Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Desktop Wallpapers, My Ideology (and some gaming related examples)

Because I often spend long periods of time in front of a computer I have a great interest is what my screen looks like and one of the easiest to customize aspects of any computer is the desktop. And it is in this area that I also think that most people have got it all wrong (not that it cannot be said that it is a matter of taste).

A proper wallpaper should be very simple and should be comprised of the least amount of shapes/pixels and colours as possible; Because busying up your computer screen is only going to make staring at it all the more stressful and hard on your ability to concentrate. Wallpaper, in my opinion, should also be as dark as possible as light causes strain on your eyes, but depending on the person and how much you are on the computer this is less of a issue.

And all of this seems to be in direct opposition to most wallpaper. Pretty much every mainstream game gets official wallpaper, and for everyone of them you are lucky to find anything simple. Instead you get detailed, forceful, and yes beautiful artwork, but not something I would want to stare at for long periods of time.

A note on how to get wallpaper like I am describing. For the most part what I use as wallpaper is not available on any wallpaper site nor will you find any of it is you google wallpaper because it is simply too low resolution to be considered wallpaper. The best way I have found is simply searching for images of things I like. But then some editing is sometimes required; For one I like things to be primarily black, so I might replace the background of a image with the colour black, which sometimes is easier said then done as image compression and edge blurring can mean that a background of white is actuality many different shades of white that most image editors cannot handle. So what I do most of the time, and it will work with most low colour pictures with a white background, is a colour inversion, which is easily done using any of the Microsoft paint programs that come with windows (among others).

Note: Images that are below your screen resolution should not be stretched to fit, having empty space looks great to me (as long as it is the same colour as the image background).

Quote, the protagonist from Cave Story (mini-review)
Black background (320x340)
White Background (320x340)

A early, and I would say quintessential, Black Mage from the Final Fantasy series
Black background (250x211)
White background (250x211)

Sierra Logos
Black background, from
The Art of Sierra (1270x968)
White background, colour inversion
Black background, colour inversion
White background (430x300)

Syberia Series (mini-review of Syberia)
Black background, colour inversion
White background,
Mammoth sketch (853x648)
Black background, colour
inversion (99x211)
White background,
automaton silhouette (99x211)

The Adventure Company logos, publisher of many modern graphical adventure games.
Black background, (967x343)
White background,
colour inversion (967x343)

Kheops Studio logo, indie developer of adventure games and one of my personal favourite development companies. (my overview of the company)
Black background (234x242)
White background, colour
inversion (234x242)

Myst 2: Riven
Black background (512x512)
White background (512x512)

Hammerfight icon (mini-review, full review) (88x87)

The Longest Journey logo (mini-review, full review) (336x179)

Plane Weaver (mini-review, full review) (104x93)

Xbox logo (562x562)

Doom Logo (700x450)

Final Fantasy 7: Adventure Children Wolf Sketch
Black background, colour
inversion (200x200)
White background (200x200)

Final Fantasy IV Logos
Black background, colour
inversion (2548x2424)
White background (2548x2424)

Final Fantasy Logos
Black background, colour
inversion (446x119)
White background (446x119)
Black background with character,
colour inversion (373x136)
White background with
character (373x136)

Final Fantasy VI Logos
Black background, colour
inversion (1375x458)
White background (1375x458)

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Logos
Black background, colour
inversion (400x238)

White background (400x238)

Final Fantasy VIII Logos
Black background, colour
inversion (755x552)
White background (755x552)


  1. It looks like the riven one has a translucent background, because what appears as white normally is shown as black on this blog.
    If only more editors/viewers/my desktop displayed translucent images right.

  2. Excellent stuff. Also I most definitely agree with your fierce -and dare I say brave- stance on wallpapers!

  3. An interesting philosophy, as I really can't disagree with the eye-strain of brighter wallpapers.

    However, I think that if the wallpaper is one's own expression, then that is where the artwork images would come through, as it comes down to (as you said) taste. It's kinda like a personal shout out to things you love.

    I personally like the hyper detailed images (i.e. Starcraft 2, or Arkham City.. holla!) as when I close all my programs, a nice picture complements the art on my wall. I suppose we just have two different perspectives on this, which is awesome (celebrate diversity!), as you have more of a modernist approach to aesthetics-- form follows function, whereas my inefficient ;) use of hi-res images could be attuned more so to the post-modernist addressing personal identity.

    hahaha, wanted to bring some art theory into this :)

    good read Jon