work with themes to build a light and dark theme

  3. Views for movies, tv shows, music, pictures, generic videos. My goal is to have more views than you need.

  4. Futuristic UI look without being over the top. Minimal graphics and transparency; must run good on a Pi 3 is my baseline hardware i’ll be testing on.

  5. If i can accomplish all of the above, i’d like to look at possibly making a way to build one’s own skin via a custom script, etc.

Thanks and I’ll post any skin updates to this topic.

1 Like
  • Keep the possibility of the OSMC skin to easily remove unwanted items from the main menu.

  • Display of “Continue watching”, “Recently added” in Movies and TV Series. Also a changing selection of random movies in the Movies category. Just like Estuary basically.

1 Like

Am I missing something? If you like Estuary then just install and use Estuary rather than the OSMC skin.

Likewise with the original poster and feature requests for a new skin, there should be plenty of skins out there already, surely something fits your requirements.

I like the OSMC default skin for its design and simplicity but Estuary for its default functionality and usability.
At the moment i’m indeed using Estuary but it feels outdated to me from a design perspective.

1 Like

I wonder if it would be easier to re-skin Estuary to look like the default OSMC skin than to add functionality to the OSMC skin. It wouldn’t be 100%, but if you figure out the color palettes, fonts, and a few background image things that would be most of it.

1 Like

i’m wondering the same. like burrito78, i like the functionality of estuary but like simplicity/minimalism of OSMC and easy ability to add items to the main menu. i just wanted a retropie and plex link on my home screen items vs going to add-ons and could never get it to work w/the Estuary skin. i’ve looked at other skins and some are nice but some are way over the top or just don’t fit my tastes.

ability to remove/disable items will be a must for my skin since i know what i want isn’t what everyone else wants. our setups are all unique.

here’s a very quick mock up of my possible initial OSMC skin and a few elements. keeping simple look but add ability to show more info if you want (ie have a news tab that shows rss feeds of headlines that scroll, updated every 30mins or a settings screen that has actual toggles right on the sub screen. :wink: plan is to build from scratch so this will prob take me a few weeks to get even an early build. may try to re-use default OSMC icons initially.

anywho, i’ll post my first version in the next few weeks.

+1 for quick access to turning on/off BT speaker/headphones!

1 Like

yea, those toggles would be so nice to have instantly available.

i’ve been totally procrastinating this project lately due to playing Horizon Zero Dawn. hehe… but sunday is my day to dig in and get this started!! hoping by xmas to have version 1.0 to be critiqued. need to keep reading the skin guides for kodi and am getting a grasp on them but overwhelmed by the amount of files, how things tie together, etc. :slight_smile:

Good luck! The tutorials are dated, and you need to get your head round how the includes work.

As promised, I’d like to contribute some ideas/features that I’d love to see in a new/updated skin:

  • the ability to sort my music library by the folder structure (I’d like to add files to my library and therefore have all the file information present, but I’d like to be able to have a sort option that represents the folder structure of the folders I added to the library - e.g. the Twonky version would be “by folder”
  • more information when playing back audio files in the currently playing screen (tag information like artist, album, year, genre, codec info, bitrate, bitdepth, sampling frequency, an overview of the current playlist/cue; maybe even with the option to tweak that for the own needs) - the currently playing screen for audio looks a bit empty atm
  • an enhanced currently playing dialogue shown on the top right corner of the main menu with more information (like the album cover e.g.)
  • sleeker presentation of codec/resolution/audio format of files in the library (maybe with icons instead of text) - wasn’t this present in the older OSMC skin before? :thinking:
  • a widget for the live TV category to show an EPG overview (of the current day e.g.) on the main menu

I’d love, if the basic layout of the main screen would be kept as I don’t like the horizontal scrolling appearance of main menus in many skins. The vertical scrolling looks a lot more minimalistic and tidy than other skins. If one wants a horizontal layout skin then one can simply switch to other skins… At least that’s my opinion :wink:

When it comes to adding something to the main menu: Doesn’t this addon already do the trick?: Add-on:Skin Shortcuts - Add To Menu
I’ve been using this for a while now and I can add whatever I want (or to put it differently: everything that has a context menu) to the main menu screen. But maybe this could simply be integrated into a new skin.

1 Like

+1 for these:

1 Like

My go to skin for Kodi is Eminence. It’s streets ahead of all other skins I’ve tried with regard to flexibility and sensible design decisions. Not perfect of course, but what is? The Kodi default Estuary is probably my second choice although it lacks some customisation options.

OSMC’s default skin is pleasant enough - although it too could do with some better customisation options. However it does have two major issues:

All cover art and posters are dimmed down to something like 50% brightness so only the currently selected item is at full brightness. This is a truly evil design decision! Surely the whole point of having cover art is to aid recognition when browsing long lists of music or movies. This is largely defeated by hiding all the art under a dark grey blanket … And, having spent countless hours hunting down the best art for my library I do actually want to see it!

Which brings me to the second issue - why does everything have to be so small? Not everyone has a 100" screen or sits three feet from it. Both fonts and cover art could be a lot bigger in many places without compromising the look and feel. This is a general problem with many Kodi skins.


Maybe this could be made possible under customization settings for a new skin? Maybe two options like this: dim unselected items (percent) and font/cover art size (small, medium, large)…

Especially the size of things is just perfect for me now as everything looks tidy and minimalistic due to this. Bigger fonts and covers would start making the skin feel cluttered for me. But, you’re right, @bluefuzz, this is clearly about taste and should be customizable, if it’s not too much work.

In an ideal world all skins would have configurable font sizes but I fear it would probably take a rewrite of the whole Kodi skinning system for that to happen. I’m also well aware that it’s not easy to do either. Hence the common design decision of just making stuff smaller to give the impression of unclutteredness [sic]. The trick is to make the interface seem tidy and elegant without losing important functionality – like actually being able to see the artwork or read the text.

Pretty much exactly my thoughts too.

PLUS a randomise current music selection (without creating a playlist), button on every screen :wink:.

Isn’t that what party mode does?

Partly, but it doesn’t limit itself to the current selection. For example if I select an artist and then use party mix it will choose all my songs, not just that artist. I seem to have to create a playlist first.

I’m pretty sure I remember being able to select an album or artist view and choose play in party mode – but that could be a skin-specific feature …

I’ll try it again tonight and identify anything I find.

Just tried it in OSMC, Eminence and Estuary without success.
If you navigate to an artist and then to their albums or tracks and then choose ‘party mix’ it does not limit itself to the selected artist.

What I am looking for is a simple way to randomly play whatever I have navigated to - be it a genre, artist or album.