Tips & Definitions:
Images used as computer wallpaper are usually raster graphics with the same size as the display resolution (for example 1024×768 pixels, or 1280×1024 pixels) in order to fill the whole background. Many screen resolutions are proportional, so an image scaled to fit in a different-sized screen will often be the correct shape, albeit that scaling may impact quality. PNG and JPEG format are common.
Users with widescreen (16:9 or 16:10) monitors have different aspect ratio requirements for wallpaper, although images designed for standard (4:3) monitors can often be scaled or cropped to the correct shape without loss of quality.
Wallpapers are sometimes available in double-width versions (e.g. 2560×1024) for displaying on multi-monitor computers, where the image appears to fill two monitors.
Some display systems allow unconventionally-proportioned images (1:1, 2:1, or even 1:3) to be scaled without change of proportion, to fit the screen, whether it be 16:9 or 4:5. The image would be sized just large enough that one pair of edges touch the edges of the screen, but not all four, as this would unduly distort the image.
Smaller images can usually either be centered or tiled (repeated) to fill large areas, and depending on how skillfully the wallpaper was created, the tiling effect can look reasonably good. However, if the join is too obvious, or the image repeats too many times, it can appear to be very redundant.
With the increase in color screen mobile phones, wallpapers are starting to appear scaled to their lower resolution.
These are often sold at a high profit to telephone users, although some phones have software which allows images to be uploaded from a computer. Mobile telephones with cameras can often use images from the camera, or from a received image, as the wallpaper.
Most display systems are capable of specifying a single-colour to use as the background in place of a wallpaper, and some (such as KDE or GNOME) allow colour-gradients to be specified. Microsoft Windows 3.x and 9x systems allow using editable repeating two-color 8×8 tiles for background.
Some desktop systems, such as Mac OS (version 8.6 or later), KDE (version 3.4 or later), and GNOME, support vector wallpapers (PICT in Mac and SVG in KDE and GNOME). This has the advantage that a single file may be used for screens of any size, or stretched across several screens, without loss of quality.
Some operating environments (e.g. KDE and Mac OS X) allow a number of different wallpapers to be used, and "rotated" to display a different wallpaper at different times, to display a random image from a directory. If the facility is not available in the OS' wallpaper settings, it may be possible to get an external program which can change the wallpaper at certain times. Microsoft Windows 98 and higher allow webpages to be set as frames on the desktop which may be dynamic pages.
Programs such as Xplanet and EarthDesk use Internet connections and graphics calculations to change the wallpaper with real data, such as a shadowed view of the earth, the latest cloud or weather map, or various events. Some media players can redirect video playback to desktop, allowing using any video as a wallpaper. Other tools (for example WireChanger) can add interactive widgets to a wallpaper, such as calendar, notes, RSS feed, or generate a wallpaper image using various algorithms.
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