I like wallpapers. Or desktop backgrounds, if you prefer. But what comes with Windows is really…lacking. That’s why I use DeskScapes. It adds a ton of features that arguably should have been part of the OS. Millions of people use DeskScapes already, but there were a number of missing features that I think kept it from becoming a “gotta have” app. DeskScapes 11, I believe, adds those killer features.
The new features
Below I’ll highlight some of the bigger features we’ve added:
I have a confession to make: I generally prefer normal backgrounds. By that, I mean non-animated. I mainly use animated wallpapers when I want something behind me if I am streaming or doing a demo. But typically, I don’t run them. This is why I, and others like me at Stardock, felt that DeskScapes 11 needed to become absolutely compelling for anyone who just likes regular static backgrounds. Hence, cloud integration.
Bing has an image of the day. You’d think Microsoft would incorporate this into Windows directly. I don’t mean a web link to an app or something, I mean right into the background UI. DeskScapes does.
Another obvious feature is being able to use the cloud to instantly search and get new desktops.
You can even do a search:
You can also subscribe to popular artists:
You get the idea. It’s like your favorite music streaming service, except for desktop backgrounds.
When you go to apply a wallpaper there are a bunch of tweaks you can make to it.
If you look over on the left, you will see some tabs. Here you can apply (and mix) a bunch of cool effects.
One of my favorite features here is the portal effect:
Even the noisiest (but pretty) background can be made usable by simply putting it in a portal.
Check this out:
You can also do color blending here too.
Here I made a weird, muted desktop background if I want to reduce the amount of color I’m looking at.
Another feature new in DeskScapes 11 are the playlists. The easiest way to create them is to do this:
Step 1: Create the Playlist
Step 2: Go to your installed tab
AND RIGHT-CLICK on backgrounds.
Step 3: Add them to your playlist
Step 4: Apply
I have mine change every hour. And you can specify which monitors you want them on and so forth (I only have playlists changing monitor 3 here).
DeskScapes Wallpaper Creation
What if you want to do something a bit more advanced? Imagine you have a wallpaper a favorite game or something.
Let’s start with Star Control.
When you go to apply it choose this:
This will open up the DeskScapes Creator. It’s extremely powerful.
Let’s go ahead and add some light sourcing and glowing…
So here all I’m doing is using the brush on the green and white “lights” already in this image. It turns these dots into light sources.
And each affect has a bunch of options available to it. Did I mention it supports layering too?
Just as a fun tool by itself it’s pretty amazing and you can use this to create any background effect you can imagine.
And naturally in the untalented (like me) you can do all kinds of obnoxious stuff too.
If you’re familiar with something like Photoshop you will have no problem here.
When you’re done, hit EXPORT:
Then just fill out the fields, hit export, and voila.
Just the tip of the iceberg
These are just a few of the new features. DeskScapes 11 is basically a rewrite of the app designed to be a must-have for anyone using a Windows PC. There are dozens of small tweaks and enhancements to make customizing your desktop easier and more fun. It also uses hardly any background memory or CPU (Admittedly, we can thank modern GPUs and CPUs for a lot of that since everything DeskScapes does now is accelerated).
What little memory it does use is actually the desktop background (multiple monitors X resolution) which previously would have been used anyway via a svchost process or something. In the above example, it’s running an animated desktop called “Shapes” on 3 4K monitors.
DeskScapes 11 went into beta on Object Desktop, Stardock’s full suite of desktop enhancements that includes programs like Fences, Groupy, Curtains, Tiles, etc. It will be available as a stand-alone program later this Spring.