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Click this to see the comparison.  You will need to hover your mouse cursor over the picture in order to see the difference: http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/31026

I downloaded this screenshot from Neowin, this is not actually my desktop, nor am I the username in the top right corner.

 

Just a bit of info up front - some of these changes are subtle.  Almost all of these changes conflict with the style that Microsoft is going for... the "flat" look.  I added a bit of inner glow to each tile, a slight bit of gloss....  Gloss is a hit or miss, it either ruins everything, or it adds an extra bit of eye candy.  I think I've struck a good balance of gloss and saturation.  Also, I added slight drop shadows to each tile.  I think drop shadows if used properly can improve the look of things.  I've added slight bevels and gradient fades in the white icons.  Also, the icons are sitting "on top" of the glossy backgrounds.  I did this because I didn't want the icons to lose their saturation.

 

In all truth and honesty, I really like the whole square flat tile thing that Microsoft is pushing with Windows 8, I just hate seeing solid colors butting up against a sea of colors.  It's unnatural.  It's like white text on a white picture.  Sometimes a bit of contrast is needed, and you just can't achieve that using flat solid colors.

 

This is coming at a time when the internet and the world of mobile devices is transitioning to flatter interfaces.  I think this is a fad move and will last several years.  People will get bored with it and start going back to using drop shadows, gradients and bevels, they will just try to take a smarter approach to it--one that doesn't involve blowing out the colors with obscene amounts of highlights, or giving icons super fake 3D bevels.

 

Also, I realize coming here to post about this is probably only going to end in blood because I've noticed that Neowin has an unbelievable number of Microsoft fanboys.  I've been visiting Neowin for like 6-7 years now... maybe longer... I've seen this website go through a few revisions.  I've commented numerous times on the front page articles.  I've seen how you guys react to anything that might even slightly resemble anti microsoft sentiment.

 

So having said that, if you think you have the balls to respond in a non antagonistic manner, please do.   Admittedly, I'm curious to see what the non biased forum users have to say about this, but I've chosen probably the most biased place to post. lol  Shame on me, right?  :rofl:

 

Edit:  I was thinking of a way that Microsoft could add gloss / drop shadows without stepping on the toes of people who prefer a flatter look.  Microsoft could create a customization page that lets you drag slider bars for adding or removing gloss, dropshadows, or bevels.  All of these settings could be very easily adjusted and people could tailor the look of their entire OS in a few seconds.

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Sorry to say this, but i don;t like it, it's very dated as far as UI's go.

Had this been 5 years ago i'd have lapped it up though and it's a good job.

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I like a bit of gloss so for me it's an improvement.

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It's quite good, but I don't know if I like it personally - if that makes any sense. Either way, it's definitely not ugly and for that, kudos :p

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Wow, I like what you have done a lot compared to the before screenshot. Your Photoshop adds a lot of life and vibrancy to the start screen, it really does make it a lot more pleasant to look at.

Well done, now if you can make my start screen really look like that Windows 8.1 just got all the more nicer!

 

I've noticed that Neowin has an unbelievable number of Microsoft fanboys.

I can respect most peoples opinions, however your ignore list works well for the couple of extremists ;)

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I kind of like what you have done here. Gloss could be just a bit less though, especially in smaller icons..

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As with any look/UI (or pretty much everything), you will never please everyone. I, for one, don't like it but I'm sure some will find it as an improvement.

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Wow, I like what you have done a lot compared to the before screenshot. Your Photoshop adds a lot of life and vibrancy to the start screen, it really does make it a lot more pleasant to look at.

Well done, now if you can make my start screen really look like that Windows 8.1 just got all the more nicer!

 

I can respect most peoples opinions, however your ignore list works well for the couple of extremists ;)

 

Glad you like it. :-)

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That's a massive improvement, giving Windows 8 the glossy feel of Windows 7 rather than Windows 95   

 

Great Work, if only Microsoft would take notice.

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Looks nice, I kinda like both looks. Good job!

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i do actually like the Gloss effect. Well done.

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I personally prefer flat look, gloss is not bad, but my choice..

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I kind of like what you have done here. Gloss could be just a bit less though, especially in smaller icons..

This. Care must be taken so this doesn't become too iOSy.

But I like the idea.

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I like it. (Y)

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I like the drop shadows on tiles but not a fan/not sure about gloss/gradients and bevels. They already do gloss/gradients on Xbox 360 if you want to compare.

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Love it. Keep more concepts coming. 

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Why would you ruin the UI with gloss and gradients? All that extra noise goes against what Metro stands for. The age of the "busy" UI is over with. Remember, K.I.S.S.

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It would be an improvement, as my opinion on the start screen after trying the 8.1 preview is much the same, it's too busy and too cluttered and really lacks decent grouping like the old start menu, but Dot Matrix is right, ugly is the new norm at Microsoft so it's unlikely this would ever make it into play

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Very nice idea. I think it would be great as an option for those who like it, especially since it could probably be GPU driven.

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me like, the flat look of metro can be pretty boring sometimes

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Sorry to say this, but i don;t like it, it's very dated as far as UI's go.

Had this been 5 years ago i'd have lapped it up though and it's a good job.

 

Dated in what exactly?

 

I think it's really funny when people call a UI dated because of shadows, gradients and highlights. Like if the real world is not full of those.

 

If your eyes would see the world as a flat surface without any shadows, gradient and highlights that would be terribly boring and ineffective. And that's what i personally think Metro is. Boring. Ineffective.

 

Good job op btw.

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Way too much in the opposite direction. The new windows ui could use a bit more depth but I feel this was a bit overkill. Perhaps a happy medium?

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Its bad! :/

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I think glossy tiles and drop shadows would improve the appearance, as Windows 8 is definitely very flat. That said, I don't think the implementation here is quite right - I'm not a fan of the halos or the diagonal gloss lines.

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It's very Vista..

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