Seasonal Headers for My Blog

I love playing around with graphics even if I’m not a Graphic Artist by training.  In my soul I am an artist so when I play with images I am a graphic artist, no?  So last I was in an artsy mood and got a bug up my butt to do something.  I have been a little bit antsy from staying at home with the new puppy so now that I have moved my desktop computer into the family room so I can keep an eye on little Guy and work with a bit more power than my iPad provides, I was absolutely itching to create.  I decided this site looked too “Summer.”  And Fall is definitely here.  We’re supposed to only get up into the 80s today and down into the low 60s at night here in Tucson!  Yes!

INFRASTRUCTURE

I use the Feather theme by Elegant Themes which allows me to easily upload header images which are called logo images, for some reason I cannot fathom, by Nick Roach, the guy who creates these WordPress themes that I use on my stand alone WordPress installation through the hosting account I have with Host Gator.  It works well through the Firefox browser on the 2009 upgraded  large screen iMac that I have.

PREVIOUS IMAGE REUSE

I started out by searching my computer for the layered graphic I created for the header I was using up until last night.

Single Layer .png

I found the single layer version of the image that was a .png file, but I could not find the layered ArtText file in which I’d created the image.  Grrrrr.  I hate it when I skip over such a basic step as saving a copy of my creation in the native format of the program I am using.  Art Text allows me to export images as various types of files.  I chose to export a .png format with an alpha, or transparent, background.

ART TEXT STEPS

So when I am using Art Text I remember to do this:

Export is circled in red.

And not this:

FILE in the bar and then SAVE in the drop down menu are circled in red.

 

So because I had not done this second action, I could not rework the original image and just replace the dragonfly with the bat.  So I had to recreate the image.  I can never leave things alone when given a chance to change them, so I altered some elements of the image.  I replicated the overall feel of the image but made a few changes.  You can see the Art Text tool bar showing some of the layers at the bottom of this image:

As you might have been able to tell, I do the logo image and the text as individual images both of which I export as .png format images.

LAYERING IMAGES AS LAYERS IN GIMP

Once those two images are created using ArtText, saved as an ArtText file .artx and exported as a .png, I open them in GIMP.  I create a blank transparent image in the size that I want the new image to be. It looks like this:

Then I insert one of the images as a layer:

Then I add the second image (of the words) and position it to the right of the first layer image and save it with the title I want:

THEME INTERFACE

Then, finally, I save this image in a format that my theme’s GUI (graphic user interface) can recognize and upload it.

MANY WAYS TO CREATE IMAGES

I use ArtText because it a very functional and easy to use logo, icon, and button creator.  If your were greatly skilled in GIMP or Adobe Photoshop you could do all this in one graphics program.  I had to get something out quickly once and bought ArtText and learned to love it.  GIMP is Open Source, which is not the same thing as free, but there is no cost to download the program, and it is available for most platforms. Since I don’t have a lot of money to support the project, I promo it whenever I can, such as in this post to help the project.  You can also donate money.  If you regularly use an open source product, giving back as much as you can is the proper way to support it.

LESSONS LEARNED

Save or export as many versions as you will want at the end of the process immediately upon creating any sort of file!  That is the most important info to take away from this post.

I now have a header image that I can alter for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Spring and so on.  I wanted to alter the header as a way of keeping a site fresh but familiar while reusing elements of pre-existing projects to save time and energy.  Wheels are wonderful, but there are no good reasons for reinventing them.

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