Constructed with tools designed by the Allegro Themes Project, Paper uses soft lighting and a paper texture applied to interface objects to give windows and other display elements a softer, more natural feel. Active windows have a diffuse light applied to them, creating a subtle shading effect, while background windows are cast in a darker light, more closely resembling a natural lighting effect.
With the release of Mac OS 8.5 Apple introduced the concept of Themes. Unfortunately when they released the System, they decided to leave out a major part of this technology: theme appearances. These appearances (accessed under the Appearance tab of the Appearance control panel) allow the ability to change the overall look of menus, icons, windows and controls. Apple developed four themes: Apple Platinum, Drawing Board, Gizmo and Hi-tech. Only the first has currently been made public.
Paper was created using a prerelease version of the ATP's open-source Theme Machine program. Although Theme Machine is currently in development, this is a small example of what is possible with the current tools. Paper was designed using the same basic dimensions as Platinum to avoid window positioning problems, but appearance themes are capable of supporting a wide array of window sizes and shapes.
Next up for the ATP is a for-development appearance that will make it easier for aspiring theme authors to bring their own creations to life. "It's not really a big step forward until we get something that allows your average designer to create themes," said the theme's designer, Eric, "but the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."
In conjunction with the announcement of Paper, the ATP unveiled their new website today. With a nicer interface and a new layout, the website should boost interest in the project. The website has a "themes" section to show of new themes created by the project. It includes both completed themes and those that are still being developed. Members can submit their themes and theme previews to be included in the site.
Also, a new development section will help coordinate work on the ATP's open source theme creation tool, Theme Machine. The site also serves as a download spot for the latest release of Theme Machine, and other theme-related programs and files.