How To Customize / Change Android Boot Screen Animation


19.05.2011

How To Customize / Change Android Boot Screen Animation

Android is a software platform and an operating system for gadgets and cellphones, based on the Linux core, and initially developed by Google, and later by the Open Handset Alliance consortium. Android OS allows the developers to write codes managed by Java programming language, controlling the device using the Java libraries developed by Google.

The applications developed in C and other programming languages can be compiled executed in an ARM machine code, but this developing model is not officially supported by Google.

The Android platform was first launched on November 5, 2007 and was announced by the foundation of Open Handset Alliance, a consortium made of 48 hardware, software and telecommunication companies, established for developing opened standards for the mobile devices.

Google launched most of the code Android platform uses under the Apache licence, a free-software and open source licence.

So if you’d like to change some features of your Android ROM and build your own custom one, now you can do it. One good news is that you won’t have to root your device before customizing the Android boot screen, as the following guide works for both rooted and unrooted Android powered devices.

But before customizing your Android boot screen you will have to learn the basics of the boot animations. Your device accesses the Android boot screen from a ZIP file stored in de media folder of the device, “bootanimation.zip.” Now when your device boots, it accesses the files stored in bootanimation.zip file, so if you want to change the Android boot screen, all you have to do is change the files within the uncompressed ZIP file.

Even though when you first see the Android boot screen you are temped to believe that it’s a video file, in fact things are a little bit different. Go ahead and see for yourself: copy the bootanimatio.zip file on your computer and extract it. You will get a desc.txt file and some folders named part0, part1, part2, etc. containing png files.

As you probably know, the .png files refer to images, so the Android boot screen is not a video, but a sequence of images, which order is dictated by the desc.txt file.

To get a better learning of how the Android boot animations really work, let’s get our noses inside the contents of the folders and desc.txt file.

If you open one of the folders, let’s say part0, you will notice that inside there are some .png files named in numbers starting from 0000.png, and increasing by 1. On the other hand, if you open the des.txt file, you will most likely see something that looks like this:

480 800 30
p 1 0 part0
p 0 0 part1

Wondering what the numbers may refer to, huh? Let’s see:

  • The first line defines the resolution and the frame-rate of the Android boot animation. So if you have a HTC Desire, then the Android boot screen animation will be played in full-screen (HTC Desire has 480 x 800 screen resolution) and at 30 fps.

  • The second and the third row have the same structure. The “p” represents it’s a part of the animation, and is followed by a number indicating how many times the first sequence will repeat (if “0″ – zero – it means it will repeat until the device fully boots). The next number stands for the number of frames the part pauses before it plays again. The last field represents the folder from which the .png files are loaded.

For instance, if you want a part of the sequence to be played twice at a frame rate set of 30 with a pause of half a second (to translate frames into time, divide number of fps to the frame rate) from folder part2, the line would look like this: p 2 15 part2.

To sum up, the format of the desc.txt file general format looks like this:

Width Height Frame-rate
p Loop Pause Folder1
p Loop Pause Folder2

Of course, you can find hundreds of Android boot animations on web, but where’s the fun of making your very own unique Android boot screen? This sounds geek, isn’t it?

If you decided to customize the Android boot screen and build an animation of your own, here are some applications and informations you need to have before proceeding to create a custom boot screen for your Android-powered device:

  • An application you will use to edit the images, like GIMP, Photo.NET, Photo Impact, or the primitive MS Paint.

  • A zipping/unzipping application. You can download one from here.

  • An editor for text files. Since you will use the .txt file in Linux, we recommend you to use something else than Windows Notepad. Notepatd+++ should work just fine, which you can grab from here.

  • Some artistic inspiration and time

  • You will need to know your Android-powered device’s screen rezolution. Google and find the device’s specifications.

Now that you are sure you have all it takes to start building a custom Android boot screen animation, follow the below steps to create one yourself:

  1. Imagine how your custom Android boot animation will look like and how will run. Including how many parts will have and how longer each part will play.

  2. Create a folder with the name of bootanimation on your computer (the location is up to you, but we’d recommend you to use the desktop as it’s easier to access)

  3. Create the folders corresponding to the number of parts your Android boot screen animation will have, starting from part0.

  4. Open the image editor and convert all your image files to .png format. Note that the Android boot screen only supports PNG files of up to 32 bit.

  5. Name the .png image files using numbers, and make sure they are in the order you desire. Note that the images in the part1 folder must continue the numbering from part0, the images from part2 folder must continue the numbering from part1 folder, and so on. For example, if you have 32 .png files in part0 folder (from 0000.png to 0031.png), you will name the first image file in part1 folder 0032.png.

  6. Once you make sure that the imag files are in the proper folders and the folder structure suits your needs, create a new txt file in the bootanimation folder, name it desc.txt, and open it with the plain text editor of your choice (we recommended you Notepad+++).

  7. Now edit the desc.txt file in the format we talked you about above. Note that frame rates higher than 30 might not be supported by many Android-powered devices.

  8. Now zip all the contents of the bootanimation folder into a file with the name bootanimation.zip. If you are using the zip utility we recommended to you, here’s what you have to do:

  • Select all the contents of the bootanimation folder

  • After you right-click anywhere on the selection, choose “Add to archive” from the 7-zip menu

  • Archive the file in ZIP format, and use the “Store” option for the compression level. Now click on the “OK” button. A zip file named bootanimation.zip should be created inside the folder.

Congratulations, you created your own Android boot screen animation. But, wait! You will have to apply it on your Android-powered device in order to work. Let’s see how to install custom Android boot screen animation on your device.

Whether you downloaded a boot animation and you would like to have it on your Android-powered device, or you build your own Android boot screen animation, the below methods for applying it on your device works for both.

All you have to do is to copy the bootanimation.zip file in /data/local or in /system/media folders on your device. It will work both ways, but if bootanimation.zip files are located in both location the Android will give use the one stored in /data/local. Anyway, you will only be able to copy the bootanimation.zip file in /system/media if you previously rooted your device.

There are advantages and disadvantages for each location. For example if you decide to copy the bootanimation.zip file in /data/local, is that you will loose the Android boot animation file after a factory rest. A disadvantages for the /system/media method is that it requires ADB or root level file browsers, but you will not loose it after a hard reset.

Anyway, in the tutorial below we will refer to both rooted and unrooted devices. But before proceeding to apply the custom Android boot screen animations, let’s see the pre-requisites for he process:

  • First you will need your device running on Android 2.2 Froyo or later firmwares.

  • Install a file browser on your Android-powered device. You can use OI File Manager (which you can grab from here) if you have an unrooted device or Root Explorer or Super Manager for the rooted devices. You can as well use ADB if you are OK with writing command lines.

  • The bootanimation.zip file which represents the Android boot screen animation file, that is supported by your device.

First let’s see how to apply custom Android boot screen animations on your device using the file browser method:

  1. Connect your Android-powered device to your PC, using the USB data cable.

  2. Copy the bootanimation.zip file on the SD card of your device.

  3. Disconnect your device from the computer and open the file browser on your Android-powered phone.

  4. Now using the file browser navigate to /system/media, and copy the bootanimation.zip that is already there, somewhere you know it’s safe.

  5. Now go the the location you copied the custom Android boot animation zip file and copy it.

  6. Now navigate to /data/local folder and paste the bootanimation.zip file that contains the custom Android boot animation there. If you are on rooted device, you can as well paste the file in /system/media. Remember that you will have to turn on the root functions if you are using Super Manager.

If you copied an bootanimation.zip file in the /data/local folder before, not that you will have to remove the old one before you copy / paste the new Android screen animation.

If you are not OK with the file browser method, you can anyway use the ADB method by following the steps below:

  1. Go to System > Applications > Development and enable USB debugging mode on your Android-powered device.

  2. Now, using the USB data cable, connect your device to the computer.

  3. Launch command prompt on your computer. If you are on Windows, go to Start, then type cmd in the search box.

  4. Browse to the location of the bootanimation.zip file.

  5. Now enter the below commands in the command prompt window:

adb pull /data/local/bootanimation.zip c:

adb push bootanimation.zip /data/local/

This above method works for both rooted and unrooted Android-powered devices. But if you own a device you previously rooted and you want to copy the custom Android boot screen animation zip file in /system/media, repeat the procedure up to step 4, then type in the below commands in command prompt:

adb pull /system/media/bootanimation.zip c:

adb remount

adb push bootanimation.zip /system/media/

No mater what method you choose to apply custom Android boot screen, it should work just fine for your Android powered device, as long as the bootanimation.zip file is supported by your phone.

If you backedup the original bootanimation.zip file, as we recommended you above, you should be able to restore the default Android boot screen anytime by using the file browsing or the Android Debug Bridge method using the file you stored on your SD memory card.

Anyway feel free to write us about any issues you encountered, or to share your opinions about the new custom Android boot screen animation you installed on your device in the comments area below.

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