12 May 2009

Animated Skydomes

This tutorial by Redmistpete explains how to create seamless animated Skydome backgrounds (for widescreen, Eee PC and for normal aspect ratio) using LINUXs GIMP and any* 360 panoramic image (links given). The final Skydome images will be of the correct size and will be of the correct viewing resolution (ie. not squashed)

An animated Skydome is a 360 degree panoramic desktop background which appears behind the Beryl/Compiz desktop-cube. The animated Skydome automatically scrolls in relation to the cubes rotation, giving the impression that the desktop-cube is floating in a beautiful 3D space.

First off I'll start with a link to some fantastic 360 degree panoramic scenery photos (thanks to Mantis of Destiny) which are ideal to convert to an animated Skydome using this tutorial):


To download these images suitable for preparing as animated Skydomes:

1- click on an image thumbnail that you like (click 'more' for more images)
2- click the 'all sizes' magnifying button
3- click on 'original' size
Note- the images should be downloaded in 'original' size otherwise the Skydome will be of poor quality (ie. grainy/blocky/pixelated)
4- click on 'Download the Original size'
5- 'save' the image to an appropriate location

Step One: Cropping your Skydome for the correct screen ratio (prevents Skydome looking squashed)

1- open the desired 360 panorama in the -GIMP- program
2- in the menu, click 'image'>'canvas size'
3- write down the images original 'Width'
4- make sure that the link is separated (between 'Width' & 'Height')
Note - the aspect ratio 'link' can be joined or separated simply by clicking on it
5- change the 'Width' to "1024" and set 'Height' to:
"312" for Asus Eee PC 900 & 1000 series (which have 1024x600 screens)
"512" for normal 4:3 ratio screens (eg. 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768)
7- rejoin the link (between 'Width' & 'Height')
8- set 'Width' to the original image 'Width' that you wrote down, press 'Return'
9- click 'centre' (or realign the image manually if preferred), click 'resize'

Step Two: Resizing your Skydome to the correct screen resolution (allows Skydome to be rendered)

1- in the menu, click 'image'>'scale image'
2- make sure that the link is joined (between 'Width' & 'Height')
3- set 'Width' to "2000"
4- click 'scale'
5- in the menu, click 'file'>'save as' and name the image as "Skydome01.jpg"
6- click 'save'
7- move the slider to '90% Quality'
8- click 'save'
9- click 'Export', if asked

The newly saved image is now prepared for import to the Skydome plugin :)


redmistpete said...

Thanks for the tutorial - I wish my desktop looked as good as yours!

redmistpete said...

lol, you're welcome Pete - I'm sure yours looks just as good as mine ;)