New artwork coming in 5.4 & the tale of a troublesome wallpaper

For the past month I’ve been slightly more active than usual, and I’m excited for this release and some of the art I’ve managed to throw into the pipe;

Icons, Icons!

I would like to make a special mention that not all of these icons have been greenlit, and several of them are pending approval and may be dropped/require changes. Some were literally finished minutes ago while others have already been integrated into projects. \o/

image10430After “harmlessly” throwing in a couple monochrome icons from my personal projects, I found myself reading a few of the icon requests and one thing lead to another… Now I’ve pushed in somewhere around 25 new icons, mostly towards apps with the goal of filling in gaps of common applications. These new icons will hopefully bring a much more cohesive launcher menu, with more core and popular applications having Breezy icons.

Some of these may be shunted to an extended repo; 3rd parties get antsy when they see their logos get “breezified”, so “branded” icons need to occasionally be separated from the main repository to avoid troubles and takedown requests.

Lastly but not least; Uri and Andreas have been nothing short of awesome in helping me get these out, thanks guys!

The tale of an annoying, terrible, awful wallpaper, and How I Made it.

I’d like to say that I’m less a man and more a force of nature – one able to sweep my hand and make art bloom at will… But this would be a lie, and occasionally getting art out there makes the only force I can muster feel like a fart in the wind. The new wallpaper for 5.4 just did not want to be made, and took days on and off trying to figure out what to do. I nearly just suggested we ship a backup wallpaper I had on the sidelines.

Eventually ideas got figured out, and after an unstructured failure (again, making me look at “the backup”) I started taking screenshots while using a more structured approach. I imagine I wanted all reading this to feel my pain. Either that or laugh. One of the two. Either way, the new wallpaper was one of the more involved processes used for a Plasma 5 wallpaper, and here are the steps for how it came together;

The new 5.4 wallpaper, “Horizon”, started off like this;

start

It’s how I’ve started every wallpaper, by simply drawing a triangle grid in Inkscape. This time around I also halved the height of successive rows near the top to give it a ‘curving away’ effect. I them exported this grid as a PNG with the intent to curve the grid.

snapshot2

Originally, I tried to do this step in GIMP, and I need to say I was very disappointed. I don’t know why, but the GIMP cage transform tool is utter and terrible crap. Sorry guys but… Seriously? Anyway, I looked up how Krita could handle it, and again and again Krita impresses me; not only did Krita have amazing transform options, but they were all extremely fast. I swapped out to the Warp transform tool, and curved the grid twice; one bowing in and another bulging out, which I imported back into Inkscape.

snapshot1

Above you can see me tracing the new curved grid. I set up snapping so each triangle would snap perfectly into place. Each triangle had to be drawn individually because they are all slightly different due to the curve.

snapshot4

After tracing, I gave each half a base colour. At this point, I fiddled a with several colour combinations and patterns. Because I’m an idiot, this meant I adjusted each triangles gradient vector individually; though I did configure Inkscape to manipulate all gradients at once.

I took a break from endlessly tweaking colours, and I cropped the excess from around the canvas. Eventually I decided that each side would need two palettes, and how I would lay out the colours to get a nice effect.

snapshot5

The 4 gradients that I would use would have a light and dark end. All the dark ends would terminate in the same purple so I could blend the gradients near the edges. I would also “twist” the gradients in a way that would break uniformity a bit without looking noisy. I’d like to say I got the ratios of all the stuff I’d done right the first time, but it took some tweaking until I was happy that the gradients were consistent with the “rules” I made. I also stuck with the Breeze colour palette again.

After that, it was just a matter of adding the usual highlights, and I also specifically added a hairline white trim to the triangles to emphasize the grid. I did another round of tweaking, and reached the final wallpaper, which can be downloaded by clicking the image below:

desktopWallpaper-horizon.2560x1600-1.1-kvermette

And here’s what the blurred version looks like for the lock screen. The wallpaper isn’t using blur in the strictest sense, and also uses noise spreading to give it an extremely subtle speckle effect;

snapshot6

… So after an annoying, terrible, awful run of bad wallpapers I now need to toot my own horn and say I’m pleased with this final result. I’m also satisfied with the break-away from “flat grids”.

The new wallpaper and icons will be available in 5.4. I’d also like to thank the VDG, everyone is doing great stuff. Additionally, if you are attending Akademy I recommend to the utmost that you attend the various VDG events; we’re interested in roping developers to help out, and any coders will be appreciated. Great UI/UX is more than pretty pictures, and we’d love for developers to contribute so we make the entire package together!

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49 thoughts on “New artwork coming in 5.4 & the tale of a troublesome wallpaper

  1. Hola, me asombra lo sencillo y simple que puede ser el buen diseño. Que linux usas o en que linux se hicieron esas capturas? se ve hermoso y linux por lo general, al menos las versiones que conozco aparte de Elementary no son asi de agradables visualmente, gracias de antemanio

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  2. I thought those drugs are no longer available since the 70s. Feels like a revival of the first LSD experiments. Mix Forms and Colors, mix them again, and then aeh swirl them, maybe another round for a mix: got it.

    Luckily e.g. Fedora provides a blue simple and clean version of that color experiment which eases my eyes.

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  3. What the hell!
    Sure, changing is easy. That’s not the point.
    Why waste precious space for such an abomination of a wallpaper in the first place!?

    Annoyingly all screenshots taken by upstream, users, media, etc,
    end up with the wallpaper craziness.
    It’s the default and that is what seemingly emerges everywhere.

    I’m pretty sure we will see more of the crazy colored wallpaper designs in the future,
    that’s what I am complaining about.

    Why not have a saner choice? Konqi as the current mascot for example. The adorable logo makes much more sense. Just a suggestion. Or keep it one-colored.

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  4. How about the projects that has build own identity in years? Should they just change their icon, branding etc just because KDE feels so?

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  5. I absolutely love the new icons and the walpapers. I like all the nice colors in it. Maybe there are a bit to many cold colors in there for my taste but that’s just a minor discrepany with my taste. But all else the composition and all is just fantastic. In fact the only thing that realy bothers me with the new Breeze artwork is that the widget style is too flat and that the monocrome icons on the toolbars and menus don’t have enough visibility (contrast) when using the Dark Breeze theme. Is it possible to fix this so that monocrome icons look good in both dark and normal Breeze color schemes/themes? All else is just perfect. Keep up the great work.

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    1. There’s been a tonne of discussion about Breeze and dark themes in the VDG, and we’re trying to figure out if there’s any better way to cope with the varying colour rollouts. There is a Breeze Dark theme which I don’t use myself, so I can’t say how good it is as a daily driver on dark themes.

      I’ve brought it up a couple times myself in our conversations because on a per-application basis some programs can change their colours individually – which causes additional problems.

      This is a thing on our radar, and we’re banging our heads now and then to see if any ideas rattle out.

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  6. Icons look amazing, more of them pretty please.

    Wallpaper, sorry is psychedelic and absolutely horrible.
    As it seems you were the original author of the first catastrophe edition,
    please stop and try a more sane approach.

    Wallpaper is not appealing and has to die.

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    1. You know you can change them, right? I’d really prefer not to read non-constructive comments like this on the posts of doers and makers.

      Myself, I like these colourful backgrounds as the login screen wallpaper, but will rotate the actual desktop background with some random collections. I suggest you do the same, and perhaps contribute some wallpapers to KDE yourself?

      One more thing — it’d be great if the old Plasma 5.x wallpapers could be included in the installations. I just can’t find the older full-res versions anywhere.

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      1. Here’s a constructive comment: please use less colors and make them ‘soft’ or in other words ‘easy on the eyes’. This wp reminds me of the scene In the ‘fear and loathing in Las Vegas’ when the guy was attacked by the colors/shapes from the carpet.

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      2. Here’s a link to all the wallpapers that I’ve put together, it doesn’t include the original triangle wallpaper – but it includes all subsequent wallpapers and sources;

        https://share.kde.org/index.php/s/e943244361c19c2b6e2c04ab8b3dccb7

        I (think) it was Thomas who observed the demand for the successive iterations be included for people who like the older wallpapers. Don’t know if it will happen, whether it would be packaged standard, or if it would be in the extended wallpapers package – but we know some people have gotten attached to the older wallpapers, and no matter how often I share that link, people have gotten frustrated when the new wallpapers roll in and there’s no obvious way to get it back.

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    1. Nay; When I started this year I didn’t imagine doing international travel at all, nonetheless to two events! So I got to do the Sprint, but I wasn’t ready for Akademy. I’m aiming to attend next year, now that I know it’s a thing that can happen. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful work! I have to say that Plasma 5 is hands down the best looking Linux desktop today. I’m currently with 5.3.1, and I even switched to Kubuntu (both home and at work!) to get to use this beauty as soon as possible.

    I’m just impressed each and every day. Lots of thanks to everyone who made this happen!

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  8. I’ll be frank and honest here. I’ve taken a look at the new KDE 5 software and as of yet, I’m unimpressed with the way it’s functioning. As to the graphics you are using for both wallpaper and icons. Here’s my take on it. The icons I personally look forward to as most of the icons I’ve seen are NOT aesthetically pleasing. The wallpaper is entirely a different story. Though you explain how you came about it here and I do not doubt your talent, I think it’s utterly ugly. Like many, the wallpaper is one of the very first things I switch out. I’d be happier with a solid background shipping with any distribution instead of this wallpaper. Again, I don’t doubt your talent, but the wallpaper is the first thing that goes when I load up a distribution.

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    1. I’ve got a back-log of icons I’m trying to get in before the artwork freeze; I’ll try to do Clementine, but I don’t know if I can make it happen this release.

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  9. Very nice! Both icons and the wallpaper (though, I’m more fan of the blurred version 🙂 )

    The only complaint I have is the safari-like icon (guessing for konqueror or rekonq?). The icon is pretty, the complaint is that it looks like safari logo.

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    1. Oh, I was looking at the Konquerer icon wondering what you were talking about – but it’s the Marble icon you were looking at. Huh. I hadn’t noticed that.
      I guess it’s between a rock and a hard place, because the marble icon is the same style of compass as safari, only tilted. Since Breeze uses forward-facing icons, it can’t be tilted anymore. It’s one of the icons awaiting feedback though, so we’ll figure it out.

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        1. 100 years from now icon designers will be complaining about the monopoly of solar-system graphics being used for the intermind icons.

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  10. Neat, neat icons! Can’t wait to have’em! =O

    And I don’t think we had bad wallpapers as I can only see them improving on top of each other, which is what I see from this one, now welcomely breaking flat grids with a really nice effect!

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  11. One thing I have noticed with these icons, and which seems to be a trend, is that the majority basically looks like this: ●. That is, they are shaped like a circle/disc. Not taking advantage of different shapes is a huge loss of opportunity, IMHO. An icon will work much better if it can be ‘read’ even when viewed as a silhouette (cf. the traditional principle of ‘staging’ in animation). I’ve written a bit more on this at the following forum post: https://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=285&t=119635&start=75#p306805

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  12. Very nice work both on icons and the wallpaper. I appreciate it greatly – Plasma 5.x is starting to look more and more professional. Awesome!

    Like

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