Digital cameras are great.
If you are old enough to remember using film this statement has even more meaning. The convenience, the instant review, printing photos – its all great!
There is a dark side though.
Once you have been using a digital camera for a while, you start to see your iPhoto library bulging at the seems. I looked at mine just this week at it now stands at a whopping 35.2 Gig. I could hardly believe it, I am sure that last time I checked it was under the 20 mark, I mean it was only Christmas, is that really another 15 gig?
But this is not the dark side, (its just a distraction) – no, the dark side is what to do with all the pictures. Taking thousands of photos is certainly fun, but at some point you have to actually do something with them, otherwise it all becomes a bit pointless.
So, I have taken to making desktop wallpapers, but slightly more interesting that just slapping one photo as a wallpaper, using Comic Life (usually comes installed on most Mac computers) you can make very good looking wallpaper that showcases some of your photos.
Here is the processes so, try it for yourself and see what you can create!.
Open Comic life and it starts with a new blank canvas, it works best if you use the landscape mode rather than portrait, so first up head into the file menu and page format, from there you can choose landscape. While you are in there, choose the paper background colour you would like to use, and set all of the margins to 0. Doing this means you won’t get a little white border around the edge of your wallpaper.
Choose one of the templates, I Like the 3 column one, either the vertical columns or the horizontal ones, depending on the orientation of your images that you are going to use.
Next up, click the details button on the main screen of comic life to reveal the settings for the background, you can choose a flat colour or choose one of the styles that make a nice effect fading from one colour to another, then choose the colours that you like. In this example I am going to use a couple of photos taken around Thredbo in Australia – its the Australian Ski fields but during summer there is no snow but plenty of hiking to be done. So for colours I have chosen blue and green. (ok its a little kitsch but you get the idea).
At this stage, you should have a basic layout done, with your placeholders for the images and your background setup.
Here is what mine looks like.
If you are going to make multiple wallpapers in a certain style you may like to save the file now as a template that can be re-opened and worked on again.
Next up is to add the photos. I keep mine organised in iPhoto, so getting them into Comic life is simple; just drag them and drop them where you would like them. You can maneuver them around once they are in there. Sometimes it works well to just have a thin strip of an image rather than the whole thing. A good example of this is the centre photo of the stream, there is a lot more in the original but having it like this keeps the water as the focal point.
Once you have things where you need them, its time to export the file, ready for you to install as a wallpaper. From the file menu choose export to get started. I generally use JPEG as the format and wind the quality up to high. Depending on the size of your photos and the size of your screen you may have to play with the Resolution, I use 150dpi and that tends to work well with a large monitor.
Here is my finished image, once thing it does do is encourage you to keep files and folders off your desktop, so you can enjoy your photos without the clutter.