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Get 3D Desktop Effects In Linux

Updated on February 19, 2010

How To Get 3D Desktop Effects In Linux

Whatever may be your distro, you can make this happen. I am talking about the aesthetically pleasing set of desktop effects that can be enabled or installed in any debian based linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Mandriva, etc.

The name of the tool which we are using here is called Compizconfig settings manager (ccsm). You might be familiar with the common effects like Windows Flip, etc. That's nice. huh? But the tool here I am talking about is far more effective. It takes less memory compared to the windows systems like Vista, W7,etc. which are always resource hungry. If you are having a mid-level or old PC, then you are forced to forget these things in Windows. But that's not the case in Linux. A pentium 4 chip with 256 or 512 MB (recommended) is great enough to enable the cool 3d effects.

Famous linux distributions like Linux Mint, etc. is shipped with this plug-ins pre-installed. So all you have to do is just click enable and turn on the effects and animations that you prefer. Distros like Mandriva (Live DVD) contains this tools in their installation disk. But you are provided with a choice to install it later so that you can save a chunk of memory.

Compiz Effects


If you are using Ubuntu, then you have to install it explicitly from net. If you really need to install this awesome tool, here are the steps that should be followed.

  1. Open your terminal
  2. Type the following command

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Just type the password when prompted.That's all with the installation. After the installation has finished, you can see the newly installed tool in Preferences menu.

Playing with Compiz

Next task is tweaking for the best appearance. Just click the compiz icon and the the tools box appears. You can see a variety of options like 3D windows, Benchmarking, Rotate cube, 3D Dekstop cube, Ring Switcher, Command-line editor, window decorator, extra animations and effects, desktop sphere, etc. It contains a lot more. You have to just use this tool to know it's real potential. You can change the speed and animation settings by changing the numerical values. (say change from 300 to 200 increases animation speed). It also contains option for installing the unsupported plug-ins. But the given ones are quite enough to get a great desktop effect.

The snapshots given above are captured from my own Linux-Mint and Ubuntu desktops.


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      acevb 6 years ago

      I downloaded per the instructions on this page and even found the settings in compiz, however I can not get the 3d effect to show up on my desktop. I am a newbie and can not figure out what I am doing wrong. Please help.

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      albercuba 6 years ago

      tog get that from the 2nd screenshot, you press Super(windows key)+Tab. Or you can configure your own settings, open compizconfig settings manager, go to the Window Mangement category y edit the Shift Switcher options.

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      Luke 6 years ago

      Hi Hubmania,

      I recently saw your article about getting 3D Effects in Linux, and it was very helpful. I was just wondering what settings you used to get the awesome desktop in the second screenshot? (The one with all the blue). It just looks great, and I'd love to be able to set the same kind of thing up for myself - including the toolbars, they seem to make it even cooler.