From the Kenosha News on 6-19-05

Create your own screensaver from your pictures

      While there are many interesting, free downloadable screensavers, for a more personal touch, create your own with your digital pictures.  First, you'll need screensaver creator software.  You can download a shareware package on-line that fits your needs.  I have not found any freeware packages, but the price of most shareware packages is modest, starting at $19.95.  A few years ago, I created a screensaver for Carthage's computers consisting of Carthage pictures.  This summer, it's time to update those pictures, and I wanted to create a "Sabbar family" screensaver with vacation pictures.

      I began by going to tucows.com and clicking on the Desktop Enhancements link, then the Screen saver creator category.  Tucows rates the packages with a number of cows (more cows = better software,) so I used the rating, price, and description to choose a program called Easy Screensaver Maker.  Most shareware packages allow you to use the program for a certain amount of time and with limitations until you pay and register the product.  I downloaded and installed the program. 

      I started a new screensaver project and started importing pictures.  Once I had five pictures, the program said I needed to purchase and register in order to add more.  I figured I would need to do this anyway, so I went on-line and bought the program and entered the registration code they e-mailed to me.  I continued to add pictures until I had as many as I wanted.  Being an "instant gratification" person where technology is concerned, I chose to preview right away.  By default, the program displays the pictures in a random order and with various, random transitions.  In general, I thought it looked pretty good.  The program actually has many other options, including displaying the pictures for longer or shorter times, changing the transitions, adding an opening splash screens, and captions.  One thing I couldn't do was to rotate or resize the pictures after they were imported. 

      I made sure to save my screensaver project periodically while working on it.  (Select a name you can easily remember.)  Then I used the "build" option to create the actual .scr file.  I also had the option of creating a .exe file that I could give to other people to install the screensaver on their computers.  The whole process took about 30 minutes, although I could have spent much longer if I had wanted to change very many of the options.  Since I had used a lot of high-resolution pictures, the resulting screensaver file was 73Mb. I could have reduced this by decreasing the picture size and resolution before importing the pictures.  I chose not to add music, which was an option. 

      To use your new screensaver, you must copy or move the file into the C:\Windows directory.  Then right-click on any vacant space on your desktop, and drag to Properties in the pop-up window.  Click the Screensaver tab.  From the drop-down list of available screensavers, select the one you created.  Set the options, like how many minutes the computer should be idle before displaying the screensaver.  I like mine so much, I decreased the time to 10 minutes.

     

 

     

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-19-05