Computer users often love to customize their machines to make them as distinctive as possible, and making your own desktop wallpaper is an excellent way to accomplish this. To do this, you’ll need a few things. First, you’ll need a graphic editing software, such as Photoshop or Painter. If you like, you can even try using Microsoft Paint to create a wallpaper, though more advanced software will produce nicer results. Second, if you decide not to draw your own art, you’ll need access to images you want to use that are in high resolution.
Choosing a Resolution
When making a wallpaper for yourself, determining the resolution is easy. Simply set the size of the page to your monitor’s resolution and you’ll have a perfect fit. However, if you’re making wallpaper to distribute on the Internet, you’ll want to follow a few guidelines.
Though the standard screen resolution was declared in 2002 to be 1024 x 768 pixels, more recent technology has made it possible for most people’s computer screens to be much larger. You’ll need to keep this in mind because if you make an image that is too small, it will appear stretched and pixelated to the user. You also don’t need to make it unnecessarily large, as large files and images take longer to download, which may cause a frustrated user to abandon your wallpaper in favor of something smaller.
Many screens operate now at 1280 x 1024 pixels, so it’s recommended that you work at least at this size. However, a lot of artists, graphic designers and gamers use computers with a resolution of 1600 x 1200, so you’ll want to keep them in mind, too. Generally, a document at 1600 x 1200 pixels should be large enough to accommodate the majority.
If you’re not planning on drawing all of your graphics yourself, you’ll need to have access to high-resolution, or large, photos or graphics. There are many stock photo sites available on the Internet that offer quality, high-resolution images for free. There are also many sites that distribute public domain photographs for general use.
For your background, you’ll want to find an image that is larger than your document size. For example, if you choose to create a wallpaper that is 1600 x 1200 pixels, the background might be 1700 x 1300 pixels. You can always scale it down, but a smaller image blown up will not look good. For the rest of your graphics, you’ll want sizes that are similar to your document size so they don’t appear tiny on your wallpaper.
Saving the Wallpaper
Once you’ve created the wallpaper, save it in as an image. The easiest format to work with is a high quality .JPG or .JPEG, as these provide the fewest distortions for the file size. Other file formats, such as .GIF or .PNG, may reduce the file size, but you’re likely to lose some colors or textures when they distort. Once you have the file saved, you can then either set it as your desktop or upload it to a site to be distributed.