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How To: Use Compiz


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I'm pretty bored, and I thought this might be helpful. In this guide, I'll show you the various effects with Compiz and tell you how to configure them to your liking. I'm sure most have figured this stuff out, but it took time and trial and error for me, and I think it will help some people. As always, try not to break anything. Let's begin.


1. First, we need to enable special effects. To do this, use the menu and click System>Preferences>Appearances and click the Visual Effects tab.

*You will need to have a graphics driver activated for this to work. It will try to do this for you if you have not already done so, but if it does not work, simply go to System>Administration>Hardware Drivers and select the recommend driver. Make sure all other windows are closed before activating the driver. You may need reboot for changes to take effect.


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2. Now, by default, some effects will be turned on. However, we can do much more by installing the CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM). Simply go to your terminal (Applications>Accessories>Terminal) and type in sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager. We also want the unsupported extras, so now use the command sudo apt-get compiz-fusion-plugins-extra. After it is done, exit the terminal and we will move on to the next step.


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3. It's time to start getting those effects turned on. I'll go through my favorite ones here and explain how to configure them. To access your new control panel for Compiz, simply click System>Preferences>CompizConfig Settings Manager.


A. Basic Window Effects

-First, we need to enable animations, and the unsupported animations. To do this, simply click to place a checkmark in the Animations Add-On. Now, click on Animations, and you will see several tabs at the top. Make sure the Open tab is selected, and double click the first effect that is listed. A new box will appear, and you can select the new effect from the Open Effect drop down list. I personally use Beam Up. You can also select the length of each effect via the horizontal Duration bar.

-We can repeat this process for the Close, Minimize, Shade, and Focus animations.


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B. Altering the Basic Window Effects

-While it was nice to just enable the effects and change the time, we can do more with these. Simply click Animations and select the Effect Settings tab. You will see a ton of options come up. I will use the Animations Add-On as an example. If you have enabled the Burn effect, you will be able to change the flame color and particle size, as well as choose 'Randomly Colored Fire.' It's entirely up to you how you want to customize these effects, so I'll leave you to do the experimenting here.

*Note: If at any time you have made an unwanted change and cannot remember what the default setting was, you can click the right most button for the effect to restore default settings.


C. The Desktop Cube

-Perhaps the most interesting effect is the Compiz Cube. Let me start by warning you that you may have to resolve conflicts while configuring the cube and other effects from here on out. Since each individual's settings are unique, I cannot predict which conflicts you will run into. However, either disable the existing effect to enable the new ones, or select new key bindings, depending on which "error" message you are given.


-I know you want to just enable the cube, but don't do that yet. First, go up to General Options and select the Desktop Size tab. Now, I prefer to increase the Horizontal Virtual Size to 4, however, I would not go any higher than six.


-Now, let's enable the Desktop Cube by placing a checkmark in the appropriate box. You will likely have to disable Desktop Wall in order to enable the cube. If you click on the menu for Desktop Cube, you can select the Transparent Cube tab and change the opacity. I use 80.00 for Opacity During Rotation. There is also an Appearance tab that will allow you to change the cube caps, as well as the Skydome (the background when rotating the cube). Simply save an image and use the file browser for the setting to select your custom image.


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-Now, let's enable Rotate Cube. You can change the key bindings for this, but by default, you should be able to access the different workspaces by holding ctrl+alt and then left-clicking (and holding that down) and moving the mouse in any direction.


-This part is optional, but I like to enable Cube Reflection and Deformation. Doing this will add a little more flavor to the cube, and if you choose to, you can select the Deformation tab and change the cube into either a cylinder or a sphere. By default, it will add new cube caps as well.


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4. Expo


This is a handy plugin for navigating your different workspaces. It will zoom out to show all the workspaces on the screen, which will allow you to simply click on the one you want to use. Enable the Expo Plugin and click it to bring up its menu.


-First, in the Bindings tab, select Expo edge. I personally prefer to use BottomRight but it's up to you.


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-Now, under the Behavior tab, you can change the Expo Animation. I use plain old Zoom, but there are a few to choose from. Just select it and then go to your binded edge and see if you like the effect.


-Lastly, we can play with some settings under the Appearance tab. You can experiment here, but the only change I make is to add a Reflection and a Curve Deformation.


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5. Ring Switcher


There are several application switchers available, but the most elegant one in my opinion is the Ring Switcher. I would advise turning off any other application switchers if you want to enable this one. By default, the key bindings should be Super (Windows Key)+Tab.


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6. Miscellaneous


-These are totally optional, but look really nice. I would enable Reflection and Window Decoration. which will add shadows and other eye candy for you. There are options to play with in both.


-Paint fire on the screen, Water Effect, and Window Previews are some other fun plugins to enable. The first lets you draw on the screen while the second has raindrops falling and an optional windshield wiper. The last one is pretty useful. You can change the size of the preview if you wish.

Edited by adam22
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