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How to make a great project thumbnail

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Scum avatar Scum
Level 11 : Journeyman Architect
Hey! Today I show you how to make a great project thumbnail. You've probably noticed that popular projects have great looking thumbnails. Having a good looking thumbnail and a good title is the second thing you need to make a good project (the first is, well, a good project).

I'll teach you how to make a great looking thumbnail, quickly, and easily. But first you need to ask yourself some questions.


1. Does the screenshot relate directly to the project?

2. Does it encompass all of the project? (this might not be possible due to the size of your project, but you generally want to get as much in as possible)

3. Does it show your project's environment? (if your project is in a snowy landscape you might want to make it snow)

If the answer to each one is yes, great! If not, try to fix as many as you can. Remember, this is your project, you can do what you want, I'm just giving you a basic project

Now, let's make a thumbnail!

Making the Screenshot
If you have a lot of water, it is a good idea to use a watershader mod or these shaders. These will enhance the look of minecraft by adding reflective water, dynamic shadows, etc. It is also a good idea to use a high resolution texture pack. The one I used for this tutorial is called Misa Realistic 64x. Find a good spot that shows the main feature of the project, or all of it if you can. Press f1 to hide the GUIs, this is essential. Then press f2 to take the screenshot

You will need to download a good image editor. I recommend paint.NET or GIMP. Paint.NET is less complicated, but it has less features. We will use the more feature-rich GIMP for this tutorial.

Editing the Screenshot

1. Open your screenshot in GIMP. Screenshots can be found by typing %appdata%/.minecraft into your start menu search bar and going to screenshots in .minecraft. Or (I'm not a native mac user, so this might be wrong) by searching ~/Library/Application Support/Minecraft in Spotlight.
Once you know where your .minecraft folder is, drag your screenshot onto the desktop, so that GIMP can open it more easily.

2. Use some effects! There are many effects in GIMP, and many more that can be downloaded with plugins. Here are a few I like to use

a. Softglow (filters>artistic>softglow) Adds a sort of hazy effect.

b. Lens Flare (filters>light and shadow>lens flare) Adds a burst of light that can make a sun look 100x as epic.

c. Gradient Flare (filters>light and shadow>gradient flare) Similar to lens flare, but with more colours and shapes.

d. Colour Balance (colours>colour balance) Makes a picture look like it is being viewed behind coloured glass


3. Once you've chosen your effects, you can make a title. Titles can be huge and flashy, but I prefer to stay with simple and elegant.

A good font for a simple title, is Myriad Pro. Myriad Pro is used by Apple Inc. in most of their products. It needs to be downloaded as it does not come bundled with GIMP or paint.NET.

If you are looking for a big and bold title, try using Rockwell Extra Bold.


Images are from the top down:

The base image with effect "softglow" added.

The finished thumbnail with a title and the softglow effect.

The base image.

Thanks for reading! If you had any trouble with this, please pm me, if you find any grammar mistakes or other errors please pm me as well.

If you liked it, please diamond.

Happy mining!

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07/13/2012 10:37 pm
Level 9 : Apprentice Architect
RampantAssassin avatar
Thanks this will help, I've heard about GIMP but I use paint.NET and I was never able to find the effects for paint so I'm downloading GIMP now, this will help.
07/13/2012 10:21 pm
Level 30 : Artisan Nerd
Aqua_Pixel avatar
tip: (help for you)
to make pictures use the unbeliave light shaders mod to be more nice
diamonded :P
07/13/2012 10:41 pm
Level 11 : Journeyman Architect
Scum avatar
Thanks for the diamond, adding your suggestion :D.
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