Lots of Good Things Straight From Mars ...
Our Latest Messages
- CCI Updated
This release adds support for Mac OS X 10.8.3. It also disables CCI automatically for Photoshop on Mountain Lion.
- Updates for iTunes 11
iTunes 11 is a radical redesign of this critical app, and it's all largely for the better. However, it plays havoc with Crystal Black users who uninstall and find their iTunes all messed up. So, I've put together a quick update for Crystal Black and a new little app for installing/restoring iTunes 11 (you can find it on the Skins page). In Crystal Black, I've removed support for iTunes — because to extend support to iTunes 11 would have added another 20 MB to the download size, which is already very large. So, users will have to utilize the standalone Crystal Black for iTunes apps. But those who update to the latest release of CB (1.6.4) won't have to worry about it overwriting iTunes files with the wrong version.
- AppMenu Magic Updated
Reduces the app icon size slightly and fixes a problem that could prevent AMM from loading.
- Crystal Black 1.6.3
Incorporates relevant bug fixes from CCI 2.8.
- CrystalClear Interface 2.8
Adds a feature that lets users define custom window themes, as well as a new button theme ("Embossed Nickel") for Snow Leopard users. Also includes a variety of bug fixes.
- Embossed Nickel Theme Now Available
Embossed Nickel is a port of the classic ShapeShifter theme "Nickel-Cobalt" for Snow Leopard. You can download the files from the Themes page.
- CrystalClear Interface 2.7.8
This release extends the "Glossy" button theme to Mountain Lion users. Also includes several significant bug fixes, including ones affecting Dropbox, Growl, and QuickTime Player (on Mountain Lion). The update also adds support Mac OS X 10.8.2 when it's released.
- Crystal Black 1.6
This release adds the Smooth Black button theme and compatibility with Mac OS X 10.8.1 (the latest release of "Mountain Lion").
- More news
Software for changing the look, feel, and behavior of the Mac OS X interface
Icons to decorate your system files, documents, and applications.
Free Crystal Black skins for iTunes, CoverSutra, and more.
A collection of useful Dashboard widgets.
ShapeShifter themes for Mac OS X 10.4 ("Leopard") and earlier.
Some lovely designs for your Mac desktop.
Free software utilities for text editing and optimizing the Apple Mail database.
Alert styles for the Growl notification system, and a few other goodies.
All The Way From Mars ...
Over the years, the designers and programmers here on Mars have come up with a slew of cool ideas, designs, and software.
What started out as intrigue about the possibilities of changing the look and feel of the Mac OS X interface, "Aqua," turned into a raging passion. At the same time, our experience in web design and development made working on Dashboard Widgets and other HTML-based desktop apps a logical endeavor.
While developing one theme in particular — then known simply as "Crystal Clear" — we discovered a way to incorporate transparency into Mac windows. The technique involved use of a small Cocoa plugin called "SetAlphaValue." The use of this plugin gradually led us up the rather steep learning curve for the main software architecture behind Mac applications: Cocoa.
While learning Cocoa, we've also dabbled a bit in AppleScript, Unix shell scripts, and other languages... and this work produced some little apps as well.
Meanwhile, what started out as a design challenge did not diminish. Some Martians turned their talents to icon design, and others to developing images for decorating the desktop.
What none of us anticipated was the strain that working with such teeny-tiny graphics would place on our eyes. Martians have particularly keen vision, but the strength lies mostly in identifying distant objects — such as Earth. By contrast, working on icons, buttons, and other widgets that can tweak the Mac interface requires pixel-level attention. Although design tools easily enable one to zoom in on such objects, one still needs to be able to take in the whole object at actual size. We can do it, but boy do we get headaches!
Most of the downloads on the MarsThemes website can be used freely, but our two latest (and most complex) software tools — CrystalClear Interface and Crystal Black — require a license after the trial period.
P.S. If you're a Martian, we might consider giving you a discounted license. But you will have to prove your birth origins. :-)