September 27, 2015 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Backgroundifier is a Mac OSX droplet-style app that converts image files of any size into pretty desktop backgrounds. Any image will work, but fine art and illustration looks the best. (You can see examples of the output on the app homepage.) There's a command line mode in addition to the GUI: if you go into the bundle, you can either call into the Backgroundifier executable directly from Terminal (with the caveat that you can only save to and read from your ~/Pictures directory — sandboxing, sorry!), or alternatively extract the un-sandboxed command line utility from the Resources directory. On my laptop, I've even set up an Automator script that watches my primary pictures directory, automatically converts any new additions via shell script, and outputs the results to the directory I use for my desktop backgrounds. The app costs a buck, but most of it is open source. (I decided to exclude the UI nib file from the repo, at least for the time being.) It's written in Swift 2. You can find the repo here. Unfortunately, it's just a little bit out of date, but all the image conversion stuff should work fine.

I collect a lot of online art and illustration that goes into a big "inspiration" folder. Sadly, I can never find the time to sit down and look through all the images I've collected, which kind of beats the point. My desktop background always seemed like a great place to exhibit these images — OSX lets you randomly cycle through images in a directory every x minutes, and the "desktop peek" shortcut/gesture is perfect for the occasional appreciative glance — but my images were all in different aspect ratios, and neither scaling nor centering ended up looking good.

A little while ago on HN I ran into tomkinstinch's app Artful, which turns your desktop background into a constant stream of fine art. I loved how Artful solved the aspect ratio problem, but the fit wasn't quite right for me. For one, I wanted to convert my own custom images instead of pulling art from an online source. I also preferred to keep my Mac functioning as simply and as close to the defaults as possible. I didn't love the idea of having to keep an app open in order to change my desktop background, especially when the OS already had background cycling built-in. The idea of a more Unix-y approach to the problem really appealed to me; I wanted a simple app that would take input and produce output, which would allow me to do things like automatically convert folders and pull from custom RSS feeds if I so wished.

The time seemed right to distract myself with a side project, so I asked tomkinstinch for permission to use his idea and made it happen shortly thereafter!
Role: programmer
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