Today I’m going to show you how I make thumbnails for YouTube. Also, you’re going to see how I do the photoshoot to creating face shots.
If you want to create a thumbnail for a YouTube that you have to have:
- face shot
- some icon
- some picture
I’m going to show you the green-screen and a stand in front of it and take a bunch of pictures.
The main thing I do is I set the camera up to take a picture every second. That’s all it does. And I change the pose.
Creating thumbnails – getting started
You get a whole bunch of different poses. And then you’re able to sort through these pictures and then create thumbnails.
Pro tip: I use a Sephora makeup – Bright future. You have to get one that matches your skin tone. If you have some scratching or blemishes, you need to cover those.
Whatever the case is you put it on before the photo shoot. It makes your life a lot easier. That way, you don’t have additional editing to do.
Try to make it as simple as possible on these edits. Otherwise, you have a lot of marks you’re going to try to get rid of.
When I dump all my memory cards, I have everything in one place. I did two segments – a black shirt and a white shirt.
I’ll show you what I did with the white shirt.
In this phase, I go through these, and I delete the ones I don’t want.
There are numerous reasons why you don’t want certain images:
- the reflection of the glasses
- maybe you’re blurry
- the eyes look squinty
You’re getting ideas from past posts you did other ideas and poses you may be doing in the future. And I do the same thing here with the black shirt. This is sometimes good for variation.
I don’t like shirts that are too colorful. The thing is if you use shirts that are too colorful, then it takes away too much from the thumbnail, and it limits you.
- Can you still use them?
Yeah because if you use an orange shirt and you use orange text, it’s still possible.
However, it makes it less flexible.
Two shirt colors are all I need. It’s something very subtle. Then eventually we can go ahead and play with these different thumbnails.
After I sort these things, my next step is to create an action.
Creating action in photoshop
We take this one, for example.
You can see it’s dark. With the thumbnails I like them popping a little bit more. Because of that, I’ll create an action.
I’ll make a new folder, and we’ll call this folder “a new batch.” You can name it whatever you want.
Now, I’ll start the new action – let’s say “remove the green.”
In my opinion, the smartest way is to save them as PNG. That way it’s easy to drag and drop them in, and they’re all transparent. This is for the thumbnails. I don’t reuse them for anything else.
Sometimes I use it on the website. That is also handy. You can see at rise2learn.com, backstageincome.com that there are also images that are png transparent.
They’re similar, but these have a little bit more of a body to them. It’s a different photo shoot.
Get back to our green background example. If you want to get rid of the color, you could do a color range.
I could click it, hold shift click a few different spots and add to it. But the problem I found with the color range is even then sometimes it will get my eyes and other things. In this one, it works out well.
However, as you start doing other pictures, it gets more reflection.
This is the best and most straightforward approach. Do it by color because that’s why you did the color. If I do a color range here let’s say here, and I select it, and I keep holding shift while I do this. I’ll select it. Sometimes that gets in there.
I can go to layers and make a new layer or duplicate this layer. Then mask that layer. You can see right here that some things did not get picked up.
That’s going to show in your video and your thumbnail. It is the issue and the problem. Before you do, this is you do the inverse, and then you select it. But all those things that I showed you there earlier they don’t work.
I set up an action, and I’m going to go edit and fill. Now I’m going to fill it with white so you can see where the greenery is. You could see there’s some stuff right here that’s on screen. That’s not getting rid of it, and that’s why I don’t use the color select.
My favorite way – setting up the action
I select the corners. And I make sure when I try to take the pictures I don’t use too much of the corners.
I’ll hit shift and click, and you can see this little part isn’t selected. Because of that, I’ll go down 3 or 4 times. And I’ll go above right here 3 or 4 times holding shift. I keep doing it because what it’s doing is it keeps adding to selection filling for the colors.
Now I can duplicate the layer and hide the other layer. Then there’s going to be a little edge here by the ears. I’ll select, modify, and expand. This time we’ll do about 3. It compresses it in, and now I’ll do the select inverse.
You could use shortcuts. The downside with doing this method is sometimes you manually have to go in and get some of these other ones like this one in the future. But not this first batch.
The next thing I need to do is I’m going to brighten it up. The brightness for me is always hidden because I use Photoshop on the other screens.
Adjust the contrast and brightness, and you’re ready to go. Then add a color balance. I make it a little bit bluer and a few more reds. But not too much. That’s pretty much it.
It’s time to export thumbnail
The settings that I do is fairly transparent. That’s the goal. If you’re not planning to use this anything beyond YouTube thumbnails, you could leave it as it is.
For me, my photos are 4608 by 3072 at this point. If you are using it for YouTube, you could go ahead image size and tweak that down. You could do about 2000, and that should be big enough for YouTube thumbnails. That way, as the face shot, needs to be resized a little bit; you could stretch it. Then you could save it, and that’ll speed up the saving process.
The saving process on this is what takes a bit of time. I’ll hit save, and it’s going to ask me where I want to put it.
I already did a test on this, so I’m going to put it here in a temper. I’ll put it right here, save, and then we’ll hit close. Now we’ll stop the action.
Doing batches – yes or no?
I select a bunch of these at a time. I’ll typically do about 20 to 50 at a time. You can do batches on Photoshop by the folder. But I find if you run into any errors or issues you sometimes have to start again. Also, you don’t know where you left off.
The way I like to do it is in batches. That’s because then I go back and fix some of those corrections. Now all I do is automate batch, and you can see right here it says open files, or you could do folder.
I do open files because I’ve seen that you don’t run into a lot of trouble. And now what we’ll do is we’ll hit OK. You’ll see it start running here and in the background. You’ll see it’s starting to work and now it all does it automatically.
It’s running through these photos, and it’s selecting it’s doing the same thing that I did. And of course, if there are any issues on the selection part, it’ll still select that. That’s because I did use that magic wand. I didn’t do the color version of it. But with the color, as you saw, it’s not as clean to remove it.
Sometimes that’s good for finding things, but it’s not as clean. I haven’t found a way to do that. I find that this way seems to be the best way. You can see right here; these pictures are coming in as they continue to get saved.
Now what I’ll need to do is clean up some of these green parts between fingers and phone.
At this point, we can do drag and drop those in on any thumbnail in the future.
The final step
Once everything is done, I’m going to drag one of these over show you the last step. You go through a few of these that may be missed things.
I’ll select this green part between fingers, delete, and all you have to do now is hit ctrl Save. And it’ll resave, and then you can close it out.
You could create an action for this, but I find it’s a little time-consuming. Sometimes there’re some things you need to do manually.
But other than that, most of these came out pretty clean as long as you leave enough greenery. I find that there’s not a big deal or issue.
At times I might create a new action if I want this face or skin tones even brighter. Sometimes tends to be the case to use in a thumbnail. In that case, I might run it through another brightness action. But other than that’s basically how I go about setting up these face shots in batches. And then once we’re done, you’ll get something like this.
I’ve done 2019 face shots twice this year already. Here was a couple of that I did for the website.
You can see sometimes I’ll hold up some books. The color could be changed or tweaked and adjusted, but it gives you an idea.
This one has maybe a thousand or five hundred shots. I did a lot of them with different shirt colors. There’s a lot of mix and variations.
You can see there’s a lot of face shots there and some may never make it on the YouTube. However, it gives us ideas or some an asset library to pool from. That way, we don’t have to create a custom picture in the future. And that way it makes it a lot easier.
You create them, and then you use them. There’s a lot of assets for you there. And with the time you drag and drop and pick out which one you need.
I hope I’ve helped you by showing you how I go about taking photos for these youtube thumbnails.
And that this whole editing process and the entire thought process behind creating the actions helped you and made things easier for you.