How To Make Your Own Twitter Background (vampires not included)

by RhodesTer on December 29, 2009

vampire-diaries-new-promoLast week I made a Twitter background for a young friend of mine named Jessica.

It was a Christmas present because I couldn’t afford to give her a real gift, like a “The Vampire Diaries” shirt or a “The Vampire Diaries” poster or an autographed photo of Ian Somerhalder, who plays a hunky vampire in “The Vampire Diaries.”

In case you couldn’t tell, she’s really into “The Vampire Diaries,” which for those of you who don’t know, is a TV series loosely based on a book series about hunky young vampires.

Being a 17-year-old girl, she’s especially into Mr. Somerhalder, and coffeesister had to remind me “no pics of the girl from The Vampire Diaries by herself now, you need to have some pics where she’s with the guys and you need to have a majority of Ian pics because he’s her favorite.”

So I spent an inordinate amount of time one evening last week downloading and resizing pictures of Ian Somerhalder. Yes that DID feel kind of weird.

I’m not a graphic designer by any stretch.. I don’t even have Photoshop. I had it up until version 4.0 but then the computer I had at the time died, and I haven’t been able to afford a modern version of it since. So I use GIMP, which is an open source Photoshop-like program that’s free. Anyone can download it and use it with no worries about the feds arresting them for Internet piracy.

Get it here if you want.

I’ve learned a few tricks on GIMP and, although I’m no expert, I do a decent job of things like the banner on this blog and my own Twitter background.

When I did Jessica’s I was so proud of how well it came out (better than mine!) that I just HAD to go and tweet..

“Just did a background for a friend of mine, take a look.. http://twitter.com/jessievampire.”

The problem is that other friends tweeted back saying, “Hey, would you do one for me?”

That’s awesomely flattering, you know? Because it means people like the work enough to have me do theirs even though it’s far from professional, but there’s two reasons I can’t..

A. Even though it’s simple once you get the hang of it, it’s takes too damn long. Especially if you want to have it look just right and not sloppy.

B. I could charge for my time and do it for pay, but those photos in the montage are pulled off the net and don’t belong to me. It’s one thing to throw that together for personal use or to gift someone, but to “sell” those pics in a montage could get me into trouble.

So, the next best thing I can do is just tell you what I figured out and let you take a whack at it for yourself, so here we go..

First of all, here’s a small version of the background I did for Jessica.

jhvd1

Click on it to open it to full size in another window, then right-click on it and choose “save image as” to save it to your desktop. Then load it in your image editor (whether it be GIMP, Photoshop or whatever) to use as a template, or just start with a canvas that’s 730 pixels wide by 752 pixels high.

The size is optimized for 1280×1040 which is the most common. You don’t want to load a 1280×1040 graphic – that’s too big for Twitter. You want to load this size because it will tile (choose “tile” when you upload it in your Twitter options.)

You’ll need to know how to paste your own pics over the vampire pics on the template, and then flatten it and save it as a jpeg. Just size your pics to the existing ones and paste them right on top of what’s there. Select the part that says “Jessie Vampire” and “Love Bites,” and clear it, then blacken it in and put your own text in those places.

Now look at @jessievampire’s profile and look at it as a background. Here’s a screencap of it that you can click on to open larger in another window..

jessiescreencap

Here’s the whole trick about tiling – the first two rows of pics will show on the left side of the profile box, while rows three and four will show up on the right. For hers I originally had two rows going all the way down on the left but when I found the one pic of the two guys at the girl’s neck, I couldn’t resist making it bigger and filling that space because it’s such a bitchin’ pic – but it counts as two.

Rows three and four are what show up on the RIGHT side of her profile  –This is the trick– Add pics accordingly, knowing that before they tile they’ll be buried behind the profile box but after they tile they’ll show up on the right side.

The fifth row is a throw-away. You don’t even need to put anything in that row – the space it takes is just to bump rows three and four out enough to tile and show on the right side. I just repeated some pics I already used because when someone loads her profile it shows for a second before the profile box covers it, so it’s better that it shows something instead of just blank space. They will also be seen if someone views just a single tweet of hers, like this, or if they have an extra-wide monitor. Don’t put any pics you really like into that row, because they won’t be seen much at all.

The very top of the fifth row shows a little above the profile box, so I chose the girl getting seduced by the two vampires again, but placed it knowing that only part of her face would show.

Twitter wraps to the left and the top, so the right side and bottom will always vary according to what size display someone is using, whereas the top and left will always be true. Put your best pics in the first two rows, next best in row three and ones you don’t care so much about in row four because they will be seen the least, depending on what size display someone is using. Again, row five will hardly be seen at all.

Be sure to keep the template at exactly the size I have it – 730 wide by 752 high – and just paste pics in over the existing ones. Notice how her user name on the left and the term “love bites” appear spread out on the profile when it tiles but are really close together.

Keep that same formula.. in the template it’s right in front of you and already worked out. If you manage to make a background using this template and get it loaded up on Twitter, message me or comment here with a pointer so I can check it out.

2vampsGood luck!
RAWRR!!

Get GIMP here

Follow ME on Twitter

Follow JESSIE VAMPIRE on Twitter

Follow IAN SOMERHALDER (Hunky Vampire) on Twitter

Follow NINA DOBREV (Vampire Diaries Chick) on Twitter

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maja December 29, 2009 at 4:57 am

Ian’s been asked what surprises people the most about him and his answer was: that I actually have a brain.

Yes, he is very intelligent and well spoken. And maybe it’s also surprising that a large part of his fandom are adult women, his age and older, and not (only) teenage girls. I think that also speaks volumes.

And fwiw I love your twitter background and your “mad graphic art skills”! ;)

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2 RhodesTer December 29, 2009 at 2:09 pm

HAHA.. I know Jessica and although she’s bright, I can vouch that she’s a fan of the good looks :-) I don’t know if she’s seen an interview with him.

Thanks for the compliment!

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3 RuthieVDO December 29, 2009 at 6:45 am

Hey!! Love this article. I run a fansite/blog for The Vampire Diaries! You really need to start watching this show (unless you already are)!! Lot’s of guys love it!! :) Jesssica’s BG looks awesome!!

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4 RhodesTer December 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm

We were watching it until we moved but we’re currently without a TV (long story) – we’ll have to catch up later in 2010. I wish it were on HULU :-P

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5 Katherine December 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

I would have never figured this out by myself. Thanks, Uncle Dave. :D

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6 RhodesTer December 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm

You know, you’re not one of the ones who asked – I asked YOU if you wanted one, so I still need to do that but haven’t the time at the moment. With the info in this post do you think you can tackle it? Remember – five rows, and the fifth row is least important. one and two are most important and will show on left, three and four will show on right, IF you use a fifth row to make it tile. That’s the key.

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7 Katherine December 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I -think- I can do it. I’m going to try it, and let you know how it goes.

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8 Krispy December 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Thanks for the primer, I’m gonna download GIMP and give this a shot. I’ve had to rely on friends for the few graphics I use at my blog(s) because I’ve always been about as competent at photoshoppery as a monkey might be at needlepoint. (Although, in my own defense, I’m less likely to get frustrated and start throwing my own feces at passers by.)

Uh … this works with non-vampire related stuff, too, right?
Krispy´s brilliant blustering.. RIP Kim Peek My ComLuv Profile

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9 RhodesTer December 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm

No.. GIMP only works with Vampire graphics. I know, that bites, huh?

Hey, it’s great for those of us who can’t afford Photoshop. It does quite a few of the same things but just takes different steps to get there. It works with “plug-ins” because it’s open source, and you can tell that different people designed different plug-ins.. some are better than others.

You’ll need to mess around with it for some time before you get the hang of it, but don’t get discouraged.. it really does work well once you figure it out.

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10 Liz December 31, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Jessica has got Great Taste! ;-) Ian Rocks! ;-)

Liz

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11 RhodesTer January 1, 2010 at 1:41 am

Yeah I know.. I’m almost ready to turn gay, looking at that guy. lol.

Okay, no I’m not.

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12 Kathy January 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Thanks so much! I used the template and here is my new background. Ian themed of course! http://twitter.com/kizgold Big help!!!

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13 RhodesTer January 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Not bad.. hehe.. you’re welcome.

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