Something I’ve been looking for on Google a lot is the dimensions I should use when designing my own wallpapers for a new Kontakt Library
Judging by the number of questions alike and the obvious lack of a clear answer I think there isn’t really a “standard” or definite answer to this. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Existing wallpapers also seem to use whatever dimension they like or see fit.
The height of any wallpaper is fixed to 98 pixels. You can’t resize the height, so 98 pixels it is. For the width, however, you should use 215 pixels… or 588… or 632… or 907… or anything anywhere in between.
So for my own convenience and possibly a “guideline” for others looking for this answer, here’s some things to keep in mind when deciding the dimensions you personally use.
Since the width of the library can be changed, there are some dimensions you should keep in mind when designing your own wallpapers. At least, these are the dimensions I personally use when designing a wallpaper…
…is the minimum width you should use. It’s not possible to drag the Kontakt window any smaller and this is also the width you end up with when using the “Reset Size” option in the “Interface” settings.
If there is ANYTHING to be found that could be regarded as the “official” width of the wallpaper, I think it might be this. I took a peek at the wallpapers used by Native Instruments themselves and used the Photoshop Eyedropper to determine where the pixels started repeating. This was always exactly after 588 pixels. For earlier libraries, like the Vienna, Berlin and New York Grands, this was quite visible. Later on, Native Instruments designed their wallpapers more “repeated pixel proof”, but with the right tools the 588 pixel border could still be found in these newer wallpapers.
…is the fixed size of the instrument on the right side of the Kontakt window. So if you’re a sucker for “balance”, like me, then your aim should be to get somewhere near this size. [Edit: I found that the size of the Kontakt window stretched to 632 pixels for both the library and the instruments section is EXACTLY the width of my MacBook primary screen, so this size might just be for my particular installation.]
…is the absolute max width you can get. It is not possible to drag the Kontakt window any wider. At least I couldn’t get beyond this on my HD screen. It just stopped there.
No stretching but repeating
Finally you should know that Kontakt will NOT stretch the wallpaper to the size of your window if the wallpaper is smaller. It will just endlessly repeat the last strip of pixels on the right side. So keep this in mind when designing your wallpaper. Make the rightmost part something that can be repeated endlessly if you make your wallpaper smaller than 907 pixels wide. Preferable some neutral background color, like in my example above. If you don’t, you could end up with some ugly library picture like this:
Obviously, how your wallpaper will look in the setup of other users is totally dependent on how wide or small they use their Kontakt window. But since there are limits to these sized, I personally think your design should concentrate all the important stuff, like text, in the leftmost 215 pixels. Then extend the rest of your wallpaper to 907 pixels with something that looks pleasing, but shouldn’t necessarily be visible all the time. If you can’t or won’t extend to 907 pixels, then at least make sure the right side is something that can be repeated “endlessly” without looking goofy. For the sake of compatibility it seems like a good idea to keep the right side of your design “repeat proof” anyway, just in case Native Instruments might decide to change the limit for how wide you can stretch the Kontakt Window.
For my own ease, I created a Photoshop “template” to help me design new Kontakt Library Wallpapers. Please feel free to download it below and use it yourself. The template is 907×98 pixels with various layers to help you design your wallpapers.
I quite like the design used by Native Instruments for the newer Grand Piano libraries, where the border of the wallpaper is slightly darkened. In my template, there is a “Dark Border Layer” so you can use this design in your wallpapers as well. Just use the Opacity function in Photoshop to determine how dark the border should be, or just disable the layer if you don’t like the darker border at all. Keep in mind though, that the right border isn’t in a fixed position, it totally depends on how wide the end user sets up his or her window! So the darkened border design will only work if the right side is already dark or black, like in the Native Instruments examples.
The “UI Elements Layer” in my template shows where the title and the buttons on the library will show up. Keep this visible when designing, so your design won’t end up hidden underneath these elements in the library, but switch this layer off when saving!
The “Safe Area Layer will show you the minimum size in green, while it stretches to the max size from yellow to red. The area within the UI elements is made blue. Obviously you should also hide this layer when saving your design, but it can be helpful to keep it visible when designing.
Finally there’s 9 solid background color layers which you may or may not want to use.
Even though the height of the Kontakt Library Wallpaper is fixed to 98 pixels, you can actually make your wallpapers itself higher, it just won’t show anything below the 98 pixels. This means that you could add extra info inside your wallpaper that can be seen when viewing the actual wallpaper.png file, but won’t be shown in the contact library. For instance, this wallpaper…
…will still show up normally in the Kontakt Library. This can be handy to add additional information to your files, like a copyright notice, description of the library, or whatever you want.
If you have any ideas for customization of the template or some additional information or tips, please let met know in the comments below.