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DeskScapes (XP)

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This chapter explains how to use DeskScapes with Windows XP.

After installing DeskScapes, locate the icon on the Start Menu. Click on Start, then All Programs, Stardock folder, and click on the Object Desktop folder to open it. You will see two programs, one is DeskScapes (for viewing / adding / deleting dreams) and DreamMaker (for assembling a video-based .dream file) from your content.

Locating DeskScape icon on the Start Menu.

Tip: The alternate way to reach the DeskScapes tab in Windows Display Properties is to right-click on the open desktop, and select "Properties".

Right-click on desktop and select Properties.

Click on the DeskScapes icon to view the "DeskScapes" tab on the Windows Display Properties dialog box.

Display Properties - with new "DeskScapes" tab.

DeskScapes Tab

Below the row of tabs are thumbnails (small screenshots) of each installed dream. Under each is the name of the dream (i.e. Desktop Earth). When a dream has been selected (i.e. click on it), detailed information will be displayed near the bottom of the dialog box (under all of the thumbnails). This may include a description, author (i.e. Stardock Design) and web site (i.e. where you can get more information about this dream or others. The author may include a web address if they have a site related to skinning (i.e. changing the graphic skin of Windows).

Description of dream.

An alternate way to view the description of a dream is to pause your cursor over a dream, which will display a pop-up box with the description. No need to click on the dream.

Stopping your mouse cursor over a dream will display the description.

Some dreams may allow you to make changes on how it operates. Dynamic dreams may include a Dynamic Wallpaper Settings... button (under the list of thumbnails). While video-based dreams may include options for positioning the dream Positioning menu on the desktop (i.e. Center, Tile, Stretch, Maintain Aspect Ratio, Crop). Most free dreams are video-based, while Stardock Design sells dynamic-based dreams.

Positioning pull-down menu.

In the lower right corner (if Impulse is installed) is an Update button. Clicking Update will open Impulse, forcing it to check for any updates for DeskScapes or other Impulse software. An exclamation point next to each application in Impulse indicates an update is available for download or you can check the "Updates" tab. If Impulse is not installed, the button will not be visible. (For more information on how to use Impulse, please refer to the Impulse Guide.)

Also in the lower right-hand corner is a Browse button that opens a Windows Explorer like dialog box. This allows you to locate additional dreams that are not in the Dreams folder and manage files (i.e. add, delete). All Dreams have the file type (or extension) of ".Dream" (without quotes). After locating a new dream, click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Clicking Browse opens this Explorer like window to manage files.

Applying a Dream

To apply a dream to your desktop, locate the desired dream and click on it (blue border shows it has been selected). You can click on Apply to change your desktop background to the dream, but keep the Display Properties dialog box open. This is nice if you want to check out different dreams. If you click OK, it will apply the selected dream and close the Display Properties dialog box. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Selected dream has a blue border around it.

After a dream has been applied, you may notice the "Desktop" tab has a new "Background" called "deskwall" at the bottom of the list. This is a part of DeskScapes and is normal. If you change to a non-animated wallpaper, "deskwall" will disappear.

The Desktop tab under Background uses "deskwall" as part of DeskScapes.

Non-Animated Wallpaper

To change to a non-animated wallpaper, open the Display Properties and click on the "Desktop" tab. Then select the desired wallpaper from the list under "Background". Click OK to apply. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Display Properties - Desktop tab - changing to non-animated wallpaper.

Dream Settings

Of the five dreams included with DeskScapes, four are dynamic dreams (i.e. Bouncing Box Sample, Desktop Earth, Water Dream, Watercolor Dream) with the fifth dream (i.e. Grassy Field) being a video-based dream. You will notice if there are options to change the dream settings, they will differ if the dream is dynamic or video based. For dynamic dreams, you may see the Dynamic Wallpaper Settings... button near the lower left side of the DeskScapes dialog box. Not all dreams will give you the option to make changes. You must first select the dream you want to make changes too.

For video-based dreams, the option may include "Positioning" with standard Windows options for wallpaper. Simply click the pull-down menu and select the desired position and the image will change your desktop immediately. The options include:

  • Center - place the image in the center of the screen, leaving the sides, top & bottom with a default wallpaper or the last non-animated wallpaper you selected.
  • Tile - if the image does not fill the screen, then repeat it, left to right and down and across to fill the screen. The image maybe cropped on the right side & bottom.
  • Stretch - (default for Grassy Field) stretch the image to fit the screen, which may change the aspect ratio (i.e. image may look distorted).
  • Maintain aspect ratio - this will increase or decrease the size of the image, while maintaining the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio keeps the image from being distorted as it is resized.
  • Crop - this will resize the image to fill the screen, allowing parts of the image to basically overflow the sides of the screen, in effect cropping (i.e. cutting off) parts of the image.

For dynamic dreams, the settings (if available) will differ depending on the dream. The following table lists the settings available for the included dreams.

Settings Quick Reference



Bouncing Box Sample Change box size & speed.
Desktop Earth Change rotation speed of the Earth.
Water Dream Change time between drips, drip size, tiling and ground image (i.e. sand which appears under the surface of the water.
Watercolor Dream Change the drawing speed of the watercolors.

Pause/Resume DeskScapes

By design, when an application is maximized DeskScapes will stop the dream animation until you un-maximize the application so you can see the desktop and the animation will resume. The idea is to free up video resources, since you can not see the desktop anyway. For instance, starting a full-screen game will disable DeskScapes until you are finished. If you play a game or use other graphic intensive software in a window, you can pause & resume the animation as desired.

To pause a dream animation, right-click on the open desktop (away from any icons or application windows) and select "Pause Deskscapes". This will stop the animation until you either restore it or restart the computer.

Pausing a Dream.

To un-pause the animation, right-click on the open desktop and select "Resume Deskscapes" which will start the animation.

Resuming a Dream animation.

Get More Dreams

Stardock includes five dreams with DeskScapes to get you started with animated wallpaper. However, you can download hundreds more at that were created by people like you. Clicking the "Get More Dreams" thumbnail will open your web browser and display the WinCustomize web site Gallery for Dreams. Most dreams are free, with high-quality "Master Skins" charging a small fee. (You must be connected to the Internet to view this web site.)

Clicking "Get More Dreams" displays in your web browser.

The dreams available on WinCustomize include Master Skins which include work from some of the best master skinners (video-based), as well as Stardock Design (dynamic). Dynamic dreams are created using computer programming. Video-based dreams are created by a number of methods, but basically involve playing a video sequence over and over endlessly (called "looping). You can assemble your own video-based dreams with DreamMaker, included with DeskScapes.