Today I felt like sharing some recent creative endeavors I’ve been undertaking. I’ll be talking about Wallpaper Engine, a tool that lets you make amazing animated wallpapers as well as sharing some of my works with you guys. If you like what you see here, don’t be afraid to reach out and request something yourself. With that said, let’s start with the review.
Wallpaper Engine is a simple tool that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money at $3.99 and is available on Steam. In the tool you can do simple things like a lot of image editing software but you can also do more advance things like animation. It supports creation of wallpapers from images, 3D models, videos, and even some applications! You can truly do a lot with the software. Not only that, but you can add sound and there are a few other tools that are included that kind of just blow my mind!
There is a large community that creates these wallpapers for folks to use on Steam. From there you can download just about any style of wallpaper with varying amounts of complexity. It is super cool to see all the great works of art people are making using the software.
Right now, I’ve been sticking to 2D image based “scene” creation, as it’s called. I’ve only made a few, but in 6 hours time I’ve gone from making relatively simple backgrounds to fairly complex ones.
Here’s the first image I ever made:
As you can see, it isn’t very complicated at all. The eyes light up along with the flashlight. This was a Reddit request where the user was very pleased with this. Way more than expected, they attempted to pay me a commission. They provided the image, but I did the animation on it. That’s actually the case with all of the images, I didn’t draw any of this art, just did the animation.
Learning how to do this took me maybe 10 minutes after watching a video on YouTube, so for just starting out it wasn’t very complicated. Furthermore, there is a built-in link to the wiki in here that teaches you various tricks and techniques that are common to see in these wallpapers if you get stuck.
Alright, so this image really isn’t that impressive so let’s look at what I did next:
You may have guessed, but another Reddit request. I was deep diving the request threads and doing anything that felt doable (that hadn’t already been done). This one is a small step up from the skull one. They wanted Star from Star vs. the Forces of Evil to have glowing hands and have her hearts glow as well.
Learning how to do everything here only took an extra 5 minutes because I added an interactive element. Otherwise it pulled on what I learned making the previous image. So what did I do exactly?
Like last time I have pulsing parts, but now I have steady glow on some areas. To do this I literally just had to paint in the areas of the image I wanted each effect. It’s just like using Paint but maybe just slightly abstracted since you have to think about “layers” and “masking” which are terms photo editors surely have some familiarity with. Still, the tool makes adding these elements super easy.
The trickier bit was actually adding the moving “fireflies” you can see around Star’s hands. Those are also interactive elements, meaning if you put your mouse near them something happens. It’s built-in to the software, but figuring out how to adjust the sprite sizes and such was a bit tricky at first. I figured it out and it resulted in a neat effect I think.
From here, I went out to find more tutorials and branch out into more complex images. Sadly, this is one place where I think the software is lacking. There just aren’t a lot of good tutorials for Wallpaper Engine. You are going to have to mess around with stuff yourself with only some aid from the wiki or a lucky video find. Thankfully, the software is very easy to use so if you don’t mind the slight learning curve it shouldn’t be a big deal.
Moving on and you’ll see the image I’m most proud of making to date. This was, as you may have guessed, another Reddit request. They didn’t ask for anything specific but here’s how it turned out:
I spent WAY more time on this one. I added multiple layers and took multiple steps to ensure that the image looked great. You can see I added a great deal of shimmer to the armor but I also have animated light shafts and dust motes, along with a whole host of other things working together to make a great image.
There is a lot of animation work here along with tiny details. I spent several hours on this one and am just really proud of how it came out. I was able to learn a lot between the last few images even if the tutorials were somewhat lacking. The effort was rewarded too because this is easily my most popular wallpaper.
I’m showing you all of these images to stress that making something in this software is really easy. There is a learning curve but just remember that I made all of these in just 6 hours time, some of which was just me looking at settings and stuff in the engine and not actually creating anything.
Now is a good time to mention something important though, you need Wallpaper Engine to run these wallpapers. Thankfully it is cheap and it doesn’t use hardly any resources to run. It just sits in the background and plays the wallpapers you’ve selected as you use your computer. To help save processing power the animations pause when you are using another program and can’t actually see the image. It’s a smartly designed too.
I have one final image to share with you today, this one is based on Rick and Morty and was another Reddit request. This time I tried something I hadn’t before with animating the portal Rick and Morty are coming from. It was the only thing the Reddit user requested:
Learning how to make the portal wiggle like this was fun. I had to painstakingly paint all around the circle and inside the image to create the movement. You may even notice some parts that don’t move at all, but I carefully worked to mask that as much as possible by learning how to add a layer of motion blur on top of the image.
Furthermore, I also added some glow and pulsing that I did like the first two images I shared, but this time I learned how to adjust these things from how they are default to make it more subtle. It really has the image pop!
If you would like to learn more about the software be sure to check out the Steam page and consider browsing the Workshop to see what others are doing. You think my work is even kind of cool, then just wait until you see what some other folks are doing! Speaking of the Workshop, you can find all my work here. If you want me to make something for you, just ask and I’ll see if it is within my skill range.
Have you used Wallpaper Engine? What are your thoughts on the software and I’d love to see creations YOU have made! Share in the comments. If you would like to request a wallpaper, simply ask in the comments or contact me via any of my contact methods. Furthermore, if you would like to support my efforts, either writing or art-wise, consider a donation via my Ko-fi by hitting the button below. Thanks for taking the time to check this out and I hope to see you around again soon!