Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How I Made My Banner...

I'm pretty tickled with how my latest banner came out and thought I'd share some of the steps I take through Picnik to play with my photos and make it work.  The fun thing about Picnik is you can spend hours and hours playing or just make a quick effect change to make drama easily.  Of course I didn't think to do this when I actually made the banner, so I went through the steps again.  I don't write down the color/percentage formulas so I can't necessarily recreate it exactly, but you'll get the gist.

1.  The original photo that I took with my Canon Rebel after making Curt pull off the side of the road while driving around Alexandria a few weeks ago.  It's not "tack sharp" by any means because of the combination of my handheld camera and the breeze, but I love the shot because of the horizontal focal branch.

2.  I really wanted to capture that horizontal branch, so I cropped the photo so the branch moved along the bottom third of the field (roughly) and left a nice space over on the right hand side for a text box.  The key for banners is to then resize the cropped pic to 968 pixels wide.

3.  Before moving into Picnik's different effects, I did a quick adjustment of the color saturation to get a little more brightness.  The sliding scale is perfect because you can move it back and forth until you get just what you like.  I wouldn't have noticed that salmon-pinkish sort of background without the adjustments.  

4.  Then I went for effects.  This is "Bunny Tone" which "posterized" the details and softened the colors but then I added a dash of "Boost" that brings out the color in their new tones.

5.  Next I went to the HSL filter...first is a "cool version" of the photo.  I love the purples and blues with the bright yellow flowers, but that's not the look I was really going for.

6.  Still in the HSL filer, I made a few adjustments to see what I could find and came up with this peachy version which is a perfectly pretty version, but I still wanted more energy.

7.  A few more adjustments and I found the colors I really wanted and then went back to edit the saturation levels to get this bright pink and orange with a little purple deep in the background:

8.  When doing a banner, there are lots of different ways to put the text in there, but I really like using a rectangle "sticker" to create a more level background for the letters so the font doesn't get lost in the photo.  This is the initial look of a sticker on the photo and it's obviously a bit of a big black vacuum that doesn't do much to enhance the look of the photo:

9.  Adjusting just the rectangle, I changed the color to a sort of chartreuse-y yellow and then made it semi-transparent.  I like the way that block balances with the focal flowers on the left-hand side.

10.  And, finally, I added some text.  There are lots of cool fonts to choose from, so it's always a challenge for me to pick.  I think this one is called Pepe.  I adjusted the color a bit and then used a filter to make it blend through the rectangle with the rest of the photo.

The last step for blogger is to go into the Design tab and add this photo into your header.  If you have it sized to 968 pixels, it'll fit right in there!  It seems like a whole lotta steps, but since each phase is such a fun experiment it doesn't seem to take all that long.  Go have a Picnik adventure for yourself!


  1. Luscious! Thanks for the tut. :)

  2. Super fantastic! you have the premium service of Picnik? I am not sure that my little free version has all these swanky features!
    I will test this out for next month's header. Thanks!
    Enjoy the day!

  3. Thanks for posting this tutorial. I've been wanting to redo my banner for a while and it always seems to get the best of me.

  4. I haven't used picnik yet and I haven't tackled a banner so this may be fun to try. I have been playing with photoshop all day though, It's too pretty to be inside but the pollen has kept me hostage!

  5. Thank you so much, Jen! I have wanted to do mine, too, but haven't had the time! Thanks for the cheat sheet!

  6. Very pretty, great effect! Thanks for sharing your how-to. :D

  7. Jen, I meant to say this earlier...awesome. I really had wanted to change my banner on my blog, and this post totally helped me out! Couldn't have done it with out ya-thanks! Miss ya!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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