Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create Banner Ads that Work: Banner Ad Basics

photoshop Banner Ads

It’s been a while since I’ve tackled the issue of banner ads. Although they continue to grow in popularity – they are, in fact, a mainstay in the Internet advertising culture – it’s easy to forget that they’re not the simplest things to create effectively until you’re faced with having to do them. A great banner ad must convey your message, build brand awareness, generate click-throughs, and boost sales.
Getting all of this from a single little graphic tucked into the corner of someone else’s web page can seem impossible.

In 2000, Nielsen/NetRatings performed a survey that showed the right design in a banner ad can actually entice viewers to click. In other words – yes, banner ads can have a good click-through rate. It’s not all about brand awareness. But you need to design and implement your banner ads with the idea of getting clicks in mind.

We’ll get to the actual Photoshop tutorial in just a second – I promise. Here’s what our design in Photoshop should do, though:

Short and Simple: You need to catch a viewer’s interest in under 10 seconds. The more words your ad stuffs into a small space, the less likely they’ll be read. Animated GIFs and flash banners can trigger action, but you want the viewer to remember your name so don’t clutter it up and reduce your banner’s ability to brand.

Reason to Click: Your banner has to be attractive and interesting if you want to flutter a single eyelid. The chance to win something, get something for free or at a special discount, and products that make life easier will get the biggest response. Persuade people to visit your site by giving them a good reason to go there.

Tie-In Design: Really good banner ads are part of an overall advertising strategy. Each piece of your advertising strategy needs to be designed in a way that visibly goes together – different sized banner ads should feature the same colors and general graphics or backgrounds, for example.

So in our Photoshop-created banner ads, we want to get our compelling message across fast in a design that works well with other advertising pieces. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it? It really isn’t!

Creating Great Banner Ads in Photoshop

Step One: Banner Size

Before we can get to designing anything, we need to know what banner sizes should be made. Different websites have slightly different sizing guidelines, but there are some standards that most reputable sites adhere to. The standard horizontal banner is sized at 468 x 60 pixels, with its very-large counterpart, the leaderboard banner, sized at 728 x 90 pixels. Of the two, the most popular is the standard banner. Vertical banners are usually called a Skyscraper, sized 120 x 600 pixels. Some websites actually prefer buttons or rectangles – want to have quick access to all the standard banner sizes? Altlab has created a great reference chart you can grab here.

We’ll be working with a standard horizontal banner in this tutorial, but each piece can be applied to banners of all sizes.

Step Two: New Canvas

Open Photoshop and create a new canvas (File, New) that is sized 468 x 60 pixels in RGB mode.

Step Three: Gradient Fill

We’re going to fill our background with a blue-to-black gradient. Set your foreground color to a deep blue, and your background color to black. Then, use your Gradient tool (it hides behind the paint bucket in your tools palette) to drag a gradient that is black in the bottom right corner and blue in the top left corner.

Step Four: Visual Interest

We’re now going to draw the eye in with a few pieces that will create some serious visual interest. Our first step is to create a bottom “divider” that creates an illusion of “ending”. In other words, with the bottom in a dark color, a reader’s eye will naturally stop at the banner because the web page seems to “end” with the banner – an illusion. To do this, set your foreground color to a darker shade of the blue you’re using and draw a rectangle across the canvas. Then, use your elliptical (circle) marquee tool to cut out the top part of the rectangle, creating a gentle curve.

Now, repeat this step using white to echo the curve made.

Step Five: Insert Art

We now want to add a humanizing element – something that the viewer can relate to and immediately recognize. Facial features are perfect for this – we learn from the time we’re first born to look for facial shapes. Using these in your design automatically draws more interest.

Just make sure that whatever art or product picture you use compliments the colors already present in your banner and experiment with placement and sizing. Moving a graphic just a few pixels in a different direction can convey a whole new message.

Step Six: Insert Text

The text can actually be the trickiest part of all. You want the name of your company to stand out and it should be written in the same font as it is on your logo. Information text needs to be small – pixel fonts are great for this – and in a contrasting color that sticks out. Finally, you need the “draw-in” – the thing that persuades a viewer to click. This text should be thick, bold, and extremely visible.

In the example banner, the school’s name stands out not because it’s big and bold but because it’s white and dainty compared to the other elements in the banner. Information text is very small and in a contrasting pink color that still works well with the other colors in the banner. Finally, the draw-in – 50% Off Enrollment! – is actually smaller in size than the school name but because it’s bold and stroked in the same pink as the information text, it is one of the first things the eye sees.

Make sure that you maintain balance in your ad once you’ve added text. In the example, nothing descends below the height of the divider on the bottom of the banner where the art is visible above it. This trains the eye up, to our text. By keeping information and draw-in text below the school name, it gives the school name a place of importance … building on branding.

Keep these key points in mind with every banner ad (and print ad, for that matter!) that you design, and you’ll see a difference in the effectiveness of your campaign that can’t be put into words.

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Gmail Tutorial – Creating Email Responders in Gmail

Gmail allows you to create auto email responders. These responders are great for people who are going on vacation or won’t be able to access their computer for a while. These auto responders are easy to create and only take a minute. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create auto email responders in Gmail. To begin, you will need to login to your Gmail account.

Open Your Responder Settings Page in Gmail

You will need to open your settings page for the responder. To do that, you will need to click the Settings link at the top of your page. When the settings page loads, click the General tab. You will then be on the page where you can create your auto responder.

Creating Your Auto Responder in Gmail

You will need to scroll down near the bottom of the page you are on. Look for the Vacation Responder section. Once you find that section, you will be at the right place. In this section, you will need to turn the vacation responder on. To do this, tick the Vacation Responder On field. Next, you will need to type a subject in the Subject field. Then type a message in the message field. You can explain why you are away from your computer and when you will be back, or you can type that you are simply away. This part is completely up to you.

If you want the auto responder to only be sent to people who are in your contacts, you can check that box below the message field. This means, anyone who contacts you that are not in your contacts, will not receive this message. This is probably a good option because you do not want any and everyone knowing you are away from home. Again, this is totally up to you.

Now you will need to save your changes to apply the new responder. To do this, you will need to scroll to the bottom of your page and click the Save Changes button. The auto email responder will now be in effect and will be sent to anyone who emails you.

Vacation-Responder

How to Turn the Auto Responder Off in Gmail

When you are ready, you can turn the email responder off. Click the Settings link at the top of your Gmail account. Then click the General tab. Scroll down to the Vacation Responder section. Tick the field to turn the vacation responder off. Then scroll to the bottom of your page and click Save Changes. Then auto responder will then be turned off.

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Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create Longer Nails

photoshop Longer Nails

In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, you will learn how to make finger nails longer. This is a fun and easy tutorial for everyone from beginner to expert users. In addition, many professional photo editors use this technique when working on editorial photographs for ads in magazines, and now you can learn this technique too!
Before you start you need to find an image of hands. Obviously, this works best if they are feminine hands, but you can choose whatever you like. If you personally do not have a picture of hands, there are tons of free photo and image sites online.

Step 1) When you have selected the image you want to work with, open the document up in Adobe Photoshop as its own canvas. Make sure the document is saved and the canvas is flattened. (Layer > Flatten Image).

Step 2) Select the Pen Tool and draw a square around the nail. This will help get a good shape to form the new nail. Try your best to make it even as possible. It may take a few times to get it right. If you mess up and want to go back press Crtl+Z+Alt. This will take you back a step.

Step 3) After you have created the shape, click on the layer called Shape 1 keeping the Ctrl button on the keyboard pressed. This way when you select the outline, you can cancel the layer and choose the image layer instead.

Step 4) Now that the outline is done, it needs to be filled. Use the Clone Stamp Tool. Set the sampling area by putting the pointer on the actual nail and Alt-clicking your pointer.

Step 5) Drag the inner area to the outline to get a longer effect. Repeat this process until the whole area is evenly filled throughout the inside of the outline. Keep in mind you can always zoom in and out to check if things are even, including the tone, coloring, and sharpness.

photoshop Longer Nails 2

Step 6) Once you are done, press Ctrl+D to deselect the outline. Now that the area is no longer selected you will see there are imperfections on the new nail. To fix this, select the Blur Tool on the vertical menu bar.

Step 7) Select the appropriate size of the Blur Tool brush. Go over the nail several times to blend the tones better together.

Step 8) This is the basic concept of making nails longer. Since you have only done one nail, you will have to the rest of the nails in the exact same way.

Once you have completed those steps, you are done and have a whole new image!

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Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add a Watermark to Protect Your Images

Copyright Photo

In this tutorial, you will learn how to protect your digital work from thieves and plagiarists. You will learn how to watermark your images simply in Adobe Photoshop. For those who don’t know what a watermark is, it is basically a set of words or a copyright name that is put over an image so that it remains your work and can not be claimed as someone else’s.

This is a great tutorial if you start posting your images on websites or selling your digital work (whether it is logos, stock photos, templates, wallpapers, etc). Keep in mind that a watermark is more than just simple text on top of an image. A watermark is less ‘obnoxious’ looking. It blends in so the image can be seen, but it also is fairly visible and obvious that it is present. Photoshop will make this quick and easy!
First, you will need to select an image to work with. It can be absolutely any image: a photo, a logo, etc.

copyright-symbol

  1. Start by creating a new document and adding the word “copyright” using the ‘Horizontal Type Tool‘. Then sort the text by going to the Rectangular Marquee Tool and then drag it around the text.
  2. Next, go to Image > Crop. This will omit all of the useless white space around the image so far.
  3. Although the watermark looks good so far, it should look more professional. Press CTRL+T so that you will be able to go to Free Transform. Then hold down the top cursor and turn it until the text is on an angle. After that, delete the white background again so that the background is transparent and easier to work with.
  4. The next step is to turn what you have into a Pattern. Go to Edit > Define Pattern. This will bring up the Pattern Name Box as a window. Give the document a name in PSD format and click OK.
  5. Now create a new layer and name it again.
  6. Go to Edit > Fill > Custom Pattern, and select the pattern you have just saved. Put the opacity at 15% and click OK. You can also set a color by going to Image > Adjustments > Variations and selecting the color you prefer.

Now your image is full watermark protected. If you save the pattern, you will not have to go through this process every time you want to watermark something. Just simply start from Step 5. Also, instead of just using the word “copyright” as the watermark word, it is safer to use your name or company name, and the date or year the image was created. The word “copyright” is too generic but was just used as an example in this Photoshop tutorial.

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Photoshop Tutorial: How to Apply the Invert Feature on Your Photos

photoshop invert feature

A really neat feature in Adobe Photoshop is the Invert feature which turns images into something that looks like a photo negative. This is also a very popular technique. You see it used everywhere from editorial magazines to Myspace photos. What many people don’t know is that this technique is extremely easy to achieve in Adobe Photoshop.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to apply the Invert feature to any photo or image of your choosing. In addition, you will learn some other cool and interesting effects you can use with the Invert feature, including desaturation (black and white), contrast, and color tones.

First, select any image. For my image, I chose more of an object (see the article image). You can use portraits, landscapes, sports scenes, macro shots, etc. With this effect, the possibilities are endless. Open up the image as a flattened document in Photoshop. To make sure it is flattened, go to Layer gt; Flatten. Also be sure to save the original document to go back to if you decide that you do not like the finished image.

Now there are two ways to invert the image. There is the long way by going to Image > Adjustments > Invert, or you can use the quick hot key Ctrl+I, both will automatically invert the photo or image to look like a photo negative. This basically means the colors are opposite.

Invert Color 2

If you chose a colored image, the inverted image will also be colored. If you want to achieve a cool black and white negative effect, go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. This will turn the entire image black and white. Also, go to Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast. This will automatically adjust the contrast based on the colors or tones of your image. It will also make it bolder.

One other way you can spice up the image is by playing around with the Hue/Saturation slider bars. You can also go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and gradually add more tones of any color to your image. In addition to this, you can try numerous filters that Photoshop has to offer by going to Filter > Any Filter. Try out any of these different features in any combination to create something unique and interesting. Save your new image once you are done too!

That is all there is to it! Now you’ve learned a new way to touch up photos in Adobe Photoshop.

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