Monday, May 14, 2012

Make Your Own Custom Twitter Background

I went googling for sizes of Twitter Backgrounds so I could make my own. The information was so sparse and varied, I just experimented. I hope this guide helps you create your own custom Twitter background.

I work with two different size monitors and did a Print Screen to compare how my custom twitter background would look to others with perhaps similar screens. 

I went with the lower size because the average "webster" (my new word for a web user today) might have a smaller monitor and that's the size I used.

Start a new document in Photoshop. File/new. Make sure you're working in pixels 
and type 1280 wide x 1024 High, 72 dpi. You now have a new working file.

Pick a picture that represents you.

Size both files by grabbing a corner of the file window and
put both files on the screen so you can see them at the same time. 
Make sure that the file that you want to grab FROM is on the top. 
Then put your cursor over the layer you want and essentially pick it up 
and drag it to the file underneath.

Be sure to put your rulers on.

Put your Move tool (the arrow = top tool on tool bar) over the left the ruler and 
pull over a guide to 5 inches from the edge. 
This parameter is based on where twitter information ends and 
my picture starts in my original screen grab.
This picture is centered so you will have to adjust it in transform. 

After adjustment

Now we're going to have fun. 
You're going to add a gradient for a background that is one fluid piece.
In the bottom of your layers palette, the box with the white circle is where you make masks. Make sure you're on your layer you want to work with. Click on it. 

 Select only the mask so you can create a gradient.

Click in the gradient as highlighted here.

This is the dialog box that will come up. Use white to black or vice versa. 
Remember to experiment. 
You won't hurt anything. 
Making mistakes helps you learn.

Use the gradient tool and drag it horizontally across the page

Wa La! You can adjust how much gradient by experimenting with the gradient tool, 
dragging it further out or into your picture.  This picture is rather dark, so the next step is to make adjustments in "Levels, curves, etc."

It's like adding salt and pepper to a yummy dish. The are some expert ways to accomplish this, but we are having fun here and we're going to follow what looks good to us! An adjustment layer will appear. Drag the tabs in the adjustment window to your liking. I like to adjust pictures ever so slightly as I want my pictures to have a semi-normal coloring.

Here's the final picture.

You have to be under 800k. 
We started with a 72 dpi file, but if you have to adjust then move the slider to a smaller jpeg quality. I wouldn't go lower than medium (6) because your file will get too pixelated and you'll want it to be as crispy as you can get it in a 72 dpi world.

File. Save as JPEG. The blue guide line will not show up in your final picture. 
Upload to Twitter.  
Make sure you save the file as a PSD document as well.
You can continue to make your own custom Twitter background again and again.
Here's the difference in monitors. Click on the image and you'll see the original size.

 If you have any questions be sure to ask. I'll answer as soon as possible.  
Thanks and HAVE FUN!

One final note. SAVE AS YOU GO.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nothing But Doors

Such beautiful Architecture on the Churches
in Steubenville, Ohio. 
These are just the doors. 

St. Paul's Episcopal

 First Westminster Presbyterian Church

Calvary Pentecostal Church

Greater Zion Temple

Second United Presbyterian Church

Church of Christ

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Signs of the Times

I think older neon signs are such great works of art. They connote movement and action as well as being fun. They speak of welcome, come on in, sit down and enjoy our fare. There's a few here in Steubenville, Wintersville and Weirton.
Weirton, WV

I kept passing this sign and finally stopped and captured it for my digital collection. This is a "cafe". A cafe here is a gambling facility. Tricky. Imagine going in there and asking for a menu and everyone turning to look at you like you're crazy.

On the border between Steubenville and Wintersville, OH

The next sign on the menu is DiCarlo's Pizza. I stalked that sign, waiting for the right time at dusk when it would pop into my lens. I waited. And waited. Finally, I went into the place and asked the young man behind the counter if he could put it on. So, a shout out to Justin Bell, whose grandparents own the place. Poor guy, how could he not help me. I was a frightening spectacle. I had a long flared out red coat on with polka dot lining, hair askew, cold red face and blue eyes blazing in a plea as the wind blew me into the door. It was toasty nice in there. Thanks for hooking me up Justin. I haven't tried the pizza yet, but I've heard good reviews.
Weirton, WV

I played private eye with the Stars and Stripes sign.  Another cafe. The people going in and out could have been thinking I was watching THEM. I think I stared at that thing for 20 minutes willing it to light up. When it did it was like Christmas to me. I'm in front of a place with no windows during rush hour obsessing about getting a photo. Is this a strip joint? Should I be wary? The answer came out loud "I'm a grown woman and I can be outside of a strip joint or a cafe if I want to. I'm doing art. Get out of my way!"

Driving further up the road my final neon sign for the evening was another DiCarlo's. I mistakenly parked my car in the drive thru lane. Oops. A dude came to pick up his pizza and wanted me to take his picture. There are some things you have to do for the sake of art and there are some you won't.

Weirton, WV

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Moving about the planet and it's raining! Between the movement are the pauses. The stops. The waiting. There is beauty in those times. Opportunity even. A red light calls for a photo between rain drops.
At least I stopped this time, see my prior post.
The stop light at Dean  Martin Blvd. (Rt. 7) and U.S. Hwy 22 in Steubenville, Ohio
Nature is the grandest filter to the outside world. I wait for my love and the pause asks for a picture.
Third Street and Market Street in Steubenville, Ohio
Stopped in the middle of the Market Street Bridge on the state borders of Ohio and West Virginia, the rain draws out the colors that are asking to be seen.
On the Market Street bridge waiting for the light to turn green for GO!
Ohio and West Virginia over the Ohio River.
Rain has never been so agreeable. These breathing spaces in between movement have been inspirational.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Red Light Runs

I got a ticket for running a red light in the mail with pictures and video to check out on the web. It felt as if I had been walking around with my skirt tucked into my underwear with toilet paper trailing my ass and no one bothering to tell me. Why in the world would I run a red light?

I used to be in a hurry all the time. Two very old, small people put a stop to that for me years ago. You know, the guy with the hat and his lady, both of whom you can not see above the seats. It's as if the car is being run by a remote control. 

These two pulled out of their driveway as I was speeding down my street late again for something or another. I came to a dead halt. Very slowly and calmly they backed out, he carefully turning the wheels. My steering wheel was in a vise grip, my face all contorted and red, with screams of frustration bouncing off the inside of the vehicle.

A giant beam of light struck the inside of my car just then.  A high note of operatic glory sang in the air. It occurred to me that I was going to be late to wherever I was going and by God; I was going to act as if I was retired just like these two. Why wait to have their calm.  From that moment forward I've been driving around like a retired granny. I haven't been late to an appointment since.

Maybe my granny driving had caused granny brain. I simply could not remember running that red light. I had to know for sure and magnified the picture. Behold. It wasn't me driving!

Here's proof. I was in the back. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Dogwood Trees Don't Grow In Florida":(

My Dogwood tree is more beautiful this year than ever. Every time any one has ever seen that tree all they ever say is, "Dogwood trees don't grow in Florida." And here it blooms as if to say that anything is possible.

How many times do you have an idea or are enthusiastic about something? In your mind you hold hands with these bursts of ideas and your breath catches with the possibilities. Before you are ready to leap energetically to create and move forward, you decide to share. That's when you hear, "That's not going to work." The energy that flowed suddenly deflates and, boom, done.

The person you shared your idea with wasn't really sabotaging you; it was your own ego elbowing its way in. If your confidence level was secure you would already be in the middle of your project and sharing how it was moving along. Fear of succeeding, fear of failing puts you in the middle of fear. Remember when you were a child? Anything was possible and all your thoughts about goals were within reach. There wasn't that naysayer within or without and you gave life the taste test. Do I like this? Do I like that? Let's try it!

The blooming Dogwood flowers remind me that you can be full of dreams, do the action and have a wonderful outcome. Everything is possible and oh yes, Dogwood trees do grow in Florida.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Grapefruits Are Ripe For The Picking

Ah, the sweet juiciness of Ruby Reds. Every year begins this way.

This year I have come to the conclusion that picking grapefruits appeals to my sense of order (or call that OCD, whatever). So many directions to take. Do I pick them randomly? Should I start on one branch and feel that sense of accomplishment as those lovely spots of orange-y yellow ocher disappear. I can start at the top and work my way down. Those fat clean ones at the top call to me. Oh, the glory of being a farmer. Even the imaginings of a migrant worker putting in a hard day work.

Fast Forward.

Tree parts threatened to pop an eye out as they projected themselves at me as I plucked its parts. Some of the fruit did not want to leave their home in the sunshine and shady parts. A grapefruit that lands on your head hurts, period.

(Say the following sentence in a Brooklyn accent with a Yiddish flare, drama on the branch)
From one branch, I have a bag of grapefruit.

Tomorrow there will be more branches of fruity goodness. There are a lot of branches on this tree. It's 23 years old. It's been said that your brain isn't really formed until you are 25. I think this tree knows way more than me.

My new career will not involve farming or traveling to groves to earn my keep.