[Review] Animated Wallpaper Maker

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Animated Wallpaper Maker by DesktopPaints.com

Version reviewed:

v2.0.1

Supported OS:

Windows Vista/XP

Price:

$23.77 (USD) but you can get it for free for a limited time at Giveawayoftheday.com!

Software description as per the developer:

Breathe new life into your desktop! Animated Wallpaper Maker will help you turn your static photos into animated pictures and set them as your desktop background. You can animate any photo you have. Really! You don’t need expensive, complicated software anymore. You can create your own animated wallpaper in just a few mouse clicks. Load a picture, adjust animation parameters, and place the result on your desktop.

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Gives users the ability to use background animation effects, and to add animated objects.
  • Can create multi-image wallpapers (can double as a wallpaper changer).
  • Users are allowed to export wallpapers into standalone .EXEs that anyone can use, regardless of if you have the program install or not.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Only one background effect can be used per image.
  • Has a fairly limited selection of animations.
  • User can’t control if he/she wants the animations (effects and objects) to occur only in a specific portion of the image.
  • Desktop icons are not properly dealt with when an animated wallpaper is turned on.
  • Doesn’t allow user to add GIF images (animated or otherwise).

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use – point and click really.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”6″}Surprisingly enough, the animated wallpapers do not take up very much computer resources while they are turned on. However, the desktop icons are not properly dealt with when animated wallpapers are turned on (at least in Windows 7).
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”4″}By definition, I can’t see many people finding this program useful. However, developer-imposed program limitations will turn off many of the ones that may have found it useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”6″}Generally speaking, $23.77 is not a bad price to charge for software. The only problem is Animated Wallpaper Maker, in my opinion, does not warrant that price tag as it stands because it doesn’t have enough animations for users to use.
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”6″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect dotTech’s overall rating/verdict of the program in which all the features and alternatives have been considered.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tdown]
{/rw_verdict} –>

As the name suggests, Animated Wallpaper Maker is a software that allows users to create and use animated wallpapers.

This is what the main program window of AWM (Animated Wallpaper Maker) looks like:

Using AWM is fairly straightforward:

  • You select a background image.
    • This can be done via the “Change Background” button.
    • JPG, BMP, and PNG only.
  • You add background effects and animation objects as you please.
    • You can select from four different background effects (or you can select “no effect”):

You may only use one background effect per slide/image. When you select an effect, keep in mind you can customize the settings of that effect, such as intensity, size, speed, etc.

  • You can select from multiple different animation objects, and can add as many animation objects to one slide/image as you want:

  • You can optionally add multiple “slides”, which is just having a multi-image wallpaper that will rotate:
  • You can optionally preview the wallpaper whenever you want to see how it looks on your desktop.
  • You apply the wallpaper (“Set Wallpaper”) either directly to your computer, or save the wallpaper as a standalone EXE that can be used by anyone (even people that don’t have AWM installed).

Whenever you have an animated wallpaper running, either normally or via the standalone EXE, an icon is placed in your system tray which you can control basic configuration settings (such as to stretch the image… or not stretch the image, or to automatically apply the animated wallpaper upon Windows’ boot). That system tray icon is also where you can turn off the animated wallpaper by exiting:

(The second “Settings” window is that of the standalone EXE.)

When I first started reviewing AWM I excepted the program to eat up a significant portion of my computer resources (CPU/RAM) while the animated wallpapers were turned on. Surprisingly enough, AWM uses very little computer resources: CPU stays at or near zero (only spikes to ~5 when the “slides” are changing, if applicable) and RAM usage stays around the 20 MB mark. This computer resource usage – or lack thereof – is actually what I found to be most impressive about AWM.

That being said, there is also plenty that I found very unimpressive about AWM:

  • First and foremost, the number of background effects and animated objects is very limited. More so for background effects seeing as there are only four users can use (animated objects has more, but many of them are similar so doesn’t really allow for much choice). Seeing as animations are the main attraction to AWM, it really hurts the program to have so little choice.
  • Furthermore, keeping with the animations train-of-thought, I really dislike the fact that users have little to no control over which parts of the image the animations (effects/objects) should occur. The “water mirror” and “fire” effects are the only two that allow the user some sort of control over where they take place on the image; none of the other ones do. Even “water mirror” and “fire” are limited in this area in the sense that they can only occur from the bottom and cover the whole bottom of the image (depending on how high you decide to take them). I want to have the ability to be selective about which areas on the image the animations occur (like how it works in ArtStudio).
  • Users cannot use GIF images (animated or non-animated). I find this to be very dumb because GIF is one of the four main image formats, and it should be supported. Plus, the fact that AWM makes animated wallpapers but animated GIFs are not supported sounds like hypocrisy to me.
  • How AWM works is it “overlays” the animated wallpaper over your normal desktop wallpaper. This method causes two major problems:
    • The desktop icons unnecessarily block the view of the animated wallpaper:

As you can see, the icon “background area” shows the original desktop wallpaper instead of showing the animated one.

I am not sure if this is a Windows 7 only problem or not (I tried to run it on my Windows XP virtual machine to see if the problem would reoccur but was unable to get AWM to work on there because apparently my virtual machine doesn’t have a graphics accelerator). Yes I realize the developer does not officially claim Windows 7 support, but if you look at the patch notes, the latest update was for a “Windows 7 hotfix” so… ya.

  • You cannot move/have trouble moving the desktop icons.

Last but not least, when I went to test out if the standalone EXE works for people who don’t have AWM installed, I ran into a bug that the animations were not showing properly. However, I tried to repeat this problem – to see if it was a problem with the program – and I was unable to replicate it. So, it was probably a one time error, and not a problem with the program, but just figure I should mention it.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

If you know of any free alternatives, please post below and share with all of us.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}I like the concept behind Animated Wallpaper Maker, but it has been applied in a poor manner by the developer. Not only are there too few animations, but the problem with desktop icons is very annoying. Thumbs down.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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15 comments

  1. Samuel

    @Happy Person: to make hyperlinks just use HTML.

    @Ashraf: For Vista Ultimate this seems on the less usfull side since you could just make a Video and set it as the back ground. Of course since very few people have Vista Ultimate it’s somewhat of a moot point.

  2. Happy Person

    Hi all, below are 3 freeware options, for your consideration, as I also noted on GOTD. None of them are identical to Animated Wallpaper Maker, and each of them has different feature sets and capabilities. I wanted to list them as hyperlinks, but don’t know how to do so on DotTech. You can find them easily on CNET.COM via the search box.

    1. Wally (Win 7 compatible).
    2. T3Desk (Win 7 compatible).
    3. MD Wallpaper Creator(Vista compatible).

    Best,
    Happy (aka Inas)

  3. Raza

    Thanks Ashraf as always for an excellent review. To be able to compare to another “freeware” software that does this or perhaps more, I am interested to know your thoughts. The only crude one that I have used is by irfanview but only for the purpose of an .exe file even though it does create a screensaver. I do not think it has any bells and whistles that one may expect.