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Author Topic: Strange Windows wallpaper trick  (Read 28338 times)
Edvard
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« on: March 20, 2007, 03:02:24 PM »

Try this, it's nutty...

Open your Paint program.
Select Image->Attributes and make your image 2 pixels by 2 pixels.
Select View->Zoom->Custom->800%
Now put black in the lower-left corner, dark gray in the lower-right corner, and light grey in the upper-left.
Like so...



Save it somewhere convenient, then in your display properties, select the bitmap you just made, select 'Center' and  Stretch Desktop Wallpaper enabled.

Lovely isn't it?


This works with all kinds of bitmaps, look at this one...



and what it does...
« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 03:08:53 PM by Edvard » Logged

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jgpaiva
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2007, 03:19:58 PM »

Hey, good tip!
I like it a lot! cheesy Grin
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Edvard
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2007, 05:55:54 PM »

The best part is you get nifty gradation wallpapers that clock in at < 100 bytes (not a typo!)  Kiss

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f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2007, 06:20:29 PM »

What shell are you using, Edvard?

Cute trick, I wonder if all Windows versions does this kind of interpolation when stretchblt'ing smiley
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Edvard
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2007, 07:02:14 PM »

My desktop as pictured is a PowerPro bar at the bottom, JSPager virtual desktop thingummy at the top and I have my taskbar and icons hidden.
Also it's NT4.0 SP6a. (surprise!) so other versions should do as well...

I've found that you get the best effects the less pixels you use (a 1x2 bitmap gets you a nice horizontal gradation), and it's quite a mental exercise to predict the effect you'll get with such a minimal configuration.
I must admit, I have a soft spot for gradated wallpapers and have used a nice little app called "bsetroot" that does all kinds of nice gradation effects (get it here) as well as Amok's GradientDesk (search google, it's floating around...) which is where I got the inspiration for this idea.
I opened one of the GradientDesk-created wallpapers in XnView by accident and was shocked to see a just a 1-pixel line that faded from one color to the other.

I wonder if this could start a trend of people trading 2 and 4 pixel wallpapers with whimsical names.
Here's 'Purple Dawn'
* purple dawn.bmp (0.07 KB. 2x2 - viewed 843 times.)
and 'Hazy Inspiration'
* hazy inspiration.bmp (0.09 KB. 3x3 - viewed 735 times.)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 07:07:39 PM by Edvard » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2007, 08:02:39 PM »

a good one, Edvard.. Thmbsup
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Ampa
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2007, 09:42:42 AM »

The best part is you get nifty gradation wallpapers that clock in at < 100 bytes (not a typo!)  Kiss

I don't think that this is quite true... My belief is that Windows does the interpolation which results in the nice smooth gradient and saves this as a .bmp - it is this temp file which is used as the background image. So the original file IS tiny, but the temp file is that same size as any other wallpaper.

I am not sure where this file is stored - perhaps someone else can find it?

Reason for thinking this... erm, perhaps I read it somewhere once? And I think this is certainly how jpgs are handled (converted to a bitmap first).

Ampa
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 10:27:10 AM »

No, it doesn't use a temp file - it might do the interpolation to a temporary in-memory bitmap, but I don't think it does this either.
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 11:09:56 AM »

Save it somewhere convenient, then in your display properties, select the bitmap you just made, select 'Center' and  Stretch Desktop Wallpaper enabled.

 Sad

Something's not quite right here...



How do you select both Center and Stretch at the same time?

Oh, I'm on WinXPPro
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 11:32:22 AM by cthorpe » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2007, 11:11:05 AM »

Excellent find smiley

I think we should start a 10 x 10 bitmap competition to see who can make the most beautiful tongue
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f0dder
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2007, 11:13:25 AM »

Who can make the best 10x10 stretch of cody or the codycoin? smiley
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2007, 01:47:49 PM »

cthorpe: you don't select both, only strech (on XPpro).
I must say you got some odd effects, it shouldn't look like that. Are you sure you're using a bitmap with only 4 pixels?
You could try the ones edvard posted on the above post.
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2007, 01:57:01 PM »

 Sad
Sad Hazy Inspiration

« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 02:09:23 PM by cthorpe » Logged
Ruffnekk
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2007, 02:10:27 PM »

Weird, it doesn't work on my laptop with the exact same images I made for my workstation... but I don't see any difference in display settings... it must be something with the graphics driver perhaps?
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 02:16:40 PM »

oh.. Sad
I have no idea what's happening, then..
I only have one computer, with xpPro sp2 and it does work.
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 02:30:46 PM »

I'm also seeing different results on different computers.  On my home computer it works, on my work computer it doesn't.

C
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2007, 02:31:00 PM »

Maybe that's it, I have XP Pro SP1 on my laptop and XP Pro SP2 on my other one...

CThorpe: Do you have SP1 or SP2?
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2007, 02:39:53 PM »

sp2 on both
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2007, 03:09:53 PM »

Does anyone think that the smoothing might be related to an Active Desktop setting?  Just an idea

BTW I love minimalist art! this is a sweet discovery! Thmbsup
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 03:13:13 PM by thefritz_j » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2007, 09:00:56 PM »

Hi all, my name is Phil and I am an addi... oops, wrong forum. Cool trick Edvard, but it does not work if I choose to hide desktop icons by right clicking on an empty area on your desktop and unticking 'show desktop icons'. Any idea why?

Thanks,

Phil

BTW, my box runs on xp sp2.

Strangely, this trick works fine if I click on the 'show the desktop' button on the taskbar to hide icons and active windows.
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f0dder
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« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2007, 01:53:53 AM »

Hm, it might have something to do with graphics driver capabilities. It does work fine here even in vmware though, so it would take some very minimal caps in order not to work, if it was about caps :-s
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« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2007, 09:58:03 AM »

My home PC has a 32mb Ge-Force 2MX card and it works perfectly.

My work PC has a Radeon X300/X550 Series PCI-Express with 64mb.  Now I do think that the work PC is still using the drivers that came preinstalled by Dell when the PC was purchased almost 2 years ago, so that may have something to do with it.

C
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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2007, 10:05:07 PM »

Something's not quite right here...
For machines where it's not working as a gradient, try IrfanView (.com). Once you load the pixels into it, you can either do ctrl-shift-S (for Stretch) to show it as wallpaper, or go fullscreen and tap the "3" key just to view it. (Ctrl-R will let you Resize it to save it permanently -- the recommended setting is "resampled" with Lanczos filter.)
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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2007, 04:55:04 AM »

I suspect it depends whether you have enabled or disabled the "pretty" effects in windows.
It doesn't work on my PC but I know one thing I did was disable all the "prettification" effects, for performance. I suspect one of those might be what does the nice interpolation on the desktop.

For some reason I can't find the options menu anywhere atm, Saturday morning effect I guess

edit: no, even turning on "adjust for best appearance" didnt fix it Sad
« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 04:58:51 AM by iphigenie » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2007, 09:10:01 AM »

no, even turning on "adjust for best appearance" didnt fix it Sad
There's an article on the Windows Shell blog about MS having to fix scaling for Vista, so there may have been a Windows Update patch that fixed something there for XP as well.
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