Create a Desktop Wallpaper using A 360 Degree Panoramic Second Life Image

In previous SL-Inspiration tutorials we've covered how to use Second Life images to create desktop wallpapers, both as a gallery of images and an animated wallpaper. Another subject we've covered in depth is how to create 360 degree panoramic images in Second Life, the hud you'll need to buy from the Marketplace, and the choice of software needed to stitch the images together. In this tutorial these two elements are brought together to create a desktop wallpaper using a 360 degree panoramic image created in Second Life.
The image below is an example of a 360 degree image that can be used as a desktop wallpaper. It shows an interior from the very photogeneic location called Eterea, which sadly appears to no longer exist. 
To fully view the image Drag it with your cursor, and click the square icon to the right of the image to view fullscreen.

As already indicated, there are a few things you'll need to create a 360 degree wallpaper, such as having a working knowledge of the tutorials mentioned above. You'll also need to sign up for, and install Steam, and then grab a copy of Wallpaper Engine, which runs on that platform. Although Wallpaper Engine isn't free, the cost is very low (around £3.00, or about $4.00), which is easily affordable, and worth every penny.

The last thing you'll need is a 360 degree panorama uploaded to a platform such as Momento360. This platform is used here mainly because its easy to use, doesn't have an intrusive watermark, and not least because its free.

Creating the Desktop Wallpaper using A 360 Degree Panoramic Image 

Creating the 360 degree wallpaper is very simple. Wallpaper Engine essentially embeds the panorama from a website and displays it as a wallpaper. Following from this, the first steps are to get a link for the panorama and create an embed code.

1/ Go to the Momento360 page (or similar site) that displays the panorama. If you don't have one yet the one here can be used

2/ Click on the connected three dots icon shown above and the drop down menu will appear. Click on Share or embed a link.

3/ This window will now appear. Click the Copy button to copy the link.

Shortening The Link


This step isn't entirely necassary but Memento360 tends to produce cumbersome links, so using a link shortener makes them easier to work with. Here TinyUrl is used, but you can use whichever link shortener you prefer.

1/ Paste the link copied from Momento360 in the space provided, then hit the Make TinyURL button.

2/ In the next window that appears hit the Copy button. You now have the shortened Url.

Creating The Embed Code

To anyone who knows a little about HTML markup this is a very simple step. For those that are less sure what to do, follow these easy steps.
 <iframe src="[URL OF 360 DEGREE PANORAMA]" style="border: 0px none marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="1080" scrolling="no" width="1920"></iframe>
1/ Open Wordpad or a similar app. Copy the above markup and paste it.

2/  Replace [URL OF 360 DEGREE PANORAMA] including brackets, with the shortened link we just created. The width and height settings can be changed to the resolution of your screen, although the wallpaper should display well as it is.

3/ In Wordpad select File > Save As. Name the file and give it a html extension, as shown above. Hit Save.

4/ Open the folder where you saved the file, and it should look something like above, probably displaying the logo of your default web browser.

5/ Double click on the file and the 360 degree panorama should open in your browser. 

We're now ready to create the wallpaper. 

If you don't have Wallpaper Engine yet, now would be a good time to get it.

Creating The 360 degree panoramic Wallpaper With Wallpaper Engine

1/ If there is a Wallpaper Engine icon on your desktop, double click it to start the app. Otherwise open Steam, then open Wallpaper Engine. Steam can be closed once Wallpaper Engine is running.

2/ When Wallpaper Engine has opened, its icon will probably be hidden on the taskbar. Click the up arrow icon (highlighted in red, above) to the bottom right of the taskbar, then click on the Wallpaper Engine icon.

From the drop down menu select Create Wallpaper.

3/ This window will appear. Open the folder containing the html file created in Wordpad. Drag the file onto the blue Create Wallpaper rectangle.
Wallpaper Engine has a quirk that means if there are any other files in the same folder as the html file, all the files will be added to the wallpaper. As we don't want this, it is best to put the html file in a folder by itself before dragging it.

4/ This window will appear. The wallpaper can now be given a name. When you're ready click OK.

5/ This window will now show the 360 degree panorama. 
Sometimes Wallpaper Engine will pause at this point. If this happens close the window. Then look at the Wallpaper Engine menu (the one we opened earlier), and under Recent Wallpapers, see if your wallpaper is listed. 
Alternatively, select  Browse Workshop, then in the window that opens select Installed. If your wallpaper is listed (no doubt without a thumbnail), then its been created. 

Unfortunately if the wallpaper can't be found you'll have to create the wallpaper again.

6/ Now select File > Save. The preview window will go blank when using the menu options. Its nothing to be concerned about. Now close this window.

7/ If the desktop isn't displaying the 360 degree wallpaper, click on the Wallpaper Engine icon in the taskbar, and from the drop down menu select Recent Wallpaper. Click on the name of the wallpaper you just created from the list it displays.

The wallpaper can now be dragged and viewed just like any 360 degree panorama.

8/ If the 360 panorama has been embedded from Memento360, there will probably be scrollbars visible. Click the icon to the right of the screen (highlighted in red, above), and these scrollbars will disappear.

Wallpaper Engine Settings

1/ To change the settings of the wallpaper, from the Wallpaper Engine drop down menu select Settings.

In the window that opens, settings such as FPS and Post-processing can be tweaked.

3/ If your PC is high end then changing Post-processing to Ultra will really make the wallpaper pop. 
When you're ready, hit OK.

Sharing The 360 Degree Panoramic Wallpaper

Wallpaper Engine has a slightly perplexing system for sharing wallpapers, and even when the steps for sharing are followed, the wallpapers don't always seem to show in the Workshop.

However, there are ways around this. Shared wallpapers are given a page on the creator's Steam Workshop, where subscribers can download the content, (presumably in this instance this would be the wallpaper file). For anyone interested here are the 360 degree panoramas I've created using Wallpaper Engine.

Another option is to simply share the html files created in Wordpad and let friends create their own wallpapers with them. With this in mind, I've zipped three html files ready to be used as wallpapers. (Please keep in mind however, that these html files or wallpapers must not be sold or included in any package without my prior consent, and they must not be passed off as your own work. They can be shared with others, but it must be made clear that SL-Inspiration is the original creator).

Adding Wallpapers to The Workshop 

As already indicated, the Wallpaper Engine Workshop is where wallpapers are freely shared. They also appear on individuals' Workshop space. If you're feeling generous and community minded, the following steps will show how to add your own wallpapers to the Workshop.

1/ Click on the Wallpaper Engine icon in the taskbar, and from the drop down menu select Browse Workshop

2/ This window will appear. Click on Installed, then select the wallpaper you've created. To the right, click on Open in Editor.

3/ Sometimes at this stage, Wallpaper Engine will stall, but don't let it alarm you. Just close the windows and repeat the steps above.

4/ From the top menu select Workshop > Share Wallpaper on Workshop.

5/ Information about the wallpaper will need to be added in the window that opens. A thumbnail image will also need to be uploaded.

6/ When you're ready hit Publish.

7/ This window will appear showing a progress bar. When the wallpaper is published, it can be viewed in the Workshop.

And here is the wallpaper appearing in my Workshop, with options to the lower right for further editing.

There may seem a lot of steps here for something that could be considered a little niche, but having a working 360 degree panorama as a desktop wallpaper is quite impressive. If you have a 360 degree panorama, give it a try, or alternatively use one of the files available on this page.
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Displaying Second Life Desktop Wallpapers With The Free Awsome Wallpaper App


In a number of previous tutorials we've shown how to use images created in Second Life as desktop wallpapers. Probably the most versatile app mentioned was Wallpaper Engine which, although very versatile some may not like due to its small price tag. 
Ignoring the issue of the paltry cost of Wallpaper Engine, possibly the most off putting thing for potential users is the need to be signed up to, and have Steam installed before the app can be opened. (Steam is excellent and I recommend installing it, but it can be a little inconvenient if all you want to do is create wallpapers from Second Life images). 
For these reasons an easier alternative for displaying Second Life desktop wallpapers is Awesome Wallpaper, which is free to download and use.

Creating Desktop Wallpapers With Awesome Wallpaper

Awesome Wallpaper can display a number of different kinds of desktop wallpapers, but the two we'll focus on here are wallpapers consisting of a gallery of images and animated desktop wallpapers. The process for creating both is very similar.

 1/ download the Awesome Wallpaper app from the website, (the link is above).

2/ Unzip the downloaded file. 

3/ To run Awesome Wallpaper, open the unzipped folder and double click on the icon highlighted above.

 4/ Right click on the ^ icon to the right of the computer's Taskbar, then right click on the Awesome Wallpaper icon. The menu above will appear. Click on Settings.

5/ This window will now appear. There is a tab for each type of desktop wallpaper, as well as a General tab. 

6/ To create a gallery wallpaper (i.e, a slideshow) you'll first need a folder containing all the images you want to use. Click the Gallery tab.

7/ To navigate to the folder containing the images, click the grey button to the right of 'Folder with images'. Select the folder and click OK in the navigation pane.

8/ Enter a number in the 'Interval between images' box for the time delay between images. Here 0 has been added so one image will immediatelly follow another.

In the 'Show image (sec)' box enter the length of time each image will be displayed. Here 180 seconds (or three minutes) has been entered.

When you're ready hit OK.

9/ Select the General tab again.

10/ From the Wallpaper Type drop down list select Gallery. Now hit OK. The images in the selected folder will now display in turn on your desktop.

Creating An Animated Desktop Wallpaper With Awesome Wallpaper

Creating an animated desktop wallpaper is very similar to creating a gallery, except instead of using a collection of images an MP4 file is used.

 1/ Select the Video tab, then navigate to where the MP4 is located. Select it then hit OK.

 2/ Select the General tab, and from the Wallpaper Type drop down list select Video. Now hit OK. The video will now be your animated desktop wallpaper.

SL-Inspiration Wallpaper Examples

Creating desktop wallpapers is a good way to share Second Life images, and may provide an opportunity for some people to sell their work. It can also be a unique way for store holders, club owners and any Second Life enterprise to project themselves to clients and patrons.
As a starting point here are some desktop wallpapers created by SL-Inspiration. Click the tabs below to view and download each wallpaper. There is a payment option for each download, which is used at the discretion of each person.

This first download is a set of 2048 x 1080px images to be used in a gallery. feel free to add your own images to the gallery.

This example is an animated desktop wallpaper inspired by Cammino e Vivi Capovolto. Click the button below to view the video and to download.

This animated wallpaper is called Clockwork Bird. The location in Second Life can be visited here. As with all the animated desktop wallpapers here, the movement is subtle so it does not become a distraction. Click the button below to view the video and to download. 

This last wallpaper is also an animated example, and shows a flying whale created by Sasaya (sasaya.kayo), the owner of HappyMood Forest. Click below to view the video and to download.

We hope you enjoy not only using the wallpapers available here, but also feel inspired to create your own. There is so much originality and creativity in Second Life that we're sure many residents will generate some unique ideas for desktop wallpapers.
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Create Pop Art Typography With Gimp Part 2


This is part 2 of the tutorial on how to create pop art typography with Gimp. Part 1 focused on creating the outline text with dots, and in this section we'll create the other two text layers and give them a 3d effect. We'll then finish by creating a background to match the text. 

Creating The Second Text Layer

1/ After completing the outline text we created in part 1, delete any layers that aren't needed. This should leave the outline text layer, two more text layers, the layer filled with grey, and the background layer.

The text we're now going to work on is going to be blue, so click on the lightest blue in the colour palette so it becomes the active foreground colour.

2/ Make sure the text layer second from the top is the active layer, then right click on it and from the drop down list select Alpha to Selection.

3/ Add a transparent layer below the top most layer and make it the active layer. Using the Paint tool fill the selection so it becomes blue text. 
The text layer below this can now be deleted.
4/ The blue text needs to match the perspective of the outline text, so select the Unified Transform tool from the Tools panel.

5/ Drag the right vertical handle of the transform bounding box upwards, then drag the top horizontal handle to the right, so the text matches the slope of the outline text exactly.
A full explanation of this step is given in Part 1 of this tutorial, under the subheading, Adding Perspective To The Text Layer.
6/ When you're ready hit Transform in the Unified Transform window.

7/ Now that we have another text layer that matches the perspective of the outline text layer, duplicate it, then hide the lower blue text layer. Also hide the grey layer.
Select the darker blue from the palette so it becomes the active foreground colour. Make sure the top blue text layer is the active layer.

 Adding A 3d Effect To The Text

1/ A quick and easy way of adding a 3d appearance to text in Gimp is to use the Long Shadow tool. To open this hit Filters > Light and Shadow > Long Shadow.

2/ This window will open.

 3/ Dragging the Angle slider will change the angle of the shadow, or in this case, the angle of the depth of the text. Here 136 has been selected. We need to remember this angle for when the Long Shadow effect is applied to the other text layers.

Dragging the Length slider will change the length of the text depth.

The Color option shows the darker blue from the colour palette because we selected it as the foreground colour in step 7, above.
When you're ready, hit OK.

4/ The text now has a cool 3d appearance.

Creating The Third Text Layer

1/ To start creating the third text layer, hide the blue 3d text layer, and make the layer below that the active layer.

Select the mid tone red from the colour palette to make it the active foreground colour.

2/ The red text in the finished design is larger than the other text. To create this from the lower blue text layer, right click on it and select Alpha to Selection.

Now hit Select > Grow.

3/ Because the text should be quite a bit bigger than the other text, 36 has been entered in the Grow Selection window. Now hit OK.

4/ The text will now have an enlarged selection around it.

5/ Create a transparent layer and make it the active layer. With the Paint tool fill the selection with the foreground colour.

Add another transparent layer above this layer.

6/ Select the pink from the colour palette to make it the active foreground colour. With the transparent layer active, use the Paint tool to fill the selection.

There should now be one red layer and on pink layer.

7/ The pink layer will be used to create a border for the red layer. With the pink layer active hit Select > Shrink.

In the Shrink Selection window 10 has been entered. Hit OK.

8/ Hit Delete on the keyboard.

9/ The pink layer will now be an oultine of 10 pixels.

10/ With the pink layer still active, right click on it in the Layers panel and from the drop down list select Merge Down.

11/ Now select Layer > Crop to Content.

Adding A 3D Effect To The Red Text Layer

1/ Click the dark red in the colour palette so it becomes the active foreground colour. Make sure the red text layer is the active layer.

2/ Select Filters > Light and Shadow > Long Shadow.

3/ Depth is added to this text in the same way it was added to the blue text. The angle needs to be the same for both layers so the 3d effect is consistent. In this case 136 is the angle used.

The length setting is whatever looks good to you. Here 50 has been used.

When you're ready hit OK.

4/ The red text now has the feel of being 3d.

5/ Unhiding the blue text layer gives an idea of what the final design will look like. Use the move tool to place the blue text so it looks correct.

6/ Adding the 3d effect to the outline text layer is done in the same way as the other two layers. This layer was left to last because the depth of the text needs to be quite slim, and its easier to judge against the other text layers.

The colour used for the depth of the outline text was the grey from the colour palette. The angle setting again needed to be the same as the other text layers, so 136 was used.

Adding Shadow to the Red and Blue Text Layers


1/ Adding subtle shadows to the blue and red text layers adds to the sense of being 3d. No Shadow was added to the outline text because the shadow would have been too complicated and would have ruined the look of the design.
To create the shadow, select the red text layer, then hit Filter > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow.

2/ The above window will open. Click on the  link icon to the right of the X and Y sliders, so each slider can be moved seperately.
Now drag each slider so the shadow for the red text looks natural. The Grow radius and Opacity sliders can also be adjusted. 

When you're ready hit OK.

Repeat this for the blue text layer.

Creating A Background

1/ We're now going to create a dotted pattern for the background. With the grey filled layer active, select Filters > Distorts > Newsprint.

 2/ The above window will open.

 3/ White on Black has been selected from the Color Model drop down menu.

The period for the dots is around 30, and the angle is 45. Play with these setting to get the look you want.

Click OK.

 4/ Select Colors > Invert.

 5/ The dots will now look as above.

6/  Select Colors > Color to Alpha.

7/ The above window will appear. Hit OK.

8/ The dots will now have a transparent background. Right click on the dots layer in the Layers panel, and from the drop down menu select Alpha to Selection.

Now hit Select > grow.

9/ The Grow Selection window will open. We want the dots to be 1 pixel larger, so enter 1, then hit OK.

10/ Add a transparent layer above the dots layer and make sure its the active layer. Select the darker yellow from the color palette.

11/ With the Paint tool set to a large size, sweep the cursor over the canvas window to fill all the dots with the dark yellow.

12/ Create another transparent layer under the yellow dots layer, then using the Bucket Fill tool, fill it with the lighter yellow from the colour palette.

Merge the two background layers into one layer.

Position each of the text layers so you're happy with them, then if you want merge them to one layer. 
Alternatively, hide all layers except for the text layers. Right click on one, and from the drop down menu select New from Visible. This will create one new layer containing all the text, but will keep the original layers.

Now all that needs to be done is to position the text against the background and if needed crop the image.

There are a lot of steps to creating this pop art typography design, but ultimately its worth all the effort.
We hope you've enjoyed following this two part tutorial, and will soon be creating your own eye catching pop art text. If you've found it useful fee free to follow and like our Facebook page.
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