2 Ways to Create Custom Light and Dark Wallpaper for GNOME

3 min

An easy guide on creating your custom light and dark wallpaper for the GNOME desktop.

GNOME 42 introduces the much-awaited light and dark theme to GNOME Desktop. It also brings the light and dark version of wallpaper, which automatically changes when you switch between light and dark themes.

So, by default, GNOME gives you a few sets of pre-configured light and dark wallpapers.

But what if you want a different wallpaper that changes automatically when the theme changes?

Here’s how to configure and create your custom wallpaper for light and dark themes in GNOME.

How to create custom light and dark wallpaper for GNOME

Method 1: Via an App

In this method, I will tell you about an app which makes the process easier to create. The app’s name is “Dynamic wallpaper”. Let’s install it first.

Set up Flatpak for your system for Flathub and run the following command to install this application.

flatpak install me.dusansimic.DynamicWallpaper

After installation is complete, launch the application from the application menu.

The first screen is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is add a custom name and then select both light and dark wallpaper from the application. And that’s it. Now open Settings, and you should see the wallpaper that you just created.

Dynamic Wallpaper app makes it easy
Dynamic Wallpaper app makes it easy

Method 2: Manual Method

Firstly, make sure you have two versions of wallpaper handy with you. In general, they should be standard PNG or JPG images. For example, we used below two wallpapers for this demo.

Sample light and dark wallpaper for demo
Sample light and dark wallpaper for the demo

But if you do not have proper light and dark wallpaper and looking for more, I will let you know how to get them or prepare your own at the end of this guide.

Stay with me.

Second, we need to create a schema file for our own. The automatic changing of wallpaper is handled by an XML file called adwaita.xml, which defines specific light and dark background tags. So, we will create our XML file for the wallpapers.

To do that, copy the contents of adwaita.xml from GitLab and create a new XML file (the link is down below). You should see two tags inside this file – “filename” and “filename-dark”. These two XML tags contain the fully qualified path of both wallpapers. Add the path to your images under these two tags, as shown below.

Download the XML file from here (adwaita.xml.in)

Change the XML file
Change the XML file

Third, save this file to /home/your_name/.local/share/gnome-background-properties with any name you want. If the “gnome-background-properties” are not there, create them. For this example, I used my_cool_backgrounds.xml.

Save the file
Save the file

And you are all set. Finally, open the settings and go to the Appearance tab, and you should see the new wallpapers visible as an option.

Select your custom light and dark wallpaper and enjoy.

Appearance tab has now your own custom light and dark wallpaper
The appearance tab now has your custom light and dark wallpaper

How to download or make your dynamic wallpaper

You must think, “who has the time to find and create both day and night versions of wallpaper”? Several websites give you dynamic wallpapers ready-made that you can easily download and install.

One website I would recommend is dynamicwallpaper.club which has some excellent high-quality wallpapers up to 6K for macOS. And you can easily download them.

Additionally, if you plan to download from the above website, remember that the site’s images are in heic format because the website is for macOS. The High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEIC) is Apple’s proprietary version of the HEIF or High-Efficiency Image File format.

You need a driver to view and convert the dynamic heic images in Ubuntu or Fedora Linux. So, how do you convert them to Linux systems? Open a terminal and run the below commands to install the driver.

Ubuntu users

sudo apt install heif-gdk-pixbuf

Fedora users –

sudo dnf install libheif

For Fedora/Ubuntu with KDE Plasma Only (without this plugin, Plasma apps can’t open heic images)

sudo apt install qt-heif-image-plugin
sudo dnf install qt-heif-image-plugin

Finally, open the heic image with your favourite image viewer and save it as JPG/PNG.

Custom Light and Dark wallpaper in GNOME - transition
Custom Light and Dark wallpaper in GNOME – transition

Lastly, don’t forget to let me know below in the comment section whether you can create your own custom dark and light wallpaper for GNOME.



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