A Better Homescreen

We love personalization.  Making regular, everyday things special through our own lens.  In the past decade our phones have transformed from a load of identical drab grey boxes into portals into what makes you you.  Although it may sound trite, whenever I see a friend, family member, or client with a standard, bland background on their phone I see a missed opportunity.

What happens if you phone gets stolen?  A background is a great place to put some kind of identifying mark (be it a logo, phone number, email address) so the person who finds it can contact you.

I bring this up because I just went through a total reset on my phone and had to basically start over.  Instead of the background I’ve had for nearly two years (a resized version of Synapse against a plain black Homescreen), all I had were the boring images that every other iPhone owner has.  Mind you, most of them are really fantastic images that work extremely well on a phone, but again, they have become commonplace.

So I decided to do something a little more fun.

I make an iPhone-sized version of Nine One Half for my lock screen and a blurred version for my home screen.  This way we kind of get a three dimensional feeling to the image that really catches the eye and grabs whoever is looking over your shoulder.

It’s really easy to mimic what I have done with any image (with any computer, since many default graphics programs can resize and blur nowadays).  Here are the steps:

  1. Find the image you like. Make sure the content of the image is vertically orientated.  There’s no sense in doing this with a group shot with everybody standing next to each other since you will start to see bodies and heads cut off.  This type of background is really effective with lines that run up and down the screen (or that suggest movement, like the star trails in the above image).
  2. Resize it vertically to 480 pixels. Once you have the correct vertical size, you can figure out how you want to crop/resize the image to look the best on your screen.  Remember that images that are heavily centered will not be as dynamic and engaging as images that have a focal point in the thirds‘!
  3. Resize or crop the image horizontally to 320 pixels. After this step you will see exactly how the image is going to look on your phone.  Keep working at it if it doesn’t seem quite right.
  4. Blur the image. Remember to save your original image as something like “Lockscreen” (for iPhone users, anyway) before you blur it to make your Homescreen.  I chose a 6px Gaussian Blur in Photoshop as that looked the best to my eyes.  The key here is to keep a hint of the image while creating a solid separation between it and the icons on your phone.
  5. Load them on your phone. This can be done lots of ways.  The easiest way is to email the two images to yourself, open them on your phone, and press the option to save both of the images.  If you have a service like Dropbox, or sync your images to a folder on your computer, then that is even easier!
  6. Set the backgrounds. On the iPhone this is easypeasy.  Go to Settings > Wallpaper and select the default images on the screen.  Select “Camera Roll,” find the Lockscreen image, select it, press Set, then press Set Lock Screen.  Do the exact same process for the Homescreen image but make sure you press Set Home Screen the second time through.

That’s it!  Now you have a nifty Lock and Homescreen background combination that you can show off to your friends!

If you’re a client of ours you can purchase pre-sized iPhone, Android, and iPad backgrounds straight from the Studio386 Store!

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