I have been asked a few times how I make my photo banner for the blog, and usually I respond with a very long, rambling explanation, which I always think must confuse the recipient more than it enlightens them. So, when the lovely Mama from Only in Louisiana asked me the other day, I suddenly had the idea of doing a photo tutorial. Anyway, here it is - not sure if it explains things any better than my multi-page email would, but let's see how it goes. For the purposes of this post, I made a new banner (above) and documented the process.
Before I go on, I will say that I use a couple of programs to do this - one online and the other I have downloaded. Both of them are free, but they do look for donations. It is always nice to buy these guys a coffee now and then, as they do good work. Also - there are similar products out there, but these are the ones I know and use.
Ok - lets do this...
First of all - create your mosaic. I use a website called Big Huge Labs - this is their home page, and in fact it is very easy to navigate and work out. We want to select Mosaic maker here - see it bottom left as you look at the screen?
You then come to this page, which allows you to choose the shape of your mosaic, and to upload your photographs.
For the banner, I will choose a layout of square tiles, 4 columns and 1 row. I leave the space between images at the default of 5. I select my images individually, and then I choose the first photograph in my mosaic by clicking on the first square.
When you click the box to upload your picture, a series of options appears - upload (from you own computer), flickr, or facebook. I normally use Flickr - selecting this option brings up your photostream* and you can then scroll along until you find the image you want - click on it and the photo appears in the box.
*The first time you chose Flickr, you will be asked to allow Bighugelabs permission to link to your Flickr account, so there will be a short process to go through. Once your account is linked, your photostream will show everytime you chose the flickr option.
You can also upload directly from your computer, as I have done for picture 3, which wasn't on my flickr page. It can take a wee bit longer to upload that way, but not significantly.
I don't have facebook, so i can't comment on how that works, but I imagine it is just the same.
Once you are happy with you selection, hit the create button.
And there is the mosaic. I am happy with this, so I will "save" it - it is then downloaded to my computer, and stored in the Downloads folder. If I wanted to change it, I would just click edit and change the images again.
Now I am going to add my blog title to the banner. I do this using a program called paint.net. It is free to download (although they do accept donations), and I find it very user friendly, and effective.
So - I open up Paint.net, and using the file tab > open > select the mosaic.
Then on the Tools tab, I select the T (text) button.
I select my font type and size, and colour and then place the cursor where I want my title to be.
You can move your text around until you are happy with it - just click on the white box and use the little grab symbol to move it .... no - I think I will change it back to where it was.
If you want to add text somewhere else - say a blog description perhaps, then select the Text tool again and add your spiel wherever you want that to be. Take your time - be creative and have fun. You can always undo anything before you save it for keeps.
When you are happy with it all, then save - almost done!
Now - off to the blog we go! Just for information, I am using the Simple template on blogger
Select the Design tab > edit header.
Remove your current image.
Select the placement as "Instead of title and description, and also shrink to fit. Then upload your mosaic file from your computer.
Woohoo - save and you are done!
And there we are!
I hope this is helpful - it really is much more simple than I have made it sound - and the programs are so easy to follow. If you do try this, do let me know so I can come along and admire your creative work. xxx