Creating a Beryl Skydome with The Gimp

Monday 30 April 2007 - Filed under Default

The OpenGL-based window manager Beryl has some great features like cool window movement effects, transparency, and reflections. The most notable effect has got to be the Desktop Cube which allows you to switch between one or more desktops by rotating a polyhedron(often a cube). One cool thing about this effect is there is a new “space” for a wallpaper or backdrop to this cube’s rotation.

That backdrop is called the skydome and it has (at least currently) a requirement that it’s size be an even power of two. For instance, its resolution can be 1024×1024 (2^10) or 2048×2048 (2^11) but common wallpaper sizes like 1024×768 will simply not work. So to make a skydome image, you’ll need to take an image and crop or resize it to a power of two.

I’m going to outline the steps I took to resize an image in The Gimp and then you can take a look at or download the one I made. Here are the steps:

1. Open the image in The Gimp.

2. From the Image menu of the image you opened, select Scale Image.

3. Click on the chain link next to the Width and Height boxes. This releases a lock in proportion so you can make a square image out of a most likely rectangular one.

4. Enter in 1024 for both the Width and Height boxes and leave the rest of the settings at their defaults.

5. Click Scale to complete the scaling.

6. Finally, you’ll need to save the image so Beryl can open it. From the File menu click Save As… and click Select File Type (By Extension).

7. Choose ‘JPEG Image’ and click Ok a couple of times to finish.

Now you’ve got an image that you can use for your skydome…just go to the Beryl Settings Manager and set your new image in Desktop -> Desktop Cube -> Skydome -> Skydome Image. There it is…here’s the one I created most recently and use right at this moment.

If you think Beryl’s cool, click here to read about my post on free software.

2007-04-30  »  David Sterry

Talkback x 5

  1. Anonymous
    28 May 2007 @ 11:45 am

    This streches the quality out of the image. You are better off using a panoramic image, either authentic or manufactured.

  2. legumes
    1 June 2007 @ 4:17 pm

    That image was really cool 😉

  3. spit
    10 July 2007 @ 8:08 am

    IMHO the best thing is to use a digital camera and a support to take 360° series of pictures, then join them with Gimp and finally resize the big picture you got this way. So you can use the function “animate skydome” and see your 360° favourite landscape when rotating the cube.

    ciao 😛

    spit (spit[at]

  4. gino
    18 July 2007 @ 9:00 am

    Just started my beryl experience.
    Using your image…
    gives my desktop a pleasant feeling
    I like your work!

  5. David
    18 July 2007 @ 9:09 pm

    That’s great to hear. I just switched to this really neat image of a nebula I found on Flickr. It started out as a pretty hi res image so I was able to make it work at 2048×2048! Have fun impressing friends and influencing people with Beryl.