Ubuntu comes with a number of special visual effects, rivaling those of Windows Vista, and yet requiring much fewer system resources to operate. Ubuntu video effects are powered by Compiz, its extension Compiz Fusion and the Emerald window decorator.
Compiz is a compositing window manager, which allows the use of fast 3-D desktop effects. By default, Ubuntu uses Compiz to provide shadows around windows and window-minimizing effects.
There are a number of extra compositing effects plug-ins that can be used that make up the Compiz Fusion package. Most of these are installed and available but not enabled by default in Ubuntu.
Emerald is a theming system for changing window decorations. Though not preinstalled in Ubuntu, it can easily be added and used later. Emerald allows for the use and creation of a wide variety of themes, allowing a Ubuntu system to be tailored to the user’s wishes.
Video effects are turned on or off by opening “Appearance Preferences” (by and choosing one of the options in the “Visual Effects” tab.
By installing the CompizConfig Settings Manager, the individual Compiz and Compiz Fusion plug-ins can be enabled and disabled, and fine-tuned to the users’ preference.