Updated: August 20, 2011
Wallpapers, such an innocent affair. Apparently not so. For most people, finding high-quality wallpapers or backgrounds for their desktop usually takes them down the image lane of Google's highway, where they sift through tons of garbage, looking for decent high-resolution imagery of their favorite topics and avatars.
A colleague of mine told me about wallbase.cc several weeks ago, a site that has a virtually infinite pool of great images plus superb navigation. My initial reaction was one of slight contempt. But then, after going through the website, I realized there's quite a bit of useful art there, worth enough for a complete article. So here we go.
Wallbase is a simple, yet powerful site. You have the ability to search for images using keywords, restrict your searches to simple images or go naughty with sketchy and nude art, choose the specific resolution or aspect ratio, popularity and more. Most of the images are tagged, so it should help you narrow down your searches further.
For example, you may want to search for cars across all "purity" categories, with the resolution set to exactly 1280x800 or aspect ratio of 16:9. In addition to basic wallpapers, you may choose to check user collections that match your queries, so if you happen to like someone's work, there might be more.
Whenever you select an image, you have the option to rate it, recommend for deletion, comment, and look for similar wallpapers.
There was one small issue I came across: if you view the site in non-maximized browser windows, the horizontal separator overlap with the Tags div in the individual image view mode. Like below:
If you choose NSFW purity level, a warning notice will popup, asking you to confirm that you're 18 and whatever. My checks did not reveal too much adult material, but as expected, there's a ton of anime, as this seems to be popular for some reason.
If you don't like some of the items shown, you can delete them. They won't be deleted from the database, merely hidden from your view, but again, this is a nice feature. Simply click on the little X in the top right corner of any image - will show on mouse hover, and confirm the deletion. If you regret it, I guess you might want to delete the cookies and start over.
Here's a handful of other queries I've done. You really get to see tons of excellent material, without much fuss. The relevance and quality of wallpapers far exceeds your random searches across the Internet.
Well, there isn't much to conclude. Wallbase is a very decent repository of wallpaper images, across a wide range of categories. There's a bit for everyone, whether they like sketchy art, cartoons, nudity, nature landscape, bizarre, or else. Navigation is a breeze, the site feels posh and high-quality and the offerings are stellar. This is a recommended fun site for people who love to decorate their desktop backgrounds. You won't be disappointed.
Many thanks to Dima for suggesting this site.