Generated Backgrounds

If you're like me, one of the first things you do when creating a new space is picking juuust the right background. Generated backgrounds make getting started off right a lot easier.

They're also unique – no two are the same.

To take less attention from your content, UI buttons also now blend into the background.

However, if you prefer high contrast buttons without any translucency, you can toggle that in User → Settings → Controls → Increase UI Contrast


This was first requested about a year ago. But in the spirit of measuring twice and cutting once, it took me a while to figure out how best to build it.

My implementation was inspired by Shelby Wilson's gradient technique where 6 different radial gradients are layered on top of each other with alternating opacities. I recommend checking out her other web experiments too.

But actually drawing the gradients turned out to be the easy part. The Kinopio background system was originally built with two implicit assumptions:

  1. a space background is an image URL.
  2. if no background is set, the space should use the default background image. This is because originally, backgrounds weren't customizable.

Which was upended to:

  1. spaces can have a background image url, but they can also have a backgroundGradient JSON object which describes the gradient layers. The space backgroundIsGradient boolean determines whether to draw the background with an image url or gradient. More info on these attributes is in the API docs
  2. If no background is set, the space uses a blank background instead. I think this is a more intuitive behaviour for new users.