Tech & Telecoms

I was shocked to find out the Windows 10 desktop background wasn’t computer generated, but a picture of lasers being shot through an actual window

By Ted Litchfield

It turns out Windows 10’s default wallpaper is a photograph of an actual, physical installation by designer Bradley Munkowitz, also known as GMUNK. Munkowitz has a section of his website and a short YouTube video that explain how he and his team used a physical mirror, lasers, and smoke machines to produce the image, taking thousands of exposures with different color filters and combining the best into a single, final composite.

The team arranged a laser projector behind the physical Windows 10 logo, firing off various patterns into the window while playing with volumetric smoke to maximize the effect. There’s a video of the thing in motion that’s absolutely sick to see, and some of Munkowitz’ alternate colorways and WIP versions of the background really do something for me⁠—I think it’s the striking contrast against a pitch black background in most of them.

Finding out the Windows 10 desktop was made with practical effects has given me a whole new appreciation for it. Even before the advent of AI-generated imagery, I found that the sheer glut of pictures on the internet and proliferation of CGI have this cheapening effect on images, like I just default to assuming that most imagery is “fake” somehow. I never thought twice about the Windows 10 desktop because I didn’t think it was “real.” Now I’m kind of in love with the thing.


PC Gamer

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