Plex includes a flexible user customizable skinning engine that allows users to create skins that alter the entire user interface. Colors, controls, navigation, positioning of elements, even adding additional functionality can all be altered by the skin designer. Each skin provides a different user experience. It is important to note that many skins are in various stages of development. As a result, some system related options that you may see in one skin, may not appear in another.
Plex's Graphical User Interface (GUI) framework is a very robust, but complicated one. The advantage of using Plex is that it allows you to change and customize your entertainment environment for your choosing. Most information about creating skins for Plex is similar to that of Skinning XBMC, however, Plex does introduce some new features that XBMC may not support. For more details, visit Skinning Plex.
Where to find Skins
There are a wide range of skins that can be used with Plex. These skins were created for the application Plex forked from, XBMC Media Center. A repository of some of the more popular skins can be found on the Plex Forums. There is also a thread on the Plex Forums detailing how you can download skins from the XBMC Skinning SVN.
Two of the more popular skins, MediaStream and Aeon have websites where you can learn about the skins, follow the progress and download them. UPDATE: both the MediaStream and AEON links don't work anymore.
After you have installed Plex and opened it for the first time, a series of directories are created located at ~/Library/Application Support/Plex. Downloaded skins should be copied to the ~/Library/Application Support/Plex/skin directory. Inside the /skin directory, create a folder for the skin you are installing and place all relevant skin files inside that directory. For example:
/user/ /Library/ /Application Support/ /Plex/ /skin/ /Aeon
If you have multiple skins that you would like to install, the directory structure should look like this:
/user/ /Library/ /Application Support/ /Plex/ /skin/ /Aeon /Back-Row /Incidious
You will not see a directory for the default skin, MediaStream, as it is packaged with the application. If you decide to install a new release of MediaStream before it is packaged with Plex, you will see MediaStream listed twice in the list of installed skins in Configure the Skin -> Appearance. Plex thanks all of the skinners who have worked so hard to create such visually appealing, useful interfaces!
Using an Installed Skin
To access installed skins go to Configure the System -> Appearance -> Skin. You should be able to cycle through the list of skins you have installed. Once you select a skin, Plex requires a few seconds to change the interface.
Plex Skin Settings
On the Configure the System -> Appearance -> Look and Feel page are several settings related to Plex's interaction with the skin. Whether some of these settings will be active is up to the skinner.
The skinner has the option to include a variety of custom settings with their skin. The way these settings are presented vary from skin to skin. They are usually found in the Configure the System -> Skin menu. These settings can vary from setting custom backgrounds for the different menu items, to the size clock used on the home page.
Using Mediastream: Plex's Default Skin
Plex is packaged with a skin developed by Team Razorfish call MediaStream. This section will help you get started using this great skin. This guide assumes that you are using the default configuration of MediaStream. The details in this guide may vary slightly if you have begun changing skin settings.
When you start Plex, you are brought to the MediaStream home screen. On the left is the main navigation blade. You can navigate to different selections by pressing the up or down cursor on your keyboard or remote. When a section is selected, pressing the right cursor brings up a sub section for that section. Pressing enter on a selection will bring you to that section. When you are in a section, pressing Esc on your keyboard (Menu on the Apple Remote) will take you back to the home screen.
Once you have made a selection on the home page, you are brought to one of the section pages. Depending on the view you have selected for that section will determine how the cursor keys function. If you have a list view enabled that uses the up and down cursor keys to scroll through a list, then pressing the right cursor will display the "View Options" panel from the right side of the screen. If you are using a view that uses the left and right cursor keys to scroll through cover art, then pressing the up cursor displays the "View Options" panel.
There are a variety of user-controllable options available to determine how MediaStream looks and functions. These range from custom background on the home screen, to determining the items visible on the navigation blade, to what information is available on the various media views. This information can be found by going to Configure the System -> Skin.