I stumbled across GT Ripple two days ago and installed it to give it a test run. GT Ripple will actually make a water ripple effect, like an ocean, on your desktops wallpaper and is for free. I thought it was going to be one of those kind of enhancements that excite you for a few hours and then get bored of it. But I found if you work with the settings and have the right wallpaper, it will produce amazing looking effects with your wallpaper.
The application is actually very simple to use and allows for a lot when it comes to customizing it. The water, at default, it positioned at the bottom with a specific height. The height it how far the water ripples can reach out to. You are also given the ability to have mirroring effects that will mirror some of the wallpaper, windows that are open, and icons on your desktop, depending on the settings that you have set. But, I have found that the effect is much better looking with this off and when you get into the more advanced editing, which I will describe below. For the water itself, you can change the frequency, height, amplitude, perspective, and speed. All of these are very important to get the effect you want just right. Now I will describe the best feature of the application, “Ripple Regions.”
The ripple region is absolutely the coolest feature GT Ripple has. The ripple region is a user defined region that is made using an image mask that will tell the program where to allow ripples on your wallpaper. This is where the real fun begins with customization and creativity on your wallpaper. I will bring you through the process of this.
The first step is to choose a wallpaper. Now, this application deals with water, so I would imagine you would like to use a nice wallpaper that consists of a nice river type environment. So I went on my search for some nice wallpapers and came across Caedes Wallpapers. I looked through the Water Gallery available and came across this wallpaper which seems to be a perfect candidate for what I was personally looking for. Remember, use your imagination for choosing a wallpaper. There are so many possibilities with this water! Now, you can see that the wallpaper I have chosen is a nice and subtle design with some kind of beacon in the water and some light ripples in the front. You can also tell by looking at it that I am going for a nice mellow effect that wont be too distracting on my desktop.
Now that you have your wallpaper, save it to the computer and set it as your wallpaper. With GT Ripple open, go to the top left and select the fifth box from the right, being the “Use Region” button. Now, select the “Edit Region” button. This will open up Microsoft Paint or the art program you set it to (change it by choosing the last button on the right). You then select a color that is not really visible in the wallpaper, like a yellow or pink (default). Now you are going to want to outline the area that water is visible bordering the sides, branches, logs, whatever it may be. Just outline the water. Then, fill in the are you outlined, but not going over any of the objects in the water if any. You can see a screenshot from mine below.
As you can see, I went around the beacon from the original wallpaper because I just want the water to be in the ripple region. Once you are done with that, click on save and bring GT Ripple back to focus. Click on the button to the right of the “Edit Region” button called, “Ripple Mask Color.” When the window comes up, select the color that you used for the wallpapers ripple region. Once that is selected, click “OK” and you should now see ripples on your wallpaper only in the region that you outlined! Make sure to turn mirroring off as it will not look correct with this type of effect.I am sure that it does not look how you want right off the bat, so your going to have to change the settings a bit. My height setting is about half way. Frequency and amplitude are less then a quarter. Perspective is set to around 75% of the bar and the speed is also around a quarter.
If you made your settings and region right, you will have a very snazzy looking desktop. I got exactly what I wanted. A nice wallpaper with good contrast, coloring, and soothing water look to it. With the GT Ripple enabled, it is a slow wave looking effect, just like how it would really look. It looks absolutely great and I was shocked on how nice it looks.
If you make your own, let me know how it worked out! Enjoy!