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Installation and Use

DeskScapes can be installed through Impulse, or as a stand-alone installer for the 30-day Trial version.

If you installed DeskScapes via Impulse, make sure the application is selected & click "Run".

Otherwise, locate the icon on the Start Menu by doing the following:



  1. Click on "Start" icon.
  2. Click on "All Programs".
  3. Click on the "Stardock" folder.
  4. Click on the "Object Desktop" folder to open it.
  5. Finally, click on the "DeskScapes" icon to run it.

Location of DeskScapes and DreamMaker on the Start Menu.

DeskScapes 3 Configuration will display a menu across the top, a large preview area, filter options, thumbnails of each installed background and a menu at the bottom with any options related to the selected background. The top menu consists of the following items:

  • Apply changes - after a dream has been selected or changes made to settings, this will apply the changes to your desktop.
  • Background Options - offers a sub-menu of options to install/download more backgrounds, delete and apply.
  • Settings - allows you to make changes that affect the Performance, location of Dreams in Folders and more Advanced options.
  • About DeskScapes - displays important information about DeskScapes, helpful if you ever need to contact Stardock Support.
  • Get more Backgrounds! - offers options to download more dreams from WinCustomize.com.
  • (Help) Click Help icon to view manual. - opens the default web browser and displays this manual on the Stardock web site.

In the center of the DeskScapes application window is the preview area which will display the selected background. If you select an animated dream, the preview will show what the animation looks like. If a background has a description, it will be displayed under the preview as a caption.

DeskScapes with Desktop Earth dream selected and in preview.

Below the preview area are options to "Filter by" the following:

Filter by Rating, type of Background or Search.

  • Rating - each background has a rating and by clicking on the number of stars next to "Filter by ... and higher" will only show you thumbnails matching your preference. So for example, if you selected four stars, you will only see thumbnails with four or five stars.
  • Include - allows you to view thumbnails for checked boxes (i.e. Videos, Dynamic, Hybrid, Wallpapers). Unchecking a box (i.e. Wallpapers (unchecked, by default) will hide that type of background.
  • Search - allows you to type in a word and click to quickly find the desired background(s). This will search on the following fields: title, author, and filename (for wallpaper). Clicking the Close will clear the search box and display all thumbnails. Helpful as you accumulate a lot of backgrounds.

Under the filter options, are thumbnails of available backgrounds (Desktop Earth is shown selected), which may consist of the following:

Background thumbnails located on bottom of DeskScapes window.

  • Disable DeskScapes - (selected when DeskScapes is run for the first time) allows you to turn off DeskScapes and return to whatever background you had in Windows.
  • Videos - are Dreams that are video-based (i.e. Planktonic), which repeat (i.e. loop) at a predetermined point.
  • Dynamic - Dreams (i.e. Desktop Earth, Winter Snow) are ones that have been programmed by Stardock to create an animated background. If you select "Desktop Slideshow", your background will cycle through all available dynamic dreams.
  • Hybrid - Dreams (i.e. Vintage Dream) are special Dreams that typically use a static wallpaper with animated elements. In the case of Vintage Dream, these elements include: random bird animations, red dress of girl, nodding head of guy in car, moving trees and flickering "MBO" red neon sign. This is a new feature in DeskScapes 3. These Dreams are created from a series of .PNG image files into a .NWA file in DreamMaker.
  • Wallpapers - are static, graphic images (i.e. no movement), commonly seen in Windows. None are included with DeskScapes, however if you check (tick) the "Wallpapers" filter box, DeskScapes will search your hard-drive(s) and display thumbnail(s) for any it finds.

Underneath each thumbnail is a caption with the title of the background (i.e. Vintage Dream), author (i.e. Stardock Design) and rating (i.e. 3 stars by default). The rating you can change by clicking on the desired star (i.e. second star for two stars). Clicking on a thumbnail will select it, which changes the preview for a larger view. If the background is animated, then the preview will likewise be animated.

To view more thumbnails, either move the cursor anywhere over the thumbnails and hold down your left mouse button. Then drag the horizontal display of thumbnails to the left or right. Or left click & hold on the gray scroll bar under the thumbnails and slide to the right or left to view the thumbnails.

Finally, on the bottom of the DeskScapes window is a menu of options that changes depending on the type of background selected:

 Menu Tab

 Description

Backgrounds (default tab) displaying the available thumbnails.
Background settings

Displays options on how to display the background when the resolution of the original Dream is different from your Windows screen resolution (Windows Display properties).

  • By default, "Auto detect" is selected, however you can change it to a different option by clicking on the option.
  • If you do not have dual monitors, those options will be grayed out (unavailable).
  • Use the horizontal scroll bar, or resize/maximize the window to see all options.
  • Clicking the Close (Close) icon will close the "Background settings" tab and return to the Backgrounds" tab.
  • Select an option and the preview will display what the selected background will look like.
For Hybrid Dreams, this option may allow you to turn off (hide) select animated elements of the background. Check (tick) the box next to items you want to hide.

Visible for backgrounds of type: Videos, Hybrid and Wallpapers.
Note for Windows XP: "Wallpapers" are not available.
Dynamic Dream Settings Displays a dialog box with options you can change for the selected dream. These settings are different for each dream, based on what the author allows you to change (if anything).

Visible for backgrounds of type: Dynamic.
Slideshow Images

Displays static wallpaper images to be included in a slideshow dream. You can select which ones you want in the slideshow (all selected, by default).

  • Clicking "Select all" will select all of them.
  • Clicking "Select none" will deselect all of them.
  • Click "Settings" to change which folders are searched for images and how long each image is displayed (default is 30 seconds).
Visible for backgrounds of type: Dynamic.
Effects

Displays 25 effects* that can be applied to the selected Dream.

  • Only one effect can be selected at a time. Use the horizontal scroll bar, or resize/maximize the window to see all options.
  • Select an effect and the preview will be display what the selected background will look like with the applied effect.
  • Select "No effect" to remove a previously applied effect.

Visible for backgrounds of type: Videos, Dynamic, and Hybrid.
* Note for Windows XP: There are 16 effects on XP.
These effects are only on Windows 7 & Vista: Edges, Flip Horizontal, Mirror, Motion Blur (Extreme), Motion Blur, Pop Art, Snow, Textured, and Tile.

After making any changes, click "Apply changes" located in the upper, left corner of the DeskScapes window.

Background Settings

For video-based Dreams (i.e. Videos, Hybrid) or static Wallpaper, the options include the following:

Background Settings with options on how to display image.

  • Auto detect - let DeskScapes determine the best setting for your screen resolution.
  • Stretch - will stretch the image horizontally and/or vertically to completely fill the screen. This may change the aspect ratio (i.e. image may look distorted).
  • 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.
  • Centre - 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.
  • Fit - 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. However, this may leave bars on the top and bottom of the image, that is filled in with a default wallpaper or the last non-animated wallpaper you selected.
  • Fill - 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.
  • Stretch over monitors - (dual monitors required) stretches the same background across both monitors. however aspect ratio maybe altered (i.e. image distorted).
  • Fill monitors - (dual monitors required) same as "Fill", but across both monitors, maintaining aspect ratio.

Simply click the desired position (i.e. radio button) and the preview image will be updated. "Fill" is showed selected. If you like what you see in the preview, click "Apply changes" to apply to your desktop.

Dynamic Dream Settings

Each Dynamic Dream included with DeskScapes has different settings you can change and include the following:

Desktop Earth - is a dream that shows the day & night cycle of the planet as it rotates, based on your system clock. The settings allow you to toggle the earth from revolving (on by default). Uncheck the box Unchecked box next to "Revolving Earth" and the earth will stop spinning. With the box Checked checked you can adjust the "Rotation Speed" of the Earth from "Slow" to "Fast" by dragging the Slider slider right to left. Clicking Restore Defaults will return the settings to the default positions when the Dream was first installed. Click OK to save changes. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)



Desktop Earth


Desktop Earth Settings dialog box.

Water Dream - is a dream with water droplets splashing on a pool of claim water above a sandy bottom. The settings offer a number of options that affect the water surface (i.e. Time Between Drips, Drip Size), background (i.e. Ground Image) and Tiling of the background image. Clicking Default returns all settings to the defaults, the way it was when DeskScapes was installed. After changing anything, click OK to apply the changes. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)


Water Dream

Water Dream Settings.
  • Time Between Drips - the "Less" time, the more water drops splash in the water to make waves. The "More" time, the less drops and less activity.
  • Drip Size - selecting "Small" drops makes the water less active, while the larger you make the drops the more active the water surface becomes.
  • Reflection Image - grayed out by default (no changes allowed). To change the Reflection Image (i.e. Clouds) you need to purchase "Liquid Dream" from Stardock Design (http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=483&libid=50) which adds more options for water related dreams like this one.
  • Ground Image - allows you to change the background image from the default (Sand) image to anything you want. Click the pull-down menu under "Ground Image", then select <Browse...> which opens a Windows Explorer type window you can use to browse your computer for a suitable image. After you find the image, click on it, then click Open. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)

Ground Image pull-down menu.

  • Tiling - allows you to select how often the background image (i.e. Sand) is repeated on the screen, Less or More. Move the Slider slider to play with what looks best to you.

Winter Snow - is a dream with snow flakes falling and collecting on the bottom of your screen. After changing anything, click IMAGE-OK to apply the changes. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)

 


Winter Snow


Winter Snow Settings.

  • How many flakes should there be? - move the Slider from left (less) to right (more) flakes.
  • How long should a flake take to melt? (short to long) - move the Slider from left (short) to right (long).
  • How fast should flakes fall? (slow to fast) - move the Slider from left (slow) to right (fast).
  • What background image should be used? - Night image (default), you can change the background by selecting "Custom" and clicking the Browse to browse to an image (.JPG) and select it, then click Open. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)
  • Enable dual monitor support - (unchecked, default) - checking this Checked box will enable dual monitor support, so the dream is displayed on both monitors. This feature is for people who have two monitors hooked-up to the same computer. Newer video cards often have two connections on the back of the card, though one maybe for DVI (digital / LCD) and one for VGA (analog), it maybe possible to hook-up a monitor to both ports. Check your video card manual.
  • Clicking the Defaults button will reset all settings to the way they were when DeskScapes was installed.
  • Find more of my dreams button. - opens the default web browser and searches WinCustomize.com for additional dreams by Neil Banfield.

Hybrid Dream Settings

Vintage Dream - new to DeskScapes 3 is the Hybrid Dream. This is a special dream, because they are typically static wallpapers (.PNG format) with animated elements. The Background Settings for Vintage Dream allows you to hide/unhide select animated elements, such as: random bird animations (flock of birds fly overhead), girl in red dress (dress moves), and guy in car (who nodes his head now & then).


Vintage Dream





Background Settings for Vintage Dream.

By default, no elements are hidden (all three unchecked). In the above example, the two items checked will hide the birds and guy in car, but show the girl in red dress.

Desktop Slideshow

The Desktop Slideshow is a dynamic dream that displays a number of static, wallpaper images. You can select which images will be included in the slideshow by clicking "Slideshow Images" on the bottom menu. All images have been selected by default. A checked box means the image will be included, while unchecked image(s) are not included in the slideshow. Click "Select all" to check (include) all images. Click "Select none" to uncheck all images. This is nice if you have a lot of images and only want to select a small number. This way, you can unselect all of them, then just select the few you want included. Clicking the Close will return to the "Backgrounds" tab.

Slideshow Images tab allows you to select (check) which images you want in the slideshow.

Clicking "Settings" (far right, above thumbnails) will open a dialog box with options to check (select), uncheck (deselect) existing folders where DeskScapes will look for images.

Settings dialog controls where DeskScapes looks for slideshow pictures.

Clicking Remove Folder will remove the selected folder. You can not delete the default folders: Web Directory and My Pictures. Change speed of the slideshow by clicking the pull-down menu next to "Changing speed" and selecting a new time from two seconds to five minutes.

Clicking Add Folder will open a dialog box to browse to a different folder for additional images. To create a new folder, first locate the folder where you want the new one located under it and select it, then click Make New Folder. Next, name the "New folder". Select the desired folder (new or existing) and click on it to select it, then click OK to add the folder to the list. (Click Cancel or X to close to abort.)

Browse for folder.

Click Close or X to close to save any changes and close the "Wallpaper Settings" dialog box.

You can also add an effect to the wallpaper, by clicking on the "Effects" tab and selecting the desired effect.

Effects

The Effects tab gives you 25 different ways to alter the selected background. When you select a filter, it will modify the background in the preview so you can see what it will look like before applying the change to your desktop. The effects available are the same for the different types of backgrounds (i.e. Videos, Dynamic, Hybrid, Wallpapers). The only exception is that Motion Blur is not shown on static (non-animated) Wallpapers. Selecting "No effect (default) removes the filter so the background is seen as normal.

Effects tab - gives you many ways to change the look of a background.

Here are just two examples of what a dream looks like before & after an effect is applied to it. This can give a background a whole new look or just a slight change.


Planktonic - no effect.Planktonic - no effect (normal).

Planktonic - with Edges filter.Planktonic - with Edges effect.

Vintage Dream - no effect (normal).
Vintage Dream - no effect (normal).

Vintage dream - with Sunset filter.
Vintage Dream - with Sunset filter.

After making any changes, including adding an effect, click "Apply changes" on the top menu to apply to your desktop.


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