Over the years, I’ve looked at other successful online freelancers and noticed that they offer tutorials. I thought it would be a great way for me to develop my skillset in describing my ideas well enough that others can use them. The purpose of my blog is for my professional development, and to help me become a better communicator, and a better designer. With that said I’ll dive into a short Photoshop tutorial.
Today I’ll show you how I made a super quick facebook cover photo for a client. My client owns an online yoga business, and she wanted to add the Canadian Yoga Alliance logo to her facebook cover photo.
1. First you will want to setup your Photoshop document to the correct dimensions. Facebook cover photos display at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
We can also keep or set the Resolution to 72 pixels which is the standard resolution for web. Anything smaller can cause your image to appear fuzzy.
Now that we have the correct values set for our document, you can select create and a blank canvas will appear as so.
2. Now we need to search for some commercial free / copyright free stock imagery. In the event that you may not be familiar with these terms:
When pulling images from the internet we run into copyright issues, if you use someone’s materials without permissions or outright purchasing the photo or a license to use it, you can face some legal issues.
When choosing a supplier, always read the terms and conditions, this will give you a good idea if you will need to pay any fees or provide attribution to the photographer.
Stock images are not always free for personal or commercial use, so be careful when choosing an online supplier. Here is a list of my favorite suppliers including stock images free for personal & commercial use & no attribution:
Ok Now to the FUN STUFF. I selected my photos from Pixabay. For my background photo I was looking for something with a nice gradient, I figured a multicolored sky would work well so I typed tree sky into the search bar and selected the following photo and then saved it into a folder on my desktop:
The second photo I wanted to use as an overlaying element which you will shortly see in photoshop how blending modes can create really interesting effects for graphics. I choose a Mandala because they play an important role in the practice of yoga. -and I also saved this photo in the same folder as the previous one. It’s always a good idea to keep an organized folder structure even for small projects.
For the last photo, my client supplied me with a PNG of the following logo to place into our Photoshop file. PNGS are a great format for when you want to save an image with a transparent background.
When you open a PNG in photoshop, you will notice a checkered background (see image to the right), this means that the photo has a transparent background.
3. Now we are going to compose our Facebook Cover graphic in photoshop with the the 3 images that we gathered. Access the folder on your desktop that contains these photos, and select the first one (tree and sky) and place it into your Photoshop file.
4. Next, I re-positioned the photo. Move it down with your arrow keys on the keyboard or you can use your mouse and curser to drag it down.
Basically we want to use the part of the photo where the tree is not showing, and I also prefer the purple and pink hues in this portion of the photo.
5. After re-positioning the photo I re-sized the photo by selecting command ⌘ + T + shift ( which is the transform tool in PS) on a mac, or ctrl + alt + T + shift in Windows. Holding shift down will help you scale the image without it getting wonky or distorted.
6. Now that we have our background image set, we will place the second photo (the mandala) into our PS document and resize it using the transform short-cut-key and place the mandala in the left corner of our canvas.
7. You can now play with different blending modes to see what effects you want to achieve. I wanted the background image to show through the mandala, and I wanted the Mandala to appear overlaid and subtle. However, when I select overlay in my blending palette the colors are a bit too vibrant and neon for the more muted look I was going for.
Instead I went with lighten for my blending mode, the colors are more pastel vs. neon. I wanted the graphic to convey a sense of peacefulness and purity so lighter colors are better suited.
8. The colors are still a little too vibrant even with lighten as the blending mode, they remind me of holographic color palette. To tone it down I created a white layer with a 60% opacity.
First make sure that your foreground color is white the short-cut-key in PS is X. When you select the letter X on your keyboard you can toggle between the foreground and background colors.
Then select U ( the short-cut-key for the rectangle tool in PS ). Your curser will change to a cross hair curser and you will be able to drag over your canvas to create a white layer over your mandala photo layer.
If it helps you can also name your layers. Usually you should do this in the beginning to stay organized. It is also best practices to name your layers in the event that you have to hand of your PS files to another designer and if you are working on a team. Just double click the layer and PS will allow you to change the type.
Make sure you have your white rectangle layer selected or your layer named opacity and set the opacity to 60%.
You can do this by either placing your curser into the field and type 60% or any value you wish, or you can use the slider that appears when you select the drop down arrow.
Now our facebook cover graphic has a subtle look, it is light enough to place our logo on-top but it isn’t too light that it goes unnoticed.
9. In our last step we will want to center our logo so that when users are viewing the cover photo on their phone or tablet it will appear centered. You can find the center of your document by viewing the document grid. View > show > grid. Or you can use the short-cut-key command ⌘ + ‘ (mac) and control + ‘ (win).
If you do not already have your rulers displayed, press command ⌘ + r (mac) or control + r (win). Now you can drag vertical and horizontal guides from your rulers onto your canvas. Click onto your ruler, and hold down your mouse to drag guides onto your canvas. The grid helps divide the document into portions or quadrants so that you can easily find the center.
The default color for guides in PS is cyan which can be a difficult to see when your composition has competing colors, such as ours. To change the color of your guides you can go to the Photoshop dropdown > select Preferences > Guides, Grids, and Slices… (mac) and Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids, and Slices… (win)
A dialogue box will appear and you will see a header for Guides, just below that you will see options to change the color of the guides for your canvas and for your artboards. If you are curious like me, you might be wondering what are artboards ?
I am now just learning that this feature was added to PS in 2015! Unfortunately I did not know that, which could have made the task of designing UI’s in PS a-lot easier a couple weeks ago if not a couple years ago ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Artboards in PS function in the same way they do in Illustrator. Essentially you can have multiple copies of your photoshop document. This comes in handy when you are designing for different screen resolutions.
Maybe a little TMI? You will want to change the color of your guides for canvas. When you select the dropdown menu photoshop offers some default colors, I chose light red for this tutorial, however if you would like you can even choose a custom color which is the first link located at the top of the dropdown list.
Now your guides should appear light red and you can better see your placement.
10. Now you can drag and drop your logo into the PS document and position it into the center and turn off your grid and guides if you wish.
command ⌘ + ‘ = turns off grid (mac) & command ⌘ + ; = turns off guides (mac)
control + ‘ = turns off grid (win) & control + ; = turns off guides (win)
The final results should appear as below.
If you are reading this, I sincerely thank you for following along, and I hope that you learned something new. I will try to post more tutorials and share more of my thought processes behind projects. If this was helpful, interesting, boring, please leave a comment, I appreciate constructive feedback.