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distort - Man Page

distort the content of the screen in interesting ways


distort [--root] [--window-id number][--window] [--mono] [--install] [--noinstall] [--visual visual] [--window-id window-id] [--delay usecs] [--duration secs] [--radius pixels] [--speed int] [--number int] [--swamp] [--bounce] [--reflect] [--vortex] [--magnify] [--blackhole] [--slow] [--shm] [--no-shm] [--fps]


The distort program takes an image and lets circular zones of distortion wander randomly around it, distorting what is under them. The mode of distortion and the overall behaviour of the zones can be influenced in various ways.

The image that it manipulates will be grabbed from the portion of the screen underlying the window, or from the system's video input, or from a random file on disk, as indicated by the grabDesktopImages, grabVideoFrames, and chooseRandomImages options in the ~/.xscreensaver file; see xscreensaver-settings(1) for more details.


distort accepts the following options:


Draw on the root window.

--window-id number

Draw on the specified window.


Draw on a newly-created window. This is the default.


If on a color display, pretend we're on a monochrome display.


Install a private colormap for the window.


Don't install a private colormap for the window.

--visual visual

Specify which visual to use. Legal values are the name of a visual class or the id number (decimal or hex) of a specific visual.

--window-id window-id

Specify which window id to use.

--delay usecs

Specify the delay between subsequent animation frames in microseconds.

--duration seconds

How long to run before loading a new image.  Default 120 seconds.

--radius pixels

Specify the radius of the distortion zone in pixels.

--speed int

Specify the speed at which the distortion zone moves, where 0 is slow, higher numbers are faster (10 is pretty fast.)

--number int

Specify the number of distortion zones.


Instead of letting zones wander around, let small zones pop up like bubbles in a swamp and leave permanent distortion.  WARNING: this option uses a colossal amount of memory: keep the --radius small when using --swamp.


Let zones wander around and bounce off the window border. This is the default.


Mode of distortion that resembles reflection by a cylindrical mirror.


Whirlpool-shaped distortion. Way cool.


This mode of distortion looks like a magnifying glass.


Suck your pixels beyond the event horizon. Favourite mode of Dr Stephen Hawking.


Make the zone wander slower.


Use shared memory extension.


Don't use shared memory extension.


Display the current frame rate and CPU load.



to get the default host and display number


to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.


The window ID to use with --root.

See Also

X(1), xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-settings(1), xscreensaver-getimage(6x)


Jonas Munsin <jmunsin@iki.fi> and Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>. This manual page by Matthias Warkus <mawa@iname.com>, 17-Oct-1999.


6.09-1.fc41 (11-Jun-2024) X Version 11 XScreenSaver manual