artwork, Fedora

Fedora 13’s Artwork – Need Your Help for F13 Beta!

So now that Fedora 13 Alpha is out…. have you given it a try? What do you think about the wallpaper? We want to hear your feedback, because there isn’t actually that much time to update the wallpaper for beta, I think a little over a week. We haven’t gotten much feedback about it yet, so we need to hear from you now!

You can give your feedback here in the comments or on the Fedora design team mailing list. How can you provide useful feedback? Here’s a little writeup on that, shamelessly stolen from an earlier blog post:

How to Provide Helpful Critique

Some folks understandably believe art and design are stuffs enshrouded in a mysterious haze of incense smoke without much logic or reason involved. I get it. I’ve been there too, and I think it’s easy to feel that way – discussions about art works sometimes get a bad reputation for being anywhere from fussy, to bizarre, to completely pointless.

You may find solace in the fact that there’s actually plenty of logical principles and elements and a vocabulary for them that can be use to discuss such works in a productive manner that doesn’t involve ‘invoking an embodiment of emotive symbolism’ or similar. I strongly recommend you explore some of this vocabulary, as not only will it help you more effectively communicate your critique but reading through a brief survey of basic design principles will probably even help you explain why you feel a particular way about an element of a work you’re critiquing. Some basic resources:

So…. let us know what you think! Also, here’s some shouts and greets to the rocketeers who’ve worked towards getting the Fedora 13 artwork ready to launch thus far:

Luya Tshimbalanga (bonus points kicking off the process and moving things along!), Charlie Brej, Samuele Storari, Nicu Buculei, Alexander Smirnov, Bogdan Bartos, Onyeibo Oku, Christo Petkov, Mola Pahnadayan, Mel Chua, Hristo Petkov, Kanza Aman, and Catalin Festila!

(If I missed you, get your artwork up on our F13 artwork wiki page! What are you waiting for? 🙂 )

About Máirín Duffy

Máirín is a principal interaction designer at Red Hat. She is passionate about software freedom and free & open source tools, particularly in the creative domain: her favorite application is Inkscape. You can read more from Máirín on her blog at


68 thoughts on “Fedora 13’s Artwork – Need Your Help for F13 Beta!

  1. Wow, that looks fantastic.

    A great default wallpaper.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010, 2:33 am
  2. Why another stupid blue? Are there not much nicer colours in the world?

    Posted by gurblouň | March 11, 2010, 3:58 am
    • Blue is *our* color, part of our visual identity.

      Posted by Nicu | March 11, 2010, 9:11 am
    • The blue is a consistent part of Fedora’s brand and palette. This is kind of like asking, why does Apple keep putting people in their product videos in front of white backgrounds? 🙂 Sure, it could be changed, but the consistency helps people immediately identify what they’re looking at and identify it with a brand.

      Posted by Paul W. Frields | March 11, 2010, 10:06 am
  3. I loved the wallpaper. It’s superb.

    I’m happy with the new cursor theme too, but I am a little(well, quite a little 😉 disappointed about the mouse pointers (left_ptr and right_ptr particularly). They are not quite symmetric and the ‘misalignment’ is quite noticeable. As a matter of fact, that was the first thing I noticed in F13 alpha. I had the screenshots of BlueCurve theme cursor and the new cursor for comparison…

    I’m not subscribed to the mailing list… or should I create a ticket in Design Team trac?

    Posted by Rajeesh | March 11, 2010, 4:03 am
  4. Good work, Fedora people. Keep it up.

    Posted by dayo | March 11, 2010, 4:33 am
  5. If I remember right, you were working on a treatment to make the swirl look less Debian.

    It seems fun to try the Artwork Critique Form, let me give a try:
    1. the spiral (rocket trails)
    2. their brightness and and contrast with the background
    3. uh… maybe the stars
    4. they don’t look that important
    5. contrasting color/brightness play an important role, still the image is “burned”, there are a few place with (almost) pure white
    6. the overall gradient color and the spiral shapes
    7. something between abstract and fantastic
    8. can’t see any hidden element/concept
    9. …
    10. i am biased with the meaning, as i was part in the process
    11. space, convergence, departure
    12. i like the blue but i am disturbed by the bright white, which begs for attention

    Posted by Nicu | March 11, 2010, 4:41 am
    • Hey Nicu, that’s right, we have to figure out how to make it less Debian-y.

      I agree about the stars – I think they stand out a little bit too much in places. Hopefully it’ll be easy enough to adjust that because I used masks in the gimp to control their intensity.

      I agree about the “burned” issue too, we’ll have to figure out a solution with that.

      This is great feedback Nicu, it seems the artwork critique form is pretty useful for generating good critique 🙂

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 10:38 am
      • I was just about to make a post about the stars. I ran F13alpha last night and to be honest I only had a short time with it but without studying the wallpaper my impression was that it is a bit heavy and grainy. Now that i give it a second look this morning I notice that it was likely because of all the stars (and also the faint diagonal blur/scratch marks. I quite like the pockets of brighter stars contrasting with dimmer ones but maybe a bit less of the dimmer ones?

        Posted by Leif Gruenwoldt | March 11, 2010, 10:47 am
  6. I really like it. It reminds me of the Fedora 8 infinity background, which is until now my favourite wallpaper ever.

    Also, this one could benefit a lot of the animatedness that had Infinity. Maybe F13 will be the first Fedora release I won’t switch the wallpaper back to Infinity.

    “Back to infinity”… I’d hope we would aim to go “beyond Infinity” in our F13 rocket. 🙂

    Posted by bochecha | March 11, 2010, 6:05 am
    • Sweet, thanks bochecha 🙂

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 10:31 am
    • That reminds me. I’d love to see the slightly different wallpaper versions come back for the time of day. That was one of the things I absolutely loved about the infinity background. The change was so subtitle that it took me a few days before I noticed it but really came to like that indicator of the passing time.

      Posted by Russell Harrison | March 12, 2010, 8:47 am
  7. I’m using F13 alpha from USB stick and after ‘yum -y update’ the icon theme changed. Will there be a new icon theme in F13?

    Posted by Adam | March 11, 2010, 10:03 am
  8. I’m no designer so please take everything I say with a grain of salt.

    The overall feeling I get is that I am looking through a “tunnel” or “worm hole” of sorts in outer space. Most of my comments, thus, are coming from this overall feeling/idea.

    I agree with Nicu regarding the Debian-esque swirl and my first thought is to rotate it so it isn’t at the same angle as Debian’s to make it less similar (so one doesn’t automatically think Debian when they see it). It’s just that one swirl, though.

    The stars in the left side are not noticeable. Making this more distinctly a space scene would provide for stretching out the left side with more star scene for widescreen monitors.

    The Blue coloring is fine. Fedora and Blue go hand-in-hand and especially that particular tint of blue from what I’ve observed.

    What about putting something in the center of the swirl, to try and draw the eye to move from the outer space (lower left), along the swirls (down the tunnel) to the something “in the distance” (recessed, not popping out)?
    + Fedora logo
    + Rocket ship (maybe with the Fedora logo? could tie in the “Goddard” name)
    + lens flare or something, kinda to make you think you are seeing the rocket “fire” from the back end, or of it going away, down the “tunnel” (sorry if this makes no sense, I don’t know the right words for what I am trying to say)

    I keep wondering if the swirl “tunnel” would work with them being more “foggy” or not. The down-side of making it less distinct is that the Debian swirl is not a solid swirl and making it “foggy” may actually make it look more like the Debian swirl than less.

    As I said before, please take my comments with a grain of salt. I could not even begin to make these “constructive criticisms” if the beginning piece was not as good as it is.

    Posted by dragonbite | March 11, 2010, 10:08 am
    • Dragonbite, this is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for and is going to be really useful for improving the wallpaper. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide this thoughtful feedback!

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 10:30 am
      • maybe making those swirls more “foggy” by converting them into flows of binary data … as a symbol of Fedora’s continuous change towards the new (and theoretically better).

        Posted by Soapta | March 11, 2010, 11:55 am
        • It might be hard to pull off binary data flows… that being said I’ll give it a try and see if it works. I do think it’s a good idea to try out focusing on where the swirls flow *to* – it isn’t something we really focused on in the current verson. Thanks for the suggestion Soapta!

          Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 2:42 pm
  9. One piece of feedback I wanted to record here that I received from Matthias Clasen is that the swirl in the wallpaper spins counter-clockwise, but the cursor theme spinner spins clockwise, and it’s a little annoying/disorienting. So I think the swirl’s spin should be changed!

    Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 10:44 am
    • Probably. Think it should still lead the eye from the lower left corner region to the center of the swirl.

      The only thing I see is that by reversion the curl it matches the direction the Debian curl turns, though their curl has more rotations.

      Posted by dragonbite | March 11, 2010, 12:34 pm
  10. Forgive me bc I haven’t been following the development or discussions of the desktop wallpapers this release. Do the swirls on the right hand side represent something? They sort of remind me of a smoke trail following a rocket launch …but there are so many of them maybe my analogy is stretching it. Actually that’s kind of a neat idea…a single smoke trail swirling around and instead of a rocket at the end it’s the fedora/infinity logo. The blue starry portion of the wallpaper would still work as the backdrop.

    Oh well I’ve maybe just described what you’ve already gone for 😛

    Posted by Leif Gruenwoldt | March 11, 2010, 10:59 am
    • Hey Leif, you’ve just described exactly what we are going for, so I’m very happy to hear this 🙂

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 2:42 pm
  11. If the swirls are rocket trails (whether smoke, or binaries (“1″s & “0”s) or whatever), should the end of the “tunnel” be large enough to see a crisp starry scene kinda like “Fedora, rocketing to a bright future” (I know.. corny but you get the idea)?

    Associated with this, may want to make the starry scene on the “closer” side of the “tunnel” be slightly hidden by cloud/mist/fog so the end of the tunnel looks that much more crisp and clear.

    So overall, the eye would be drawn from the misty, stars of the left side (closer side), through the tunnel to the crisp, clear future and the rocket trails (and rocket) are the vehicle that takes us?

    Posted by dragonbite | March 11, 2010, 12:16 pm
    • Hi dragonbite, I know you said earlier you aren’t a designer but you could have fooled me with all these great suggestions 🙂

      I think it’s a great idea to try focusing on the end of the tunnel. And it should be easy to slightly hide the starry scene on the closer side – it’s all controlled by Gimp masks that are easily to manipulate.

      I would be happy to mock this up and give it a shot. I’ll be posting some experimental mockups based on all the great feedback here and posting them soon so I hope you’ll be able to take a look then and let me know how you think it worked out!

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 2:44 pm
  12. The stars remind me of dead pixels in my display. So I really don’t care for them. I remember we had another background with stars/points that looked much better when they were removed.

    Posted by Kevin | March 11, 2010, 1:06 pm
    • Fair enough! They could be rendered a bit more nicely (they were definitely done a bit sloppily) but we’ll try that out and see how it works.

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 2:45 pm
  13. I am always impressed by what the Fedora Design Team can do. You folks are truly talented and the time and effort you all put into the work and the desire to solicit feedback is really commendable.

    Overall, I really like the wallpaper. Here are some thoughts, however, of how I would modify if if I had any talent whatsoever. 🙂

    In my mind, I envision on the left a darker/more black area where the stars are more pronounced. Then, there would be a gradient from black to dark blue towards right of center, where the rocket swirls would be as pretty much as they are done now. Since this area would be lighter, the stars here would be far less pronounced, or perhaps the stars would not be visible in this area at all. Anyway, this center-right area, with the swirls, might then taper/gradient off towards the far right, where, offscreen, it would eventually recede back into black. Like Dragonbite mentioned, something like this would lend itself well to widescreen or dual/triple screen setups.

    There seems to be an almost imperceptible grain, almost like a fabic pattern, through the wallpaper as it currently exists. I can see it most in the darker spots. Perhaps this was used to give an idea of distant star clusters, I don’t know. Personally, I would remove this and make the whole wallpaper smoother. It has a rough feel.

    I like the tight, compact lines of the rocket trails, but maybe they should be more scattered, or dissipated, the farther out they are.

    Anyway, thanks for the great work and I look forward to seeing the final result!

    Posted by Chess Griffin | March 11, 2010, 1:18 pm
    • Wow, this is great feedback Chess. We’ll give it a shot and see how it turns out! Like I told dragobite earlier, I’ll post some iterations based on all these suggestions and I sure hope you’ll be able to let us know if it’s what you’d envisioned or if it works or not.

      Posted by mairin | March 11, 2010, 2:48 pm
  14. amazing stuf, I really really like it, spells fedora to me. Love the textures and warm cosy canter it provides.
    Btw can I invite you to a wallpaper for the next KDE S.C. 4.5 😉

    Posted by nuno | March 11, 2010, 3:08 pm
  15. Good work, well-done Fedora-Art 🙂

    Posted by Mostafa Daneshvar | March 11, 2010, 4:44 pm
  16. I love this wallpaper. Do you plan to create a live one (linke solar was)? Maybe a plymouth theme with fancy rockets?

    Posted by bobpoljakov | March 11, 2010, 6:13 pm
    • Oh, if the rocket trails animate like the rocket is shooting down the tunnel! Don’t know if that would be feasable, but it would be cool.

      Posted by dragonbite | March 11, 2010, 11:16 pm
  17. Wow, that’s great !!!

    But all the time I see, the Fedora wallpapers always blue. ^^

    Posted by Muhammad Baiquni | March 11, 2010, 6:20 pm
  18. I feel it very nice !
    However my colleague (a quite difficult woman ^^) feels the spinning stripes ends too bright.

    Posted by -Stéph- | March 11, 2010, 6:44 pm
  19. Thank you for bonus point, Máirín. I had the opportunity to try Fedora 13 Alpha before switching back to Fedora 12 due to input problem from Tablet notebook (probably a major regression) and broken gnome-shell. Now for the critic:

    – Space: good use of of the right side that balance the left side for the use of icons. One note is to consider users who tend to put their icons on the right side (especially Arabic speaking and writing users).

    – Lines: good use of curves representing trails from rocket. To avoid Debian symbol, either move the lower trail from that blurry curve to the right or rethink them.

    – Colour: Good use of monochromatic blue which represent Fedora identity.

    -Texture: stars should be subtle by mixing white hue with blue to reduce dead pixel effect. Perhaps increasing transparency will help. Also use some space to spread them.

    I hope the feedback is helpful and I continue to participate to this whole Artwork.

    Posted by Luya Tshimbalanga | March 11, 2010, 7:26 pm
  20. Great job on the wallpaper. My only ciriticism would be on the trail. It’s a great part of the picture and the first thing I notice every time I look at it, however I think is fades off too quickly. I think it would be nice to see it fade slow. I know I’m kinda saying it wrong since the trail starts on the other side. Still awesome picture.

    Posted by mikankun | March 11, 2010, 11:52 pm
  21. wooww..wonderfull…

    nice.. 😀

    Posted by darmanex | March 12, 2010, 10:59 am
  22. I can tell some texture or something that was applied over the image was tiled. Maybe I’m just odd but its very visible and very painful for me.

    Posted by Casey Dahlin | March 12, 2010, 10:29 pm
  23. Calum said something at the hackfest which seems to apply here

    “It maybe wasn’t the best choice for the opensolaris background to look like it was going down the plug hole”

    Posted by Karl Lattimer | March 14, 2010, 12:39 pm
  24. Looks great!

    Posted by Jonathan | March 14, 2010, 8:09 pm
  25. While I agree that we should keep blue as the main color. I think it would help if we threw in some other matching colors and/or made it slightly less blinding since staring at that for a while will hurt you’re eyes (because the color! The image and vision of the wallpaper is fedora quality a.k.a excellent!)

    The fedora art teams always does such a wonderful job, I really think they set the standard in the Linux distro world. Though others are starting to catch on.

    Posted by AhmedG. | March 15, 2010, 10:05 pm
    • Nevermind! I actually tried it as my wallpaper and it looks very nice. My initial reaction was incorrect, sorry!. Keep up the great work!

      Posted by AhmedG. | March 15, 2010, 10:12 pm
      • Yeah, I replaced my work wallpaper with this one so to see it in its own habitat and it looks pretty good. Gives a good chance to see how it scales.

        Posted by dragonbite | March 16, 2010, 11:07 am
  26. Great wallpaper. Only comments would be as follows:

    1. Big contrast between the dark blue and the white. Perhaps a little too much.
    2. Swirls curve very quickly – and chance of them being more gentle?
    3. Stars stick out a bit. Fewer and less bright would be nicer maybe?

    And now for the fantasy demand . . .

    How about mapping the stars to real constellations in the sky dependant on your location (with the screen facing a direction of your choosing). The deepness of the blue would also change depending on the time of day and daylight hours in your location.

    OK, OK – too far. I would say this is the best Fedora wallpaper for quite some time though.

    Posted by Duncan | March 17, 2010, 5:18 am
    • The fantasy demand would be first a coding problem, to make the GNOME wallpaper location aware. and then a logistic problem to determine the real sky chart (Stellarium?). Only after that it can become an artwork problem 😀

      Posted by Nicu | March 17, 2010, 8:17 am
  27. Tired of blue. I would say 10.04 is leading the way here in design.

    Posted by LS | March 18, 2010, 5:38 am
    • 10.04? What’s that?

      Posted by mairin | March 18, 2010, 7:52 am
    • Ubuntu 10.04? I’m not sure about the purple icons and OS X-like background. It’s growing on me but so if mold and that’s not going to make me want to install Mint or openSUSE anytime soon.

      I actually didn’t mind the brown they were moving to, and it was different than any other distro enough when you saw screenshots in people’s blogs you could tell “yup, that’s Ubuntu” or that it wasn’t.

      It’s not as easy with Fedora, though the Fedora blue seems to be just slightly different than most of the other blues, but isn’t as distinct as the (often complained about) brown.

      Posted by dragonbite | March 18, 2010, 9:02 am
      • Ah, the planned purple-hued Ubuntu wallpaper I saw recently (I don’t know if that if for 10.04 or what, it’s this looked like Snow Leopard (, which came out in Nov 2009) in terms of the palette. As Ubuntu is an operating system and not in another domain, it reads to me more like a knock-off than inspiration. I also think the wallpaper might appear a bit stale if it hasn’t come out yet considering Snow Leopard’s release. Also, it’s one thing to be inspired by another work yet do it better – that’s a bit more acceptable. I don’t think, however, that the wallpaper for Ubuntu that I saw stands up quite well next to the Snow Leopard wallpaper.

        Take a look:

        It looks like quite raw, unrefined blurred radial gradients with a fake lens flare, and that it the first thing I interpret it as. It’s not enough to give me the suspension of disbelief required to think about what it’s meant to be (looks like maybe a tinkerbell-like light effect). I don’t see ‘light’ when I look at it, I see, ‘amateur radial gradients.’ When I look at the Snow Leopard wallpaper, the first thing I think is ‘aurora’ not ‘photomanipulation.’ To be fair, I do quite a bit of vector graphics manipulation so maybe I am strange to first notice the execution of the Ubuntu wallpaper rather than the intended meaning. But from my experience working on wallpapers, I’m not sure how much that is in play here.

        I don’t normally comment on other OS’s wallpapers though, so I’m uncomfortable in doing so but I couldn’t resist here.

        Posted by mairin | March 18, 2010, 9:29 am
  28. Great job Mairin!

    Posted by Jayme Ayres | March 19, 2010, 11:36 am
  29. For the record: I think this is the best wallpaper I’ve seen in Fedora so far. And all I’ve seen were pretty good anyway… 🙂

    Posted by Fab | March 23, 2010, 2:41 pm
  30. Best book about drawing: Andrew-Loomis-Successful-Drawing

    Posted by Catalin | March 23, 2010, 6:07 pm
  31. I must say I really like this one. I hope this remains the default for the final release.

    Posted by Vampt3k | April 1, 2010, 4:01 pm
  32. I like this wallpaper better than the one that appeared in the beta release. Please include this one instead, thanks. Also, keep the icon theme from the alpha release as well. Thank you!

    Posted by Chris | May 9, 2010, 7:09 pm
  33. Thank you. This is my favorite fedora background. I reverted back to this.

    Posted by Allen Halsey | August 12, 2010, 12:37 am


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