the shoutouts. thanks to Tdawg5480 for the knowledge on how to do most of this. Xeudoxus and cortalusfreak over at Alldroid.
ok, First an explanation to those that might not know what the difference is between Theming your phones /system files and using 3rd party programs such as Home ++, Panda GDE ext..
The Theming I'm going to explain here is literally changing the phones systems it self. what programs like Home ++ do is put a second home version on your phone. think of it like this, you want to put down a new floor in your home. you have tile floors and want wood. one direction you can go is to place wood ON top of the original tile floor. that's what Home ++ does. on the other hand, you can take all the tile out and put wood down. that's whats what I'm talking about. its changing the original parts so to speak. I hope that makes sense. on to the instructions!
step 1) in order to do any of these changes you need to root your phone. that can be found here
step 2) you need busybox. the fastest and easiest way to get it (at least for me) can be found here
step 3) now that your rooted and have busybox. flash a new recovery image. that can also be found in step 2's link. after that do a nandroid backup. (this is just in case something doesn't work, you can still go back to were you started from)
step 4) get a theme. there are 2 ways to go about this. you can use the systems theme by going in to the /system/app area of your phone. copy the file you want to change.. IE Launcher.apk. pull it out and put it in the SD card. then place said file on your computer. rename launcher.zip pull the files out and make your changes. if you have 7zip or something close to that you can just extract the .apk with out changing the name
or.. you can get a already made theme. everyone Ive spoken to who has made themes doesn't seem to mind if you make changes. just give them the respect they have earned if you should re list your newly made theme.
Note: if you should decide to start from scrach, you need to make a .thm file. this goes in the directory part of your ziped file. what it is is a list of what your changing and were the phone needs to go to find the file to change. example, you want to change your launcher. so, in this .thm you will put Launcher.apk then right under it you will put were its located /system/app .......fairly simple to do. you can use notepad then use something like 7-zip to zip it. hit add to archive. when it shows the name uptop change it to .thm instead of .zip.
step 5) once you have your working platform so to speak. now you want to make changes! every .apk file has sub folder called res. in this folder you will find such folders as drawable-hdpi, drawable-land-hdpi (the land stands for landscape mode, when your phone is horizontal format instead of the vertical format) so, in this file drawable-hdpi you will see a bunch of images. these are the images that are displayed on your phone. there are tons of them and each once displays a certain thing. you can change these images to whatever you like.
NOTE: the size of the image can matter in some cases so its best to make sure whatever your adding is the same pixel size as the image your replacing.
NOTE #2) when changing a image it is best to use some type of photoshop platform. reason why is, if you use something like windows paint to make changes, the background of said changes will stay. so even though you spent hours cutting out and fine tuning a image. when you put it back it the white background on the image will stay. so when its put back on the phone you will have this white background around the image you changed.
NOTE #3) the location of the images your changing is important
. make sure any file you change goes back to its repected place of orgin.
step 6) now that you have your changed images this is how you put them back on the phone. there are few ways to do this. im only going to cover the Metamorph way (Metamorph is a free app on the market that will push your files to the correct location). first you need to rezip the file. dont make it a .apk file, keep it as a .zip file. when ziping it, you want to make sure its a store compression. this basically zips the file with 0 compression. 7-zip is a good ziping program to use for this. once its ziped, place it in the Androidtheme file on your SD card (this is after Metamorph has been launched) once its in the androidtheme file on your SD card, open up MM.
if will give you 2 options, new theme or existing theme. hit new theme. then select the theme you just placed in. open it, select the area you want to push IE Launcher, Framework.res ect.. then let MM do its thing. when changing the Framework your phone will need to reboot.
There, now you have just customized your phone! ENJOY!
if theres any questions of feel i left out some important information please add to this tread.
EDIT!: im adding steps that dont involve using MM. this is for ROMs that MM might not work well on.
once your done making changes to the .apk file, rezip it using 7zip or something simular, when you hit add to archive, at the end of the name it will say ".zip" change that to ".apk" now the file you extracted, example, Launcher.zip is now a Launcher.apk. take the apk and place it in the root of your SD card. now what your going to do is push the apk were you want it, heres the code to do that using ABD or a TE
###=the name of the app your pushing. like it would be busybox cp -R /sdcard/Launcher.apk /system/appCode:su mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock4 /system busybox cp -R /sdcard/### /system/app mount -o ro,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock4 /system sync reboot
If your adding in a framework-res file make sure at the end its /system/framework
there are a few codes that work, this is the one i use.