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
I 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.
For 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 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 → Curvesor hit
- 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:
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!
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.