If you've become attached to the dancing dinosaur wallpaper on your desktop, it's time to cut the ties. It might be painful, and it may seem oh so boring, but let go of the disco T. Rex and keep your desktop a neutral gray, which is better for image viewing.
Any colors and patterns behind your images will affect how you view those images, as shown in Figure 10-1. Think about it: When you display artwork, whether photographic or illustrative, it is usually framed against a neutral black, white, or gray background. That way the focus is on the work, and nothing is distracting your eye. Same principle applies for your digital photos.
If you're using Windows XP, follow the steps below to get your desktop to a neutral gray. If you're sporting another flavor of Windows, check your documentation if you're unsure of how to achieve a gray desktop. In Windows XP, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the desktop. Select Properties from the context-sensitive menu.
2. In the Display Properties window, click the Appearance tab.
3. Click the Advanced button.
4. In the Advanced Appearance window, select Desktop from the Item pop-up menu.
5. Select Other from the Color pop-up menu.
6. In the Color window, enter a value of 128 in the Red, Green and Blue text boxes.
A value of 128 for Red, Green and Blue will yield a neutral gray color.
You are now the proud owner of neutral gray background to help you with your image-editing tasks.
In fact, putting certain colors next to each other influences the way your eyes perceive a color. For more on color theory, see Chapter 3.
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