Wednesday, 2 January 2013

"Designer's Choice" - Free Tools For Creating Awesome Header Images

Welcome to day two of my move to Wordpress, and my attempt to be useful by sharing what I’m learning. This week I’m diving into Wordpress customization, since I have a background in graphic design and HTML coding and don’t understand the phrase ‘walk before you can run’. Today – how to create your own header image using some great, free software to help you edit said images like a pro. And I'll be posting loads more hopefully helpful advice posts down the track - for both Blogger and Wordpress - so please head over to the new blog and hit follow to keep receiving them. Thanks to the people who've already skipped over to sign up. Enjoy! 

Turning Your Photos Into Professional Headers

First, check your theme’s allowable header dimensions in the theme details section (eg. 960 pixels wide and 262 pixels high). If you just want to crop your image, open it on your computer with Microsoft Picture Manager, select Edit Pictures, then in the side toolbar which pops up, select crop. The panel on the right shows your new picture dimensions, allowing you to drag it to the correct size and save. It’s the easiest way I know! (And sorry I don’t know a similar program for macs. If anyone does, leave it in the comments. :D )

Now you have a blank, accurately sized canvas to work on. So MAKE A COPY, and have some fun with these free tools:

In the future I’m planning a how-to post on creating your own badges for blog hops etc, and this site will play the lead role. In the meantime you can sign up, upload your new and accurately sized canvas, and start playing with a cool set of editing features. For example in this picture I edited for my band’s posters and business cards (that’s me in the middle and my awesome dad on the right), you can see there are twenty tools in the adjustments section alone.  

No teeth whitening tools were abused in the making of this picture.

Useful (for a start) because you can work on pictures from your own computer instead of having to upload first, Paint.NET is like Microsoft paint only a billion times better. Free, and easy to download and use, it’s great for those who pine for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (like me) but could only pay for such magnificence with old paperclips and a bit of string (like me). I’m thinking one day I’ll do a whole post on Paint.Net and its features, but for now I recommend having a muck around anyway – and as the website says, it has unlimited undo functionality! 

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