Recently, I have tried this very interesting photo manager XnViewMP and discovered its possibility to create UI themes using QSS style sheets. Of course, as a customization freak, I couldn't resist to create my own UI theme!
Creating a custom theme for XnViewMP
XnviewMP really tempts you to create your own UI theme. It's based on the Qt framework, which uses QSS style sheets to customize the UI look. The syntax of QSS is very similar to CSS and you can customize almost any control element. Of course, sometimes it's a bit of puzzle to get what you want, but that's part of the fun :)
The idea behind the theme
I'm a big fan of Blender (open-source 3D package), which I think has one of the best and most customizable user interfaces. So, I've got inspired by the default grey theme from Blender and tried to bring it to XnViewMP.
This theme is neither too dark, nor too light, which I believe is the best choice in general. I think, when a theme is too light/colorful, it glows to the eyes and distracts user from the actual content. On the other side, when a theme is too dark, I find it worse readable and I tend to adjust my creations too dark as well. Thus, I have tried to create a low contrast, mid-grey theme that wouldn't distract users from the actual content.
I have created my custom set of icons as well. Originally, I started to make the icons using Inkscape for my own photo editor, which I never finished, because it was too much work :) Later, I finished the icons in Affinity Designer, which I find much more user friendly than Inkscape. The icons are monochrome and I tried to make them simple and easy to recognize.
XnViewMP as Alternative to Zoner Photo Studio
For a very long time, I have been using Zoner Photo Studio as a photo manager and file explorer. It's a very convenient program enabling you to do all the essential photo editing tasks like curves, levels, color temperature, etc. The very strong side of Zoner are batch editing tools. You can use batch filters not only to resize/rename images, but also you can use all the photo editing tools or edit EXIF metadata.
However, the last version of Zoner, I have purchased and still use, is the version 15. Since that version, Zoner has decided to go in the way of simplifying the user interface for tablets, rather than to introduce more desktop friendly features and more powerful keyboard shortcuts. I have been testing demos of their new versions, but there isn't anything worth of upgrading for me. I would even say, the UI got worse for desktop users.
Finally, introducing the new controversial subscription license, their intrusive marketing strategy and pushing Facebook to the main folder tree navigator (without any option to hide it), made me give up this program completely.
Therefore, I started to look for an alternative to Zoner. I have tried Adobe Bridge, but that program is very slow to start and heavy, like all products from Adobe.
Then, I found XnViewMP, which surprised me in a nice way. I was very excited to find out this program is based on Qt framework, which proves this framework is a perfect choice for multi-platform user programs. Indeed, XnViewMP starts and responds really fast without any lagging, and the possibilities of UI customization using the QSS style sheets are just brilliant! Feature-wise, XnViewMP is very similar to Zoner. It can do all the basic photo editing tasks and perform batch editing/renaming. The only downside of XnViewMP is amount of small bugs, but keep in mind, this program didn't achieve the version 1.0 yet, and the author releases new versions and bug fixes very frequently. Yet the program itself is already very stable and no crash ever occurred to me.