Usually when we come to you with addons to highlight in one of our features, it's because we think it'll enhance your game play in some way. Well not today. Today it's all about the eye candy, or dare I even make this pun, the WoW factor. (Snap!) You've just gotten your interface ready for Wrath, so today we'll gonna trick that ride out. Can't begin our adventures in Northrend with a boring interface can we? You've seen some of the amazing interfaces in our Reader UI of the Week feature, so after the jump we'll take a look at 3 addons that help add that artistic flare to your interface.
I would say to most players, the cornerstone of their interface is the action bars. Even those who prefer to bind the majority of their abilities to keys usually have at least one action bar somewhere on their display. (Yes, I have seen some really great UIs that feature no action bars at all and I envy those people with the memory and dexterity to use key bindings completely, but I feel they are in a minority of players. If you fall into this category don't feel left out; the other addons looked at today might still be of some interest.) A clump of icons looks rather boring, but this is where ButtonFacade steps into our Spotlight. ButtonFacade skins a vast majority or action bar addons allowing you to dress up those rows of icons. ButtonFacade lets addon authors add compatibility to their addons fairly easily, so lots of addons offer ButtonFacade support. Once the addon is installed you can select from a variety of different skins and you can supplement the default skins with downloadable ones found on the major addon websites. Once you select the skin you want to use, you can edit the color schemes and glossiness of your icons allowing you to fine tune the settings to meet your artistic demands. You can even take customization one step further by selecting unique skins for each action bar addon. So if you use Macaroon, Autobar, and Opie, each can have their own skin. If all this sounds familiar, ButtonFacade is the successor to cyCircled which offered skinning to the last generation of action bar addons. ButtonFacade is a worthy successor to cyCircled and is a cornerstone to anyone looking to spruce up their interface.
Next up is SunnArt, a viewport addon that also can add background graphics. For those who don't know, viewport addons allow you to adjust the viewing field of the world. Think of view you have of the WoW environment as a piece of paper with all your interface elements stacked on top. By changing the size of the paper you can adjust it so all your interface doodads aren't covering it. So now you create a blank area to move things to so that the playing field isn't covered up. With SunnArt you can download art packs to add a graphic to the blank area. This sounds a little confusing so hopefully these screenshots clear things up. There's 8 different art packs as of the time of this writing, and with a little photo editing skills you can even create your own background. Check out SunnArt's download page for more information. While there are more addons that allow you to add graphics to the WoW interface, such as kgPanels, SunnArt is easy to use and a good addon to start with.
Rounding out today's addons is a fairly new minimap addon called SexyMap. The animation effects are pretty dang snazzy, and there's a variety of them to choose from. You can even use one of the premade templates as a launching point to your own creations; as you can adjust the transparency, animation speed, and color tints. The animation effects are best viewed in motion, so there's a YouTube clip below. SexyMap is more than just a pretty face; it's a full featured minimap addon. It has practically everything you'd find in RicoMiniMap and Chinchilla such as minimap button handling, mouse wheel zooming, coordinates, and even a HUD overlay of resource and tracking icons. The animation effects may lose their appeal after a while, and thankfully you can use a plain basic border (with color of your choosing), but even after the honeymoon is over with SexyMap I kept it around because of all the nice features.
Most players, and even myself, will probably tell you a functional interface that helps your game play is the reason why we mod our UIs to begin with, but with the help of today's addons there's no reason why your interface can't be functional and look good doing so. Designing and building a slick interface can be a lot of fun, (to some) and isn't that why we're all in this hobby? I hope today's Spotlight helps you get your creative juices flowing, and when you're done with your masterpiece be sure to submit it to Reader UI of the Week! I'd also like to point out I made it through a feature about decorating your interface without using the word "bling", quite the feat! Have fun out there and see you in Northrend!