A big part of our online and social media presence is visual. It starts with a profile picture — something we should have on any network if we don’t want the account to look spammy — continues with various cover and header images, each in its own different size, of course, and, for some websites, reaches into customizable backgrounds for your profile page.
I don’t know about you, but this deluge of options — or necessities, to call them by their real name — doesn’t make it easy to keep my profiles in line. Quite on the contrary. And when I actually take the time to create a nice Timeline cover for Facebook or a profile cover for Google+, they go and change image dimensions and I have to start all over again. Sounds familiar?
In the past, we’ve already told you about 6 excellent places to create Facebook Timeline covers for free, gave you tips about making the most out of your Twitter header, and came up with some ideas for original cover photos you can create yourself. But when you have 3-4 social networks to take care of, on top of accounts on YouTube, Tumblr, Skype or even Gravatar, there’s extra work to be done to make sure everything’s covered.
Fortunately, there’s a tool that can put an end to all that, and help you create and maintain all your profile images, covers and backgrounds in a breeze. Curious? Continue reading!
Social Media Image Maker, as the name implies, is a one-stop-shop for creating almost any image you’re ever going to need on your social media accounts. This is not limited to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, but encompasses such websites as Flickr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Gravatar. You can even use it to create your Skype profile picture or your About.me background.
Social Media Image Maker knows the right size for any type of image you want to create, and takes you through the creation process with basic editing options such as filters, effects, cropping, etc.
That’s nice on paper, but does it really work?
Creating A Twitter Header Image
I’ve been on Twitter for quite a while, but although header images have been around for ages, and despite of finding a tool that helps you create the perfect cover image, my Twitter header remained black and empty. Boring, I know.
In Social Media Image Maker, you start by choosing the network you want to work on. For Twitter, there are three image option: profile picture, header image, and background image. The app tells you what size these need to be up front, so you can prepare your image in advance before you start. The image can be larger than the specified size, but the app won’t let you upload anything that’s smaller. Sometimes it claims the image is too small when it’s not, in which case just try uploading it again. This usually fixes it.
When uploading a larger image than the requirements, the first task would be to crop it to the right size. Unfortunately, this is also about the only useful thing you can do in the first tab, as the rotate and flip options don’t all work as promised. For example, the 90 degrees rotate buttons rotate the image by 180 degrees, which renders them pretty useless. Make sure to click the “Apply” button to move to the next options, simply clicking on the next tab won’t work.
The next step would be to choose a filter for your image out of the 13 available possibilities. You can, of course, leave your image as is. Unlike the cropping tab, there’s no apply button here, so don’t look for one. You can simply move on to the next tab, and the app will ask you if you want to apply the filter.
In the next tabs, you can apply effects such as sharpen, blur, and focal focus, but without too much control over these. You push a button and get a result, with no intensity controls whatsoever. The last tab is where you can give your file a name and choose its format. When you’re done, click the download button (this might seem obvious, but the interface makes it easy to miss).
All that’s left to do is upload the new image to Twitter, and see how it looks. In this case, I was very happy with the result.
In my testing of Social Media Image Maker, I also changed my Google+ cover photo. I worked pretty hard on finding a cover photo that would fit Google’s former dimensions, at which point they naturally decided to change these, leaving me with an outdated image.
Social Media Image Maker lets you create a Google+ profile image, as well as two different kinds of cover images. The creation process is identical to the one described above, except for the difference in dimensions, and the result was pretty terrific.
I also tried creating a new background for my Twitter page, which didn’t pan out as well. No matter what kind of image I chose and how I cropped it, only a small part of it ended up appearing as my Twitter background. I’m not sure if this is a problem with Social Media Image Maker or with Twitter, but the bottom line was that the image ratio used by the app didn’t work very well. I was still able to create a new background, which turned out surprisingly nice, but it was not the one I had in mind.
As you may have gathered, Social Media Image Maker is not the most intuitive app you’ve ever used. The interface takes a little getting used to, but after one use you’ll quickly get the hang of it. The ability to create almost any social media image you require under one roof is pretty amazing, and it’s surprising that there aren’t 10 other apps that do this. On the most part, the results are more than satisfying, and the website seems to be updated regularly, keeping up with new dimensions that inevitably crop up.
If you’re unhappy with the state of your social and online profiles, Social Media Image Maker is definitely worth your attention.
How do you create your profile and cover images? Do you find it hard to keep up with multiple networks, or do you enjoy this task? How often do you change your profile and cover images? Share everything below!