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Create your own customized screensavers Desktop
Like OS X's built in screen savers? Got a bunch of photos or some artwork you'd like to turn into a screen saver? Don't want to switch between different folders using the 'Slide Show' option every time? So make your own screensaver!

OS X's built-in screen savers come in two flavors, bundles with some config files, or a bundle with true executable code inside. We're going to grab one of the first kind, and replace its image resources with our own artwork.

Read the rest of the article for the how-to...

[Editor's note: You should be reasonably comfortable with privileges and the terminal before proceeding. I haven't tried this myself yet, but it seems very straightforward and I'll give it a try later this week.]

Now, you can probably do all of this through the GUI, but you'd have to log-out then log in again as root, so I just used the terminal app for the first part. First start the terminal, and cd to the screen savers directory:
  cd /System/Library/Screen\ Savers/
next type ls -l and take a gander at the files and their permissions:
  total 0
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 7 2001 Abstract.slideSaver
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 14 23:58 Aqua Icons.saver
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 7 2001 Beach.slideSaver
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 7 2001 Cosmos.slideSaver
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 7 2001 Forest.slideSaver
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 264 Sep 14 23:58 Random.saver
A quick look shows there are .saver files and .slideSaver files. The .slideSavers are the ones we want to work with. Let's make a copy of the Forest.slideSaver and use it for our custom screen saver. Because we'll soon be opening the bundle up in the Finder, we'll want it located somewhere more convenient (and safe) than the System Library. So we'll:
sudo cp -R Forest.slideSaver /Users/name/Library/Screen\ Savers/
Replacing name with your user name, of course. Terminal will ask you for the root password; if you're the only user on the system, this password is usually just your own regular password.

If you go to the Finder and look in your Screen Savers folder, you should see your folder waiting for you. But we still need to make one more Terminal command to change the owner from root to your regular user name:
sudo chown -R name /Users/name/Library/Screen Savers/Forest.slideSaver/
again replace name with your own user name. Now if you go back to the Finder and Show Info on the Forest.slideSaver file, you should see that you are now its owner and have full read and write privileges. You can now exit the Terminal, and finish the rest of the job in the Finder.

First off, you'll want to change the name of the slideSaver to describe what we're going to put into it. Just about anything should work as long as it has .slideSaver at the end.

Next, we'll pop open the bundle file to change the images within. Back in the day of OS 9, this required ResEdit or a similar app, but in this Aqua age things are much simpler. Control-click on the file and from the menu that appears select 'Show Package Contents'. A Finder window will open with one folder named 'Contents'. Open Contents, then the 'Resources' folder. In here are a bunch of jpegs. All we have to do now is drag these jpegs to the trash and copy in our own jpegs.

As far as I can tell, you can use just about any size or shape jpeg file that you like. Images the same size and shape as a desktop image work out best. When your done, close the bundle folder, select your screen saver from the System Preferences application, then sit back and enjoy the show.

You can obviously repeat this as often as necessary to create your own selection of customized screensavers.
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Save a few steps
Authored by: joshb on Mar 19, '02 02:00:37PM

You can save a few steps by not using the "sudo" command above. By eliminating the sudo part of the "cp -R" command you won't have to change the owner later. You can also do this without using the terminal but so far it DOES NOT WORK... I can copy the forest.slidesaver bundle and it shows up fine in my personal library folder, gets renamed and is owned by me, but I cannot open the "Contents" folder. Looking at it from the command line the permissions are correct and I'm perplexed why the finder copy version doesn't work properly.

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The Easy Way
Authored by: benjaminbutton on Jan 28, '09 03:29:09PM

If you want to practical and save time from all the technicalities, this is what you need to do...

Open the screen saver folder with directory as...

[Your Drive]/System/Library/Screen Savers

then copy one .slideSaver file to your desktop or maybe another folder.

for example, let's use Abstract.slideSaver

when you have copied it to wherever it is you put it, right click on the file and select show package contents. open Contents folder then Resources...

You should see files as follows
so on and so forth....

then make your own folder with your JPEG images selection and just rename them as such to overwrite the files... If you have more than whats in the folder, just continue the sequence. i.e. (Abstract12.jpg, Abstract13.jpg, Abstract14.jpg til whenever your images end.

so just put everything in the Resources folder and you're done.

then move back the Abstract.slideSaver file to where you got it from...

[Your Drive]/System/Library/Screen Savers
but before you do you might want to rename it so it wont overwrite the original Abstract.slideSaver file. like Pics.slideSaver and You're good to go!

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Authored by: pecosbill on Mar 19, '02 03:47:17PM

I would think you could cp the Forest.saver to /Library/Screen Savers and then change it there. That would make it so all users on the machine had access to that screensaver.

Not near an X mac to test.

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Randomize the order?
Authored by: randydarden on Mar 19, '02 04:25:42PM

What's an easy way to randomize the order? Since the screen saver module doesn't randomize them, perhaps a shell script to reorder the pictures (swapping filenames), run every 5 minutes?

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Does a symlink work?
Authored by: mithras on Mar 20, '02 09:41:36AM

I'd really like to see this work with a symlink to a folder that just sits in ~/Pictures, to make it easy to change the pictures.

Has anyone tried this yet? (Otherwise I'll reply to myself this evening when I get a chance to try it out)

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No need for the Terminal
Authored by: arminb on Mar 20, '02 11:54:02AM

There is no need to invoke the terminal for this hint. However a normal user has no privileges to access /Library/Screen Savers/ but there is no need to.
If not already present, create a folder "~/Library/Screen Savers/" in thif folder create another an name it "MySlides.slideSaver". Of course you can replace "MySlide" with anything you like, the important part is the ".screenSaver".
Then put some pictures in there. As stated previously the pictures should be aproximately the size of the screen, but it doesn't matter much really.
Symlinks should fine.

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Too easy
Authored by: drjones on Mar 20, '02 05:59:17PM

Just make the folder in ~/Library/Screen Savers.
Name it whatever.slideSaver.
Then just put aliases of the jpegs (maybe tiffs.)
Then you'll a new entry in the list of savers.
Easy Cool!

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I wrote a GUI for it
Authored by: tim1724 on Apr 24, '02 04:47:17PM

I wrote a GUI for making slide show screen savers. It's called slideSaver Maker and you can get it from my Mac OS X software page.

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Authored by: Charmedimsure on Nov 02, '02 08:55:35PM

I was just curious if you could use a movie that plays on quicktime or iDVD for a screensaver, and if you would just treat that file as a picture or if you would have to do something different with it....?

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Screensaver works, but images don't display in order
Authored by: bobsawyer on Mar 09, '04 09:56:39PM

I pretty much figured out all of the above before finding this thread. My problem is that when the screensaver loads, it shows the first image, then the second, then back to the first, then the third, then back to the first, and so on.

In other words: 1,2,1,3,1,4,1,5,1,6, etc.

Whereas the others cycle throgh the images in order.

How do I fix this? The images are named "image01.jpg," "image02.jpg," etc.

Using 10.1 (yeah, I know, I need to upgrade...) ;-)

Thanks for any help.

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