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Introduction
Main Interface
Main Status
Wallpaper Groups
Images
Image Effects
Image Searches
RSS Feeds
Settings


Introduction

ChronoWall is an all-in-one desktop wallpaper manager for Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP. With it, you can turn a mundane desktop into a dynamic, ever-changing world that mimicks nature. One of the key features of ChronoWall is the ability to view images as your wallpaper based on the time of day and the time of year. In addition to viewing static images, you can apply linear effects to them based on the time elapsed. You can create unlimited groups with associated schedules, and each group can have as many images in them as you want. Collages can also be added to wallpapers, allowing you to view several photos at once with style. You have full control on how you want your images displayed. ChronoWall supports images from your computer and images from several online sources.

ChronoWall also comes with several images that were kindly provided by Ryan Bliss of digitalblasphemy.com. Head over to his website to check out the rest of his awesome work!


System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP
  • Memory: 1 GB recommended
  • Hard Drive: At least 5GB for the resample cache, several GB more if using online sources
  • CPU: At least a dual-core CPU is recommended
  • Screen resolution: Minimum of 1024x768. Neither the width nor the height can be smaller than these dimensions.
  • Video Card: For desktop transitions, you must have a hardware GPU that supports Direct3D 9.0c at a minimum

Installing, Running and Upgrading

Installation Process

To install ChronoWall, double-click the Windows Installer package to start the installation process. You will be presented with a welcome screen. You can use the back/next navigation buttons to navigate throughout the installation steps. The second screen will show the EULA. Please read over this document carefully. You must accept the terms and conditions of the EULA to continue. Once you have accepted the agreement, you can pick an installation folder. For best results, it is recommended that ChronoWall be installed in a local drive or folder. After reviewing everything, click next to complete the installation process.

If you are unable to install the software for some reason, you can request help in the Support section of this website.

Launching ChronoWall

After the installation process has finished, you can launch ChronoWall from your start menu. Navigate to Start -> All Programs -> ChronoWall and click ChronoWall (with the blue clock icon) to launch the software.

When you launch ChronoWall for the first time, you will see the main interface. If for some reason you don't see anything after launching it, check your system tray for the ChronoWall icon and double-click it to open the main window. ChronoWall only shows it's main interface upon startup the first time you launch it. For subsequent lauches, the program will launch silently in your system tray.

Initial Settings

In order for ChronoWall to accurately calculate the time of day and time of year, you will need to set your latitude and longitude. Click the Settings button (it looks like a gear at the top of the main interface) and follow the instructions for setting your location.

If you have purchased the product, you need to enter your serial key. ChronoWall will work without a serial key for 30 days after you install it for the first time.

Controlling ChronoWall's auto-start behavior

By default, ChronoWall is placed in your Startup folder and will launch every time you log onto your computer. If you do not want this behavior, you can right-click ChronoWall's shortcut under the Startup folder and select Delete.

If you decide you want to restore ChronoWall's auto-start behavior after deleting its shortcut from the Startup folder, open the Start menu, right-click All Programs and select Open All Users. Then, navigate to Programs -> ChronoWall and copy the program's shortcut to the Startup folder.

Upgrading from a Previous Installation

To upgrade ChronoWall, download the latest version and install it over the existing version. You do not need to uninstall the old version.


Main Interface

Header

The top of the interface, called the header, shows the following icons: Home, Search, RSS and Settings. Clicking on each of them will show the appropriate view.

Wallpaper Groups List

On the left of the interface, you can see all of the wallpaper groups. These wallpaper groups contain all the images and associated schedules that ChronoWall uses. This list can be sorted and filtered, allowing you to manage these groups easier.

Header Buttons

Home is where you can view the main status and create wallpaper groups. This is where you will spend most of your time in ChronoWall.

Search is where image searches from Flickr, Google and Bing can be created, viewed and used in wallpaper groups.

RSS is where media RSS feeds can be added, viewed and used in wallpaper groups.

Settings is where you can change the various configuration options of ChronoWall. Here, you can set the location, authorize to online services, change the way collages look and much more.



Main Status

Overview

The main status screen shows all the images and wallpaper groups ChronoWall has loaded for viewing on your desktop. Here, you can get an overview of what you should expect to see. In addition, you can perform other tasks, such as excluding images, enabling/disabling ChronoWall and changing your wallpaper on-demand.

Active Groups and Images

The Active Groups column lists the wallpaper groups that are currently being used. These groups are sorted alphabetically and show a short description of the daily schedule that corresponds to each group.

The Active Images column lists all the images that ChronoWall is using. Each image shows the corresponding wallpaper group that it is associated with. These images are sorted by group alphabetically, followed by the type, display mode and name (alphabetically).

Mini Screen

The center of the main status shows all the monitors you have on your computer, along with the backgrounds that are shown on each screen. If there are no images loaded and/or your monitor layout has changed since the last background switch occurred, you will see a message indicating that your background has not been set.

From here, you can exclude a background image that you do not like by right-clicking it on the mini view of the screen and selecting Exclude Background Image.

Enabling and Disabling ChronoWall

You can enable/disable ChronoWall by clicking the Enable/Disable button. Disabling ChronoWall prevents it from changing your wallpaper. This is useful if you are using software that doesn't cope well with a changing desktop, but don't wish to exit ChronoWall completely.

Changing your Wallpaper

ChronoWall normally changes your desktop automatically according to the schedule specified. You can also change your wallpaper on-demand by clicking Change Now. This is useful for seeing how changes affect your desktop without having to wait for your wallpaper to change. You can also see the wallpaper change status in real-time below this button.


Wallpaper Groups

To simplify the organization of images into schedules, ChronoWall uses what are called Wallpaper Groups. A Wallpaper Group is a group of images that you assign a schedule and 'change frequency' to. Each wallpaper group can be enabled/disabled at will, allowing you to temporarily add/remove images that appear on your desktop.

In ChronoWall, every image that appears on your desktop is part of a wallpaper group. Wallpaper groups can contain any number of images (even one or none).

You can always view the wallpaper groups on the left-hand side of the main interface, regardless of which view you are in. This allows you to manage wallpaper groups throughout the entire program.


Wallpaper Group Schedules

Introduction

In ChronoWall, wallpaper groups can be associated with schedules that indicate both the time of the year and the time of the day, depending on the group's type. Wallpaper groups can have their type set to Schedule or On-demand.

If a wallpaper group has its type set to Schedule, images from that group will appear on your desktop if the time of the day and the time of the year is during its specified schedule.

Wallpaper groups that have their type set to On-demand do not have a schedule — rather, images from them always appear when they are enabled. This section does not apply to those groups.

Editing a Wallpaper Group's Schedule

If you are creating a new wallpaper group, the group's schedule will automatically be shown underneath the group's images. If you are editing a group, click Edit Schedule (underneath the group's images) to show the schedule. You can then set the time of the year and time of the day.

Times of the year can be the following:

  • Date
  • Season
  • Every Day

To view images in this wallpaper group every day, select every day next to Show these images in the Dates of Appearance section of the group's schedule settings. To see these images during specific times of the year, select during the following times of the year and set the appropriate selections next to Beginning at and and ending at.

If using a season for the beginning/ending time and a date for the other, be sure to take into account your latitude.

Times of the day can be the following:

  • Sun position (shown in the order of occurance)
    1. Dawn (Astronomical) Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon, sky is still dark, lightest stars may not be visible - twilight begins
    2. Dawn (Nautical) Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon, objects slightly discernable in ideal conditions
    3. Dawn Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon, sky is slightly light - twilight ends
    4. Sunrise Sun is right above the horizon
    5. Mid-morning halfway between Sunrise and Noon
    6. Noon halfway between Sunrise and Sunset - the middle of the day
    7. Mid-afternoon halfway between Noon and Sunset
    8. Sunset Sun is right at the horizon
    9. Dusk Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon, sky is still slightly light - twilight begins
    10. Dusk (Nautical) Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon, objects slightly discernable in ideal conditions
    11. Dusk (Astronomical) Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon, sky is completely dark, lightest stars become visible - twilight ends
    12. Night (First Quarter)* halfway between Sunset and Midnight
    13. Midnight halfway between Sunset and Sunrise - the middle of the night
    14. Night (Last Quarter)* halfway between Midnight and Sunrise - the last quarter of the night
    15. *Note that ChronoWall's Night 'First Quarter' and Night 'Last Quarter' labels coincide with the nomenclature of moon phases - there is no official name for these times of the night
  • Time
  • 24 hours

To view images in this wallpaper group 24-hours a day, select 24 hours next to Show these images in the Times of Appearance section of the group's schedule settings. To see these images during specific times of the day, select during the following times of the day and set the appropriate selections next to Beginning at and and ending at.

If using a sun position for the beginning/ending time and a time for the other, be sure to take into account your location, offsets, the time of the year and daylight savings time, or you might get undesirable results.

Sun Position Offsets

For sun positions, you can add an Offset to it if you want to specify a time such as '1 hour before sunset'.

Notes on Sun Positions

'Noon' and 'Midnight' sun positions rarely coincide to 12:00 PM and 12:00 AM — these are Solar Noon and Solar Midnight. During daylight savings time, Noon and Midnight may be as late as 1:30 PM / 1:30 AM.

Best Practices

When using sun positions, think of 'how it will appear outside', rather than attempting to translate them to an actual time.


Creating and Editing Wallpaper Groups

If you have not read the Wallpaper Groups section, please do so before proceeding with this section.
If you have not read the Schedules section, please do so before proceeding with this section.

Creating Wallpaper Groups

To create a wallpaper group, from the Home view, click the New button on the upper-left corner of the window. In the new screen, you will see fields for the wallpaper group name, type, whether the group is enabled, change frequency, a place to add images, the schedule, and the Discard/Add buttons. Any of the fields can be set in any order.

Fields:

  • Name:
    1. Here, you can specify a name for this wallpaper group. This name will appear in the list on the left of the main window so you can easily identify this group later on. If you already know what you are creating this group for, you can give it a name now. Otherwise, you can leave this field blank and come back to it later. Each wallpaper group must have a unique name. If you leave this field empty or enter a duplicate name when creating a group, a unique name will be created for it when the Add button is clicked.

  • Type:
    1. You can specify this wallpaper group as a Schedule or an On-demand group. The Schedule type is a wallpaper group that has a time of the year and time of the day associated with it. An On-demand wallpaper group does not have a schedule; rather, its images only appear when it that group is enabled — and when it is enabled, those images appears every day of the year, 24 hours a day.

      On-demand groups and Schedule groups that appear 24 hours a day, every day of the year are functionally identical. However, On-demand groups are labelled differently and always appear at the top of the wallpaper group list.
  • Enabled checkbox:
    1. When checked, this wallpaper group is active and its images will appear during its schedule, or always if it is on-demand.
  • Change frequency:
    1. This indicates how often ChronoWall will change your wallpaper. Each group has its own change frequency. When multiple groups are active that have different change frequencies, the value with the shortest time period is used. If all wallpaper groups have a 'never' change frequency and there is more than one image available, ChronoWall will change your wallpaper every 3 minutes.
  • Images:
    1. Please see the Images section
  • Schedule:
    1. Please see the Schedules section

Buttons:

  • Discard/Add:
    1. When you are finished creating your new wallpaper group, click the Add button to create it. If you want to cancel the addition, you can click the Discard button. You will then return to the main status view.

Notes on Empty Groups

You do not have to add any images to create a wallpaper group. After creating an empty group, it will show up in the list of active groups during its schedule — however, since there are no images added to it, nothing will appear on your desktop from it. A reason for creating an empty group might be so that you can add search image results / RSS feed images to it later.

Editing Wallpaper Groups

To edit a wallpaper group, double-click a group on the left-hand list while in the Home view. If any changes to the group are made, the Back / Save buttons will change to Discard / Save buttons. You can then click Save to save your changes. To cancel your changes, click Discard. To return to the main status view without making any changes, click Back.

Deleting Wallpaper Groups

To delete a wallpaper group, when in the Home view while viewing the main status screen, right-click any group and select Delete. Answer Yes to the confirmation dialog box if you really want to delete that group. Note that this process is not undoable, so make sure you have the right group selected.

Enabling/Disabling Wallpaper Groups

You can enable / disable a wallpaper group either by opening it up, un-checking the Enabled checkbox, and clicking Save, or by right-clicking it (while in the Home view, on the main status screen) and selecting Enable / Disable.


Images

Images are added to wallpaper groups, which are then shown on your desktop when that image's group's schedule is active.

There are several different types of images that you can add. They include:

  • Files (.bmp, .jpg, .png)
  • Folders
  • Photos from your friends on Facebook
  • Online Searches (Flickr, Google, Bing)
  • RSS Feeds


Adding Files and Folders from your Computer

Images from your computer can be added to wallpaper groups in several different ways:

  • When adding/editing a wallpaper group, click the Add button (shown on the top-right above the image list for an opened wallpaper group) to open a dropdown menu. After selecting either File... or Folder..., a new dialog will open allowing you to browse for images or folders. Select the images/folders you want and click Open to add them.
  • You can drag and drop one more more files from Explorer to the list of images in the wallpaper group that you are adding or editing.
  • You can add one or more files to multiple wallpaper groups simultaneously. While dragging files from Explorer, hold down the CTRL button during the drag operation. When those images are dropped, a dialog will open that shows all the available groups, sorted by date and time. You can select one or more groups (by holding down CTRL). When you are satisfied, click OK. To cancel the operation, click Cancel.


Adding Photos from your friends on Facebook

To add a photos from a friend on Facebook to a wallpaper group, click the Add button above the list of images of an opened group and select Facebook from the dropdown menu. In the new dialog, you can select which friends you would like to see photos from.

Before any photos can be seen from your friends, you must first authorize to Facebook and select your friends to download photos from.

Adding Images from Searches

To add images from online image searches and RSS feeds, drag the respective item to the group on the left hand side while in the either view. If you do not have any searches or RSS feeds, you must first add them.

For example, to add an entire online search of "beaches" to view on your wallpaper, you would first navigate to the Image Searches view, find the "beaches" image search in the list, start dragging it, and drop it into a wallpaper group. For more information about Searches and RSS Feeds, please see Image Searches or RSS Feeds.

Display Modes

Images can be viewed in several different display modes, listed below.

List of Display Modes:

Center:

The image is placed in the center of the screen, unaltered from its original size. Edges are cropped off the screen.

Stretch:

The image is stretched so that it is filled to the entire screen. It may become distorted.

Tile:

The image is repeated on the screen for which it is displayed, starting in the upper-right corner. This mode works well for patterns.

Fit:

The image is enlarged proportionally until it fits the screen for which it is displayed on. The picture is not cropped.

Fill:

The image is enlarged proportionally until it fills the screen for which it is displayed on. The picture may be cropped. This is the default display mode. For multi-monitor systems, if the image can fill more than one screen, it is filled across all of them.

Collage:

The image/images are overlayed on top of a background in a collage-like fashion. Collages can be viewed in several different styles.

Collages are dependent on the wallpaper group for which they are a part of. If all images in a certain wallpaper group are set to be a collage, images from that group will be shown in a collage over all background images that are being shown, across all wallpaper groups. These 'collage groups' will be indicated as such with the collage icon in the left-hand wallpaper group list. If there is at least one image in that group that is not a collage, those collage images will only be shown on the background images of that specific wallpaper group. This gives you the ability to have specific background images used for specific collages, while at the same time allowing you to create global collages.

For more information about customizing collages, please see Settings.

To change the display mode of one or more images in a wallpaper group, select them, right-click them, and select the appropriate display mode from Display in the sub-menu. The appropriate display mode icon will be changed for the images after setting it.

Copying Images:

You can copy one or more images from one group to another group by selecting them and dragging them to another group on the left-hand side of the main window. All attributes of the images being copied will be preserved, such as the display mode and image effects. These can later be changed in the destination group. Note that this operation is immediate and not undoable. You can also copy images to multiple groups simultaneously.

Setting the display frequency:

To set the display frequency of one or more images, select them, right-click them and select the appropriate item on the submenu under Frequency.

Setting image effects:

To set the image effects of a supported image, double-click the image to launch the Image Effects GUI.

Displaying images on specific monitors:

To set the specific screens to display an image on, right-click one or more supported images and select Display on Screens....

Deleting images:

To delete one or more images, you can select them, right-click them and select Delete.

Other Operations

The following operations are unique for the respective image types (accessible from the sub-menu):

Files:

  • Open Location:
    1. Opens the folder that contains the image. Useful for quick file management.

Folders:

  • Open folder:
    1. Opens the folder. Useful for quick file management and determining what files are in that image's folder directly from ChronoWall's main window.

Facebook:

  • Select Friends:
    1. Selects the friends to use photos from for that image.

Image Search Results (Flickr, Google, Bing):

  • Visit Website:
    1. Visits the URL associated with that image search result.
  • Save File:
    1. Saves a copy of that image's file to your computer. Useful if you want to self-manage downloaded images or copy an image search result from one computer running ChronoWall to another.

RSS Feed Images:

  • Visit URL:
    1. Visits the URL associated with that RSS feed image.
  • Save File:
    1. Saves a copy of that image's file to your computer. Useful if you want to self-manage downloaded images or copy an RSS feed image from one computer running ChronoWall to another.

Notes:

All images support all different display types. Only files, folders, specific images from online searches, and specific images from RSS feeds support image effects. Specific images are images that you have chosen from an online search or RSS feed. Please see Image Searches or RSS Feeds for more information.


Display Frequency

Normally, ChronoWall will view all images once, as if they were all placed into the same folder. However, there are often times when it would be more desirable to view certain images more or less often than normal. The Display Frequency allows you to specify how often you would like to view an image (or a group of images) as a percentage of all images shown. To set a display frequency, right-click an image (or a group of them), and select Frequency -> Percent... In the next dialog, you can enter the percentage. If more than one image is selected, each image will have the percentage entered (eg, if 3 images are set to 3%, each image will be shown 3% of the time - the probability of seeing any three of them will be 9%).

When setting display frequency percentages, think 'I want to see this image X percent of the time'. For multiple images, each individual image will be seen 'X percent of the time'.


Specifying Screens

ChronoWall has the ability to display any image on one or more specific monitors. By default, an image will appear on all available monitors. To restrict showing one or more images to specific monitors, right-click one or more selected images and click Display on Screens... to open the screen selection dialog. In this new dialog, you will be presented with a layout of your virtual screen. To specify the screens to display the image on, click the monitors to select them. Selected monitors appear darker. When you are finished, click OK to close the dialog.

Only images that are not collages can have their screens specified. To display a collage on a specific monitor, add an image with the collage mode set to a group that contains background images restricted to one or more screens.


Managing Images in Multiple Groups

Adding and Copying Images to Multiple Groups

If you want to add or copy one or more images to multiple groups, you can do so by holding down the CTRL button during the drag operation. When the image is dropped, you will be presented with a new dialog that lists all the groups, sorted by date. In this new dialog, hold down the CTRL button to select them. When you have finished selecting groups, click OK. To cancel the operation, click Cancel.

Deleting Images from Multiple Groups

To delete one or more images from multiple groups, right-click the selected images of an opened wallpaper group while holding down the CTRL button. This will show an alternate context menu. Click Delete from groups... (or Delete from all groups... if there is more than one image selected).

If you are deleting one image from multiple groups, a new dialog will open that lists all the groups that image is a part of. Select the groups you wish to delete this image from by holding down the CTRL button and clicking them. Click OK. To cancel the operation, click Cancel.

When deleting multiple images from multiple groups, you can only delete all of them from all wallpaper groups. You will be presented with a dialog that confirms the deletion of all of these images. Click Yes to remove them.

Notes

These operations are not undoable.


Image Effects

Introduction

ChronoWall allows you to apply effects to images that change their appearance based on time. The result is a realistic experience that allows you to see your photos like never before.

What are Image Effects?

Image effects are a list of "adjustment layers" that are composed of "time gradients". Time gradients have "endpoints" that specify effect parameters (depending on the effect being used). Any point between two endpoints of a time gradient will be a linear combination of the parameters specified at each endpoint.

The time period for which image effects are based on can either be the time of the day for the group the image is a part of, the duration for which the image is displayed or a user-defined duration. If the latter two are chosen, the image will change in real-time on your desktop.

For example, one might define a "Hue shift" adjustment layer with two endpoints: one at noon and one at sunset. The 'degree shift' for the endpoint at sunset would have a certain negative value (to indicate a red hue shift), while the endpoint at noon would have a degree shift of zero (for no change). For any time between noon and sunset, the degree shift would be a value between zero and the negative value specified at sunset — linearly dependent on the distance between noon and sunset.

Image Effects GUI

The image effects GUI shows a list of image adjustment layers with the time slider on the left and the image preview on the right. The image preview allows you to see how the adjustment layers change the image in real-time.

You can add, edit and remove image adjustment layers to change the image's appearance to your liking. In addition to editing layers, you can use the time slider to see how a list of effects change an image's appearance at a specific point in time.




Time Slider

To see how an image looks based on the percentage of time elapsed for the group this image is a part of, you can drag the time slider. Ticks are placed every 25% to help guide you. There is also a vertical line that can be used to place endpoints when creating an adjustment layer.

You can also choose the time period for this image effect by clicking on the left dropdown above the time slider:

  • Time of day: The time will be based on the image's group's schedule. The effects will change slowly throughout the day.
  • Image Changes: The time will be based on how long this image is displayed on your desktop. The effects will change constantly on your desktop.
  • Specified: The time specified dictates the duration of the timeline. Just like "Image Changes", the effects will change constantly on your desktop. Furthermore, you can specify the behavior when the timeline lapses. "Forward" indicates the timeline will reset to "0" after the specified amount of time passes. "Circular" specifies that the timeline will begin to play backwards after the amount of time has passed.

    Note that real-time image effects can be GPU intensive if many different layers are added. When using real-time image effects, it is best to stick to a few layers at the most.

Image Adjustment Layers

Image Adjustment Layers define the effects that are applied to images. Each image adjustment layer can optionally contain endpoints — layers with endpoints change with time while those without them remain the same regardless of the amount of time passed.

Image Adjustment Layer Types and Parameters:

  • Hue:

    1. Shifts the hue of every color in the image by an arbitruary degree.


      Degree shift:

      Positive values shift towards blue while negative values shift towards red. Values range from -180 to +180 degrees.

      Opacity:

      The opacity slider allows you to keep part of the original image's color.
  • Hue (Preserve Saturation):
    1. Shifts the hue of every color in the image by an arbitruary degree. In this case, the perceived lightness and saturation is kept constant. The parameters for this effect are identical to those of Hue.
  • Colorization:

    1. Recolors the image. Whites are preserved. This works by setting the hue of every pixel in the image to a specific value. The saturation is multiplied by the color given. The lightness is clamped to the maximum saturation perceived by the color chosen. The result is an image that looks like the color you choose. Black and white images cannot be colorized by this method.


      Color:

      The color to colorize the image to.

      Opacity:

      The opacity slider allows you to keep part of the original image's color.
  • Brightness:

    1. Makes the image brighter/darker.


      Amount:

      Positive values make the image brighter, while negative values make the image darker. Values range from -255 to +255.
  • Contrast:

    1. Enhances/reduces the difference in brightness among the image.


      Amount:

      Positive values increase the contrast, while negative decrease it. Values range from -100 to +100.
  • Saturation:

    1. Increases/decreases the overall color of the image. There must be some amount of color present for saturation to be increased — this effect does not change black and white images.


      Amount:

      Positive values increase the saturation, while negative decrease it. Values range from -100 to +100.
  • Sharpness:

    1. Increases the perceived clarity of the image.


      Amount:

      Positive values increase the sharpness of the image. Values range from 0 to +100.

      Radius:

      Sets the radius of the "circle" that is used for applying the effect. Values range from 0 to +255.
  • Red/Green/Blue Color Balance:

    1. Adds or decreases the corresponding color channel to the image.


      Amount:

      Positive values add the corresponding color to the image, while negative values decrease it. Values range from -100 to +100.
  • Bloom:

    1. Applies bloom to the image. This effect enhances the realism of light sources in images. "Light sources" are determined by brightness. In addition to making an image appear more realistic, a small threshold can be used to make the image have a "fantasy" appearance.


      Radius:

      Sets the radius of the "circle" that is used for applying the effect. Values range from 0 to +255. Larger radii correspond to a larger "light scattering" effect.

      Threshold:

      Sets the minimum perceived lightness required for the effect to appear, as a percentage. A smaller threshold results in darker parts of the image having the bloom effect applied to it.

      Smoothing:

      Relaxes the threshold cutoff by using a sigmoid function for the effect's alpha mask beyond the threshold. This parameter specifies the percentage of the lightness beyond the threshold that will be used. This is useful when applying bloom to images that contain a sky or other gradient. When applying bloom to such images, an unsightly sharp cutoff is commonly seen. You can increase the smoothing parameter to eliminate this artifact.
  • Bloom (Brightness Mask):
    1. Applies bloom to the image, using the perceived lightness of the image to control the amount of the effect to use. The parameters for this effect are identical to those of Bloom.

Adding Image Adjustment Layers

To add an image adjustment layer, click the + icon next to the Adjustments: label underneath the time slider. A popup menu showing all the possible types of effects will be shown. Select the type to add it to the list of adjustment layers.

Image Adjustment Endpoints

When you add an image adjustment layer, it is created without any endpoints. To add endpoints to a layer, right-click anywhere on the layer's gradient and select Add Endpoint. The first time you an endpoint to a layer, two endpoints will be created and placed at the beginning and ending points in time. For subsequent additions, an endpoint will be created at the mouse cursor's position.

Image Adjustment Endpoint Parameters

Each endpoint of an adjustment layer has at least one parameter that is adjustable. These parameters are editable via the endpoints' squares that appear above and below the adjustment layer's gradient. To determine the parameter each square represents, you can hover the mouse cursor over the square to see a description of the parameter. To edit a parameter, double-click the square to edit its value. If the parameter's value is adjustable via a slider, it will appear. You can drag the slider to change the value of the parameter — the maximum and minimum values of the parameter appear at the top and bottom of the slider, respectively. When you are finished editing the value, click anywhere outside the slider to close it. If the parameter is not editable via a slider, a dialog will open allowing you to set its value. Currently, the only endpoint parameter that shows a dialog is the colorization parameter.

Static Image Adjustment Layer Parameters

To set the parameters of an image adjustment layer without endpoints, double-click anywhere in the adjustment layer's gradient to open the slider controls. Depending on the image adjustment and the amount of parameters available, the slider's appearance will vary. Image adjustments with a single parameter will only show one slider that adjusts that parameter. If there are two parameters, you will see a dual-slider with accompanying acronymns above them. For the colorization image adjustment, you will see a special slider that has an opacity slider with a color block above it. Double-click the color block to set the color.

Deleting Endpoints from Image Adjustment Layers

To delete an endpoint, right click it and select Delete. If there are only two endpoints left, all endpoints will be deleted.

Deleting Image Adjustment Layers

To delete an adjustment layer, right click the adjustment's gradient and select Delete.

Moving Image Adjustment Layer Endpoints

Endpoints can be moved to different points in time by dragging them along the time axis from either the top or bottom square.

Moving Image Adjustment Layers

An entire effect layer can be moved to a different position by dragging it from its gradient.

Scrolling

If there are more effects than can be shown on a single screen, you can use the scrollbar to navigate to them.

Image Adjustment Templates

There are several pre-defined image effects available, called "Image Adjustment Templates". Each template is tailored to a specific time range, though you don't have to use them only for those time ranges. You can start with an image adjustment template and tweak it, or begin from scratch. You may also save your own image adjustment templates for later use. To access the Image Adjustment Templates, click the down arrow next to "Image Effects" (at the top-right of the left side panel) and select Load from Template.... To save the list of adjustments as a new template, select Create new Template... and specify a name.

In addition to loading and saving templates to ChronoWall's built-in list, you can also save them as a file. To save the list of adjustments as a file, click the down arrow next to "Image Effects" and select Save Template.... You can then specify a filename and click Save. To load a saved template, click the same down arrow and select Open Template.... Navigate to the saved XML-based template and select Open to load it. Loading a saved template will overwrite any existing image adjustments.

Sharing Image Effects

Creating image effects in ChronoWall can be a tedius process. To make things easier, you can share image effects you have created with everyone else by posting them to the online Effects Gallery. Sharing an image effect is as easy as clicking the down arrow next to "Image Effects" and selecting Share.... To share an image effect, you must have a valid registration key. Image effects are shared on belalf of your password-protected online profile, which is associated with this key.

When you share an image effect, you will be presented with a dialog that shows the five example images that are uploaded with the effect. These images illustrate to browsers what the effect will look like. Note that the original image that is used with this effect is NOT uploaded. Along with the images, you must also specify the time category, date category, title and URL. The time and date cateogories specify the time of day and time of year that are associated with this effect. If the time of day and/or time of year are unclear, these can be left to "Unclassified". The title can be whatever you want - it does not necessarily have to coincide with the title of the image. The URL is where you obtained the original image from. People browsing the online gallery will be pointed to this URL where they can download the original image. Most of these fields are auto-populated, depending on where this image comes from.

After making sure everything is filled out correctly, click OK to upload the effect. If you have not specified your password or you have recently changed it, you will be prompted for it before the upload begins. Depending on your bandwidth, it can take a few minutes for the upload to finish.

After the upload is complete, you will be presented with a success message and the share dialog will close. All image effects go through an approval process once they are submitted. It can take a few days for your effect to appear in the gallery.

Online Effects Gallery

The Effects Gallery lists all of the image effects users of ChronoWall have uploaded. You can browse all of the image effects for all times of the day and times of the year. In addition, you can see what an effect looks like by viewing an animation of it.

To filter image effects for specific times of the year or times of the day, hover over the box next to Time or Year and select the appropriate item. You can also search for an image by title/URL by specifying a phrase in the Search box. In addition, you can also sort results by time submitted, time of year and time of day.

When you find an effect you like, download the effect template by clicking Download Effect Template and saving it. You can also download the image associated with the effect by visiting the effect's original image URL. To load the image effect in ChronoWall, add the image to a group and open the downloaded template in the Image Effects GUI.


Image Searches

Introduction

Image Searches allows you to use photos from Flickr, Google and Bing on your desktop. To see and use image searches, navigate to the Image Searches view. From this view, you can create searches, see their results, and use the searches/search results in wallpaper groups.

Searches List

If there are any image searches added, you will see a list of them here. The search query along with its parameters appears on the top-left of each list item, and the search engine being used appears on the top-right. If there are any results for a specific search, the first 12 of them will appear in the small thumbnail squares.

Creating an Image Search

To create an image search, while in the Image Searches view looking at the list of searches, click the New button at the top-right of the screen, above the list. A new dialog will appear that allows you to specify the query along with all the parameters for the search being added. Along with the query, you can specify the image sizes and domain (if applicable). The Wallpapers only checkbox will limit the search results to contain images large enough to fit your screen (for engines that support it). The HDR images only checkbox searches for HDR images by appending the string "HDR photos" to the search query. HDR stands for 'high-dynamic range' - photos with this enhancement typically look more realistic to the human eye and contain a wider array of colors that mimick what the human eye actually sees. Click OK to create the search.

Immediately after creating a search, ChronoWall will perform the query. It may take up to 1 minute for you to start seeing search results — they will appear in real-time.

At this time, you can create up to 50 searches. This limitation is put in place to prevent excessive queries to each of the search engines used by ChronoWall.

Note: When using the Wallpapers only checkbox, the size is not applicable.

Viewing Search Results

To see a larger thumbnail view of a search result's images, you can double-click the search to open it, even while it is in progress. This larger thumbnail view will show the images that have been currently downloaded for this search. To navigate back to the list of searches from this view, click the Back button on the top-right above the thumbnails. If this search is still running when you navigate to the thumbnail view, any new images will not show up until you navigate back to this view again.





Viewing Search Results - Full Screen View

When in the thumbnail view of a search's images, you can view a full-screen view of the image by double-clicking directly on any image. In the full screen view, you will see the image attributes at the top of the screen. The two navigation arrows will still appear at the bottom, allowing you to navigate throughout the results while remaining in the full screen view. To pan around the image, click and drag anywhere on the image. To exit the full screen view and return to the thumbnail view, double-click anywhere on the image.

Using Search Results in Wallpaper Groups

To use search results in wallpaper groups, first navigate to the thumbnail view of any search. Then, drag and drop an image into a wallpaper group on the left-hand side. When the image is released, it will immediately be added to the group. Used images will appear lighter than the rest of the thumbnails — you may need to hover over the thumbnail again to see it appear lighter.

Using Searches in Wallpaper Groups

To use an entire search in a wallpaper group, you first need to be in the view that shows all the image searches in a list. From this view, drag the search from the list to any group on the left. While dragging the search, the thumbnail for the first result will be shown with a small search icon on the bottom-right corner of the image. When the search is released, it will immediately be added to the group. ChronoWall will choose a random image from this search to view on your desktop when that group is active.

Using Searches/Results in New Wallpaper Groups

There may be several times when you come across an image that you want to use but haven't created a group for. ChronoWall simplifies this by preserving where you are in the Image Searches view when you navigate away from it. To add an image to a non-existant wallpaper group, click the Home icon to switch to the Home view and create the group. After creating the group, you will see it show up (with the empty icon) in the list on the left. You can then navigate back to the Image Searches view and drag that search result image to the newly created group.

Deleting Searches

If you are unhappy with a search's results, you can delete it. To delete a search and its results, you must first be in the view that shows all the searches in a list. From this view, right-click a search you wish to delete and select Delete. A confirmation dialog will be shown. Answer Yes to delete this search. Searches can be deleted in any phase — even while the images for it are still downloading.

When deleting a search in progress, it can take up to one minute for the downloading to stop. In addition, you cannot add a search, delete it, and add that same exact search with the same query and parameters again until that previous search has finished downloading.

Bandwith Usage

Image searches can take a lot of bandwidth. To combat this, you can specify the hours of the day you want to dedicate to downloading images. This is available in the Settings view. Please see Settings for more information.

Notes

Flickr requires authorization before any results are available from that source.


RSS Feeds

Introduction

ChronoWall can download images from media RSS feeds and display them on your desktop. Currently, RSS 0.93 - RSS 2.0 and Atom 0.3/1.0 feeds are supported.

Adding an RSS Feed

To add an RSS feed, you must first be in the RSS view. After navigating to that view, obtain the RSS Feed URL. These URLs are usually indicated by the orange RSS icon on the website that hosts the RSS feed. After obtaining the URL, click the Add button on the top-right of the list of RSS feeds. In the new dialog, paste the URL into the new dialog and click OK to add it. If the URL is a valid RSS feed and it contains media items or enclosures, you will begin seeing images from it in the list (usually within 1 minute). An easy way to determine if a URL is valid RSS is to see if ChronoWall obtains the RSS feed title soon after adding it.

Viewing and Using RSS Feeds and Images

RSS feeds and their associated images can be viewed/used in the same manner search results are used. Please see Image Searches for more information.

Sample RSS Feeds

For those unfamiliar with media RSS feeds, you can start with NASA's Large Image of the Day.


Settings

To change the way ChronoWall operates, looks and feels, navigate to the Settings view. Here, you can set multiple options. Each setting is described in detail below.

Location

In order for ChronoWall to accurately determine the time of day, it must know your latitude and longitude. Determining your latitude and longitude is easy — you can determine both by either your IP address (provided by ip2location.com) or your residential address (provided by Google Maps). You can click either button in the settings view to launch the respective web page or dialog. After obtaining your latitude and longitude, enter both in the respective fields. Make sure the sunrise and sunset times are correct. If you are unsure, you can probably verify them with your local weather station. Any latitude and longitude point within your zip code should be sufficient. After setting your latitude and longitude, click the Save button on the bottom-right corner.

Note that ChronoWall is not associated with either ip2location.com or Google. These are both free services.

Online Services - Authorizing

In order to use Flickr and Facebook with ChronoWall, you must first authorize to them.

To authorize a service, click Log in... next to the respective service. A browser window appear that will guide you though the process.

After authorization, the status will update to indicate success/failure.


Online Services - Choosing Facebook Friends

Facebook requires an extra step after authorizing - you must choose your friends you would like ChronoWall to download images from. Several people have hundreds of friends, and downloading images from them all would cause issues with Facebook's API. To choose your friends, click the Friends button next to the Facebook icon. Then, drag the user(s) to the Selected friends column. Click OK to save your changes. You can download photos from up to 100 friends.

Online Services - Notes on Facebook

Even if a user on Facebook has photos, he or she may have blocked access to them them from applications. There is nothing ChronoWall can do to download those images, short of that user enabling applications to access them. In addition, if a user has blocked access to the Facebook application platform completely, he or she will not show up on your list of friends - even though that user shows up as one of your friends on Facebook's website. ChronoWall will never support 'scraping' data from Facebook, so please do not ask.

Online Services - Privacy

ChronoWall does not collect or transmit any information from you. Please see the Privacy Policy for more information.

No Draw Zones

No draw zones are rectangles that define areas of the screen where you do not want collage images to appear. Common areas would include areas where icons or gadgets are placed. To create a no draw zone, click No draw zones to open the 'No draw zone' GUI. In this new window, draw rectangles with your mouse to indicate where you want no draw zones to be placed. You can also right-click and delete a no draw zone rectangle to delete it.

When you are finished, double click anywhere on the screen to close the 'No draw zone' GUI. To save your no draw zone arrangement, you must click the Save button on the bottom right of ChronoWall's main window after closing the 'No draw zone' GUI. This extra step exists so that you can cancel your changes if you wish. To cancel your changes, navigate to another view without clicking Save.

Collage Options

Collages can be displayed in several different styles and arrangements. This dialog allows you to specify them all.

The first three parameters tell ChronoWall how to arrange your images. The entire system is based on percent area coverage. The canvas area represents one screen - if you have multiple monitors, you will have multiple canvases — each of these canvases would then represent each respective monitor, and these settings will apply to all such canvases.

The rest of the dialog changes the way collages look. There are several different border styles available, and several of them support custom fonts and colors.

To save the collage options, click OK. To see the results of these settings immediately, ensure that an image with the collage display mode is active and click Change Now to set your wallpaper.

Image Exclusions

Sometimes, you will come across an image that you would rather not see on your desktop ever again. When this happens, you can exclude it. To exclude a background image currently on your desktop, navigate to the Home view, right-click an image on the mini screen view on the main status screen and select Exclude Background Image. This image is now excluded and will never show up on your desktop again. It will be faded to black to indicate exclusion. If you want the image off your desktop immediately, click Change Now to change your wallpaper.

To exclude a collage image currently on your desktop, right click the image (right from your desktop) and select Exclude Image. If you want the image off your desktop immediately, click Change Now to change your wallpaper.

To manage image exclusions, click Image Exclusions... on the Settings view. Here, you will see all of the images that you have excluded that ChronoWall still has a copy of. To remove an exclusion, right-click an image and select Remove. Click OK to save the image exclusions.

Download Options

Because of all the online services that ChronoWall uses, bandwidth can become an issue, especially in the middle of a business day. These settings allow you to limit downloading images to specific hours of the day. Click Download Options... to open the Download Options dialog. Here, you can set the beginning and ending times. ChronoWall will perform searches and download images only during the time range specified. Click OK to save the download settings.

When using this feature, if you add a new search or RSS feed, images are temporarily allowed to download for the search / RSS feed just added.

Interface

ChronoWall's default interface color may not be for everyone. You can apply all the effects to the main interface that you would to a wallpaper image, making the interface look exactly how you want to. After making any changes, you must restart ChronoWall for the changes to take effect.

Store images in another folder

When using any online feature of ChronoWall, images are downloaded and placed in the default application folder for the currently logged-in user. This folder usually resides on the drive that contains your operating system. However, since ChronoWall can download several GB of images, many users who have custom partitioning may want to place these images elsewhere. You can set an alternate data folder by checking the box next to Store images in another folder, clicking Browse... to locate the folder to place the images in, and clicking Select Folder. The folder name will be updated next to the checkbox.

These changes will not take effect until the next time you start ChronoWall. When ChronoWall is started after changing the folder, the image files in the current directory will automatically be moved. Please make sure you have enough space in the destination folder beforehand - ChronoWall will perform a free space check before moving files, but a number of different scenarios can make this check inaccurate. You can repeat this process as many times as you wish should you need to change the folder again.

Serial key

To enter your serial key, click Enter serial key... to open the serial key dialog. Type your name and serial key exactly as it appears in the email sent to you. After clicking OK, it will be validated.

What happens after the 30 day trial?

If you use ChronoWall beyond the trial expiration date, your desktop wallpaper will no longer change. You can still open ChronoWall, create wallpaper groups, image searches, etc - however, you will not be able to apply them to your desktop. If you liked ChronoWall during your trial and would like to continue using it, please purchase it in the product store.