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Banner by ~ Ice Princess Silky

Nico's Advanced Banner Tutorial (With Template!)


Nico

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(edited)

Table of Contents:

- Introduction

Theme Tutorial

 

Hello there, one and all! This is Nico, reporting in to the forums after one hell of a long time away, really. Sure, I've made some blog posts here and there, and status updates hither and thither, but this is the first actual post in quite some time.

 

What am I here to show you today? Well, allow me to introduce to you my detailed MLP Forums Banner Template!

 

img-1351896-1-banner_template_by_nicolai

 

If you click the link up there, it will take you to my deviantArt Sta.sh, where you can download the PSD version of this banner template, complete with fully customizable colors for the buttons, as well as Smart Layers for the logo (it's the Original PNG from the site's first banner, too!), allowing re-sizing to your heart's content. All layers are organized for ease of use and to ensure that your designing is both streamlined as well as simpler than ever before.

 

For those who might be a tad bit confused on how to use the PSD to its full potential, I will demonstrate the easiest ways to alter it to appear how you wish! First off, I'll show you how easy it is to change the colors of the buttons!

 

img-1351896-2-color_tutorial_by_nicolai_

 

Changing the colors of the buttons on your design can greatly aid in ensuring that your design is exactly how you want it to be, and the glows will appear just as they do on the site (more or less, it's not a 100% perfect template, obviously). Another advantage of this is that when you go to change the colors, it will provide easy access to the Hexadecimal Color Codes, which you will need to know in order for the administrator to properly alter the button colors on-site.

 

Another nifty feature of having the template is the arrow on the New Content bar. Though it may not seem like much, the fluctuating from faded to full-white of the button can make quite a difference. Located in the "New Content Bar" Layer Folder there are two layers: 'Active New Content Button' and 'Inactive New Content Button'. Simply hide one and make the other visible to see the differences between the active and inactive buttons!

 

Obviously the most useful part of this, though, is that when all of your customizations are brought together you can see a clear representation of what will appear on the site as opposed to a rough estimate. Simply replace the "Background Color" layer with the contents of your banner, make the color changes to the buttons, place and re-color the MLP Forums logo as you wish and there you have it!

 

What makes this an 'advanced' banner tutorial, you ask? Well, don't ask that question, silly! I'm not done with this thread yet, not by any means! I will be updating it periodically with various design tips for creating your banner as well as to answer any questions you have for me on the subject! If you want to know anything about banner design, simply ask me!

 

Design on, everypony, and have fun with it!

Edited by Nico
  • Brohoof 11
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I'm pretty sure this would be of use to me. I've wanted to design a banner for ages now.

 

Thank you for posting this, this is great for me, and others who want to design a banner but lack the skills to do one from scratch.

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(edited)

This is cool! I think I may use this, but it is not letting me open the file, but I may just try making stuff with the template :)

Edited by Screw Ball
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I'm pretty sure this would be of use to me. I've wanted to design a banner for ages now.

 

Thank you for posting this, this is great for me, and others who want to design a banner but lack the skills to do one from scratch.

 

No problems! It's my goal to make banner creation more accessible to everyone, and to make it easier even for those who already were into it! I hope you can get something up at the top of the site sometime!

 

 

 

This is cool! I think I may use this, but I use Paint.net so I may have to figure how to do it on that programe, but the template is great!

 

I don't know how well this template will work with Paint.NET, but I hope it serves you well in some way.

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Nico! It's great to see you :D What a great tutorial. I've added your topic to our official forum Resource Map as a footnote, along with Speedy Transitions' past topic of similar aspects, under the 'How to make a Forum Banner' FAQ entry section. Having a second topic on the matter is great, as it allows our forum audience to get two different point of views on how to organize a banner tutorial.

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Okay! Time for a few design tips for the day! What will I be providing my advice on today?
 

~*THEME!*~

 
The most important thing to know when designing a banner is a theme. This is for obvious reasons, really, as without a theme your banner is just, well, a mess. Sure, you can go into designing a banner without having anything planned out prior to starting, but planning a general idea in your head first will help out in the long run, even if it's just as simple as deciding the pony you want on it.
 
For the example I'll be showing off today, I'll make a Twilight Sparkle banner, just for kicks. Having decided that she is the pony I want in the banner, my first step should be to figure out what pose I want of her. In this case, I decided to go for a bit of a deranged, wild look.
 
twilight_banner_example_pt__1_by_nicolai
 
Now that I've got the wild Twilight placed how I like her (and, importantly, a place where she'll be clearly visible), I need to re-tool the colors of the image to match Twilight, or if I wanted something more than simple colors I would create an advanced background scene. For this example, though, I'll just change up the colors to complement her.
 
Obviously, purple would be a decent choice since it matches her, but colors such as blue and pink could also work well with her. I'm clearly going to avoid colors such as green, yellow or bright reds, though, as they would heavily contrast her and it wouldn't be a cohesive piece. I decided to go for a gradient of purple, bright in the center but slowly desaturating and darkening toward the edges.
 
twilight_banner_example_pt__2_by_nicolai
 
I hid the MLP Forums layer for now, as the color of the text made it hard to read how well the color went with Twilight, and was simply kind of an eyesore. Now, though, I need to alter the color of the text and apply it as part of the image, as well as alter the colors of the buttons to match the new banner.
 
I will simply focus on the color of the text for now, as positioning it now would be pointless should I decide to add a new object into the image and would therefore have to adjust the text to fit it in. I'll also adjust the colors of the buttons until everything seems to go together well.
 
Pro-Tip: To adjust the color of your Logo, simply select the layer using Ctrl + Left Click (Cmd + Click for Mac) on the layer's thumbnail image. This will select the text for you without the need for a selection tool. After this, go to Layer>New Fill Layer and choose Solid Color unless you feel that a gradated logo would fit in. Doing this preserves the integrity of the original logo layer (simply hide it) while also allowing you to easily switch the color of the new layer just as you would the buttons of the template.
 
twilight_banner_example_pt__3_by_nicolai
 
As of now, though it doesn't look ugly, the banner looks boring. It's at this point in the design where, if you didn't have ideas prior to now, you would decide on things you could add to your banner to make it have more 'pizzazz' while also holding together thematically.
 
In order to make the banner appear more lively and interesting, I'll add in an object or two related to Twilight Sparkle in one way or another. For this example banner, I'll put in Smarty Pants and Twilight's cutie mark.
 
twilight_banner_example_pt__4_by_nicolai
 
To unify the image overall, as well as make it appear more visually stimulating, I rotated the logo and added a banner parallel to, but underneath, the logo, sort of like a ribbon. And with that, we have a passable banner design! Obviously, don't forget that your name will appear in the very lower-left corner, so don't put any little-bitty detail there that you want to show up.
 
I should expect that you can come up with something more spiffy than this banner with some time and effort, so go on and give it a shot! It's not too hard if you simply take it step-by-step and have a plan from the start!
 
If you'd like to download the PSD of this example to get a more detailed look at the layers and pieces, you can get it here!
 
 

Nico! It's great to see you biggrin.png What a great tutorial. I've added your topic to our official forum Resource Map as a footnote, along with Speedy Transitions' past topic of similar aspects, under the 'How to make a Forum Banner' FAQ entry section. Having a second topic on the matter is great, as it allows our forum audience to get two different point of views on how to organize a banner tutorial.

 

It's good to be back, really. I've had my computer in my living room for quite some time since I moved out with my new roommate, so I haven't really had any privacy. I recently moved it into my room, though, so now I can actually do stuff on it! I'm glad you liked it well enough to add it to the Resource Map, and I hope more people like it as I continue to expand on it! ^^

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