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Hello, and thank you for showing your interest in Chameleon!

This is a simple plugin that will sample colors from an image allowing your skins to seamlessly blend in with the user's wallpapers with minimal setup!

Chameleon can be used with more than just wallpapers, though! With certain options, you can pass it any file you chose and it will do it's best to grab some colors from it.

Currently it supports the following formats directly:

  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • BMP (non-RLE, non-1bpp)
  • GIF (just like Rainmeter, first frame only)
  • TGA
  • Some PSDs
  • HDR (radiance rgbE format)
  • PIC (Softimage PIC)
  • PNM (PPM and PGM binary only)

Anything else, and it'll grab the icon and use the colors from that. This does mean that it also supports .ico and .exe icon sampling! Sampling from icons is a bit roundabout, check out the FileView plugin for how to get them from a .exe.

If you're downloading this from my site, installing Chameleon is as simple as installing the example .rmskin. Rainmeter will stash everything where it's supposed to go for you. If you're grabbing this from GitHub you'll also need to grab the libChameleon repo and tell Visual Studio where that's built at. From there, compilation should be fairly straightforward. Then you just need to toss the apropriate architecture's DLL into the Rainmeter plugin folder in your AppData's Roaming profile folder.

If you want to build the libChameleon test app you'll need to grab it's repo. It only depends on wxWidgets and libChameleon.

Using Chameleon is really simple! You can set it to either sample from the desktop or directly from a specific image. If you set it up to sample from the desktop, it'll automatically pick the wallpaper for the monitor that the skin is currently on.

You'll need a parent measure, which tells Chameleon what image you'll be sampling from, and a set of child measures that tell Chameleon which colors you're interested in.

For the parent measure you can set either Desktop or File.

If you set the type as File you'll need to specify Path as well. This can be the output of another measure!

Optionally you can tell Chameleon to always sample from a file as an icon using the ForceIcon parameter (such as if you have a .png version of an icon).

You can also optionally tell Chameleon whether you want these values as a hex code or a numeric color code by setting the Format option to Hex or Dec, respectively.

You might find it useful to only grab colors from a cropped region of an image. You can do so with the CropX, CropY, CropW, and CropH options. These set the position and dimension of the rectangle to crop out.

By default, Chameleon will attempt to crop desktop images to the visible portion based on the monitor's resolution. You can tell Chameleon to not do this by setting CropDesktop to 0.

If you are reading a desktop background and are not applying a custom cropping, Chameleon will by default try to shuffle the colors it selected to better fit with the area the skin is covering. You can disable this by setting ContextAwareColors to 0.

You can also tell Chameleon what area of the screen you want to use for context aware colors by setting the ContextX, ContextY, ContextW and ContextH values. These values are relative to the overall Windows desktop layout, so you may need to use negative coordinates to get the right location. Rainmeter will tell you the coordinates of a skin in that skin's right click menu under "Manage skin" if you want a hint.

One last optional option is to tell Chameleon what fallback colors to use when it just can't sample from an image (such as with the NowPlaying measure's album art). Right now this can only be specified in hex, and should not include the alpha value. You can specify this with FallbackXYZ where XYZ is one of BG1, BG2, FG1, or FG2 for it's respective color.

Parent measures also offer the super-sneaky bonus of returning the path of the image it's sampling from!

For the child measures you'll need to specify Parent to tell Chameleon which measure you're getting the colors from, and Color which tells Chameleon which color you're interested in.

The Light and Dark colors are just the selected foreground and background colors sorted by how light or dark they are, respectively.

Color can be one of:

  • Background1
  • Foreground1
  • Background2
  • Foreground2
  • Light1
  • Light2
  • Light3
  • Light4
  • Dark1
  • Dark2
  • Dark3
  • Dark4
  • Average which is the overall average color of the image
  • Luminance which is not a color, but rather a floating point value between 0 and 1 indicating the average luminance of the image.

Here's an example:



In this case, [ChameleonDesktop] would return the wallpaper the skin is currently sitting on, and [DesktopBG1] would return the color Chameleon thinks is the main background.

Chameleon does not add an alpha value to the color codes! You'll need to add this yourself to tell Rainmeter how transparent you want the color. By default, just adding FF after wherever you use the measure value works.

Another case users might be interested in is having a meter colored based on the NowPlaying album art image. This is super easy to set up too!


That's it! Everything else will automatically update, as long as you've set DynamicVariables=1 on the apropriate meters.

Check out the example skin Socks to see everything in action!

Release Notes:

Chameleon 1.0:

  • Initial release!

Chameleon 1.1:

  • Reworked the installation instructions to be in line with expected behavior for non-default plugins.
  • Removed alpha value from results.
  • Added a choice between hex code colors and numeric colors.
  • Added the ability to specify fallback hex code colors for when Chameleon can't sample from the image.

Chameleon 1.2:

  • Improved the color selection algorithm to better account for contrast between the foreground and background colors.

Chameleon 1.3:

  • Further improvements to the color selection algorithm
  • Added palettes sorted by luminance
  • Added average color of overall image
  • Added average luminance of overall image

Chameleon 1.3.1:

  • Fixed a memory leak that caused crashes at the high update rates needed for smooth animations
  • Removed redundant code, providing a minor performance increase
  • Updated example skin to animate transitions between colors

Chameleon 1.4:

  • Added better error handling, fixing a few potential crashes and logging to track down others
  • Updated dependencies, allowing me to cut the plugin size dramatically
  • Made some big changes to the color selection code, allowing easier adjustment in the future and improving colors picked now

Chameleon 1.5:

  • Improved image resizing, enabling better color selections
  • Statically link VS2015 Runtime, user installation of it is no longer necessary.
  • Add option to crop image before selecting colors

Chameleon 1.6:

  • Allow the skin to update cropping values dynamically
  • Allow the skin to read the shell desktop directly instead of going through the image file and manually processing it
  • Add a default option to have the skin modify its choices based on the area of the desktop background it covers.

Chameleon 1.6.1:

  • Made cropping on the desktop work the way one would expect it to
  • Enable custom context-aware color choice regions on desktop measures
  • Minor internal code reorganization and bugfixes

Chameleon 1.6.2:

  • Fix a crash when context-aware regions are taller than the available screen space

Chameleon 1.6.3:

  • Fix a crash when cropped regions have a zero width or height

Full source is available on my GitHub project page.