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What Makes a Good Wallpaper? [Tips and Tricks]

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Target Audience

I am targeting this tutorial mainly to users that are grade levels 8 and below (~13 and under) as this tutorial is for those that little to no art, media, and/or photography experience.

1. What Makes a Good Wallpaper?


The core factors I will focus on are:

  • Originality
  • Style
  • Focal Point
  • Posing/Gesture
  • Scene
  • Lighting
  • Color


2. Creating an Idea


Before you start placing random props into your scene, think about what you are going to make. What is the idea behind it? - What makes it interesting?

 A big question you should ask yourself is: What makes this unique? Making an original piece of art is important. Just because one wallpaper is not an exact copy of another doesn't mean it is original. Copying ideas can remove originality from a wallpaper. Nobody over the age of 12 cares much about a wallpaper about herobrine anymore.

Example of an original wallpaper:



3. Creating a Focal Point


*assuming you have just begun to make a wallpaper

A focal point is the area that you want the viewer to direct their eyes at right as they look at the wallpaper. This is important because it keeps your wallpaper from being a cluttered mess. You might think that the viewer would automatically focus at the center of the wallpaper but there are factors that stop them from doing so. It is important to have a visual clues to direct the viewers eyes to the focal point.

The best way I think I can explain how to make a focal point is to show you examples:


If the viewers did not focus at the circle in the middle of the pokeball (the center), their eyes should have been directed to the bright light reflection off the pokeball. If the viewers eyes started at the bottom, the grass would have directed the eyes back up.


This wallpaper should always bring the viewer's attention back AntiSepticEye. The subject stands out as everything around him is blurred and very dark compared to his lighter colors.


This is an example of how a wallpaper doesn't require a prominent focal point and tries to bring the viewers attention all around it. This one in particular has a lot of lines that direct the viewers attention around the entire picture.

4. Consistent Style


I mentioned before that you should stay away from having a cluttered mess from your wallpaper. Having a consistent style will help you with this. 

Nowadays, I'm one of the only ones here that make wallpapers that don't have anything to do with minecraft with MI. Here is an example:


This brings more attention to it as it is different than most wallpapers here. 

The point of this section is not to move you away from Minecraft related wallpapers but to keep the consistent style in your wallpapers.

The picture above has a consistent semi-photorealistic style. Here is an example of a wallpaper with a inconsistent style:


The raygun rig is out of place. Not only is the rig a bit too detailed object-wise, it also has very detailed textures. Object like this can ruin an almost great wallpaper.

Very detailed textures are not the only things that can take away from consistency. If done incorrectly, large schematics that have been shrunk down can look very weird when put side to side with the regular sized blocks even though it is made of minecraft textures. Also, if one character is going to have a facial or very detailed body, it is important that at least the other characters in the focus have the exact amount of detail.

Here is an example of a good mix of styles:


5. Strike a Pose


Posing is very important if you want to make your art interesting. When working with Minecraft characters, everything from the legs to the head matter when it comes to posing. It is hard to express emotions with Minecraft characters even with a facial rig so it is important that you make them stand out. 


A good tutorial on character posing is here:

Even if your wallpaper does not contain pose-able characters, the placement of the objects in it are just as important. A good way to do this is to create "movement". When someone talks about movement in art, they either mean the direction the art directs the viewers eyes or the actual movement of the things in it (sometimes both).


Without much in the scene, viewers can already tell the direction the speeders are going.


6. Fill In The Blank


Assuming you now have focus of the wallpaper, you now need to fill in everything else. When making art in 3d space, you have a Foreground, Middleground, and Background. Your focus point is usually either in the middleground or between the foreground and middleground. It is important to keep any of those grounds from being empty.


In this picture, everything is filled in. In the foreground, there is the rain. In the middleground (focal point), there is the island. In the background, there is the clouds.


This is an example of how you don't have to fill in every gap but without making the viewer looking for whats missing.


This is an example of over-editing. In this case, it was to fill in the sky which was just a boring blue before the flare was added.

The most important thing to fill in is the background. It is like how action movies these days have green screens. Without the background edited in, the entire scene does not feel the same as it is with the background. This is why many users look down upon wallpapers with flatlands visible in the background.


If done correctly, fog is a great way to bring focus away from the background and back to the middle and foreground.


Blurring the background can help bring the viewers focus away from it but you still need to add some objects to the background so it isn't just a single blurred color.

 7. Lighting and Color



Lighting is a very important if you want to keep your wallpaper from looking plain.


Luckily, MI 1.0.0 brought many improvements to its lighting compared to its older versions.


Many wallpapers with a night setting usually get the lighting wrong. When making a wallpaper in a dark setting, I would always have a visible light source that explains where the light is coming from (fire, streetlight, the moon). 



Different lighting conditions can effect the mood of your wallpaper. As you might think, brighter lighting tend to be more calm and darker lighting tends to be more serious.

Color is a big factor in art and will can tie back into style. If you have ever taken an art class, you would have learned about color schemes. Those are different ways to stylize your wallpaper.


I used red for well... blood. Red is used a lot in this but in a different way than most would think. When one thinks of blood on a movie poster, it probably means its a dark slasher film. In this poster however, I made the red lighter in the font and in Mark's hair to make the mood more fun or energetic.


Sometimes, what can make a wallpaper interesting is the lack of color. Contrast is very important if you want to make monochromatic wallpapers. The subject needs to stand out with either lighter or darker colors.

8. Post Production


Mineimator does have a decent rendering system but its far from perfect. Due to the engine it is built off of (Gamemaker), the amount of features it has is limited. This is why most people use editing programs to make their animations or wallpapers look better. But, the difference between people that know how to use a program like photoshop and those who don't is huge. 


This is the unedited version of the wallpaper above in Part 4. As you can see, a lot of editing took place to make it look better.


This is a result of way too much editing. Some called it a nuclear explosion happening in the background.

Here is an example of the editing process:

  • Photoshop was not used in this to prove that you don't need a paid program to make a good wallpaper.


Other Tips:

  • Research camera angles and shots. This will help you make more cinematic and professional wallpapers. A bad camera angle can ruin wallpaper
  • Avoid using the default Steve skin. At the very least give him a facial rig
  • Don't publish your wallpaper right away. Once you think you are finished, take a break. After from 20 minutes to a day without looking at your art, look at it again. You will be surprised to find errors that you have not seen before. Have someone look at it before you publish. What is the point of sharing it if its not perfect.
  • Always have a motivation. Many times have I seen people say that they given up on their works and just shared it anyways. If you get tired working on a project, stop and find another time to do it. You will just end up making it worse if you don't.

All of these tips are what I have learned over the three years I've been using Mineimator. Congrats to anyone who actually read the whole thing. I tried to add as many different pictures as I could to keep you guys interested. If you want me to give you tip on how to improve a specific wallpaper, pm before you post it.


All of the wallpapers seen above were made by me using Mineimator and edited with external programs. The creators of the rigs used in the wallpapers can be found in their separate posts (ask if you want to know who made a specific rig)

Edited by GbStudio

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@GbStudio you have created a very, very HELPFUL topic. The way you staged your topic is ******* melodic. The extent you went into researching your points have proved momentous in your final outcome. The extent you went into detailing your points. The extent you went into assembling a fair; precise structure of your topic. YOU! explained your point; YOU! PROVED your point.

You used a plethora of images to better get your point across so much so any with half a brain would clearly understand the fundamentals of wallpaper production. You have a distinct talent for teaching. If you were a teacher, I'd make you the CEO of MY school. I believe this topic should be pinned!

Well done @GbStudio!

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