Pollen Screensaver 1.0.1

What Is It?

Pollen is a simple particle-system screensaver for Mac OS X. A bunch of "pollen" particles are moved around by various forces, producing a variety of drifting and swarming motions. The particles can also optionally gather to form a logo or image.

System Requirements

Pollen requires Mac OS X on a Macintosh computer with hardware-accelerated OpenGL. It is a Universal Binary and should run on both Intel and PowerPC Macs, and on versions of the system back to 10.4 (Tiger). If it does not run on your system, please submit a bug report.


pollen.zip (74 kB)

In case this doesn't work right with older systems, I'm also leaving the previous version (0.96b) up here for the time being: pollen096.zip (56 kB)


Unzip the archive and place the resulting Pollen.saver file into your Library/Screen Savers folder. You should then be able to select Pollen from the list of savers in your System Preferences panel.


Pollen is set to display its own logo by default, but you can configure it to use any other suitable image through the preferences panel.

It should be able to handle most image types readable by OS X.

The image is used at its natural size, not scaled to the screen, so be sure to pick an image that fits nicely onscreen with some space around it.

The colour in the top-left pixel of the image is used as the background colour. By default, Pollen considers all pixels that are not this exact colour to be part of the logo. If you want it to treat a wider range of colours as background, select the "Skip pixels near background" checkbox; this will often look better, especially if you are using the image colours rather than the default colour scheme (thanks to Monroe Williams for this suggestion). There must be a reasonable number of non-background pixels in the image or the logo will not be displayed.

A logo will usually look better when represented by a larger number of motes, but that may affect performance; and it will lose definition with larger sized motes: play with these settings until you are happy, or give up and throw the thing away.

Multiple Screens

Pollen may have problems with some multiple screen setups, and performance is likely to be poor since a separate copy is run for each screen. You may prefer to have Pollen render only to your main screen, leaving all other screens blank; hence the checkbox in the configuration dialog. If you continue to have multiple screen problems even with this preference checked, please send in a bug report.


As mentioned above, Monroe Williams suggested the Skip pixels near background behaviour. Brian Ramagli (aka Sky Hawk) at HKA Software improved the drawing code.


If you discover any bugs, please report them, including as much detail about the symptoms and your system as you can muster. I don't promise to do anything about them, but it's a dead cert I won't if I don't know about them.

Feel free to suggest improvements or features you'd like added also.

Small Print

Pollen is freeware: it may be copied and distributed freely, but not sold. It remains copyright © 2001-2009 by Matthew Caldwell. It is supplied as-is with no warranty or guarantee of any kind, and no responsibility will be accepted by the author for any damage or problems caused directly or indirectly by its use. Handle with care.