Site Talk forum: Making a Banner Tutorial

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Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
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BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 12:03 PM CST
If you are interested in submitting a banner for the top of the home page, here are a couple of step-by-step tutorials to get you started. The first gives the steps for Windows Picture Manager, which is included on many PC computers. The second gives the steps using an online editing tool, which works for any computer, Mac or PC. I hope this is helpful to other users!

TO MAKE A BANNER USING WINDOWS PICTURE MANAGER:
1. Right click on the picture, and open it with Windows Picture Manager.

2. On the Picture menu, select Resize. A box will open to the right side of the screen. Where it says Custom width and height, make the width of the picture at least 1200. You may want to start with 1500, to give you a little more leeway when cropping, especially if you think you may want to trim some from the sides, as well as the top and bottom, of your original picture. Look at the New Size numbers at the bottom of the right hand box. If the width is less than 1200, try making the size 1500 x 994. The second number does not matter, as long as the width is at least 1200. The ideal width is at least 1400, so I aim for a finished size of 1500 x 150. Click the OK button at the bottom of that editing box.

3. On the Picture menu, select Crop. Grab either the top or the bottom center crop handle with your cursor, and slide it until the height of the picture in pixels (in the box on the right side of the screen) reads exactly 150. Don't worry yet about which part of the picture is showing in the crop box; you are just selecting the SIZE of your banner in this step. Using the center crop handles will only affect the height, while using the corner ones will affect both height and width. Your size should now read 1500 x 150, or at the smallest, 1200 x 150. DO NOT CLICK OK YET!

4. Put your cursor in the center of the highlighted area. (It will look in focus, while the outside area is whited-out.) Use your cursor to slide the crop area up and down, until you have the portion you want in the banner selected. At this point, IF you had 1500 as your width, you can also adjust the width of the banner down to 1200, if it will give you a better visual appeal.

5. Click the OK button to apply the crop. If you decide you don't like it, you can still click on the "Undo" arrow, or select "Undo" from the edit menu at the top.

6. IMPORTANT! Under your File menu, select "Save As" and rename your banner. This way, you will still have your original picture as well as the drastically cropped version.

7. When you close Windows Picture Manager, it will tell you there are unsaved changes. Choose "Don't Save" or it will overwrite your original image with the cropped banner image. I learned this lesson the hard way. If you are certain you did step 6, and renamed the banner with "Save As," go ahead and click "Don't Save." If you want to double check, choose Cancel, Save As, and then again close the program. Choose "Don't Save" so you will retain your full image. Be sure you make note of WHERE you save it, as well, so you can locate it later.

8. Go to this link to submit your banner:
http://garden.org/barn/banners/

9. When you enter a title, it will only submit the first 20 characters, including spaces, even though the box will accept more than that. Keep your title short, and add any additional information in the "Optional Additional Information" box. [Update: The title box will now accept up to 50 characters. Thanks, Dave!]

Edited 10/16/12 to add:
The system does not send you a message when your banner has been approved or scheduled. You won't get a message until the day the banner runs, when you will receive an acorn for it. In the meantime, you can go back to the Site Banner Forum, and click on "Upload a Banner" on the far right. You will see a list of all the banners you have submitted. In the far right column, you will see one of three messages: Awaiting Approval, Approved, or Scheduled for XXX date. This will let you check on the status of the banners you have submitted!

I'm no photo-editing expert, but feel free to send me a tree-mail if you have questions!

Angie

Thought I would update this first tutorial to include the information on how to make a banner with an online tool, since each computer seems to come loaded with a different photo tool. These directions seem to work well for everyone, regardless of whether they use Mac or PC:

MAKING A BANNER USING PIXLR.COM ONLINE

I recently found a very basic free online photo editing tool that works well for making banners. It does not need to be downloaded onto your computer, you don't need to make an account or give any contact info, and at the end, it saves your image onto your computer, not to any online site.

http://pixlr.com/express/

1. Click Browse, and find the picture on your computer.
2. Click on Adjustment, and a long bar will pop up along the bottom of the picture with options.
3. Click on Resize, and make the width 1500. Click on the check mark to apply.
4. Click on Crop. Use the little squares in the corners to slide the crop bars up and down, until the height in the box at the bottom is 150. If you can't get it to stop at exactly 150, don't stress. Get it as close as you can (slightly too big is better than slightly too small. ie, choose 151, rather than 149), and click the check mark again to apply the crop.
5. If your height is not exactly 150, go back to Resize. Enter 150 in the height. It doesn't matter if the width isn't exactly 1500 (it can be any width, as long as it is wider than 1200), but the height MUST be exactly 150.
6. Click the Save box in the upper right. Enter a name that will be easy to remember (I include the word banner in each one), and slide the Image Quality up to the maximum. Click the check mark, and then select what folder you want to save it in on your computer. Personally, I have a folder called My Pictures, and within that I have a folder called Gardening. Inside that folder is another folder called Banners. That way, all of my banners are in one place, and I can locate them easily.

Hope this helps someone get started, even if you don't have Windows Picture Manager on your computer!
[Last edited by BookerC1 - May 11, 2013 8:33 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #274975 (1)
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 19, 2012 12:15 PM CST
Thank you Angie. Thumbs up
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Jun 19, 2012 12:39 PM CST
I'm going to try when my computer savvy Daughter or Grandson come to help. Do you think compulsive obsessive people like me might be changing the banner several times a day? That won't be good.... Confused Confused Confused
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jun 19, 2012 12:42 PM CST
I have explained this several times to people but never as concisely as Angie!! Great job, and this is exactly what I do.

The handy thing is also that you can go back after you have submitted your banner and click on 'discard changes' and the picture is back the way it was before you started messing with it!!

Paul - you have no control over the daily banner - Dave selects the one he wants for that day (or sometimes several days) from all the ones that have been submitted.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 19, 2012 1:33 PM CST
The 'discard changes' is a good thing to know. I did not know about that. Thanks Hetty. Thumbs up
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jun 19, 2012 1:48 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
Image
BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 1:55 PM CST
Hetty, which photo editing program do you use? I don't see "discard changes" as an option on mine, and there have been times when I accidentally "overwrote" the original, when I could sure use that option! I know my mom has that capability on her Mac.

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Image
Dutchlady1
Jun 19, 2012 2:18 PM CST
I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

After completing all the steps above, go back to your banner picture, go to 'edit' and the option 'discard changes' will be visible.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jun 19, 2012 2:22 PM CST
Do we save the banner photo as a plain ol' jpeg file?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jun 19, 2012 2:44 PM CST
yep
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
Image
BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 2:47 PM CST
Hetty, do you have to do the "Discard Changes" step before you save? I did find it on the Edit menu, but it was grayed-out, not an option. I still have the original picture on the camera card, so it isn't entirely lost, but thought it would be nifty if I could restore the accidentally saved one. Hilarious!

Woofie, yes, a jpeg.

Dave, I have a feeling you are about to get a whole lotta banner submissions! Thumbs up

Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Jun 19, 2012 3:08 PM CST
When I'm working with photos I copy them to a separate folder and edit the copies. That way I am never at risk of accidentally damaging an original.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jun 19, 2012 3:09 PM CST
Thank you for this tutorial, Angie. I've been wanting to learn to make a banner. Here goes! Smiling Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 19, 2012 3:09 PM CST
Another great idea. Separate folder for copies. Hurray!
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
Image
BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 3:11 PM CST
I've discovered another way to do it, that helps with larger-scale pictures (like ones that are very close-up.)

1. Open the picture with Windows Picture Manager.

2. In the Picture menu, select Crop.

3. Crop the picture so that the end measurements have the proportions of roughly 10 x wider than they are tall. (ie 5000 x 500, or 3000 x 300, or 7000 x 700), to select whatever part of the picture you want to include. This way you can select a piece out of the center, without going all the way to both edges, right and left.

4. In the Picture menu, select Resize. In the Custom measurements box, change them to read 1500 x 150. If you want to crop a little more off of either end, you still can, as long as it is still at least 1200 wide and 150 tall.

5. Be sure to Save As, like above.

Basically the same concept, but better for pictures where you want to cut a close-up piece out of the center, rather than using the entire width of the picture.


Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 19, 2012 5:35 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

This is great, Angie, thank you for posting! I added a link to this tutorial from the site banners forum.

Now, you should all know that I already have over a hundred banners already received and lined up. So any new banners that come in will be at least 3 months before they appear on the site. Be aware of that. Smiling
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
Image
BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 5:55 PM CST
That's good to know, Dave, so I don't get antsy waiting to see my images! Hilarious!

I spent way too much time today playing with garden pictures, making probably close to a hundred banners (though I didn't save most of them; mostly trying to see which images make good banners.) I have a few more I can submit that I thought turned out well, but I won't deluge you with the whole batch. Whistling
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Image
Dutchlady1
Jun 19, 2012 6:35 PM CST
Wow, I wasn't the only one who had been busy Hilarious!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jun 19, 2012 7:45 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

49 of them came from you, Hetty! Hilarious!
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
Image
BookerC1
Jun 19, 2012 9:50 PM CST
A couple of other notes. In a tree-mail, Dave mentioned that 1400 or wider is ideal; 1200 is the minimum. I found that really helpful, and will aim to keep most of them 1500 x 150 after this.

Also, the box for entering a title doesn't limit you, but only the first 20 characters (including spaces) will be submitted. It cut off the ends of most of my earlier titles. Keep the title short and sweet, and add more detail in the "Additional Comments" box.

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