Activity 1: Create a Desktop Wallpaper


Are you looking for a stylish wallpaper for your computer desktop? Why not creating your own wallpaper? The greatest part of it is that you can decide the style you want and you can include a picture of yourself in the wallpaper.

In this activity, you’re going to learn how to create a desktop wallpaper from scratch. By doing this activity, you will learn the necessary skills of Adobe Photoshop.

This activity consist of two parts.

  • In the first part you will follow the provided tutorial in order to create a wallpaper.
  • In the second part you have to apply you newly acquired skills in order to design your own wallpaper.


A wallpaper is the background pattern or picture on a computer screen or mobile device (cell phone). On a computer it is usually for the desktop, while for a cell phone it is generally the background for the home screen. A wallpaper image can be a JPEG or a GIF file format. Each operating system (Microsoft, MAC etc.) provides several pre-installed wallpaper images for the user to choose from. A user can also choose to download wallpaper images from the Internet and use one of these instead.


Students are expected:

  • to work independently
  • to understand the purpose of a desktop wallpaper
  • to create a wallpaper from scratch in Adobe Photoshop
  • to capture a picture of themself and include them in the wallpaper
  • to save the finished work as a JPEG and PSD file

Students are expected to understand and apply the following skills/techniques:

  • upload a picture in Photoshop
  • adjust the color on images and shapes by using the gradient map
  • scale and wrap an image or shape
  • create a shape with the pen tool
  • select an image with the quick selection tool
  • erase the background of a clip art with the magic eraser


Part A: Step by Step

In this step by step instruction you are going to learn how to make a savannah wallpaper like the ones below. It is important that you not only follow the written instructions, but also to watch the video tutorial in order to get the best result for your wallpaper.

Step by Step How to Create a Wallpaper from Scratch

Hint: Don’t forget to create for every step a new layer!

Step 1: Start

  • Open Adobe Photoshop
  • Create a new file, go to File>New, make the following settings Name: wallpaper; Width: 1280 pixel; Hight: 1024 pixel
  • Duplicate the layer because it is locked. Click right mouse button>click duplicate layer

Step 2: Apply Background Color

  • To change the background color go to Layer (in the toolbar)>click Layer Style>click Blending Options>click Gradient Overlay
  • Click on the Gradient field (rectangular color box) to open the Gradient Editor
  • Select in the Gradient Editor the orange-yellow-orange preset style,
  • change the colors from the preset style, as you can see in the picture below, watch the tutorial in order to see how to make this changes

Step 3: Add Hills

  • Create a new layer and label it as “hill”
  • Select the Custom Shape Tool from the Tools panel. Use the rectangle tool to create the foreground hill by adding it at the bottom margin of the canvas. Default color is black.
  • Go to Edit>Transform>Wrap
  • Drag the points up and down in order to create a curve like a hill. If you are satisfied with your hill press the Enter button on your keyboard.
  • Next, create a new layer for the middleground hill. Label it as “hill 2”.
  • Move the layer below the layer “hill” in order that the second hill appears behind them.
  • Use again the rectangle tool. Look at the below tutorial how to change the shape of the hill.
  • Go to Layer>Layer Style>Blending Options>Outer Glow
  • Apply the following settings:

  • now, create two small background hills on separate layers
  • move the layers behind the above created layers
  • Go to Layer>Layer Style>Blending Options>Outer Glow
  • Make the following settings:

Tutorial to Step 1 -3

Step 4: Create the Sun

  • Open a new layer, label it as “sun” and move it under the hill layers
  • Go to Custom shape tool>choose the Ellipse tool and create a circle, which represents the sun. When dragging the Ellipse tool press at the same time the shift key on your keyboard to get an even circle. Move the circle behind the background hills as if the sun goes up.
  • Go to Layer>Layer Style>Color Overlay>change the color in white
  • Click Outer Glow and make the following settings:

  • Next you’ll draw the rays of the sun, applying for this step the Pen Tool, placing the rays layer under the layer containing the sun itself. Look the tutorial how to use the Pen Tool.
  • On the Layers panel make for each ray the following settings

Tutorial to Step 4

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Step 5: Create Grassland

  • Open a new Layer and move it above the layer called “hill”
  • Click Brush tool and choose a brush that looks like long grass, use black color for the brush
  • apply the brush tool across the foreground hill so it appears like grass

Step 6: Add a Tree, Giraffes and a Picture of Yourself

  • Go to Microsoft Word and search for a tree and giraffes cliparts
  • Copy and paste the tree to Photoshop (if you don’t remember how to do it, just look at the tutorial) change the color in black
  • Watch the tutorial in order to get to know how to change the color of the cliparts

Save the finished wallpaper in your activity 1 folder as: firstlastname_wallpaper.jpg and firstlastname_wallpaper.psd

Tutorial to Steps 5-6

Part B: Project

In part A you learned essential Photoshop skills. Now, its your turn to apply the newly acquired skills and design your own wallpaper.


  • Capture a picture of yourself (with friends if you like) and include it in the wallpaper
  • Use the Gradient Map for the background
  • Create shapes with the Custom Shape tool and Pen tool
  • Include different cliparts

Save the wallpaper in your activity 1 folder as: firstlastname_wallpaper2.jpg and firstlastname_wallpaper2.psd

Be Creative!


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  • Folder setup………..….. ………….2 marks
  • Saving Procedures ……. …………2 marks
  • Part 1 …..……………………. ….20 marks
  • Part 2 …………………………………20 marks