Black Aperture WordPress Theme

Created: 05/21/2009
By: Matt Brett
Contact Info: Please send a direct message via ThemeForest if you are not able to find the answer you’re looking for in this document.

Version History & Changelog

Version 1.8 – Released: 05/11/2015

Version 1.8 – Released: 06/25/2012

Version 1.7 – Released: 02/24/2012

Version 1.6.5 – Released: 08/04/2011

Version 1.6 – Released: 08/19/2010

Version 1.5 – Released: 08/10/2010

Version 1.4 – Released: 07/06/2009

Version 1.2 – Released: 06/05/2009

Version 1.1 – Released: 06/04/2009

Version 1.0 – Released: 05/21/2009

Table of Contents

Back to Top ↑A) Installation & Initial Setup

Unpack the zip file you've downloaded from ThemeForest, and upload the /blackaperture directory to the /wp-content/themes directory on your server. From the Appearance -> Themes section of WP-Admin, activate Black Aperture.

Black Aperture uses TimThumb for dynamic resizing of the cover art images. In order for TimThumb to be able to do its thing, you need to ensure the cache directory found inside /wp-content/themes/blackaperture is writable by your web server. In most cases, this means setting the permissions to 755 or 777.

Back to Top ↑B) Post Thumbnails

WordPress 2.9+ Post Thumbnails
If you're running version Black Aperture 1.5 and WordPress 2.9 or above, you can make use of the Featured Image functionality. In this case, assigning an image to be the featured image is very easy. Simply upload your image using the built-in media manager, then click the "Use as featured image" link. You can completely ignore the Post Images box when writing posts if you're using the standard post thumbnail.

Optimizing Old Images
If you've used another theme that has standard Featured Image support, than chances are your images are sized to fit its dimensions. You can quickly and easily optimize your images for Black Aperture by running a plugin called Regenerate Thumbnails. It will go through your wp-content/uploads directory and regenerate the thumbnails at sizes specific for Black Aperture.

Backwards Compatible Dynamic Image Resizing
For previous versions of WordPress to 2.9, Black Aperture uses Tim McDaniels’ TimThumb script for resizing the images used in the featured posts sections and in archive listings. Simply upload your images using the built-in media manager or direct FTP, then copy/paste the original file’s path into the Post Image field in the Post Images box. This method can be used if you simply don't want to use the built-in Post Thumbnail functionality, for whatever reason.

Incompatible Server Environment Workaround
In the case that your server is incompatible, you will have to resize images manually if you want them to look their best. Otherwise, images will be resized via CSS restrictions, which doesn’t produce the best results. When you disable image resizing, you are required to at least enter an image path for each of the different sizes. If you can’t or don’t want to resize them all yourself, that’s fine. But you have to at least enter a path for each image, or a placeholder will be presented. Image sizes are as follows…

Featured Post Image: 290×239
Thumbnail: 200×124

Any easy way to automate image resizing, is to use the WP media manager and adjust your settings so that images are resized to the above specifications automatically when they’re uploaded. From the Settings -> Media panel, change the values to the following…

Thumbnail: 200×124
Medium: 290×239

Unfortunately, there’s only 3 options and Black Aperture has 4 image sizes. You can re-use the Sidekick Thumbnail for the Sub-feature Thumbnail and it won’t look too bad.

Back to Top ↑C) Creating a Review Post

Now that you have a basic understanding of how the Additional Information box works, adding information for a game review should be trivial. Aside from the cover image, the rest of the information is plain text that you can find from many sources online - GiantBomb ( is my personal favourite as it's more of a wiki format. All of this information is conditional, so it will only show up if you have entered a value for it. Don't worry if you can't find a game's developer, just leave it blank and the developer row will be hidden.

You need to paste the path to the image in the Cover Art Path field. Upload your cover art using the media manager in WP-Admin. With the lightbox window still visible, click the File URL below the Link URL field - the full path to the image should appear in the textarea. Copy the entire path, and paste it into the Cover Art Path field. The image will be sized to 140px wide, but the height is variable to allow for different formats (regular DVD case side, Blu-ray case, DS case, etc.), so be sure that your cover image is at least 140px wide.

Back to Top ↑D) Featured Posts

Adding posts to the featured posts section is very easy. On the Write -> Post screen you should notice a new box directly under the main text area titled Featured Post. This area houses a series of input fields for the featured post and video items. Add an image to your post using either method described in section B. Featured Post Title will likely echo the post title, while Featured Post Tagline is a very short excerpt displayed directly below the title. For example, if your post title is "Leaked Screenshots from Gears of War 3", you might want to use "Gears of War 3" for the Short Title, and "Leaked Screenshots" for the Post Type. Originally, I was thinking the tagline would be used for keywords like Review, Preview, Just Announced, etc.

Also in the Featured Post box, there's an option called Featured Post with a checkbox. Checking this box will make your post show up in the featured area.

Optional Featured Posts Slider
As of version 1.7, Black Aperture comes bundled with Nivo Slider. You should see a notice at the top of WP-Admin if you haven't installed Nivo Slider. If you do not see the notice and would like to install it, go to Appearance -> Install Plugins. Once Nivo Slider is installed, you will need to configure it. Follow these steps, and you'll have a slider up and running in just a few minutes.

  1. Click Nivo Slider in the main menu on the left.
  2. Create a new slider and call it "Slider".
  3. Type can be whatever you would like. Sticky Posts is likely easiest to maintain.
  4. Choose "Nivo Slider Default Theme" for the theme.
  5. For best results, you should do a full-width slider. 960 for width, and whatever you'd like for height. 960x300 is recommended. Keep in mind that images used in the slider will need to be at least the dimensions you've specified for the slider.
  6. Feel free to change transition effect, slices, box, animation speed, and pause time as you see fit. Thumbnail and control navs are hidden via CSS and cannot be enabled without manually editing theme files.

Back to Top ↑E) Setting up the Nav

New in version 1.5 is the ability to built a dynamic navigation right from WP-Admin. If you're running WordPress 3.0 or above, heave to the Apperance -> Menus section and create a new menu. Typically, the main navigation is called Main Nav. You can now add any pages or categories you'd like to the nav. Reorganize them however you'd like, but keep in mind that Black Aperture only supports 2 levels of navigation.

If you don't setup a custom nav, a dynamic nav is created from pages.

Back to Top ↑F) Widgetized Sidebars

The sidebars are widgetized, so you can drag and drop standard WP widgets and custom widgets designed specifically for Black Aperture. I didn’t test every single widget I could get my hands on, but the most popular ones should display just fine.

Please refer to the WordPress Codex if you’re unfamiliar with using widgets.

Back to Top ↑G) Managing Ads

There are several built-in ad spots in Black Aperture. On the Theme Settings panel you will see a series of text areas after the basic settings which are for the ads. Once you have placed your code in the appropriate areas and saved, you will need to add the associated widgets to the sidebars.

The 125×125 buttons widget can support any number of ads, up to 4. Obviously, even numbers look best. But if you only have 2 ads, don’t fret, it will look just fine.

Each ad box renders out the code you put it in as regular HTML. I’m assuming most people will be using an ad service like AdSense which provides code snippets you simply paste in. If you want to display your own buttons or ads, you’ll need to use full HTML here. For example…
<a href=””><img src=”/wp-content/themes/blackaperture/images/TF_728×90.jpg” alt=”" /></a>

Back to Top ↑H) Support & Feature Requests

Please send me an email via my ThemeForest profile if you’re having trouble with your theme, and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Please be patient, as I work freelance full time and do not have dedicated time for theme support. I rarely answer support requests left as comments on ThemeForest.

Also, it would be a good idea to a read through my Terms of Support document, which outlines the extent of support I offer, and information regarding updates, warranty, and compatibility.

Back to Top ↑I) TimThumb: Dynamic Image Resizer

TimThumb requires the GD library, which is available on any host sever with PHP 4.3+ installed. There shouldn’t be a problem with most web hosts, but if images are broken, this could be why. Contact your host and see if they can help you out.

If you are certain your server is compatible, you may need to check that the /wp-content/themes/blackaperture/cache directory is writable on your web server – set the permissions to 755 or 777.

If you absolutely cannot get TimThumb to work, I can offer no further assistance. As such, I’ve included an option in Theme Settings to disable image resizing entirely. In this case, you will have to resize images manually.

Back to Top ↑J) Supported Plugins

Most plugins will work just fine with Black Aperture. But Black Aperture has been tailored to work with the following plugins out of the box...

Back to Top ↑K) Credits

Dynamic image resizing via Tim McDaniels’ TimThumb.

Back to Top ↑Thank You

Once again, thank you so much for purchasing this theme! As I said at the beginning, I’d be glad to help you if you have any questions relating to this theme. No guarantees, but I’ll do my best to assist.

Matt Brett