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RIRS.ORG #10
Creating a Custom Screensaver
November 2000

 

You all have noticed that when you leave your computer alone for a few minutes, the screen goes blank and some sort of moving design called a screensaver comes on till you touch the mouse or keyboard again. This can be customized in a number of ways. You can download from a choice of over a thousand screensavers at ZDNet, which is located at http://www.zdnet.com/downloads/. Some are free while others are are shareware and should be paid for if kept. Most of these come with a set of photos ie: sunsets, wild animals, flowers etc. There are a number however, where you can load your own favorite photos in for a custom screen saver. These could be photos that you've had developed on disk or scanned or perhaps from a digital camera. Or perhaps you've been saving beautiful photos of roses from other websites as you browse the internet, (easily done by right clicking the picture and choosing save as.)
I've chosen two programs to recommend: one is quite simple to use and completely free, while the other is more complex to use, costs $29.95, but can be spectacular.
The first is called GPhotoShow and can be downloaded from http://www.bottin.com/gpshow.htm. Download it to a place where you can find it easily, like your desktop if you don't have a special download folder. Double click on it to install it. Now, right click on your desktop, select "active desktop", then "customize my desktop". From here, choose the tab that says screensaver. Any screensaver installed on your system can be activated, and it's settings changed, from this menu. Click on the drop-down menu under screensaver and choose "GPhoto Show". While you are at this menu, choose how soon you want the screen saver to come on when your computer is inactive. I choose 3 minutes because I like to see the screensaver; 10 minutes is more practical for some people. Now click "settings" and double click in the box that says image folders (there should be 3 small dots to click on) and browse to the directory/folder where you keep your photos. The screensaver will now use these pictures when it runs. You can add additional photo folders, just click on the first icon that looks like a dotted square with a star in the corner to browse to an additional directory. Choose "show filenames" under options if you want to identify the name of the blooms you are seeing. (I save my flower pictures under their variety name for this reason, such as Crimson Glory.jpg.) If you have sound files such as MP3 files or WAV files, click on the sounds tab and put your sound directory there. This way, music will play while your photos are on screen. There are options for the size of the photos, transitions etc, choose preview after you're done so that if you don't like the change, you can fix it before you apply it.
The second screen saver, Photo Op, can be downloaded from http://www.menish.com/down.htm. Because it is shareware, it does not allow you to add more than a few of your own photos till you've paid for it, ($29.95 for Personal Edition, more if you want to make professional screensavers to sell). It will display a number of pictures floating about the screen simultaneously, and will continually choose a different photo to stop and enlarge in the center of the screen. At the same time, you have the option to set it up to have a large slowing spinning cube of photos (the same as the background ones or a different set) in the foreground. The effect with beautifully colored rose photos can be stunning. It would probably not work well on an older computer, a good reason to "try before you buy" with shareware. To try it with your own photos, click on the pictures tab and remove the photos that it comes with and "add" up to 5 of your own. Do the same thing under the cube tab. There are dozens of settings that can be changed, such as the number of photos loaded at once, speed, cube actions, sound. Photo selections can be from a variety of places on your hard drive and saved together as an album. You can save as many albums of photos or music as you want and load them in from the same "settings" menu mentioned earlier or directly by right clicking when the screensaver is active. Be aware that this screensaver only stops when you hit the "Esc" key, not by just moving the mouse or touching the keyboard. Also, the photos that you choose for the cube should be roughly square in shape or they will appear distorted when placed on a cube face. Filenames can be shown for all on the screen or you can choose to type in your own description or comment for each photo.
For a easy change to your desktop, change the "wallpaper". Again, right click on your desktop, select "active desktop", then "customize my desktop". From here, choose the tab that says background. Choose the browse option and go to a picture on your hard drive that you like and select it. Choose "Center" rather than "Tile" or "Stretched" and then hit OK.
Feel free to use any of the photos on our website for your new screensaver or as wallpaper.

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