Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blogging Technology 101: Making a Header Part 3 using PicMonkey

Blogging tech PicMonkey header badge

Welcome to PicMonkey!

Picture 001

PicMonkey is a semi free photo editing website.
Meaning you can pay $4.99 a month or $33.00 for a year of all the coolness that PicMonkey offers.
If you do not want to pay out for all the coolness be aware that all the fonts, overlays, etc with a crown on them are part of the Royal upgrade and you will not be able to use them unless you pay the monthly or yearly fee to do so.

FYI: I currently have opted of not paying for the Royal service.
But that might change soon!

With that said lets get started!

Notice that near the left side of the page is Edit a Photo and Create a Collage.
Click on Edit a photo!

Picture 045

To the very left side of your screen you will notice the Editor side of the page. This is where all the cool stuff happens as it did in FotoFlexer. There are eight different ways to make your photos or headers happen. To list them off in order from top to bottom: Basic Edits, Effects, Touch Up, Text/Fonts, Frames (not pictured), Textures (not pictured), and Themes.


Speaking of FotoFlexer vs. PicMonkey. PicMonkey is more user friendly, and more fun to use. There are not as many technical hiccups or headaches involved with this website. I personally use this site more than the other if you are wondering, and this entire post  was created from PicMonkey Create a Collage.

Any way if you did make that white header background, upload it!
  • Once your background is loaded to your screen go to the textures tab in PicMonkey.
  • Choose a texture (I choose Metal) and click on a texture.
  • Notice that there is a Blend Mode. Click on it! 
  • Hover your mouse over to the Subtract mode. See how it went to the opposite way pretty cool hun? 
  • Click on cancel to remove the texture.
adding PM textures

Stay in the Textures tab and go to the Your Own tab

adding your own texture
  • Choose a photo or favorite background. 
  • If you do not have a printed background no worries I'll show that later on. As you can see I choose a chevron background
  • Now click on Apply!
adding your own texture 2
  • Go to the Text tab.
  • Click on a font that you would like to use and click on the Add Text button at the top.
  • A text tool box will appear and so will a small box to type your text in.

Font text
  • Click on the small text box to start typing.
  • Click aimlessly on the page to make the text box go away and then click on the text that you just typed to make everything reappear.
  • *When you are typing your text the tool box will not change the color or size of your font. That is why you have to unclick and then reclick the text again

Font 1
Photos above are showing the two different modes of being able to type and being able to change everything.

Once you are done typing your text and you are ready to enlarge your text by holding your left mouse button down over any of the circle areas of the small text box. 

Font 2

Or you can enlarge your text by clicking on the size button.
Even better to ensure the size you want, see where the number 70 is. Double click on it to highlight it.

font 3

Then type what ever number you want to enlarge your text.
I choose 100.
Then click behind the 100 to insure that it stays at 100.

Font 4

For those of you who did read the FotoFlexer Header post you know the sky is the limit to making your header the way you want it. What I am saying is that I would suggest that if you have not read the FotoFlexer post to do so, because you can do the same techniques here in PicMonkey as well.

Overlays aka: Stickers!!!!

PicMonkey has an abundance of Overlays to choose from and of course the sky is the limit when it comes to your photos and headers of what you want to use. Feel free to look around and see what amuses you.

Sticker - Overlays

All right the sticker that amuses me at the moment is the vampire cat as I call it from the Critters tab.
Stitckers/Overlays work the same way was your text/fonts do here in PicMonkey. On the exception that you   can not choose your size. Yep, you have to stretch the overlays the old fashion way by left clicking you mouse and holding until you have the desired size that you want.

Once you have the size of the Overlay  you can then change the color of it in the Overlay tool box

Over Lay

Notice how they offer a second color?
That is the eyes and mouth color on the cat.
If you click on the transparent box the whit of the eyes and mouth disappear and you can see your background through the cat's eyes and mouth.

Over Lay 2

Another cool thing you can do is make the cat fade into the header.
You can even do this too with your text/fonts to make watermarks on your photos.

Picture 030


Most of the frames in PicMonkey will work around your header or badges but in this case with the Polaroid frame it does not.
I do suggest you at least try the frames out.
If you do not like them you can always cancel them out.

Frames - Polaroid Frame


Like in FotoFlexer some effects will work on the plain white background and some will not. 
I still happen to have all the same get up going on with the chevrons still on and found that if I used Sepia it changed the chevrons from a blue to an orange. 

Changing effects on the background

Photos and Cropping

Remember in FotoFlexer I had you get arid of the white background all together and had you choose a photo to use as a background instead. Well unfortunately you can not do that here in PicMonkey. The only thing you will end up with is a regular cropped photo and that is it.


Making your exit!

If you do not save your work and you exit out of PicMonkey at the X on the top right side of the page you will get these cheeky little boxes that will pop up.

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Making a header out of Collages 

All right lets head back to the very first page or the front page of PicMonkey.
The last time I had you click on Edit a Photo.
This time Click on Create a collage

Picture 045

When the collage page opens up, it will always open up to this set up every time.
If you notice that in the Photos box there are some photos all ready to use.
You can use them but you do not have to. If you click on the Open Photos button, you can load your own photos to use in the collages.

Picture 046

But for now I will show you how good their photos do look in the collages.
Also if you do not like how a photo look in the collage you can move it to a different cell or you can move it up or down or side to side depending on where it is positioned in the collage. Notice the difference in the photos below?

Moving Photos in the collage

Now I know most of you probably have see many other bloggers using these collages and and you are right! And yes, this is where all the magic actually happens. A good example would be from Rachel of ps i quilt used PicMonkey to make her header, badges, and social media tags. Another Blogger who used PicMonkey for her welcome photo is Angela from Cut to Pieces and they both did this by using PicMonkey's collages.

Now to achieve Rachel's header click on the Layouts tab and then click on the FB Cover. FB is short for Facebook. Yep, you can even use this collage for your Facebook cover too!


Remember in the beginning I said that you can upload your own photos with the Open Photos button.
Please do that!

Once you have your photos chosen you can place them any where in the collage.
If you do not like the way the photos are spaced in your collage you can go to the backgrounds tab and adjust the spacing, use the rounded corners, and make the background transparent or another color.
Personally I would just leave it alone, because if your blog page background is all ready white it does not matter if the spacing color in your collage is white too.
Also you may have noticed that I do have a blue background color in the larger section of this collage.
You will fin the backgrounds in the swatches tab here in the collage. Note: Swatches change from the current season to the current holiday.

Collage 4
Placing a background/swatch is a nice base to have to type you title on but you do not have to use them.

What if you do not like something in your collage?

You can always remove it and if you do not like the current cell you can remove that too. And yes, you can add a cell by placing a photo between existing photos in the collage.

Collage 2

This collage is a great example of switching things up a bit.

Collage 5

I just mentioned that you can remove all cells from the collage if you wanted to.
Here if the reason why.
Well, I am probably sure that many of you found that going into paint and making that blank white header background a pain. So here is something much easier and more easier to do and to use.

If you remove all the cells or just go to the Ducks in a Row tab and remove the second slot, you will have a blank white background.
The nice this about doing this, is now you can stretch this cell into the size of a header you want.
See photo below!

Collage 6

Another nice thing is on the very bottom of the collage page is that there is a length and width box.
I will also say do not be afraid to change the pixel number to get the size that you want.

Collage 3

Okay now that you have your white header background made save it!
All right not to confuse any one but that is all I have for the collage section, because like I have said before the sky is the limit to what you want to do.

If you go back into Edit Photo and upload your newly white header background you can now put in your own texture.
 Remember to go to Textures tab and click on the Your Own tab.
Upload your own photo and that will become your new background if you want too.
Oh, if you have those white edges like the ones in the photo below you can crop those out using the crop tab in the Basics tab.

Collage 7

Also if you remember using the Opacity icon in FotoFlexer. You can do the same thing here in PicMonkey by using fade to where your background will not over power your text/fonts.

Collage 8

Background Bonus!!!!

Remember I said earlier that I would get to making your own background if you did not have one.

  • All right go back to the Create a Collage.
  • go to the Layout tab again and then to the Ducks in a Row tab.
  • Remove the second cell
  • Then stretch the existing cell to as large as you can get it.

Picture 072

Since you are all ready in the Create a Collage the only option other than to save your extra large cell is to use the Swatches. 
If you had saved your extra large background then head to Edit a Photo and head to the Themes tab.  

Picture 051Picture 031

Like I said since we are all ready in the Create a Collage lets head over to the Swatches tab and choose a background. I choose the red poke dot background.

  • Select the background by left clicking it.
  • While holding on to the left mouse button drag the selected background to the extra lage white background .
  • Release your hold from the left mouse button.
  • Whala you have a background! 

Collage 9

Now you will notice that you have a bit of white spacing on your background.

  • Go to the Backgrounds tab
  • Left click on the Spacing button and slide it to zero.
  • Now you no longer have the little bit of what spacing in you background.
  • Save your background!

Collage 10

Well everyone that is how it is done in PicMonkey!

Hope that this tutorial has helped!

Now feel free to create your new header away!


1 comment:

Linda in Calif. said...

Wow. You did a great job explaining this. (It must have been a lot of work) I love pic-monkey and now I know how to do more things with it. THANKS!

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