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How to create my custom desktop background?

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Okay what I am trying to do is probably very simple but I have had very little experience working with imaging programs so I don't understand all this jargon and how to use them to do what I want. What I want to do is create a plain white background the same size as my screen (my monitor resolution is 1360 x 768). I guess I could call that layer one? Or background layer? Then I found an image of a box of software put out by Microsoft many years ago. It's what the C++ programming box looked like back then.


Now I want to merge the C++ box image into the plain white background layer, so when I'm done all I have is one thing. A simple desktop background.


I don't know how to tell paint.net to take the top layer or whatever layer holds the software box image and merge it into the background layer.


I have enclosed a screenshot of what my screen looks like so you can kind of get an idea of what I'm trying to do.


Thanks.Project Idea.png

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Probably the easiest way is to use the command: Image>Flatten. In the top-left side of the PDN window there's a list of command categories: File  Edit  View  Image  Layers  Adjustments  Effects. Left click on on the Image heading, then select Flatten from the drop-down list. Or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+F.


Other ways: make the top layer the active layer using the Layer Menu, then use Layers>Merge Layer Down, or its shortcut Ctrl+M. The same thing can be done from the Layer Menu by clicking the Merge Layer Down icon at the bottom of the menu.

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I would say that you shouldn't merge down to one layer.


You should save your image as a .pdn file to save the layer structure in case you need to make changes to the layered image in the future.


Then, "File > Save as..." and choose a format that only supports one layer (jpg, png, etc.) for your final output.

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It's certainly good advice in general to save the layered version to allow for future changes. I must say though, if it were me, and it were just a matter of adding a white background to an image I had access to, I wouldn't bother saving the layered version. (I confess there have been a few occasions when I didn't save the layers of an image and later wished I had.)


If I want a flattened version of an image of which I want to keep the layered version, I use Ctrl+Shift+C (copy merged) followed by "Edit>Paste into New Image" (whose shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+V). I then save the flattened version without disturbing the file association of the layered version. (I always use the shortcut to copy the merged image, since it doesn't require doing a "Select All" first. I generally use the "Edit>Paste into New Image" command instead of the shortcut, because I can seldom remember most of the shortcuts.)

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I think 357 wants something like this....


c++ box.png


...in which case I'd keep two layers. The background being the lower of the two and plain white. The top layer holds the box image. Use the rectangle select tool :RectangleSelectTool:and the delete key to remove the borders one by one. Save As a *.png or *.jpg after flattening.

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6 hours ago, 357mag said:

so I don't understand all this jargon and how to use them to do what I want.


Some little additions because you have already the main answer:


How do you have learned your own language? By listening others and train yourself. And so you can learn the "jargon". HINT: Press F1 in Paint.net or click on the Links). Layers window - Working with layers



I guess I could call that layer one? Or background layer?


How you call the layers is absolut irrelevant. You can call them "icecream" and "potato".

Edited by IRON67
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