Custom Kindle Screen Savers

Custom kindle Screen Saver In this article, I’m going to go over some of the basics for making and using custom screen savers on your Amazon Kindle.

One of the many things that I love about my Kindle is being able to personalize it by adding custom screen savers. Unfortunately, there’s not a way to do this from the factory — I’m still not sure why Amazon doesn’t include this feature. Thankfully, a group of skilled programmers have come up with a way to be able to use custom screen savers on your Kindle.

Kindle Screen Saver Hack

If you can follow simple directions, and you have a few minutes to spare, then using custom screen savers on your Kindle isn’t that difficult. All you have to do is install the Kindle Screen Saver Hack. It sounds scary, and glancing over that page may only add to your confusion, but it really isn’t that difficult, I promise.

A good tip when you’re trying new things like this is to read the entire page/article without trying anything. Once you’ve at least skimmed over the entire page, then go back and start doing the actions described.

There’s no need for me to cover the installation process here, since it’s already thoroughly documented.

Making Custom Kindle Screen Savers

While you could technically make screen savers in any image editing program, I’m going to cover the basics of how it’s done in Photoshop.

First thing first, make a new image to use as your “template.” The screen size depends on which Kindle you have:

  • Kindle 2/3 Screen Size: 600×800 @ 167ppi
  • Kindle DX Screen Size: 824×1200 @ 167ppi

Kindle Screen Saver New ImageI prefer to set the color mode to grayscale/16 bit, since all of your images have to be grayscale anyways.

Finding the source images to use will probably be the hardest part of this entire process. The e-ink display on the Kindle is superb for text, but not so much for images. The images that usually work best are those with the highest contrast, and minimal detail. Sketches and drawings usually work well also.

Google Images Search for EinsteinFor this sample, I did a Google Image search for images of Einstein. It usually helps to click the “Large” option to filter out any small, unusable images.

The image that I decided to use was found on DeviantArt (Author ~Ken-chen).

The main problem with this image, besides the fact that it’s way too large in its current form, is that there’s not enough contrast.

  • Save the image to your computer, and then open it in Photoshop.
  • Drag the photo onto the canvas of the new “template” that you created in the first step.
  • Crop and resize the image so that it fits inside the “template” to your liking.

Once you’ve got the image resized to your liking, you need to crank up the contrast:

  • Go to Image → Adjustments → Curves or hit ctrl+m.
  • Adjust the slider until the maximum amount of contrast is achieved without distorting the image. In my case, I was able to use Photoshop’s “Medium Contrast” preset to get the effect I was after:

Curves

Contrast Before and After

Note: Depending on the image you’ve chosen, another trick to get the contrast levels “right” is to duplicate the image layer, and change its blend mode to multiply, darken, or overlay (try other blend modes, too!)

At this point, feel free to clean up your image if you feel that it’s necessary. Basically, the whiter the background, and the darker the “subject” of the image (or vice-versa), the better the image will look on your Kindle.

Since my intentions were to make my screen savers look as close to the originals as possible, I decided to add the “Slide and release the power switch to wake” message at the bottom, as well as the text that describes the image. The closest matching font that I could find is called Fedra Serif A. I’m not sure if this is an exact match, as I haven’t been able to find anyone to confirm or deny. If you know the actual font that Amazon used, please leave a comment!

Slide to Wake Message

Download the Photoshop Template

Because I’m such an awesome guy, I’ve decided to share the template that I used to create the custom Kindle screen savers that you’ll find below.

Download the Kindle Screen Saver Template for Photoshop.

Free Custom Kindle Screen Savers: My Personal Heroes

Einstein Kindle Screen Saver

Charles Darwin Kindle Screen Saver

Thomas Edison Kindle Screen Saver

Nikola Tesla Kindle Screen Saver

Mike Everhart

Mike Everhart is a programmer, web developer, and owner of PlasticBrain Media LLC. He has a passion for startups and creating web-based applications to help them analyze, streamline, and automate their business processes. Mike has nearly 15 years of experience, and specializes in standards-based web design, programming, SEO, and SaaS.

9 Comments on "Custom Kindle Screen Savers"

  1. momochii says:

    Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

  2. Leonel says:

    Thanks for the knowledge and for Albert and Charles.

  3. Jeff says:

    Mike – really nice site. I can here from Google looing for the kindle-screen-saver-template.psd with the Slide and Release Power switch message, but it appears the link to download the template is not functional.

  4. Ondřej Bouchala says:

    Hi, I think, that the font “PMN Caecilia” is closer to original. (http://www.fonts.com/findfonts/detail.htm?productid=44094#proddetails).

    PS: The link for psd file is dead, can you please reupload it? Thanks.

  5. mikey says:

    ” He also prides himself in being the best at what he does” wow! i’m sure you are the best at taking great dosis of narcissism! :-) Come on! you are writing in third person because nobody writes about you. I’m sorry and welcome to earth.

    • Mike Everhart says:

      Sometimes there’s a fine line between narcissism and confidence. I have no problem saying that I’m the best at what I do because it’s the truth — and I have a portfolio of clients and past employers that will tell you the same thing. I’ve devoted almost half of my life to honing the skills needed to succeed in this industry. So yes, I can confidently say “I’m the best at what I do”. Modesty will get you you nowhere in life.

  6. Rich says:

    1. As for making the “Slide and release power switch to wake” text exactly the same as Amazon’s, you could use one of Amazon’s original 600×800 screensaver images and use Photoshop to lift the box into your own creations?

    2. I’ve wanted to put family photos on my Kindle, and my image viewing program, the freeware FastStone Image Viewer (Windows) has a number of presets that make it really easy. On the left pop-out menu, choose Crop Board. In the dialog box, choose a Paper Ratio of 4:3 and check “Flip ratio” so it becomes taller than it is wide. Crop the photo exactly as you like. Then, again in the left pop-out menu, under Quick Resize/Resample, choose 600×800. Again on the left menu, under Colors, choose “G” (for Greyscale) and then “16″ to reduce the number of shades to 16. Save and you’re done!

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