How not to make an Animanga Wallpaper
a step-by-step photoshop image guide
Posted by tai on Jan 14, 2009 under Special

In the process of collecting 1.07GB (1270 files) of high-quality animanga scans, wallpapers, and drawings, you come across a lot of junk. I don’t save the things I don’t like, but I’ve seen enough to be able to distinguish a Bad Wallpaper from a decent one. After a quick study, I discovered some common formulae used in the creation of a Bad Wallpaper, and now I present to you a step-by-step guided tutorial on how not to make an animanga wallpaper. Afterwards I’ll treat you to a (somewhat more decent) wallpaper I made for myself. So let’s get that Photoshop open and start cranking. (or just scroll to the bottom if you just want to see/download mine, cheapskate~)


I’m going to use this popular image for the characters an this picture I took myself for a backdrop.

Open up the photo in Photoshop and apply some artistic effects to make it look illustrated, since we want to loose the photograph feel. I used the Cutout filter in addition to some Poster Edges and Sumi-E.

Paste on the characters and erase away all of it’s surroundings. The magic wand and polygonal lasso tool can helpful here. Be sure the edge lines are clean so that it looks very smooth and clean.

After pasting the character’s, create a lens flare over the background, because it look’s so cool

Duplicate the Character layer, zoom in on it with the Transform tool and set the opacity down to 50%. This gives it a nice affect of depth and puts a big emphasis on the character.

Lets add some text now. We should make sure to write the names of the characters because the person that download your wallpaper may not know who she is. Comic Sans MS seems like a nice popular font, so lets use that. Add some layer affects if you want, I had to and white glow around it becuase otherwise the font would be unreadable with my favourite colour.

It was created in the image, please do not forget to write your name people know it. Also, make sure to put your name over a important part of the image so that every time they look there they know who created the awesome wallpaper. Also it’s very importance to don’t forget the name of the company that made the characters because for copyright issue’s.

Save the file, and dont forget to make for different monitors resonations. Now all we had to do is to upload them somewhere so that people can download them and easily too.

Download for standard screen resonation: 1024×768 | 1280×1024 | 1600×1200
for wide screen resonation: 1680×1050 | 1920×1200


…I decided to write this article because my previous wallpaper was getting out-dated, it featured Kagami Hiiragi and the Yuukos from Dennou Coil. I have three monitors, so that’s why it’s in that extremely widescreen resolution with the edges chopped off.

As I was looking for suitable replacement, I came across some more “Very Bad Wallpapers”. After a certain point I decided to start saving the bad ones and write an article about them. To the artists: if you ever read this, I don’t mean to insult you. Everyone has to start off somewhere and everyone takes wrong steps sometime or later, and I’m sure you nowadays you can create much better results, even before reading this un-tutorial.

Kanon wallpaperCode Geass wallpaperFull Metal Alchemist wallpaperKanon wallpaper

In the end, I decided to make my own wallpaper, to keep a similar style to my previous one, and at the same time, I wrote this tutorial on some elements one should never do in making wallpapers, or at least be very vigilant towards. My drawing and digital illustration skills are far from impressive so I can only work from scans pre-existing and user creations. You may recognize some of the sources immediately, for others it might be a bit tricky because I did quite a bit of leg mix-and-matching, in addition to some minor redraws. Anyhow, as I promised, here is the wallpaper I made. It’s eerily simple compared to TsundereStorm, since it’s only some outlines with light layer effects. The characters are all major characters of the year 2008, and I have a slightly modified version for myself where I replaced Kyou with Nagisa, since, well, Kyou > Nagisa. Nothing fancy and no completely original illustration, but hey, it works for me. I do watermark my own creations but I do it in such a way that it’s not intrusive and really easy to remove.

Characters of 2008 in Animanga

1024×768 | 1280×1024 | 1600×1200 | 1680×1050 | 1920×1200

Can you distinguish the characters? I can’t give a good measure of how well one can recognize these silhouettes since I created the image myself. Good character design should have immediately recognizable outlines, I’ll hope that that’s the case.


  • On November 13th, 2009 at 13:50,
    FaS wrote:

    EVER SOOOO TRUE. Trying to make a good wallpaper can be hard. Furthermore, trying to make a wallpaper for a website is even harder because you need to make sure things won’t distort, things don’t get cut off…colors show up the way they’re supposed to, load times are minimal, and that text doesn’t clash with it. -_-” It’s a lot of things to think about 🙁 anyways, hookitup. I like your layout. SHAKE N BAKE!!!

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