In this article, you will learn how to create a standard YouTube channel background. Granted, your image editor should have layering capabilities in order to be compatible with the tutorial (so don’t use Microsoft Paint), and it really is what you make it. Creativity isn’t included, so make sure to bring your own.
Preparing The Canvas
It doesn’t really matter if you have updated to the Cosmic Panda YouTube interface or if you have just stuck with the original. This background should work with whatever you are using, but if you find something wrong with it, then just crop and alter as you see fit. I will be using Photoshop Elements 9 for this tutorial, but like I said, you should be able to follow along, and I will try to write as generally as possible.
First, you should open up a new file with dimensions that have a width of 1800 pixels and a height of 1298 pixels. This will serve as your main background, so if you plan on adding any artwork to this layer, then you will end up only seeing part of it. As mentioned in the MakeUseOf article about creating a Twitter background, you should limit all artwork on this layer.
As a note, you should know that if you are using Cosmic Panda, then it is likely that only the top half of this graphic will be viewable (up to a rough estimate of 650 pixels). However, for those that are using the original YouTube theme, you should go into your YouTube settings and make the background color match the background graphic that you are creating.
Setting Up The Dividers
YouTube backgrounds are a little difficult to work with because instead of aligning left, they happen to align right. That is why you should set up a couple of dividers as visual reminders that let you know just how much space you have to work in. To help solve this, you should open up a new file that has a width of 416 pixels and a height of 1298 pixels. After you have opened this one, make another one that has a width of 976 pixels and 1298 pixels. When you have created them both, use the paint bucket to fill them with two bright contrasting colors.
After you have completed this task, copy and paste the smaller divider as a new layer onto your main background. Line it up perfectly against the right side of the project window. You should do the same with the second larger image, except line it up against the side of its smaller counterpart.
As you might be able to guess, the larger one serves as a place holder for where most of your channel content will be shown, and with that being said, if you feel like adding content in the same area as the smaller divider, then this is your chance. Just know that all content in this divider area can be hidden if the browser window is resized.
Creating A Side Banner
As you may know, YouTube only allows its affiliates to have fully-fledged banners at the top of their channels. However, as a standard user, you can get around this by placing an image on the left side of your channel’s content. That being said, since it is merely a background, the image could be covered due to window resizing in some browser displays.
To create this banner, you should open a new file that has a width of 226 pixels and a height of 622 pixels. Try to use either a transparent background or a background that matches your main canvas’ color, and then place whatever artwork you desire within this box.
After you have completed doing so, you should copy and paste the entire image onto your main canvas, placing it just next to the larger divider and touching the very top border. I used a simple color for the sake of the tutorial, but what you put in this box is completely up to you.
If you are satisfied with how your background will appear, you are now free to delete both dividers. I recommend saving as a JPEG file when it comes to YouTube, but if you can manage to save your background as a different file under the required size limits, then by all means do so. Furthermore, do not select the option to repeat your image vertically or horizontally after uploading it to YouTube.
After all is said and done, you could very well end up with an image like the one below. Don’t mind the extra space to the left and to the bottom, for these voids will be unseen when viewed in a browser.
Hopefully, this tutorial has helped you with making your own YouTube background. As an endnote, I want to remind you that each of the elements are fully customizable, so bend and tweak them however you see fit.
What other methods do you use to create YouTube backgrounds, and which editing software did you use to make yours? Also, where can we find your YouTube backgrounds?