Section B4: Software Questions
Working with Bitmaps
B4-01 Where would I use bitmap files?
All buttons on the Pronto NG are actually bitmap files. This means you may change buttons so they look exactly as you want. Many users have gone to the effort of creating entire new graphical environments, however this can take many hours of time to design and refine. Of course, you can always start off with a pre-existing design!
A simpler use of bitmap files would be to add a manufacturer’s logo to your pages, add a photo of a small one or convert a favorite channel button’s image so it looks like the station’s logo.
B4-02 How can I create my own bitmaps?
You must use a bitmap editing package, such as PhotoShop, Corel Photo-Paint, Paint Shop Pro, Irfanview, or even MS Paint. These all will allow you to edit bitmaps on a pixel-level and modify them to meet your own needs. Unfortunately, the quality of work will depend solely on how familiar you are with these packages and your own skill level. So, to begin with it is recommended you start off with someone else’s bitmaps and try to modify them to suit your own needs.
Bitmaps can be any size from 1x1 pixel up to 240x320 pixels. For the Pronto NG, files must be saved in Windows .BMP format. For the ProntoPro NG, files can be saved in .BMP or .PNG format and may be up to 24-bit color depth.
B4-03 How do I save a bitmap to disk?
ProntoEdit NG does not include an option to save a BMP file to disk. So, make a copy of your PCF file and then change the extension to .ZIP (so, myfile.pcf would become myfile.zip). Then, open the file using WinZip or the ZIP support built into newer versions of Windows. Under the “Bitmaps” folder you will find all bitmap images contained in that file. Note that files are named sequentially, so you may have to hunt to find the image you want.
Extract the files to another directory and modify them with your favorite bitmap editing program. To get an image back into ProntoEdit NG, load it via PENG’s normal routine or, if the image’s dimensions have not changed, you can try merging the files into the ZIP file then renaming it back to PCF.
Tip: While browsing files in the program WinRar, it is possible to view the contents of a PCF file without renaming it to ZIP.
B4-04 Can I set a transparency color other than a shade of grey?
For the black & white Pronto NG, the answer is unfortunately, no. Transparencies must always be one of the Pronto NG’s 16 shades of grey, which makes it difficult to combine transparencies with custom rendered graphics that typically already make use of all 16 shades. Also note that the portion of a button that becomes transparent is not clickable.
For the ProntoPro NG, the transparent color may be whatever is in the upper left corner, or you may use PNG alpha transparancies for special graphics effects.
B4-05 Why do my graphics have horizontal lines through them?
Buttons without actions are indicated on the remote control and in the emulator by a “greying out” effect, where every other horizontal line is transparent. To correct this, simply assign a command to the button (such as a delay, link, page jump, IR code, etc.).
B4-06 Should I use the gallery?
Sure, you can use ProntoEdit NG’s new gallery if you wish. However, many users have found that the redesigned gallery format is both tedious to use and generally impractical, as you can’t store prearranged groups of objects.
Instead, some users have opted to create a special hidden device in their PCF file with arrangements of buttons, panels and groups on multiple pages, although this does add to PENG loading and saving times, as well as making transfers to the remote longer. It’s up to you.