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Master your wallpapers with Variety and Slidewall (Ubuntu Software Center)

Wallpapers have, sometimes, a relevant place on the desktop, beautifying its "face" with vivid colors, good-looking symbols, fancy textures, quotes to be remembered, etc, basically being a fast and effective solution on changing the desktop's "vibe".

Usually, users deal with wallpapers by opening an image and select it as wallpaper, a manual approach being fast, effective, yet limited to the mentioned functionality.

Variety is a handy utility that presents the user a lightweight utility to manage wallpapers, from both local and online sources.

Variety is represented via its appindicator, from where Preferences are to accessed.

Variety comes with support to display one's locally-based backgrounds from /usr/share/backgrounds (enabled by default), furthermore adding numerous powerful online wall sources, such as wallpapers.net, flickr (custom wallpapers, not its entire base), desktoppr, etc.

Adding extra local sources (like for instance, a custom local folder and/or specific images) is to be easily performed by clicking the Add Folders (adds one's folders) and/or Add Images (in order to pick certain images, as opposed to a folder containing images).

Its usage is as simple as opening the app and selecting (by checking/unchecking) the image sources, then clicking the bottom-right Save button, action followed by the automatic display of wallpapers on the desktop.

A definitely interesting aspect of Variety is its depth of customization (allowing the user to on-demand add certain portions of a website, excluding per-user-preference "dangerous"/improper words), meaning, clicking the Add Flickr summons a dialog with support to type Text, Tags, User, Group, bundle of informations used to gather and set as wallpaper data from Flickr filtered through the specified written criterion.

A similar attitude is adopted by Add Wallpapers, clicking on it, exposes a handy dialog "ready" to maneuver user's typed URL (containing a preferred wallpaper category, etc).

Variety supports useful configuration options, thus exposing 1-click away functionalities like option to change wallpapers on every x period of time (seconds, minutes), ability to download wallpapers on every x period of time, option to select landing folders (location to house the downloaded walls), etc, mainly, relevant tweaking support.

Accessing Color and Size adds the ability to further properly tweak the about-to-be-used walls, like for instance, choosing landscape orientation as a wall selection parameter (according to one's screen) and the used color "nature" (dark or light based wallpapers).

Adding an artistic touch to wallpapers is a demand satisfiable via Filters, where applying real-time-rendered effects (Oil Painting, Charcoal Painting, Heavy blur, etc) are to be located.

In order to enable Variety at login, navigate to Preferences-->check Start Variety when the computer starts

Starting the application and identifying on the desktop a desired wallpaper, tend to trigger a copying action (for later usage), action to be performed via Variety appindicator-->Move to Favorites; the Favorites folder can be changes under Preferences (like for instance, setting as Favorites the Picture folder).

Variety is available via Ubuntu Software Center.

Slidewall is a handy tool, useful to manage wallpapers from both local and online sources, combining, via an intuitive easy-to-use interface, interesting configuration options, usable in creating a wallpaper changing session in a matter of seconds.

Its main view is categorized in Preferences, Slideshow, Live Wallpapers.

Accessing Slideshow, presents the user a simplistic interface with to-be-utilized buttons on the bottom-right area and available wallpapers in the left side.

Displaying images as a slideshow is to be set via the Load Folder (adding folders containing images) and/or Load Images (load certain images), action followed by clicking the Start button (that starts the actual slideshow).

Slidewall's online component is represented by Live Wallpapers, a nifty ability to display as a desktop background live constantly-updated Earth instances (being updated on every 20 minutes from opentopia.com), new wallbase (adding, on every 15 minutes, the latest wallpapers from wallbase.cc) and random wallbase (adds random wallpapers from wallbase.cc on every 15 minutes).

Choosing a slideshow wall changing time frequency is to be performed under Preferences-->SlideShow Timing.

In order to start Slidewall at login, navigate to Preferences-->check Run Slidewall when Ubuntu is starting

Slidewall is available via Ubuntu Software Center.

Worth mentioning
Variety and Slidewall have been created as part of Ubuntu App Showdown.