Workbench Background Picture


Amiga fanboy
Dec 17, 2007
São Leopoldo, RS
This thread is entirely stolen from Cammy in! She is a top Amiga user and very nice gal. The post itself is too good for not making it accessible in other forums, like this one.

Cammy wrote:
AmigaOS uses a system called Datatypes, which it uses to load image, sound, music, text, video, animation or anything else a datatype is written for. Once a datatype is written for a particular file format, any Amiga program that uses the datatypes system will be able to load it then. The most common picture formats are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. You can get datatypes for all of these for AmigaOS, so you will be able to use any of these file formats with WBPattern (In the Workbench:preferences/ drawer). Workbench has datatypes for the ILBM/IFF format already too, which is the common Amiga picture format used in Deluxe Paint.

Setting up your Workbench requires some consideration first. Do you want it to look pretty, but be too slow to use, would you like it to look old and boring, but run super fast, or would you like something in-between, looking acceptable and working well?

Personally, I would recommend running Workbench in 16 colours, no more, no less, on an A1200. If you start increasing the colours, not only will you be using a lot more ChipRAM, but the refresh time will be slower. Workbench will look better if you have it set in at least 640x400, but it can flicker if you use an interlaced screenmode. This can be reduced with the tool MagicTV, or eliminated by using a VGA adapter and VGA-Only/Multiscan modes, by using a flicker fixer like the Indivision AGA, or by using an S-Video or Scart adapter and an LCD TV with a built-in flickerfixer (many have these, even though they aren't listed as a feature).

Download and install FullPalette. This will allow you to lock all 16 colours so they're always the same, so you can remap your images in advance to save time remapping them every time Workbench loads.

Download and load this palette into FullPalette (once it's installed) and save it!

Note your screen resolution. Let's just say it's 640x480. We would then go on the web and find some cute anime girl wallpapers. There are millions of them out there so it shouldn't be hard to find the one you want with Google Images. Save the image and load it into an image processing program, then scale it down to 640x480 (or whatever your Amiga's resolution is). Save the image as a PNG.

Now you need to remap the image to your Workbench's new locked 16 colour palette! To do this, you could use Personal Paint. First, open PPaint, then change the screen mode to Low Res 16 colours, no overscan. Then go to the colour menu and grab the Workbench's palette. You should see the palette of the screen change to the one used by Workbench now, which are several shades of grey, two blues, two greens, red, pink, brown, copper, yellow and orange. Now go to the Brush menu and load the new anime girl PNG file you saved. After a little while, it should load and remap the image, but it will still look all weird. What it has done is remapped the image from 24bit to 8bit. Now you need to complete the process by remapping it from 8bit to 4bit, your current screendepth. Personal Paint has two dithering methods to choose from when you remap images, but sometimes (in the case of cartoony images at least) they can look better without dithering. It's best just to try each option for each image and choose the best results. Usually Floyd Steinberg looks best. Once you have dithered your image to your 16 colour palette, save it as a ILBM/IFF image anywhere on your hard drive (make a Patterns drawer if you want to), then close Personal Paint.

Load up WBPattern, select the new image, test it, and save it.

You don't have to use Personal Paint, there are other image processing programs that can do the same thing, remapping an image to a set palette (like Image Studio). It also helps to have extra RAM when doing all of this stuff! And if you do have FastRAM and a 020 or better processor, download and install FBlit and FText so that your images and fonts won't take up precious ChipRAM.
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