Rainmeter remains the champion of Windows customization as users keep finding creative ways to use the program.

A recent innovation is the parallax background. Parallax effect is a simple and effective way to enhance the look of your desktop background. They also include live wallpaper features.

Let’s see how you can make your own animated desktop wallpaper using parallax effect and Rainmeter.

What is a parallax effect?

The parallax effect occurs when an object looks different from two different perspectives. This is why a parallax effect gives the impression of depth as the screen is scrolled or hovered by the user.

In general, this effect is applied on various websites to enhance the user experience. And, Rainmeter makes it quite simple to create a parallax effect on the background of your desktop.

This enables you to use your mouse as a camera. So, as you move your mouse, your photos shift in 3D space, creating a beautiful animated wallpaper.

It’s easy to get good looking results using Rainmeter. That said, getting really great results requires a fair amount of creativity.

parts of parallax

To use this effect, let’s briefly consider the concept of layers. Rainmeter achieves the parallax effect by creating multiple layers, which simulate a full background.

There are two essential parts to the parallax effect; foreground and background. The foreground is made up of several PNG image files, ranging from smallest to largest.

If you’re not a geek, we recommend checking out our guide on how to convert images to the transparent PNG format. Also, larger images will transfer more than smaller images. It simulates the depth of field on your desktop.

selection of parts

For this guide, we’ll be simulating a falling bart from The Simpsons using the parallax effect. The effect required three image types: a falling bart, some clouds specifically for The Simpsons’ cartoon style, and a sky background.

position of parts

Now, place your PNG files as per your desktop resolution. If you don’t know the resolution of your desktop, check out our guide to find out the resolution of your desktop.

Also, create a transparent document the size of your monitor resolution with 100 pixels added to its length and width. Drop your files into this frame and orient the images however you like.

The way you orient your images here, you’ll see them in your background. Once you have fitted all of your images into your frame, proceed with setting up your Rainmeter folder layout.

Add another folder to this directory, and name it your parallax effect. We named the folder Bart. Add your Parallax [x] .png images to this folder. Your images folder should now look like this.

Remember to name this file ParallaxSettings.inc and have the .inc extension. This file will define the resolution of your parallax. Replace 1440 and 900 with your own resolution and save.

setting required plugins

We need a simple plugin that will track the movements of your mouse cursor to move your parallax images. You can download the plugin from this Rainmeter community post.

Save this file as Background.ini, making sure you have added the .ini extension. Next, open your Parallax folder. Create a text document, and paste the following into this file.

You need to change the P variable to the title of your parallax images folder under your [Variable] parameter. For example, our P variable is #@#Images/Bart/parallax . Change only the title in the middle, and keep the rest the same.

Remember to save your .ini file and refresh your skin to apply the effect. If you would like to install our Bart Parallax Backgrounds, you can download the .rmskin from this Deviantart post.

While Rainmeter is an amazing tool for Windows users if you are on a Mac, here is how you can change your desktop wallpaper on Mac.

Don’t stick with a static background

Sticking to static, non-moving wallpaper is fine for some. For others, the Rainmeter is a boon. The program appears to be unlimited. Sleek Rainmeter skins are created daily to suit the desktop style you desire.

The Rainmeter parallax effect is one of the most recent innovations in Rainmeter skins, and its use is only limited by your imagination.

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