Quick and Simple Techniques for EYE-CATCHING YouTube Thumbnails! | Gabriella FitzGerald | Skillshare

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Quick and Simple Techniques for EYE-CATCHING YouTube Thumbnails!

teacher avatar Gabriella FitzGerald, Online Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Choosing a Base Image

    • 3. Colour Correction

    • 4. Layering Effects

    • 5. The Possibilities of the Brush Tool

    • 6. Tips for Working with Text

    • 7. Text Backgrounds and Location

    • 8. Adding Images and Further Editing

    • 9. Putting it all Together

    • 10. Conclusion

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About This Class

In this class we will be going over some incredibly quick and simple editing techniques that will instantly make your YouTube Tumbnail STAND OUT!

All of these techniques will be demonstrated in Adobe Photoshop, but many of the techniques can be used in other editing software, even in Paint!

This course will be perfect for you if you are looking for:

  • New techniques to expand your repertoire
  • Techniques that will help you speed up your editing process
  • A gentle introduction to creating Thumbnails from scratch
  • Different ways to use basic techniques (to make them look super impressive and complicated!)
  • Ways to combine different techniques effectively
  • Lots of examples of things that DO and DON'T work

Meet Your Teacher

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Gabriella FitzGerald

Online Creator


Hi There! I'm Gabriella.

I am an online creator and have several years of experience creating content on YouTube and other platforms, for various organisations and my own personal use. 

I am branching out to Skillshare in order to give back and share knowledge I have accumulated over the years in varying fields, starting with a course on creating YouTube Thumbnails!


I look forwards to helping you learn a new skill!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Gabriella. On in this class, I'm going to be teaching you some incredibly quick and simple techniques that you can use to edit your thumbnails. YouTube. I'll be showing you how I went from a plane image like this to an eye catching some mail that looks like this on. Also be showing you techniques I used to make all of these. All of these are such simple techniques. So that perfect for beginners, Anyone looking to start out with the editing for thumbnails? But also, if you're an experienced editor, there might be an idea here that you just haven't thought off for using four thumbnails. So why is this important? Well, thumbnails are probably one of the most important elements of your YouTube video. It doesn't matter if you have the best video you've ever made in your life. If no one clicks on it, he was actually ever going to know. So that's why the thumbnails come in. You want something I can't change that's going to grab people's attention and make them want to click on it. I know that the editing process consume quite daunting, especially if you're not familiar with photo shop or any of the other editing Softwares. So I'm going to show you a selection of techniques that could be very effective on my own or mixed together to create different effects. So hopefully I'll give you a little talk it that you can use toe bring out whenever you're editing. A lot of these techniques might even seem too easy. It points. I know wit, but trust me, they work. I mean, you clicked on this class, didn't you? On also a lot of them, I've learned just from finding them in other people's videos, on figuring out how they did it. So a lot. These techniques are used by really big you jeepers. And if it works for them, why called that work for you, too? They're all techniques that I blanked on, used myself over the years of making videos on YouTube, on also creating content or various groups and organizations, and I need to share them. And finally, for the class project, I want to get you starting to use some of these techniques to make your own thumbnail. We'll start going through that process together in the next video, so see that 2. Choosing a Base Image: first up, we're going to look at the base image that you will use to build your thumbnail from the kinds of edits. But I'm gonna be demonstrated on. We're going to be looking for actual photos, but you can use digital images that you've made yourself just Aziza Lee. I'm just going to be demonstrating on talking about physical photo images. The best part about photo images, though, is that you don't actually necessarily need to take one specifically for the title card. I looked at the time when I'm making videos, and I know a lot of other people do as well. We just take a screenshot from the video as we're editing, it's well, it's brilliant. If you have a great idea for an image to take, don't worry if you forget, or even if you just don't know what you want to do. Sometimes inspiration will strike when you're watching your video through, and you can take something from that. So what does make a good base image? Let's go look at some photos and I'll show you first off if you want to keep your editing really simple, but still draw attention to it, then a good background will go a long way, as you can see with this one on this one. I did very little editing, toothy actual image, and that's because they had great backgrounds already that I could already use. They were great base images. I only needed to do a little bit of color correction and add some text, and they were ready to go. Now this probably isn't typical for most video thumbnails, as these were both from music videos that I shot. So it's unlikely that you'll have something exactly like this. But something like this, from a sitting down talking video that I did is maybe something more typical and is quite a good image because it has a good background. It's not too cluttered, but it's just me, the sofa on bond, some form of artwork behind me. So there's not too much going on. But there's also enough to make the image look interesting. Similarly, with this song cover where you can see me, you can also see some instruments in the background. That's the took piano, the guitar case and a speaker, as well as a few other random things in my room. So a few taste objects are ideal. You don't particularly want to go for something like this because that will need a lot more editing to make it into the finished product, which for me was this. And don't worry if you do only have a basic image like this toe work with, because we will be going through a lot of editing techniques that will make it very easy for you to turn it into a very good thumbnail. This is just if you don't want tough to a lot of editing to add in more components to the overall image. The next thing to think about would be to think about the topic of your video. If there are any objects you can place in the video that will make it immediately obvious what the video is about. So, for example, in this one, I did a massive review video. I reviewed a lot of different books, and I have all of them shown in the picture. Clearly, when I did this writing video, I wasn't actually in the image that doesn't need to necessarily be a full a person's face in the image. Actually, instead, I had my laptop screen with the project I was working on because it was a writing session and I had notebooks Onda timer, just to make it immediately very clear what the video was about, that could have been a few less things in that. But the want to money on it just creates a nice atmosphere environment. And as you can see, I didn't need to do a huge amount of editing to make that image the thumbnail again. If you don't have something that you can put into video, don't worry, because you can do that with editing, adding images like in this one or in this one. But the important thing to remember with these ones and even generally in ones where you're not maybe editing a huge round on top of it, it's good to have a good facial expression or action that you're doing so. For example, this one is quite good. What I'm doing doesn't really necessarily relate to what the videos about. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing myself here in this, but it's an interesting action that will draw the eye. This one has a good facial expression on this one, showing quite a strong feeling. It doesn't necessarily need to be a big emotion or action like this one, but it just needs to be something different so that you're not just sitting there looking rather deadpan, just something to lift the image a little bit. This one was quite good in general because it showed in motion on. Also, I had a little prop that sort of related to the topic. So that reached wider, then my topic that I was talking about as people might have wanted to then listen to just a story time on, the final thing to think about is just leaving room for text. As you can see in this one, it looks fine when you're zoomed in. But when the images shown a lot smaller on YouTube, it can actually be kind of hard to read this. So, ideally, I would have liked to have had the text, but bigger. But unfortunately I hadn't left room for that in the image it could be an important thing to remember is just to leave room for the text. So now I've shown you a few of my images aren't like you to go and find an image you can use one you already have, or take a new one if you need to, so that we can get started with your class project. 3. Colour Correction: now that we have our images, there's just a few basic things were going to do to get the image nice and prepped for editing on that's color. There are a few basic color correction tools on photo shop, which you should check out that are up here under image on DSO. You can auto color it auto. Contrast it or auto tone it on. I tend to just sort of mess around with these until I have a good image color until I think I've got it looking as natural as possible. Then if you go up to filter, there's a couple that you can use here. Things like sharpening the image. There's some stylized ones where you can sort of make it look like an oil painting. Just a few that looks sort of like the filters that you would find on Instagram. You can also find some of these under image and adjustments so you can adjust the brightness. Contrast levels exposure all these sorts, things vibrance saturation, so just mess around these little bits. Some of them are quite small adjustments, but they make a lot of difference. You can adjust the colors and quite a lot of different ways, adding tents and things. Ondas Well, as's that you have the option to just go black and white. Have a play around with all of the's color correction. Some of the filters onda adjustments that you can do on. Get the image to a place where you are happy with what the base image looks like, depending on what you're going for in your video, Natural tends to work best, but obviously, depending on your video, different things will work better. 4. Layering Effects: The next thing I want to show you is often used in combination with some of the techniques that I've just shown before. So all of the adjustments that you would make on that is instead of making the entire image slightly different color or putting a filter on it, what you can do is you can separate the foreground, so the prominent image or person, whatever is at the front of your video image from the background. And then you can apply the effect or filter to the front or the back of the image on the way you do. This is by selecting the front image now have used the quick selection tool. This helps you just very quickly go over the whole of the front of the image and select on . As you can see, that took me a matter of seconds just to select the front. Most prominent part of the video and of you click layer via copy or cut. It doesn't really matter if you click. Buy a cut well removed, the image you just selected from the background and if you don't buy a copy, then it will still remain that when you make invisible. As you can see, I've made this invisible. So now we've just got background on depending on what you're trying to do. It doesn't matter whether you do it by a cut or copy, but for this one, I just added a red background. That's what I think I'll do right now so I can do a paint bucket. Andi, I can just select on the selector, the red color on for the background are then just fill it in on alehouse That happened. And there we go. I could very easily, very quickly add a color. Or you can do the same thing for image effect and very quickly put the entire effect on the background, but not the image at the front. What you can also do is instead of filling in the entire background, is you can create a new layer. Have it in between your background on four image. You can fill in that, and then you can change the opacity. Oh God, no, I didn't mean to do that on that one. And then it becomes fainter and you can see the background, and I mean the background. And this was playing so you can only really see on the stand for the windshield on this, but it then just creates a lighter effect. So those are just some very simple quick filters on color correction things you can do to instantly change your entire image. And as you can see, they took a matter of seconds, really. 5. The Possibilities of the Brush Tool: now, another thing you can do to highlight the most important aspect of the video or the thing you want to draw people's attention to is very simply just to use the brush tool. Make it quite small white, and you just draw around your main image to make it instantly stand out. You can do this free hand and just one go. Um, I'm messing this up quite spectacularly right now. This is not the neatest, but I'm just doing it very quickly as a demo and you can see already even just doing that. That's made it stand out a lot more. You can do it just around the entire image, or I could portion off the microphone is well and make that stand out even more. It depends what you want to do, what effect you want to achieve. This is very roughly done, and obviously, if you take your time with it and make sure that you get as close as possible to the image and there are gaps or anything, then it'll look a lot neater and nicer. But that's another option for things to do to make the front image stand out on That's just using the pen tal. So white is usually a good color to go for for this, because it usually stands out from your image beacon. Use plenty of other colors as well, depending on what you want to do, and the pen has a lot of uses. Actually, Not only is it really good for outlining, but you can drawer in emphasis marks. You can draw in a lot of things just to make it stand out even more. Add a bit to the background. Another thing that you can do. You could make a bit of a background by adding things like little stars or dots, or can even just draw a little shapes in on. This may seem incredibly simple, but this is things I've seen YouTubers with a 1,000,000 plus subscribers using regularly for their videos, and additionally, you can use it just to fill in space like I was doing before to emphasize. But you can also do it toe. Add a bit more to the border, the background you can draw in minds. You can jazz it up. You could use some different colors, fill up the space, you can create borders on you can even just draw things in Freehand like I could just drawing a little cat here. I mean, it's not really relevant to the video of it was relevant to the video odious. I might not do this just randomly, but there's a lot of different things that you can add in with the pen on. It lifts the image. Andi immediately makes it more eye catching, and you don't need to just do this if you've got plain background. Even if you have a busy a background, you can still add things in with the pen. Draw attention to specific things, all color over things. And it's such a simple tool. And I think not very many people tend to use it because it just seems very simple, very basic, but it can be really effective. 6. Tips for Working with Text: now on to text. There's lots of different possibilities with this on. The first thing I want you to think about is whether the text that you put on your image actually needs to be the same as what your title is Now. Some examples. This thumbnail that I did. I used the same text as I had done for the title of the video as it was a song cover Andi. I wanted people to see as soon as they saw the image without looking at the text underneath that this was a song cover. And that's the same for a lot of my music. Song covers, however, when it gets to something like this. This was a book review, but it was book review as part of a 24 hour reading challenge that I had done so the first part was hit on. Here's the second part, and neither of them had the exact same text on them that this video title same with this one. The main text it stands out the most is the rial T, which isn't what the title of my video was at all. So don't get stuck in the trap of thinking that the text on the image has to be exactly the same as the title of your video. Now a quick tip for your text, I find it easier to put each word in its own text box on. This is because it's then so much easier to move around. All of the individual words you concise eyes them differently. You could make different parts of each phrase or sentence, and I just find it so much easier to make the text more dynamic. Then another. Things think about is your fonts. You don't need to trust. Use the same front for everything. You can make certain words turned out much more by using a different font for it. So choosing different fonts can make different words stand out. But another thing to make would stand out in general is if you add effects to it now, once I tend to use are the glow shadow on stroke. If you open one of them here, then you can get all of the options. There's lots of different ones here. All have different effects on the text. The one I go to most often is just stroke, which just adds a little bored around the edge of each word. So this could be really good to make you attack standout, especially if it's not on a solid background or if the background doesn't really work with the color of your text, you can add a board around it in a different color, a color that works. That makes it stand out, and you can add aboard around it. You can choose how faded it is. There's lots of different options can add inside the text as well on. There's lots of different ways that you can use it. That's that stroke. If you see when I just tunnel in a shadow, as the name implies, it just adds a little bit of a shadow. Inside, each of the words in a glow is the same, but it's obviously lighter, and again you can change the contouring. You can change how they will display you can change the color on. There's just so many different options. It would take me too long to go through every individual option. So go have a play around with all of these features because they take seconds to Patan, you literally just click the layer for the piece of text. You want to have the effect to go to the effects button down here, and then you get this whole menu full off. Different options for things to do to your text on one final text option that you have is if you copy and paste the text. The thing to do then is change the color of the text that's on front. You can do this once. You can do it twice. You can layer it up as much as you want to, but that's another way of getting a background on your text is to copy and paste it and then change the color off one or more of the layers to make it stand out more and a final thing to think about with your text. You don't just have to have one main better text you can actually use. The text is almost a decoration. You can use the text a little bit smaller. You can just add in lots of little pieces of text here, there everywhere, done in a couple of videos where I just add extra little bits of text and that can give an extra insight onto what the videos about it can be mainly really useful on a video where there's lots of different things that you're covering. You don't know what exactly, to highlight in your thumbnail, so you can just give a little taster of lots of different things that will happen in the video through extra little bits of text. For this. It's also quite good to try and use different fonts to the main font of the title or your main message just to make it stand out a little bit more. 7. Text Backgrounds and Location: Now we've covered text, and we've covered some of the effects you can do to text to make it stand out more. However, that's not all you can do for the text With regards to making it stand out a lot of the time, it can be really good to add backgrounds in. So the most simple way to do this is just to use the draw tall, create a box. Then you get the properties up here on. Do you need to make sure that the lines don't have anything on them on? Then you can use a fill color. You put the layer beneath that of the text, and then you have a little box just to make the text stand out more. Now, sometimes a single box can be a bit boring, and you can use some of the other techniques that you've gone through before you could change the capacity. Or you can do multiple rectangles or boxes or whatever you like on you can Les Earth. Um, so I could do a 2nd 1 behind this Andi, I could make it. That's a nice up there, and then I simply bring it down to underneath that one. And then I have layered boxes. You comptel some of the boxes for a bit more dramatic effect. You can even use the shapes, our lines to portion off parts off the image that you can fill in with color, a whole section of the image. Ah, no, no, I said, You don't want a border on this. But you could change is that there is no Phil and it is simply a border. And you can change what the board it looks like so you can play around with the borders. No borders. More board is rotating them, changing the capacity, layering them. There's lots of options and then going back to the brush tour. So I know we used this earlier before, but what you can do is if you set the brush quite large, have you go in here? Actually, it's often a lot better, so you can change the spacing, change the size, lots of things about the brush stroke, and you can just draw behind to make an effect. I have downloaded some strokes, so if I say used a starry one like this, it gives a different effect as well. So there's another little tip. Brushstrokes can be used to create the background as well. And finally, the last thing to talk about with text is way you put it. Usually it's good to put it in a space city. Have some. You usually want to avoid this bottom right hand corner, because that's where YouTube overlays the time stamp for how long your video is. So if you put anything down here, it might get covered up. Higher up is usually better. If the background is quite busy, it can be good to use shape to portion off a section off the image. Whether that's to the side or just a banner across the bottom sort of here, it's that you can put your text on top of it. It's completely up to you. Just try. Use your best judgment to figure out where is best to put the text 8. Adding Images and Further Editing: Now we've already had a little looking how you can overlay images by cutting them out and then move inthe um, further forward on the image. Or you can even copy and paste them open a new image, so I could if I wanted to take this there. I can copy it selected copy it, and I can paste it on top of here if I really want to and move it around. But that's what I did for this one. I cut out all of these images from different screen captures like this. Andi. I then pasted them onto a fresh blank image on Die could move them all around, line them all up how I wanted them to be done. But that is one way of adding more images to your thumbnail image. The other way to do it is simply to save images and then opened them and again copy the image on, paste it on and then move it around and things. So again, with images, you can add all of the's effects to them. You can add lots of different effects around the side of that to enhance the image, or you can draw around it all of the same things we've done with text you can do to images as well. One thing to remember with this is that Make sure you're not infringing any copyright because if you're eligible for monetization on YouTube and you have anything copyrighted in your thumbnail image that may effect by the you're allowed to monetize it because it's copyrighted. Someone could flag you for having copyright material in your some nail on. Then you won't be able to make any money off video. Final thing we're gonna look out with images is the background remover, so there's various ways you can do this. There is simply the background razor tool. There is the magic eraser tool. Did normal arrays. It'll so the background to raise. It'll figures out what the background is and cuts out. Ondas, you can see, doesn't always quite get it right. Sometimes it finds it difficult to tell where the line is for the background, so it might actually start taking away some of the image that you want to keep, in which case, the background razor is a brush. So just make really clear if I make it smaller and I drove around keeping the middle of it on the background. It will see that there's a solid object that, and it won't a raise. Solid object. Now the Magic rays. It'll is slightly different in that it just removes the color that it touches on. I'm not entirely sure how it decides to sectional of these things, but it's just another way off removed in the background. And then you would probably want toe go over all of the big watches with actual a razor just to tidy everything up. That's another way of removing the background on your main image, but also on new images that you add in. 9. Putting it all Together: So now that we've gone through all of these techniques, the final thing to do is put them all together. And I'm going to show you how I did just that with the cover photo for this class. Now, as you can see, this was made up off quite a few different elements. So I'm going to take you through how I did each and everyone and how I built them up till I had the cover photo. You see, before you know, first things first, I had to create a blank canvas because the cover photo image for the class is different to the size of a thumbnail for YouTube. So I couldn't just use the full image that I originally had. As you can see, it's been cropped now for this original image. I had opened an image that I would use in one of my normal videos in photo shop screen shotted. It saved the screenshot, and then I opened it in photo shop. I then used the image filters, as you can see here to blood the image. Next, I wanted a border off examples off cover photos that had done before, So I started adding them in wanted to time, and you may notice that they have a board around them on that is the stroke effect. But as you can see, I used the divide blend mode, which means it came up slightly different to the actual color that I said. So we're looking at this image here, the stroke from the outside. I put in this color, but it came out as a see through color in a different color, which I just thought was quite a cool technique. Then, once I had done that, I needed to add in the text to let you all know what the course was about. So I created a background. I set the A pass ity for this to 70% because I didn't want to completely obscure the background image that I had had in. Then I went on to text. I knew to start with that I wanted the YouTube to look similar to the actual YouTube logo, which meant that I made the text and white, and then I added a rectangle behind it in red so that it was sort of reminiscent off the YouTube logo. Then I thought about the other text. So that was thumbnails on effective. I wrote thumbnails in the same front as I had done for YouTube, and I just put a black stroke around it. And then for effective, I decided I wanted to break up a little bit on I chose a different fund and then laid it in two different colors on. That was everything I did to create the thumbnail. It'd take me slightly longer to make them. The length of this video would have you assume, but that's because I was playing around with different effects to get what I wanted. Originally, I was just going to have a normal stroke outline on the border of these images by stumbled across the divide blend option, and I really liked it. So that's what I mean by playing around the different options because you never know what you're going to find on what's gonna work really well. Because, like I said, with this oval over here, I didn't want the background to be completely obscured. So even though the pictures that I was putting in dead obscurity for having a slightly transparent board around it, it just gives the illusion that you can see more of the background than you actually can, which I quite liked. So now that you've seen how I've played round with all of the different elements in the previous videos on in this example, I hope that you'll have lots of inspiration to go away and make your own. 10. Conclusion: we're finally here. It's the last video of the class I've absolutely loved teaching you. I really hope that you've enjoyed it as much as I have that you've learned something new from this course to recap over everything. What we've done, it's important to remember that you don't need something big and flashy to make your thumbnail stand out. You can do it with some very simple techniques. Stick to what you know and do it well. Just start with a good base photo. Make sure your colors all right, and then see what you can do with it. See what fits with the image on. Also, think about what overall effect you want your farm belt have, and don't forget to continue learning. I learned a lot of these techniques just from looking at what other people were doing on figuring out how to do it myself. Watch other people's videos, see what they've been doing and try and emulate it. Look it up. A lot of people will be very happy to answer questions on how they did things themselves, and if that doesn't want try, ask around, see if anyone else knows how to do it. the Internet is a wonderful place. I will definitely be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability. And finally I really looking forward to seeing all of your projects. I can't wait to see what you come up with. If you enjoy this course and think you know someone else who would benefit from it, it would really help me out if you could recommend it to them. And if you have any further questions about anything related to the unrelenting Atal or even YouTube in general, I will always be happy to answer questions. So just send anything you have my way. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Goodbye.