Blogging How-To: Title Images Part 2

Remember that blog post I wrote last month about creating title images for blog posts? Well, I’m back again with more title image tips, including ways to find fonts, troubleshooting to make sure your image shows up on Facebook, and creating abstract backgrounds!

If you haven’t already, be sure to read my original blog post, since that tutorial lays the foundation for this one. Also, I use the free image editing program GIMP in both of these tutorials, so if you don’t have that program, you can download it here. If you’re not familiar with GIMP, don’t worry – it’s a pretty easy program to learn!

So, are you ready to learn some more tips and tricks? Keep on reading!

Creating Gradient Backgrounds

If the subject you’re talking about in your blog post is a bit more abstract, it may be hard to find a photo that really suits your content. Luckily, you can make your own abstract backgrounds right in GIMP using the gradient tool!

Let’s start by creating a new layer. Need a refresher? Check out the first “Title Images” post!

Let’s look at the colors. You have two options for colors: foreground (which is black by default) and background (default white). You can change either color at any time, just click the appropriate box to open the color selection window. The little arrows next to the two colors will swap the FG and BG colors, and the small black and white boxes will revert the FB and BG colors to their default.

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Pick your colors. Using the color palette, choose two colors you want to use for your gradient. Choose one as the FG color and one as the BG color. Try to pick two shades of the same color, like a light blue and a dark blue.

Now that you’ve picked the colors for your background, select the gradient tool (first image, red), which looks like a small gray and white square. In the tool options (second image) you’ll see a couple of different choices, but what we’re really concerned with are the “Gradient” (red) and “Shape” (blue) options.

Choose your gradient. By default, GIMP will have your gradient be from the FG to BG colors, but you can pick other options as well. In addition, if you’re not satisfied with the colors you chose, there are a few preset options that might be of interest to you.

Bonus tip: You can change the direction of the gradient by clicking the blue arrows to the right of the gradient selector.

Choose your shape. Now that you’ve decided what colors you want your gradient to have, now we have to choose the shape of the design. The default is linear, which is a basic fade from one color to the other. Feel free to experiment with the different options to find one that you like!

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Once you have the colors and the shape that you want, now we actually create the gradient. Go to your canvas and click and drag to create the gradient. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain how this works, but depending on your shape and how you “draw” the gradient, the design will vary slightly. If you’re using one of the linear shapes, for examples, the angle will change depending on the angle of the line you draw. For shapes like the square, the size of the square will change depending on the size of your line. For the spiral, the “layers” of your spiral will vary in size depending on the line you draw. Take a look at the images below to see what I mean (red is the beginning, blue is the end of the gradient)

But if none of that makes sense, just keep experimenting until you find something you like!

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If the gradient still seems a little too sharp, you can apply a Gaussian Blur effect to soften the edges a little bit.

Now your gradient background is done! Now you can go ahead and add text, links to your blog, and do whatever else you want to do to finish up the image!

Want some more tips on how to take your title images to the next level? Keep reading!


Transparent Gradient

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Want your image to fade to a solid color? You can create a gradient as above, but make it go from the FG color to transparent. From there, just draw the gradient as you would normally, and you can also adjust the opacity of that layer as you like. Gradients are very useful, not just for backgrounds!


Text Outlines

Text outlines are very easy to do once you get the hang of it. Start by creating a new layer and putting it underneath the text layer you want to be outlined. Then, select your text layer and use the color select tool (red) to select the actual text (not the entire layer).

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Now you’ll need to grow the selection. Go to Select > Grow and use the pop-up window to grow the selection by however thick you want the outline to be. I will warn you, the thicker you make the layer, the grainier it may look, so just be careful as you experiment. Remember you can undo your changes at any time!

 

Now, make the new outline layer the active layer and use the paint bucket tool. In the tool options, change it to “fill whole selection,” and then click inside the selection. Instead of just one spot, the entire selection will be filled with that color, and the result should look like this:


Partial Transparency Overlay Thing

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I don’t know what to call this technique, so just roll with it.

If you want your title to stand out, but you don’t want to take away from the background image, you can create a solid background that covers only part of the image using the rectangular select tool. Create a new layer, and then select the area that you want to be filled with color. Use the paint bucket to fill that selection, and then you can change the opacity of the layer to adjust how opaque the solid background looks.

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Finding Fonts

There are a lot of places on the internet to find free fonts, though my personal favorite is FontSpace. They have a lot of fantastic fonts in many different styles, and I’ve never had trouble with downloading them. If you need a really unique font, they’re definitely worth checking out!


Help! Facebook won’t display my title image!

Sometimes, especially on WordPress, Facebook won’t recognize your title image when you go to share your post to Facebook. I found that this is best resolved through using the “Featured Image” option on WordPress blog posts, but if that doesn’t help, try this:

Visit the Facebook Sharing Debugger – just paste in the link to your post. When the data for the webpage appears, it will show a preview of the link with the image Facebook recognizes as the one it should use. If your title image is not that image, click the “Scrape Again” button after a few moments to see if that helps.

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These are just the solutions I’ve found work best, but if you have any other suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!


What’d you think of this week’s blogging tutorial? I plan on doing more of these, so let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to learn, and I’ll see what I can do!

Until next time!

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