Plymouth, MI-based Stardock Software has released Stardock DeskScapes 8.0, a brand new version of its Windows desktop and screensaver animation tool. Version 8.0, which costs $9.99 after the intial 30-day trial expires, adds full Windows 8 compatibility to the tool’s roster, plus debuts a brand new user interface that’s designed to be easier to use.
DeskScapes 8.0 allows users to customize existing desktop wallpapers with animations and over 40 special effects. Users can also apply – and create – specially animated desktops created using Stardock’s own proprietary Dream format. A number of examples are provided with the program, but dozens more are available to download via wincustomize.com. Stardock, which specialises in desktop customisation tools, is celebrating its 20th year.
The tool is incredibly easy to use. It can be accessed at any time via the desktop by right-clicking and choosing Configure DeskScapes. From here, it’s a basic three-step process: first, choose your target wallpaper – seven animated examples are provided in the program, with the other options made up of images from selected folders (users can choose other folders to include with the default selections too). There’s also a link to wincustomize.com, where users can download dozens of animated desktops created by other users.
A small preview, plus description and three or four tabs will appear. Select these to configure the wallpaper further – select Effects to access one of 40 special effects, which include a range of filters including blur and colourization effects. Again, the preview updates when one is selected to give you an idea of how it will look.
Users can also combine up to four special effects together for one striking effect – click the Combined effects button to get started – and then it’s a case of clicking Apply to my desktop to make it your desktop wallpaper, or clicking the down arrow next to the button to access an option to make it your screensaver instead.
The tool also comes bundled with Stardock DreamMaker, a tool for creating your own desktops in the Dream format. It’s not particularly simple to use, but does at least give you the opportunity to indulge your creative side further.
Stardock DeskScapes 8.0 can be downloaded for free as a 30-day trial, with the full version costing $9.99. DeskScapes 8.0 requires a PC running Windows 7 or 8.
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