Downloading Sample Files
DOWNLOAD a subset of imagery and a sample .ISC project with which to practice.
The Space screensaver has examples of many of the advanced features possible in iScreensaver 4. High resolution OpenGL effects with custom 3D motions, locked and unlocked sequences, and the use of sequences including images, h.264 movies, and Flash (SWF) files.
Obtaining or creating your assets
Archive.org, NASA.gov, and the BBC, for example, have various images and video clips available under various licenses. Copyright law is complex and differs from country to country, so be sure you have the rights you need to use any media assets. For many reasons, using your own work is often the best idea.
Preparing your assets
A third-party application like GIMP or Adobe Photoshop can be invaluable in adjusting, cropping, or formatting your images. We have some artwork tips for creating images with transparent masks.
For Space, some images need touch-up in Adobe Photoshop. Planets and some incomplete spheres need alpha masks. The icon needs sizing at 512x512 pixels, with an alpha mask too.
Organizing assets on disk / Setting up your folders
By placing all included assets together in one folder, it becomes simpler to package together one project for archiving, once complete. Subfolders, such as for audio, overlay art, or video, also help separate the elements for future project revivals. Certainly, your folders can be named differently, or you can go without and import files from any local storage location.
For Space, we created inside the 'iScreensaver Projects' folder: a single folder called 'Space', which holds the Space.isc project file, the installer icon.png file, a 'radio' folder for containing music files, and an 'assets' folder for containing all the images and movies. We have a list of credits for assets that require them. Eventually when we build the installers, the 'Installers' folder will appear inside the 'Space' folder.
Creating a new project
Open iScreensaver. The Projects list window will open.
Importing your video assets
The easiest way to import is to drag and drop files or folders from the desktop.
Importing your audio assets
Not all screensavers need to have audio. Screensavers with audio sometimes find themselves quickly uninstalled. However we know audio has its benefits. The easiest way to import is to drag and drop files or folders from the desktop, but we've included an easy Add File button.
Arranging sequence patterns
Items can be then moved around in the sequence area to adjust the order in which they are played, however order really doesn't matter in the case of shuffle.
Setting grouped settings
It's easiest to edit all the 'common' settings at the same time, whether it be caption text, durations, or master control over overlays. Selecting multiple items allows you to change a lot of settings at once. Remember that List View can let you resort and select items quickly.
Setting individual settings
Select each item individually to edit just its settings. The Preview window can help guide as you move through the sequence list one item at a time, as some individual images may need different settings for Display or Effects. If you find settings you'd like to transfer to other assets, the different attributes can be pasted separately. Hint: duplicating and re-using items in a sequence does not multiply the size of the final screensaver, so it's possible to have several motion effects for a single, but duplicated, asset.
Creating an alternate sequence
You can include a second sequence within the installer. It can be completely different than your first sequence, or can have subtle differences. Cut, copy, and paste assets across sequences. Again, duplicating and re-using items across sequences does not multiply the size of the final screensaver.
Setting the unlock settings
There are two ways to work with unlocking keys - either a preset list of codes, or a seed generator that uses individual user names to derive a single code per name.
Customizing controls and installers
The Controls and Installer tabs allow you to educate your end users more about your screensaver during both installation and use. The titles were set with the wizard when starting the projects, but can be changed if desired. If splash picture art is used, it will be sized to 392x120 pixels to fit. Weblinks can be set to return users to your website.
The wizard has taken care of the filenames on the individual platforms, so that you can build all platforms at the same time from the Builds tab. Or, add icon art or wallpaper, or check and copy your current plug-in information to establish a minimum your end users will need to have installed (or blank the field to not check a plugin at all).
It's really good to test your final installers, and to test on as many different machines as possible, mostly to gauge how your project responds to different hardware and monitors. What may work fast on one machine, may display differently on another.
Installing a screensaver
Of course, now you are going to want to go through the entire User Manual, which explains many more important details and gives plenty of questionable advice.
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Xochi™, XochiMedia™, iScreensaver™, iScreensavers™, iScreensaver Designer™,
iScreensaver Classic™, iScreensaver Personal™, and the DoubleRing logo are trademarks of Xochi Media Inc.
Space imagery courtesy nasa.gov; no NASA endorsement, nor sponsorship of iScreensaver implied. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.