Creating Your Own NXE Wallpapers:
You will need:
- Some kind of image editing software
- Large images to work from (your source material)
- A template for testing purposes
The Image Editing Software
For this, I would recommend using either Photoshop or GIMP. Photoshop costs money, so if you don’t already have it, I would recommend using GIMP, which is open source and therefore freeware. You can download GIMP HERE. The more you play around and experiment with your chosen software, the better and more efficient you will become and the more tricks you’ll be able to apply to your wallpapers for a better end result.
The Source Material
Before you start, you’ll need some images to work from. These images need to be fairly large in dimension; otherwise you’ll end up having to upscale the image, which will result in a grainy wallpaper once applied to the 360.
The main thing you need to know is where to position things on your wallpaper for best viewing on the NXE. A template will help you make these decisions by showing you the areas that won’t be visible once applied as a wallpaper.
The main obvious one is the oval shaped ‘ground’, or ‘lid’ as some people like to call it. This is the grey area in the lower half of the screen that your friend’s avatars stand on when viewing your friends list.
You will also need to be careful of your placement of images in the upper corners of the wallpaper – on the left is your scrollable list (My Xbox, Inside Xbox, Spotlight, Game Marketplace etc) and on the right is your gamerpic, gamertag and gamerscore. So you’ll need to keep these areas relatively plain, otherwise they make the writing difficult to read, and give the wallpaper an amateurish feel. As it’s white writing, it’s actually best to keep these areas a dark colour, but sometimes this obviously can’t be avoided. Keep it plain and it usually works out fine.
To download a template, click HERE
(File format is .PSD – this is native to Photoshop but will also open in GIMP. Template is also 1920 X 1080 so will need to be resized manually if using another wallpaper size)
Other Things You Should Know
Image resolution is important if you don’t want your image to be stretched out of it’s original proportions. It is a safe bet to work with an image size of 1920 X 1080 pixels. Having said that, the 360 will scale up any smaller images so as long as you make sure you keep the aspect ratio divisible by 1920 X 1080, the 360 should display it without stretching or obscuring the image. So the image sizes that will work are:
1920 X 1080
1600 X 900
1280 X 720
1024 X 576
960 X 540
Just bear in mind that the smaller your image dimensions, the more pixelated the wallpaper becomes when you apply it to the NXE dashboard, so it’s really best to work to an image size as large as you can, depending on the source material you are using.
It’s always best to use JPEG as the file format to save in, at as high a quality as you can get. More compression = more pixilation. GIFs and various other formats cannot be read by your XBox 360.
I’ve Made My First Wallpaper and I Want to Submit it! What should I Do?
Second: Test it! This is the most helpful thing you could do to speed up the process of upping the wallpaper to the site. Sometimes you can make a wallpaper that looks great on your screen, and even works with the template applied over it, but once applied to the 360, it just looks bad. So please test it on your own 360, to make sure it looks as you intended it to, and then it won’t have to be tweaked before uploading, or worse, disregarded altogether!
Taken everything in? Why not go back to the tutorial menu page and get started on some of the activities there!