Friday, October 29, 2010

New Site Banner!

Look up!  I've wanted to do a personalized banner for this blog for quite a bit of time.  Last night I finally got to it and got started in photoshop.  I only worked for half an hour or so last night, so I finished it just now after about another hour and 45 minutes or so.

If you are also a photoshop enthusiast, or just want to hear what I did to make the banner, read on.

The gradient background and the text are both pretty straight forward.  Fudging around with colors and how they contrasted each other took the most time - I also had to ensure that the banner's colors fit the feel of my blog.  I also added some drop shadow to all of the text, and I also gave an inside shadow to the blog title (that's what gives it the black outline appearance).  I particularly like how the final line of Bannister's quote turned out, as the change in color and size really make it pop.

For the runners at the bottom, I "borrowed" a royalty-free image from istockphoto.com, as can be seen embedded below:
Since it's essentially a black and white image (there is a bit of gray, otherwise the outline would look pixelated and jagged.  This made it fairly easy to make the white background transparent (so I could place the runners in my banner), and color in any of the watermark that covered the runners (see the center runner).  Then I simply had to flip the image, and cut out and drag the runners into my banner project, keeping them in order.  Then I changed the opacity of the runners to give the illusion of a motion blur or of time-lapse photography.

The final runner I beveled/embossed, which gives it that shine on the left side, and also gave it an outer glow, which helps it stand out more.

As for some regrets, I wish I hadn't had Bannister's name pop out so much.  It kind of has become a dominant part of the banner, and that isn't what I intended.  I also wish I had played around with the quality settings.  I dumbed down the image so that it would load on the computer faster, but I forgot that gradients with only 256 colors are noisy and pixelated.  This one's easy to fix, but I'm kinda burned out right now.  Maybe I'll get to this stuff later...

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