All right, there's been a lot of small bits of discussion about making new skins for these forums over a large period of time. It's about time we started one big thread for making new skins for the forums.
What better way to start off than with a quick how-to for the beginners?
There's three things that compose a skin: A colorscheme, a banner, and the optional but always fun New Post/No New Post icons.
The colorscheme is what you'll have the least direct control over - to suggest a colorscheme, simply take a screenshot of the forums in any one of the existing schemes and recolor it to your tastes. Or, rather than do that every time, you can take one screenshot and make a base out of it that makes recoloring simple. Hey, feel free to take mine, even:
Not a pretty base, admittedly, but it was colored to make the different properties easy for me to distinguish, not to look good. The little white boxes are where the icons will go, if you'd like to plug them and see how they'll match with the rest of the scheme.
If and when the skin is made, the admin will try their best to match the actual skin to your colors, but keep in mind it's impossible to do it exactly - for example, despite using the same HTML code for the color, the original Halloween 2005 banner had a different background color than the skin itself, and had to be remade.
Which brings me to possibly the most difficult part, the banner. Banners can come in all sorts of sizes and styles, and the only common theme is that they have to say "Bulbagarden Forums". Having some sort of Bulbasaur in it is not a bad idea either, although it's certainly not necessary. You can edit existing images or draw your own to make a banner - let your artistic creativity run wild!
There is one problem, though. If you're going to try and make a .png with transparency to make your banner's background match the forums background no matter what - sorry, but you'll have to find another way. There are people who use IE on the forums, and IE is stupid and will always show .png transparency as white. It's tough on us graphic artists, since .png transparency has so much more potential than the .gif transparency... anyway, if your banner shares the forum background in some way and you don't want to use .gif transparency, it's a good idea to, if possible, save a version of the banner with the background separate in case there's a slight difference between what color you want the skin background to have and what color it ends up having when the skin is made. We encountered the problem before - the Halloween 2005 banner, as I mentioned - so it's likely we'll encounter it again.
The final step isn't necessary, but is always good to do if you'd like to give your forums skin a final matching touch. If you'll notice, on the main forums index you can see different icons for the forums with new posts and the forums without. These can be changed to match the skin! To have them, you need to make two icons that are noticably different and easily connected to New Posts/No New Posts, such as one brightly colored and one dark. 32x32 pixels is usually the size we use for these, since that size is easily visible without stretching the area where the icon would appear. Or maybe it's a leftover from LX, who seemed a little overly fond of 32x32 icons? Either way, it's not required, but it's definitely not a bad idea. (Just to get your creative juices flowing - did you know that it's also the exact same size as a Pokémon sprite from Torouze?)
Once you've got it all ready, make sure you post it to this thread, and we'll be sure to let you know if and when it's added to Bulbagarden's ever growing collection of skins!
Oh, almost forgot! Can't do all the things here, or can't do any of it but have an idea for a skin you'd love to see? Feel free to post your incomplete skins and/or skin ideas here! We'll do our best to help you finish - or start - your skin!
That's everything, I believe - let's get to work!