tutorials | galaxy watch, uiux

Add Timely Texts to Your Galaxy Watch Designs using Custom Complications

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Jakia Sultana

Engineer, Samsung Developer Program

A complication in Galaxy Watch Designer (GWD) is an object that can be created by a combination of different types of components. A creative complication makes a watch face unique and attractive. Previously, there was no direct way to reuse a custom complication. Now, with the custom complication feature, you can design, save, and reuse your own complications, reducing the time it takes to re-create similar objects.

Create a new custom complication

You can add any type of component to create a custom complication, and you can change the property of a component while creating a custom complication. Here, I demonstrate a simple example.

This complication consists of four components: morning background image, night background image, text with a tag expression to configure opacity, and another text with a tag expression to configure placement. The final complication shows the morning background image and ”Good Morning” text between 6:00:00 and 09:59:59 , and the night background image and ”Good Night” text between 19:00:00 and 23:59:59.

  1. Add Morning Background: Select the desired background image from left component bar. Click on Background > Import Image, navigate to the directory that contains the image you want to use, and select the image to import.

  2. To make this background appear only in the morning, in the Properties window (the background image must be selected), click the gray triangle in the lower left corner of the Opacity field and write the tag expression below. This tag expression states that if the hour is greater than or equal to 6:00 am and less than or equal to 9:59:59 am, the opacity value is 100%. Otherwise, the opacity value is 0%.
    ([H]>=6)*([H]<=9)?100:0

  3. Add "Good Morning" Text: Add a text component and write "Good Morning!" To make this text appear only in the morning, repeat step 2. Modify the font color and adjust the text placement.

  4. Add Night Background: As in step 1, select the desired background image from the left component bar.

  5. To make this background appear only in the evening, you should take a different approach by having it positioned within the viewable area during the evening. To do so, in the Properties window (the background image must be selected), click the gray triangle in the lower left corner of the X axis field within the Placement section, and write the tag expression shown below. This tag expression states that if the hour is less than or equal to 18:59:59, 380 pixels are added to the X-axis placement location, which places it outside of the viewable area. Otherwise, the placement location will be at 0 pixels. Tip: Be careful about layering of the components. Text must be in the upper layer, rather than the background image. ([H]<=18)?380:0

  6. Add "Good Night" Text: Add a text component and write "Good Night!" To make this text appear only in the evening, repeat step 5, and adjust text placement.

  7. Select all components, right-click, and select Save As Complication.

  8. Create a unique name for this complication. If you use an existing name, then that complication will be replaced with this new one.

  9. Once saved, the complication's name appears in the Complications > Custom menu in the component bar. Tag expressions and other properties of the components that you configured in the previous steps provide the default configuration in this saved custom complication.

Customize an existing complication

GWD has various types of complications that you can customize and save as new complications. For example, follow these steps to customize the Digital Battery complication.

  1. Go to the Complications folder, which contains the images you want to change. The path for the Digital Battery complication is:
    Windows: C:\Program Files\Galaxy Watch Designer\res\Complications\circle\Battery\Digital\res\__COMPLICATION__x
    Mac: Application > Right click on Galaxy Watch Designer > Select Show package contents > Contents > Resources >res > Complications > Circle > Battery >Digital >res > __COMPLICATION__x

  2. Copy the _ COMPLICATION__x folder, and paste it into a directory other than the Galaxy Watch Designer directory.

  3. Make replacement images for this copied folder using any kind of photo editing tool.

  4. Launch Galaxy Watch Designer, and create a new project.

  5. Select your desired complication. Here, Battery > Digital is selected.

  6. From the Layer table, swap each image of the complication with the new image. Right-click on the image name, select Swap Image, navigate to the directory that contains the image you want to use, and select the image.
    Tip: If you change the original images in the GWD directory, then you won’t have to swap the images. But when you update or reinstall GWD, the modified images are overwritten with the original images. It is safest to add replacement images in another directory and save the changes as a custom complication. Custom complications are not affected after updating or re-installing GWD.

  7. Make additional changes, if you want.

  8. Select all components of this complication, right-click, and select Save As Complication.

  9. Create a unique name for this complication. If you use an existing name, then that complication will be replaced with this new one.

  10. Now you can find this complication in Complications > Custom.

You can use this customized complication whenever you want.

Tip: You can group all the components of the complication before saving it as a custom complication, which makes it easier to move. Ungroup the complication before using it.

Notes

Be mindful of GWD limitations, including those listed below:

  • There are limitations on using weather components with health components and tag expressions. If you add two custom complications that contain items that are not supported when used in the same design, then neither complication works correctly on the real device. The design may work in the Run window, but on the real device, it won’t.
  • If you add a weather component, some of the provided complications become disabled, as they contain incompatible components. GWD does not provide a warning message if you add custom complications with incompatible components. You are allowed to add any custom complication. If the design doesn’t work properly on real device, check if you have added any custom complications with incompatible components.
  • A custom complication can be designed with any kind of component and saves a component’s configured properties, such as Gyro settings, along with Tag expressions.
  • Button action and AOD mode are not saved as part of a custom complication.
  • If you design a complication in AOD mode, it is not saved as part of a custom complication. You can only save Active mode complications. If you want to create an AOD custom complication, cut and paste it from AOD mode to Active mode and save it. When you want to use it, add it from the custom menu, then cut it from Active mode, and paste it in AOD mode.

With custom complications, save and reuse your custom complications to give you more time to create attractive and innovative watch faces.