If you have purchased a cellphone in the last year or two, there is a strong possibility that you are able to load custom wallpapers onto your device.
A quick search on Google will show you that there are approximately a quarter million indexed pages that are willing to provide you with new exciting graphics for your phone.
Some of the available resources offer free wallpapers which you can download either to your desktop or directly to your phone (data charges will apply), while others require a one time or ongoing financial commitment. The paid resources tend to have higher quality graphics available and in larger quantities.
Although finding free high quality wallpapers for your phone is tough, there are some out there. There is another option available for individuals who are the slightest bit confident using a computer and some free software to modify graphics files. These people have unlimited resources for finding and changing any image they desire into a one of a kind wallpaper for their cell phone.
Even if you feel you do not have the requisite skills to create your own wallpapers, please do give this tutorial a shot. I think you may surprise yourself!
The most popular cell phone resolutions:
In order to determine your cellphones resolution, refer to your product documentation or check to see if your model is listed on sites like phonescoop.com. If you can not find out what size (resolution) of wallpaper you require for your specific model of phone, please feel free to leave it in the comments and I will research the information for you.
Selecting your image
The first step on the path to creating custom wallpapers for your cellular phone is to determine where you are going to find your new wallpaper image. The source can be virtually anything you can think of. Perhaps you have a photo of your dog that would look adorable on your flip phone, or maybe you received a great image via email. As long as the image is in digital format, you are good to go. If you have a photograph that is not in digital format, you will have to do one of two things; either scan the image (most copy places provide this service) or take a digital photo of the image.
For the purposes of this article, I will be sourcing an image from Google Images. Google Images is a great resource for wallpaper ideas. Do keep in mind though, that these images are copyright for the most part and any wallpapers made from copyright materials should be used for your own personal enjoyment only. It is never ok to sell or distribute wallpapers without the appropriate permissions from copyright holders.
Finding an image using Google Images
- Decide what type of wallpaper you would like. ie. Dogs, Fish, Nature (Hint: type in abstract and you will get a ton of great images for wallpapers!)
- Navigate to http://images.google.com and enter your search terms in the search box.
- Ensure that the drop down beside “Images Showing” reads “Large Images” or “Extra Large Images”. It is better to have a larger image and shrink it than to try and enlarge a tiny image.
- Select and save the desired images to a folder on your desktop.
- Repeat this process until you have found a variety of images you might want to have on your cell phone as wallpaper. It is a good idea to have a few ideas, as not all images will be suitable for editing into the correct format.
Locating the image editing software
Now that you have decided on a few images you would like to try turning into cell phone wallpapers, let’s take a look at the software we will be using to modify the images. I am working on a PC machine to do this demo, so I will be using Gimp for my image manipulation.
If you happen to be running a Mac, you can download a trial version of Acorn here. Acorn is a simple to use graphic editing program that will have all the features discussed in the tutorial.
Downloading and installing GIMP
Click this link to download GIMP for your PC! Once you have downloaded the file, locate it on your desktop (or wherever it has been saved) and double click on the .exe. Follow the installation instructions displayed by the wizard and you are all set.
Editing an image
Now that you have installed and opened up GIMP on your PC, it is time to edit a large image and shrink it down to the right size for our cell phone wallpaper. This is done in a few easy steps.
In the upper right corner of the GIMP interface you will need to click on the word “File”. Immediately you will see a list of options appear. Choose the one named “Open”. You will be presented with an explorer window through which you can navigate to the image you would like to change into a wallpaper for your phone. Once you have found the desired image, click the “Open” button in the bottom right corner of the explorer window.
In the layers panel, click on the layer that has your image on it. It should be labeled default as “Background”. You will know you have selected it when it is highlighted blue. In order to scale your image you must click on the “Scale” tool in the toolbar panel. With the tool selected, simply click on your image. You will notice a dialog box appears. In this dialog box you will enter the height and width associated with your cell phone resolution. As you enter the values, you will notice that you are given a preview of what your image will now look like. Click the “Scale” button to complete the transformation.
If the dimensions look right and your image is not distorted, you are almost there!
We need to create a new document in the size of our scaled image, then copy and paste our scaled image into the new document. This sounds complicated, but it really is not. First you need to click on the scaled image, then press CTRL+C to copy it to the clipboard. Now press CTRL+N to create a new document. In the dialog box that appears, enter the height and width you have determined suits your cell phone resolution. Click the “OK” button to create the new document. Once the new document has been created it is time to paste our image into it and save it with a .jpg extension.
To do this, simply click once inside the blank space in the new document and press CTRL+V to paste the image we have previously saved to the clipboard into the new, properly sized document. This is our new wallpaper folks. It is now time to save the new cell phone wallpaper to your desktop.
Click the word “File” in the top left corner of the new document window. From the list of options presented, choose “Save as”. A new box will appear. Enter the desired name for your cell phone wallpaper in the Name field and select the appropriate destination folder to save your image in. We want to save our wallpaper as a .jpg file.
You will have to expand the “file type” area and scroll down until you see the JPEG option. Click on JPEG and then click on the “Save” button in the lower right corner of the window.
A pop up will appear that suggests you should export your image first before saving. Ignore this prompt. In the next dialog box that appears, slide the quality slider up to 100% to ensure that you get the best quality wallpaper possible. Now click the “Save” button to complete the process.
You now have your very own custom wallpaper for your cell phone! I hope this tutorial has been of some help. If you are following along at home and get stuck, just send me a note in the comments and I will help you figure out where you went wrong.