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teacher avatar Levi Bailey

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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

6 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Downloading GIMP

    • 3. What Makes a Good Thumbnail - Research

    • 4. Creating / Working with Templates

    • 5. Creating / Working With Text

    • 6. Templates and Splicing Images

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About This Class

Youtube's thumbnails are a huge part of what drives your views, regardless of how good your content is. Your content itself needs to be good as well, of course, but who will click on your video if it doesn't look interesting before they're even in it yet?

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Levi Bailey


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1. Introduction: Hello everyone and welcome. Thumbnails on YouTube are very important as they can drive click-through rates. Or in simpler terms they are what makes anyone click on your videos over someone else's. If your thumbnail entitled just aren't clickable, it doesn't matter how good the content is. No one will click on it to begin with, so it will never get views. In this course, we will be taking a look at popular concepts and how many thumbnails are designed and going over how to apply these same concepts to your own thumbnails. I'll be using gaming in general as the guide. We'll take a look at concepts across a few games, but many of these principles will apply regardless of whether your channel is focused on gaming, finance, beauty, or the central purpose of humans in the grand scheme of the universe, or pretty much anything else as well. My hope is that by the end of the series, you'll not only know how to do more than when you came in, but understand why you're doing these things to begin with for this series, we will be using to do our editing as it is a free software that anyone can use. Most of the tools found in game can transfer over to other software such as Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and many more without further ado, let's jump in. 2. Downloading GIMP: As mentioned in the introduction to the course we'll be using today. So if you want to follow along, you can do so by downloading it and go to your preferred browser. And I'll be using And you can just go search again, find the website and go to their Downloads section. From their download section, you can find the version that you need, whether that be Windows, Linux, et cetera, and download it there. It will automatically download both the 64 and 32-bit launchers. And it will use the one that is appropriate for your system when you're going through the installation phase. 3. What Makes a Good Thumbnail - Research: All right, so before we take a dive into making some thumbnails showing you some basic things that you can do. What I would actually like to do is quickly go over the type of things that I look for when I'm looking for a thumbnail that's gonna do well for a thumbnail that successful and things of that sort. So I'm going to take a look at a couple games. I'm gonna take a look at again, shin, impact and legends of her intera because these are both a little bit more niche. So you will not see as much face thrown into them because something you will see with a lot more popular games is that the more popular videos. So like, let's say if I take a look at fort night or something like that right now, it will pull up different ones and some of these will pull up things like venom and stuff like that. But you will notice the further you get into it, a lot of the thumbnails are actually including faces. And this is something that doesn't work as well for small content creators when you're just starting out and like you're needing to know what to do with your thumbnails. You need to be able to make thumbnails that will stand out as a small content creator, your face does not have brand value yet, so that's something you have to keep in mind. All right, so let's take a quick look at first impact. So when I'm looking through the thumbnails and kitchen impact, I've skipped a little bit through some of these just to get past all of the ones that are from the official Kunshan impact YouTube channel. But you'll notice that a lot of the ones that are doing successful, like 200 thousand views, 200 thousand views. They have a couple of things in common, two to three elements. So in the case of this one, you'll notice that they have a character from the game and then showing a little bit of information with the floor 99 stars. So it's kind of showing information for people that know the game. And then showing the character that's involved in the video. Things like that using multiple elements. You see here smart resin and showing a character from the game. And then you'll see like multiple elements like themes and things like that combined with characters, faces. Using texts combined with a character to show what the video is about. And the way that these can also synergize with the titles, because something you need to keep in mind is that your title and your thumb now need to synergize. So you don't need to necessarily put your whole title into your thumbnail or vice versa. You need to make sure that they work with one another. So you'll see right here, this is dilute versus child DPS showdown. But you'll see that they're working together by showing that they're both level 90 with level 90 weapons as well. So it's just kinda like adding value and giving more contexts. And so when you look through these thumbnails, you have to kinda look at them and think, well, would I click this? And then think beyond that to, well, if I would click this, then other people would click it to. So maybe this is the type of raul I should go for thumbnails. Taking a look at another example is legends of room. Tara Londoners have for Antares a little bit more niche, but I really liked the way that thumbnails are often done in this genre. So you'll notice that with these that takes the two element into account. And so you'll notice that it's using two different cards from the game, which it's a card game. So it has two different cards here and it's showing key art from the cards, which is something I'll get into in a second with leveraging your RSS from your game to create amazing thumbnails. Your game already has like amazing art in it. You might as well leveraged that, especially when you're not playing something that needs art design, you need to leverage what you already have. Some further concepts that I want to get into as well, is taking a look at these. You can notice in the top right hand corner of each of the thumbnails from this particular person, mega Maguire, and they're doing pretty well for this genre. You'll notice in the top right corner they have the two regions that are for the duck. So if you're doing a card game like Magic The Gathering or anything like that, or Hearthstone. Leveraging details like this, like information that you can easily reuse in future thumbnails to make your thumbnail, like making process much easier and also provide some consistency to your brand, is an excellent way to work around your thumbnails. So I'll get into that here in a moment as well. And the next thing I want to talk about in terms of looking at these thumbnails is notice that especially with legends of planetary, you're seeing a lot of in-game art. So all of this art is art that is available in the game. And I want to talk about leveraging the art. So you can find for pretty much any game what's known as a media kit. So in the case of legends of her intera, We can just search up the title of the game and media kit. And you'll see the first link is already basically to the media kit. So you can go through here and find different tools for branding and things like that. You can find the game here. And this is a aspect that we already saw in those thumbnails. You'll notice that they have the logo of the game hidden here. And you can find that just without the inner color that they added here right there. So you can use these type of assets that games already have available for you to make your thumbnail making process that much easier instead of having to go out of your way to find these assets through search. 4. Creating / Working with Templates: So let's take a look and starting your thumbnail. So to begin, you're going to want to create a new file. And for thumbnails on YouTube, you always want to use a width of 1920 and a height of 1080. This is just a standardized science for thumbnails on YouTube. You don't want to have a background. So if you have a background, just get rid of it because that will not be useful to you for the moment. And since we are going for the style that we talked about in the previous section, let's just go ahead and get any of these and scale them up to the point that we want them out. So we're just scaling this image to 1920 by 1080. And before we get into combining elements like we worked before, let's get into some of the parts I talked about. So something that you want to keep in mind with thumbnails is when you're creating content for a game and you want to be creating content for that game far into the future. Something that can save you a lot of time and make things much more hassle-free is to kinda set up what I would call a template. So if you can just take things like the logo for the game and slide them in. And then scale it down to an appropriate size. And just a little bit of correction here. I'm just gonna take go through either a blackish color that's not quite black, but darker. Just to have it colored and I'm just gonna fail. I'm gonna do the same thing here. And then I'm going to drop this right into the bottom left-hand side. You want to give a little bit of room from the corner so that anything is not cut off in different versions of the thumbnail depending on device that people are using. And then something that I want to take a look at is if we go back to the thumbnails, Let's take a look at the elements that they're using, right? So we can see here, this is actually a, another example that they're using. They're using a deck, the features on just one. So we can take a look at how to do that first and how to set up these templates. And the thing that I want to point out is in the top right hand corner, you'll notice that they have the type of colors that they're using for their deck of your playing magic or the regions that they're using in the case of were in terror. So what I've done for now is I've just found the icons for the different regions within the game. I'm just going to pop this on. Now what you want to do here is you kind of just want to set up a template. So what you want to do is you want to be able to future-proof yourself for any type of video that you want to make. So regardless of the region that you're using, you'll be able to continue to just not have to add stuff backend. You'll already have everything available so that you only have to worry about the background key art. So in the case of this, I'm just gonna take an ellipse tool. And you can get much more intricate with this. You can even design your own and just take the region icons from the game and make sure they're on top of them. And you can just keep doing this with each of them. Add them to the top right. And I'm just gonna do that really quickly. Or each of these different regions. All right, and as you can see, I've taken all of these and I've went through and just made it so that all of them are in the same layer group. So that it's very easy to just take this layer group and make a copy of it. So you just find the layer group. You can just copy it and then paste it with Control C followed by Control V. You can go through just link all the layers and then drag it and create a second one. And then anytime that you need to set a specific setup regions, you can just go through each of these and find the specific ones that you want. So in this case, we're using a character that's actually from a region not listed in this picture. So I'm actually gonna go ahead and find another asset just so it can be accurate. So I've gone through and done that now. So you can see now that I have the built water icon just to go ahead and link that up with the theme of the current that is available for that region. So since this would be potentially a one or two region Doc, you could end up having any combination of these. And since you already have them, template it out, you're already pretty much good to go. So you can have this be with any other combination of regions and you just have this template ready to go whenever you need it. And the only thing you have to worry about at that point is just any other elements of your templates, such as adding some text in and then adding an key art which you can leverage from the game files themselves. You can go n, in this particular case, you can actually go in and you can find the art in the game itself. Every single card has key art, so you can just go in and find it. 5. Creating / Working With Text: Alright, now that we've kind of got our template settled out a little bit and have everything that we need to go there. We can take a look at what to do with the rest of the image. Usually you want to have some type of tax than your thumbnail alongside your title, so that they can kind of work well together to tell a story about what's going to be going on in the video. And maybe it's some type of deck that is now coming into the metal because of you that is potentially some type of new deck to shake things up and make things much more interesting. So in the case of that, what you want to do is you just want to add some text and then kinda play around with what style of tax you want. So I'm gonna go ahead and go with some goldfish colored text. And you want the tax to be legible and readable. I usually like to use somewhere between 128 or 148 or my attack signs. And just center it up however you want it. So now is where we're going to start getting into the stylistic choices of how you want to handle your texts. So there's a few Style choices. So you can see in the thumbnail example that we're using, they just use a backdrop to it to make it super easy to make every single time. So with things like that, there's different options you can go about. The first option is just to create a new layer. And within this new layer you have a couple of options. You can either go for something super simple, like just going and filling it in. And then that would be super easy, super simple. You're pretty much done already. So you can just like backdrop. It makes sure the colors contrasts. You want something light with something dark and you want it to be either way. So in the case of this, I like to match it up with what we're already looking out. So since the taxes, the lighter color and the fill is a blacker colour, we use a black filler here and another light color for the color of the text. Maybe we even want to go as far as to make the text be the same color as the logo just to kinda make it match up a little bit more. But that's a stylistic choice as well. So you could use it for anything you can go for even a lighter blue or something like that if you want, you can go for a green, whatever looks nice on the eyes. Just be sure to be sure that it's something that doesn't look just nice to you, but looks nice to other people as well. Now if you don't want to go this route, you can also go the route of making the text pop a little bit more. So what I'd like to do with popping the text is I like to go and alpha to selection so that you're covering the entirety of the text. Make completely new layers, and then go in with the new layer and copy it ends so that it's no longer a tax layer. And you just want to go ahead and create an outline for the text. So for this one I like to do is I like to go into the select option, find the way to grow it. So in this case, I think about four pixels would be a nice growth on this title. And then fill it with your fill color. So you can see this is coming along nicely and I actually think that this might need a little bit more. So instead I'm going to go n alpha to selection again. Just grow it a little bit more. And fill again. So this is a eight pixel fill right here. And it gives you a little bit to work with. And I rename it to outline text. And you can duplicate this layer if you want to have some type of shadow effect. So if you want a shadow of some kind, what you can do is you can come in here and you can alphabets a selection again. And the thing about shadows is that you want them to be pure black before going into the shadow. So I like to fill it with a pure black instead of whatever color else I was using. Go and get rid of the selection. Go to blur in your filters, and go to Ghazi onblur. And you can do this however you want to. You can create like a big blur around the text. What I like to do is I like to create a smaller blur but then offset it. So I'm gonna go and I'm going to learn a little bit. And then just set the shadow to decide. I'd like to go down and to the left. Although this is also a stylistic choice, so this gives you a tax a little bit more pop. It doesn't fill this flat as it did before. As you can see, it takes a little bit more work to add a n like this, but you can see how well it makes the tax POC, which is still a little bit of a blurry text. And then just offsetting it like that to make the tax kinda pop off the screen. Once you have your texts completely figure it out and customize the way you want it. What I like to do is go in and merged down the layers. So make sure that you only have the layers that are further txt. Once you have everything merged together for your layers, what you can do is you can come in. And what I like to do at least is go to Filters, go to enhance, and go to high-pass. And went to cite your standard deviation the beak a little higher. That's a really nice contrasts. And a really high standard deviation. This can really make your text pop a little bit more and, but it would only really use it if you're having trouble with your tax not extending off of the background very well. So personally, I'm going to disable it for this because I feel like the text was already in a kinda nice spot as it was before. When I am going to do however is I am going to go in the color that I saw in the other one I liked a little bit more, just didn't like the way that it affected the background. But I'm gonna go and take that color. I've already taken it with my color picker tool. I'm going to use select by color. Go into my text layer, find the color that I had before, and fill it with the new more vibrant yellow colour that I was using. There are so many other effects that you can use for taxes while it isn't limited to just this, there's so many things that you can do with gradients and that sort of thing. If, for example, you wanted to get my text a little bit of a gradient to kinda dark and towards the bottom, what I could do is I could go and select the color that I already have. Just select that and then go to gradient. I can give it a little bit of a pop at the top. Or I can get a little pop at the bottom. And so that will make the text stand out a little bit more. It's not going to be so bland to be just the solid color makes it stand out a lot better against the background as well. 6. Templates and Splicing Images: Now we've kind of already gotten our image figured out before our templates. So what we can do is we can take a look at what we have for just our template itself. We have the regions and the icon for the game. So we can just go n And maybe the second region just have one. So we can just have a good look at our template. And what we would usually like to do here is we'd like to go to file and just save this so that we have it accessible at anytime. So we can just continue to use the same template and very easily anytime we want to do something, it's super easy. So for example, let's say that we are continuing with the new matter, but let's say it's now a different flavor of the week. Instead of having a built water-based deck, maybe we're wanting to go with a Demasio and deck. So we can just get rid of that image. We can go into our files and we can find a different image and stuff. So we can just take the lux image right here and maybe scale it up a little bit so that it's not so small. Just like the other image. It always wants to be under everything else. So now we can go from this back and forth however we need to. So now we have a Demasio NBA stack instead. We can just use that for any type of image we need to. All right, but now you might be asking, well what about the second region and what we have attack that uses multiple regions. We can go and we can have this demat sion and the bills water. And now let's say that we want to still go with the TF deck, but have lux in there as well. So what we could do is move over Lux over to the side. For now, let's bring the TF to the forefront. And I just wanted to scale this up a little bit just to make it a little bit easier on us. And your focus isn't the secondary characters and the art. You're focuses on Tf himself. So I kinda like to cut out everything else, cut out all the noise. So what we can do is we can go through and already have this. So let's go in and kind of additive either just to have an idea of where we're wanting to look. So I'm gonna go ahead and go in and add the lightning. We're gonna need to scale this up significantly. And so what we can do is we can go and find our luck, See how we want them to play out. And set it up to where it will be perfectly lined up with the lightening in the way that we want. Then we can use our reselect tool to go through the lightning and just kind of like make points along the way. And once you're through it all, you can very easily just go around the outside of everything else. And wallah, look at that. All of a sudden you now have two images that contrast with each other and with the lightening is a cut-off point to kinda like meld them together. You can go in and you can affect any type and divider that you want. So you can even do like what we were talking about earlier with the Gaussian blur. You can make this a little bit less sticky, gooey and blurred a little bit like that. And then all of a sudden you have this nice spliced image that can be used for showing two elements of the same deck. And you still have the regions right here in the corner, which you want to standardize these more than I've done for this tutorial. But once you have your regions and everything, you can create your own custom icons and it becomes very easy to just leverage your in-game our essence to create amazing thumbnails that you can use for the same template over and over. So I can even keep this lightning here. And just always use the same thing you see. The lightening kind of is just covering this. You can just use the same thing for every image and just go through the lightning pole as you need to. And this creates an amazing template that you can continue to use for every video that you pump out. If you don't need the cutoff, then you can just you can just slide it on over and have it like this. And if it's in a different region, you can change it however you see fit. It's no longer in Demasio, you could take it out of them. Acia for Ionia, have some type of Ionia builds water deck that you're showcasing and just do it like that. This allows you to create templates that will be used for future videos other than just the same one.