Most people say you need Photoshop in order to create a great thumbnail image and I am here to disprove that myth! If you are a Youtube or Fullscreen partner (I AM!), you have the opportunity to create your own thumbnail image to be seen as the main photo for your video. I will show you have to make full use of the EASY and FREE photo editing site pixlr.com to create a thumbnail picture in a matter of minutes. Learn how to make a BASIC thumbnail or a COLLAGE thumbnail by selecting "Read More"!
Important Youtube thumbnail information:
Your custom thumbnail image should be as large as possible, as the image will also be used as the preview image in the embedded player. We recommend your custom thumbnails:
- Have a resolution of 1280x720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
- Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
- Remain under the 2MB limit. (2048KB)
- Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.
First things first, enter Pixlr.com into your web browser and you should come to a page like this:
Browse: Immediately takes you to your folders/pictures to upload a photo. Perfect for one photo thumbnails.
Open URL: Exactly that. This is for opening an image using an URL from the interwebs.
Webcam: Snap a photo of yourself or something else with your webcam!
Collage: My fave option that allows you to use multiple images for your thumbnail.
Mobile: Links you to page to promote the Pixlr Express apps.
BASIC THUMBNAIL TUTORIAL:
For this first tutorial, I will be showing you how to create a BASIC thumbnail using the BROWSE option. Once you upload the photo you want, you will be directed to the page below. The photo I am using for this tutorial was taken with a Canon Rebel T2i and is a JPEG file. It's dimensions are 3460x2303 with a size of 764 kb. We are first going to focus on getting this photo to the correct Youtube thumbnail size which is 1280x720. Begin by clicking on "Adjustment" on the left side pictured here:
For this second tutorial, I am selecting the COLLAGE option. Once there, the page will look like the one below. Starting from the bottom left, you have your layout options. There are MANY of them but, it is best to choose a layout that features two to three photos and that can be proportioned horizontally to fit the thumbnail size. Spacing allows you to control the width of the lines. If you want a rounded finish to your rectangular photo, the next feature Roundness controls that. Proportions is VERY important to use in creating your thumbnail. This feature shrinks or widens your image and can get it to the appropriate thumbnail size. NOTE: Unlike the BASIC tutorial, this proportions feature does not allow you to input the size of the Youtube thumbnail (1280x720). I usually eye the image to the size I think is about 1280x720 then upload it to Youtube until I am satisfied. The Color features allows you to change the color of the borders.