Customize Background Images Without Creating New Themes

edited 10:49PM in Development

I just landed on this great project today, and I have to say that I am quite impressed. We're currently using SundayPlus, which is meh, but it works. I much enjoy Openlp's clean interface and features.

One feature that seems to be missing, perhaps from my ignorance, is an ability to customize a song's background image without having to create a new theme with that background. We try to match background content to song themes, so we use a lot of different images. We literally have thousands of background images we cycle through, which also helps keep things fresh. Creating this many themes to account for all the images is a no-go, and customizing a set of themes each week would be tedious. That's probably the only thing about SundayPlus I like: you can change a song's background with just a couple mouse clicks.

So my question...could it be possible to override a song's theme with a custom background without having to create a new theme?


  • edited October 2009

    Hi stain,

    Thanks for the feature request. We'll see if there is anything we can do to make this process a little easier in v2. I can't promise a couple of mouse clicks but there are few things we might be able to do to make it easier.

  • edited December 2009

    I am interested in the possibility of this feature also. I would love to be able to change the background on each individual song, that way each song would have it's own background that matches the song.

  • edited December 2009

    This functionality already exists within the 2.0 version of the code from the Image plugin.  Any Image within the plugin can be used to replace the background of a theme at run time.

  • edited December 2009

    We use SundayPlus at our church, too. I actually like it, dispite the lacking of modern features. I wish they hadn't tied it down to the (lack of) functionality of Quicktime. But what they did right was the user interface. It's still the easiest interface to navigate (in my opinion and the opinion of our inexperienced lay media volunteers), even compared to more modern software. I wish OpenLP had the same kind of interface. Then we would totally replace SP with OLP! :)

    Also, if you're interested (not to promote another presentation program on the OpenLP site, sorry) Sunday Plus IS under development again after many years of stagnation. Look at They're revamping it, based on the Freepath engine. In the end, it should have all the features of the current SP, plus it will be able to support just about any filetype you throw at it, including web site URL's, PDF's, MS Office files (Word, Excell, etc.), any video type you have codecs for, and so on. They also are going to include direct DVD playing support eventually. Not sure when the actual SP 3 will be released, but at least SOMETHING is happening there at Grass Roots. Just something to check out if, like me, you prefer the super easy layout of SundayPlus to the one in MediaShout, Easy Worship, OpenLP, etc.

  • edited December 2009

    I took a look at SundayPlus. When you compare features to that of openlp I don't see any difference. When you throw price comparison in I really can see no reason someone would chose a proprietary solution that looks like it has a less vital support community and a very expensive price tag (especially for something that's barely under development) than the opensource option. As far as the interface is concerned, I literally put a guy using openlp and gave him a 30 second tutorial and our service went off with out a hitch, that sounds like a pretty good interface to me.


  • edited December 2009


    I hope I didn't come across as saying that SundayPlus is better than OpenLP. It's a situation of "use what works best for you". Feature-for-feature, I know that OpenLP and SP are very similar, or I'd even say that OpenLP (especially the 2.0 beta version) is better. I was addressing the person who liked some of the features in SP, and wanted them in OpenLP.

    From my own personal experience and preference, I like the interface of SP better (especially from a service creation aspect) even if it's weak on features, and since our people here at the church know it better, they'd probably not like the switch to OpenLP.

    I'm admittedly new to OpenLP, and it might grow on me. But I'm a VERY visual-spatial type of learner, and everything on SP is icon and image-based, and for me its layout is extremely intuitive. OpenLP is more text/menu-based, and its layout just doesn't flow for me. I simply can't do anything efficiently in it. I want to be able to pick up a visible thumbnail and drag-and-drop it to anywhere I want it in the service cue list and be done with it, not right-click on a filename (even if it does have a tiny, hard-to-see thumbnail) hit "Add to service", and then have to move it around to where it needs to go. That's why, for me, SP is the better program for our church.

    I am keeping an eye on OpenLP's development, though, and as things gel and improve, I might consider it. Especially, as you noted, the price is unbeatable, and I simply love Open Source software (I run Linux at home and in the office, and am trying to convince the rest of the church staff to get in on it).

    So, once again, I'm not trying to be offensive here. I was just trying to help someone who posted a question about another program.

  • edited December 2009

    Having icons and thumbnails all over the place is grand and all, but we did some fairly extensive performance testing and found that generating all those thumbnails and things is extremely CPU intensive, and slows things down a lot. I'm sure you'll agree with me that on a Sunday morning performance matters most, which is why we decided not to go with thumbnails.

  • edited December 2009

    Interesting. I agree that you definitely don't want a program running slowly on Sunday morning! Still, I'm having difficulty understanding why it would impact performance so heavily for you. SP is not overly CPU intensive (although it really needs a decent graphics card), but uses thumbnails, icons, etc for just about everything. Were you generating them while the presentation was running or beforehand? I think the way SP handles thumbnails is that they are generated as the service is initially put together, and then they are stored in some sort of temporary file as bitmapped miniatures of the original image. If text is placed over them, the text is just an overlay with the thumbnail image as a background. That way there's minimal CPU overhead while displaying them during a service. Also, once they are in the cue list on-screen, they don't have to be re-generated, so during the service, it doesn't seem to hit the CPU performance much at all. I am, of course, not a programmer, so I am sure there is much more to it.

    Now, again, I have to say that I am in no way putting down your program, in fact I really do like what you guys have put into OpenLP. You've done some excellent work! Just from a style/functionality/personal taste point of view, it'll take some hefty getting used to on my part, because I'm used to a much more visual interface. I have yet to see a program, either proprietary or open source, that I've enjoyed the ease-of-use of like I have with SP. Otherwise, if I didn't mind the more text-based interface, I would probably go with your program in a heartbeat! So, this is all just my own opinion and preference, not reflective of your hard work at all. I very much appreciate all you've done, and will happily recommend your program to others who are looking for a good alternative to the prohibitively expensive mainstream programs out there.

  • edited January 2010 many comments!

    From a volunteer management/training standpoint, I prefer SundayPlus in that it is extremely simple to train people to use. The interface works elegantly (I'm talking about the way things are laid out, not so much the fancy graphics). And yes, all those thumbnails do impact performance significantly because that means a lot of extra code working in the background. It works sufficiently for our needs, albeit once you work out its quirks.

    However, from a programmer's perspective, my impression of it is that it's been sloppily coded. It's not very robust and tends to crash often (which is really bad in a production environment). I do not like that it relies on PowerPoint Viewer for showing PowerPoint because PPV requires that the screen resolution of the monitor and projector are identical and it automatically sets the PPV resolution based on your primary monitor's settings. I also don't like how SP's window cannot be resized (uses a custom form). It's really difficult to see on hi res monitors. Another thing I don't like about it is that it automatically loads the last presentation. It's a good feature in that it means volunteers don't have to hunt for files, but not good when multiple ministries are using the same computer (with different access rights and restrictions). There's a lot more nitpicky things I could go on about, but those are the few that first come to mind.

    I am greatly encouraged by OpenLP and will definitely give the new version a try when it's ready. There are still a few more features that will need to be added in (which looks to be in 2.0) before I can justify making the switch. Keep up the good work guys!
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