This will hopefully be quite a fun exercise, creating a striking Halloween themed graphic. I’ve been inspired by cheesy horror movie posters for this.
We’ll be using BeFunky’s Photo Editor web app for this tutorial. While there’s nothing too complicated about this, there’s a few steps, so we’ll dive straight in.
Create your document
When you first arrive at BeFunky’s Photo Editor web app, you’ll see you can upload a photo or use one of theirs. Click the first of their images to open it.
Ensure you’re in the “Edit” mode, second icon in the very left hand column. Then in the “Edit” tools column, scroll down and click “Levels” to open the “Levels” panel shown in the screenshot. Now click the small black triangle that is at the bottom left of the “Input Levels” control and drag it all the way to the right. That turns the image completely black. Click the blue tick button to set this.
Finally we’ll crop the image, so scroll up the tools and click on “Crop”. In the panel that opens, set the width to “794 px” and the height to “666 px”, to match the proportions of a Facebook image post. Click the blue tick button to apply the crop.
Add a texture
The plain black background is a bit boring as is, so we’ll add a grungy texture to liven it up. I did a quick search and found a suitable texture at http://insightdesigns.co.uk/blog/2012/01/22/free-texture-grab-rough-and-ready-grunge-textures/. On that page, scroll down a little and click on the first texture image without any text on it. That will open the image in a new window and there you can right-click on it and select “Save image as” to save it to your computer.
In the left hand column, click on the “Layer Manager” and then “Add Layer” and select the texture you just downloaded.
Click on the corner handles to increase the size of the texture so that it covers the whole image.
In the “Layer Properties” panel, change the opacity to about “30%” . Then click anywhere outside of the texture to deselect it.
Add some bats
In the left hand column, click on “Overlay” and then select “Halloween”.
Scroll down and click on “Halloween 8” to select. You should see that there’s a slider displayed now and this reduces the opacity of the bats when moved to the left. When you’re happy with the opacity, click the green tick button to apply the bats.
Add a product image
Go back to the “Layer Manager” and upload a product photo to a new layer. I’ve selected a Hipster Jack’O’Lantern cookie cutter for my example. You can resize it a little if necessary and then click the “Cutout” button in the “Layer Properties” panel.
The image would look a bit boring just as a rectangle. Ideally I’d probably have chosen a feathered gradient that saw the image fade into the background for this. Unfortunately, the feather options aren’t very soft even when at the maximum settings. Instead, I’m using the brush effect you can see in the screenshot.
In the “Cutout” panel, click the brush icon and use the sliders to adjust the “Brush Size” and “Feather” settings. I set mine to “78 %” and “26” respectively, but feel free to use different settings. I then just painted over the image in a kind of zig-zag style. Click the blue tick button when you’re happy.
In the left hand column, click on the “A” icon to open the text controls and click the “Add Text” button.
A text box is now added that you drag to reposition. To change the font, click the “Font Family” drop down. If you click the “Yours” tab, you can select from your own fonts. I clicked the “Ours” tab and chose “Harting” from their installed fonts. If you’ve got a stronger font on your own computer, feel free to use that.
To edit the text, just click on the text box and the holding text should disappear. You then just type in the text you want.
In the “Text Properties” panel, you can adjust the font size as desired. The first “Color” control changes the color of the text. I set mine to a shade of red by clicking in the “Color Picker” panel. The second control sets the color of the text outline. I didn’t want an outline, so I clicked it and clicked the “Transparent” button in the panel (arrowed).
You can see I’ve added more text to build on the feel of a movie poster. The white text uses the “Ostrich Sans” font which is quite condensed, like the fonts often used to list actors.
When you’re happy with your graphic, you can save it to your computer. Click on the “Save” button at the top of the screen and then click “Computer”.
In the panel that opens, you can give your file a name. I recommend saving as a “JPG” as it gives a smaller file size. I also reduced the “Quality” slider to “75”. This is still quite a high quality, but reduces the file size a bit more. then click the blue save button and choose where to save it on your computer.
You’ve tried out a few different things in this exercise and there are a couple of techniques you can reuse in future graphics.
- Applying semi transparent textures over solid color backgrounds can add interest. Just ensure they’re not too strong as it may make text difficult to read.
- You’ve also seen that BeFunky has various overlays that can also add interest. Again, they’re usually best if their opacity is reduced quite a lot.