The desktop wallpaper on your Mac is something that you may not pay a great deal of attention to. If so, you might be missing out on a great way to create a personal look and feel for your computer, revel in stunning photography, or even re-create the feeling of being somewhere thousands of miles away from your desk.
In this post on customizing your Mac I’ll be looking at a some sources of beautiful wallpaper, investigating a few of the effects and features pre-built into OS X, and showcasing two pieces of software for revolutionizing your desktop.
Sources of Beautiful Wallpaper
The internet is littered with websites offering ‘free wallpaper’ for your computer. Unfortunately the majority of such sites are fairly dire. The following collection of sites stand head and shoulders above the rest and, while I’m bound to miss a few, provide a great starting point for inspiration. In no particular order:
- Interface Lift
- Pixel Girl Presents
- Veer Wallpapers
- Mandolux – Great for multiple monitor setups
- Mantia Desktops
Wallpaper Support in OS X
Built into OS X is a well rounded range of wallpaper settings. The included backgrounds are well designed, in the categories of Nature, Plants, Black & White, Abstract etc — they make an excellent starting collection of wallpapers. The ‘Change picture every X minutes’ setting makes it easy to have a regularly updated background and keeps your Mac looking fresh. This can be done at a set interval, every time your computer wakes from sleep, or when you log in. Once you have built up a collection you’re proud of from the aforemetioned sources, turning this option on can be a great way to remember older wallpapers you’d forgotten about.
Serene Saver – This creates a cross between a regular wallpaper and a screen saver, providing some animation on your desktop. Over 30 different video animations are bundled with the application, and it is built to ensure that strain is not placed on performance. At $50 it is a very expensive way to customize your desktop, but has a trial available to let you decide whether it suits you.
Backlight – A free application which sits in your menu bar, allowing you to run any screen saver as a desktop background. This opens up a wide range of possibilities, as you aren’t limited to in-built effects (any screensaver can be used). Transparency can be altered to allow your normal background image to show through. This reduces the impact of the effect, making it more subtle and usable. This is a screenshot of my ‘Flurry’ desktop:
Share Your Sources
I’d love to hear where you go for wallpaper inspiration, or if you use any other interesting applications for beautifying your desktop. Please share!