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Looking for Win 7 Night vision theme

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#1 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:47 PM

Is there a download out there that will change all the windows controlled graphics elements to red? It seems like all the astro programs have their own night vision mode but strips of white light still come through at the top and sometimes the sides.

#2 Paula E

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

You have a couple of unpleasant issues to deal with if you want to accomplish this.

1. With an "Aero" theme, it takes really extensive modifications to create a total red and black theme because many of the graphical elements in windows are actually bitmaps that can't simply be recolored easily.

2. If you use a non-aero theme, it's pretty easy to get everything to black background / red text. Unfortunately, all of the openGL apps you'll run (which is most astro software) are somewhat broken in this mode.

I use StarDock SkinStudio 7 and WindowBlinds 7 to recolor the desktop elements on my observatory PC in Aero mode. Unfortunately, there are a few things that I can't seem to find a way to change. (Some file open dialogs, and some other random stuff.) I think the UI for SkinStudio 7 is terrible, btw. However, terrible or not, it did let me solve the problem mostly.

If none of your software uses openGL, you'll have much better success if you specify a non-aero theme.

#3 psonice

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:54 AM

Instead of theming it (which will ALWAYS have issues, because there's always going to be something, somewhere running that picks it's own colour instead of using your nice reds and blacks) you really want to change the colour profile for the monitor. This way you can tell the graphics card to only output red, and nothing will ever get past it.

I'm not sure how you do this on windows (maybe Scott will know more, he's working in the right area :) but this is how my RedScreen software for OS X works, and it affects everything on screen without changing the theme at all.

#4 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

Scott, I will check those programs out. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will have openGL issues with TheSkyX.

Psonice, my monitor seems to put out white differently than RGB. I can turn down the colors to almost nothing but the white persists, although it is dimmer.

#5 psonice

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:36 AM

Jeff: if you open an image, with just red on black (no white or pink) do you still see it? If so, that's probably backlight bleed from the screen. You'll see that the 'black' is actually 'grey' in this case, and it might get much worse (or turn blue) when looking at the screen from the sides. That's hardware, only thing you can do is buy a sheet of rubylith and tape it over the screen.

If that's not the issue, setting the colour profile the right way should completely kill blue and green colours (all graphics cards output RGB, doing this basically turns off the G and B channels so only red passes). That's the theory, as I said I'm not sure how to do it in windows. On the mac it's not possible to do this with the standard OS colour controls, but it's possible to do it with some software hackery.

#6 Paula E

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:36 AM

I'm not sure how you do this on windows (maybe Scott will know more, he's working in the right area :) but this is how my RedScreen software for OS X works, and it affects everything on screen without changing the theme at all.


I'll have to look into this - I'm not sure whether or not it is generally supported under windows. I am pretty sure I could implement something like this using nvapi for nvidia cards, since our control panel app can do this. (Just looked at a more recent version of our control panel applet, and it looks like it prevents you from manually outputting red only - but it's likely still possible programmatically.)

#7 Paula E

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:47 AM

Scott, I will check those programs out. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will have openGL issues with TheSkyX.


BTW, a little explanation of the openGL issues. It is possible you'll never really encounter these, it depends a lot on how you use TSX. The thing that really makes the problem evident is right clicking on TSX's planetarium screen, and bringing up a context menu. Without an Aero theme, this fails on TSX pretty often, and once it fails, it's maddening to deal with. (You'll see only the area under the context menu ever update.) If you don't have many context / popup menus while you use TSX, you might never actually encounter this bug. (Not trying to downplay the bug, it is a real issue - just saying the way you work in TSX makes a difference in repro'ing the bug.)

The root cause of this issue is a bug in the non-aero window manager in windows.

Not sure if it will make you feel any better, but the original bug report I've seen about this here involved a quite expensive MRI machine that used openGL for its UI. Anyway, MS didn't fix this for them, either.

Another workaround for this is to disable openGL support in TSX. It's slower and not as pretty, but is still functional, and it avoids this issue.

#8 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:28 PM

WindowBlinds 7 seems to have some potential. Tried it out tonight for a few minutes. I can get most of the "stray" colors to turn red.

Now if only I could get rid of the white image link screen in TheSkyX.....

#9 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:28 PM

Jeff: if you open an image, with just red on black (no white or pink) do you still see it? If so, that's probably backlight bleed from the screen. You'll see that the 'black' is actually 'grey' in this case, and it might get much worse (or turn blue) when looking at the screen from the sides. That's hardware, only thing you can do is buy a sheet of rubylith and tape it over the screen.

If that's not the issue, setting the colour profile the right way should completely kill blue and green colours (all graphics cards output RGB, doing this basically turns off the G and B channels so only red passes). That's the theory, as I said I'm not sure how to do it in windows. On the mac it's not possible to do this with the standard OS colour controls, but it's possible to do it with some software hackery.


I need to check this out next. Hopefully tomorrow.

#10 psonice

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:51 AM

Scott: on the mac, I use some private APIs to re-write the colour LUTs on the GPU that are used for colour profile adjustments before output to the monitor, if that helps. Write zeros to the G/B channels and you have pure red + black. Reduce the red levels, and you have dark red on black.

#11 Paula E

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:07 AM

Scott: on the mac, I use some private APIs to re-write the colour LUTs on the GPU that are used for colour profile adjustments before output to the monitor, if that helps. Write zeros to the G/B channels and you have pure red + black. Reduce the red levels, and you have dark red on black.


Oh yeah, I understand what to do, it's mostly figuring out whether or not there's a MS API to do this. If not, I am certain that we have such an API for our GPUs. I haven't had a chance to look at this yet though - I'm buried at the moment. :tonofbricks:

#12 CarolG

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:59 PM

I just installed this on my computer, and it seems to work well. I'm using Win 7 Pro. Here's a link to KnightVision . You can easily switch back and forth and adjust your settings.

#13 Paula E

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:19 AM

I'm glad you found that Carol, that is a nice utility. I hadn't had a chance to look at writing something to do this yet, I am so busy right now. :(

#14 sjwaame

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for the hint, my eyes love it!


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