Look at My Cool Banner!

If you’ve visited my blog before last Tuesday, then you probably noticed that my blog looks a little different; namely, there’s a cool banner up top that I made myself. Our latest assignment was to make our own banners for our blogs using Pixlr, a photo editing website that’s like a scaled down (and FREE!) version of Photoshop. I had a lot of fun using the site, and once I got the hang of what the different features were and how to apply them, I found it very easy to make my banner.

Since we had to resize our pictures in order for them to fit as a banner, our professor recommended that we use a landscape so that it won’t look too squished or deformed. I knew right away that I wanted a beach sunset, and with the magic of Flickr and Creative Commons, found this lovely photo:

Unedited Photo: Seal Beach SunsetPhoto Credit: jonashaffer via Compfight cc

The assignment required us to alter our chosen pictures using at least one tool from each category in Pixlr. Here’s what I used for my banner:

  1. For Overlay, I used “Loove” found under “Bokeh”, which added some cute hearts on top of the photo. I only used about half for the amount because it was subtle and went well with the photo, and enhanced it without being overbearing.
  2. For Effect, I used “Earl” under “Vintage” because I thought the filter looked cool. I used a little over half for the amount in order to get the vintage effect without taking too much of the vibrant color away.
  3. For Border, I used “Drip” under “Grunge” because I liked the juxtaposition of the more grungy border with the photo’s bright colors and the overlay’s hearts. It all works together well and doesn’t clash, at least in my opinion! As a bonus, it also goes great with my blog’s theme!
  4. For Adjustments, all I did was reduce the contrast to -7 and increase the brightness to 2. This was very subtle, but it toned down the photo’s bright colors without losing its vibrance.
  5. For Type, I used the “Tiza” font under “Grunge” because it went well with the border and the photo in general, as well as my blog’s theme.

Here’s what the photo looked like with all of these effects:

Photo with effects but before resizing

After that, I just had to turn it into a banner. I resized it to 1260×240 pixels to fit my theme, and I redid the text so that it didn’t appear squished. The final product is right at the top of my page.

And there you have it! I’m very proud of the way my banner came out. Since there were a lot of elements that I needed to include, I tried to make most of them subtle so that the final product didn’t look overburdened and so that the original photo didn’t get lost in the chaos. I really enjoyed the creative process, but I do have a couple of complaints. First of all, it was hard to go back and fix something, since you have to get rid of all the layers of effects, fix what you need to fix, and then put everything back. Second, I didn’t like that you can’t save your work without downloading it, so I ended up saving a ton of different versions as I went along, just to be safe.

I think my banner gives a pretty good idea of who I am and what I like. I love the beach, sunsets, and water, and the contrast between the hearts/bright colors, the vintage filter, and the more “grungy” border and font could represent the different sides of my personality, if you want to get really deep about it.

So what do you think about my banner? Love it? Hate it? Have any suggestions? Tell me in the comments!

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