Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

This week DeskScapes 8 was released and while it is most famous for its ability to display animated wallpapers, I personally think of the animated wallpapers as an additional perk on top of the fact that it’s a really awesome way to manage and enhance normal Windows desktop backgrounds.

Its home page is https://www.stardock.com/products/deskscapes.

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Multi-monitor support

If you look at DeskScapes 8’s main UI, you’ll notice a few things instantly. First, if you have multiple monitors, you might as well stop here and go get DeskScapes right now.  We’ll wait…

Got it? The ability to set different wallpapers on different monitors easily seems like something that should be part of Windows. But it’s not.  So if you are running multiple monitors and would like to just have different backgrounds then DeskScapes is a no-brainer.

Enhancing your existing wallpapers

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I have a love/heat relationship with photograph-based desktop backgrounds. I spend all day in front of my computer and I like my desktop backgrounds to be something pretty. At the same time, I don’t want to be distracted by them.  That’s where DeskScapes comes in:

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It has many different filters you can dynamically apply to your desktop backgrounds. One of my favorites is the porthole. By fading the background to black, any icons that might be on my desktop show up and if I have a few windows up, I’m not going to be distracted by a scene peeking around their edges.

Of course, there are many other effects you can apply as well on the fly such as color-based ones.

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In this case, I downloaded a really cool background that was a bit “warm” (it was a brownish color). I wanted to alter its color to something cooler (a blue-color). No problem.

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Sometimes you just want to combine a wallpaper with a good effect. For example, I downloaded this terrific winter scene and then combined it with an animated snowfall effect. Very relaxing on a cold Winter morning at work.

Just the ones I want

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I’ve got a lot of cool art around my machine. Most of it wasn’t even imagined as being used as a desktop background. But with the effects features of DeskScapes, you can pretty much turn any graphic you have into a good background provided that it’s a sufficient resolution. That’s where DeskScapes comes in. 

So you tell DeskScapes to look in all your images folders on your computer or network (gotta love SkyDrive/Dropbox) and then just have it show the images that are sufficiently large enough to be used as a background.

And of course…

To show off the animated stuff I really need a video. And so… here you go!


Comments
on Feb 28, 2013

I like the idea of the porthole filter and the ability to add some other tweaks like that.

I know your goal is promote your products too, but can you honestly tell us how this stacks up against another outstanding product like display fusion?

on Feb 28, 2013

Phoon

I like the idea of the porthole filter and the ability to add some other tweaks like that.

I know your goal is promote your products too, but can you honestly tell us how this stacks up against another outstanding product like display fusion?

I wouldn't be able to give you a fair comparison but I'll give it a shot:

Display Fusion is better than DeskScapes in terms of built in connectivity to getting more wallpaper. This is something I really think DeskScapes should be better at and it will get better at in the version 8-series me thinks.  That is, Display Fusion will let you grab wallpapers from Flickr or Google Images from within the program.  

However, as much as I like that, I think most users end up getting wallpapers via the web in various forms. 

Where DeskScapes shines is that it does a really good job at dynamically altering images. And this is kind of a killer feature imo. Because frankly, most images (including images that are supposed to be good for wallpapers) are not really that great at being desktop backgrounds on their own. It's only when they're nudged in the right way that they become good at that.

And of course, only DeskScapes does animated wallpaper which opens you up to the many many .Dream files that are out there. 

If I didn't have DeskScapes, I'd use DisplayFusion. But really the dynamic filter options are just too important.  I know most people fixate on the animated wallpapers but I'm not really that into that. I run an animated wallpaper on my secondary monitor but on my primary I usually go with a static that I've tweaked in the app.

on Feb 28, 2013

Well, I was thinking, and that's not easy for a redneck. Anyway, since the newest version of Logon Studio pretty much killed logon skinning, why not give DeskScapes the ability to apply logons too, like DisplayFusion does? Just an idea.

Also, Brad, I use 4 monitors and would love to be able to stretch a dream/wall over monitors 1 and 2, while using a different dream/wall stretched over monitors 3 and 4.

 

Can this be implemented in a future version of DeskScapes?

 

All in all, I like the new DeskScapes, but I do use DisplayFusion too. For the taskbars.

on Mar 02, 2013

I think Decor8 is our answer to the login screen doing forwardThee are trying to move away from making apps that try to do everything.  DeskScapes excels at handling the customization of your desktop.

on Mar 02, 2013

One thing I have a bit of a problem with is monitor order. I have three and deskscapes defaults to the monitor numbering system based on start menu location (main monitor) which I use the middle monitor for. It needs the ability to "inform it" what the monitor configuration actually is so I don't have to cut up triple monitor walls and reassemble out of sequence so that they display properly.

on Mar 02, 2013

Frogboy

I think Decor8 is our answer to the login screen doing forwardThee are trying to move away from making apps that try to do everything.  DeskScapes excels at handling the customization of your desktop.

This is true, as a redneck, I was thinking backward. Windows 7, if you can call that backward...lol.