Pixlr is a free editing program. It is browser based and offers access to the Pixlr Editor and Pixlr O Matic, the latter is used for photo filters and color enhancements. We will be focusing more on the editor which tries to provide small Photoshop-like features by accessing their portal on the web.
1. Create account on Pixlr website
First, we need to create an account on Pixlr website. To do this just access the page and then scroll down until we see “Pixl Editor”.
Clicking on the editor opens up the workspace. On the upper-right corner of the page we will see two buttons. You need to click on the one that says “Sign up” and use your email address, name and password to get a fresh new account.
After going through this we will have a dialog screen with a few options available. What you are interesting in doing here is to directly use the full Pixlr Editor by selecting the first option on the left.
2. Video Thumbnail Size Requirements
Before we go ahead with this we should explain more thoroughly the size requirements for a video thumbnail according to YouTube guidelines.
Firstly it’s very important that your thumbnail image adheres to YouTube Community Guidelines and to keep it PG rated so that your video won’t be blocked or your thumbnail restricted by the website.
The resolution requirements are 1280×720 with a minimum width of 640 pixels. The classic formats supported are the JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG and a few others. The file size has to be less than 2 MB and the recommended ratio is 16:9 as this is the most popular format used in YouTube previews.
3. Create Thumbnail with Pixlr
Select “create new image” option in order to open a new screen. Give the file a name of your choice and set the width to a size of 1280 and height at 720. Check the transparent box and go forward by clicking on the okay box.
On the right side three screens will show you the available navigator, history screen for recent actions and layers window. The next step is getting a background image for your thumbnail. You can use Google Image Search for this option or get it from different other websites such as deviantART or Flickr. The type of background is again according to each user’s choice. Generally, this image should be somewhat in theme with the video you plan on outfitting with the thumbnail. So If the contents of your video is let us say a comedy skit, you would be far better off going for a happy-themed background with light colors and an attractive design. Once you manage to find an image that describes it video well enough, simply save it into your computer on the desktop or Downloads folder.
Open the file using the upper-left corner options and use the edit option on the header to cycle between options.
If you want to move the photo around and use only parts of it you can simply use the pointer tool to give it a new position. Similarly, you can use the “edit” option using free transform option to skew the image and resize it. Apply the changes by clicking on the background and going through the dialog. The effects of the photos will be up to your choice once more. Pixlr offers different options through the adjustments or filter tabs. Just try them out and see if you find anything likeable.
Search for another image which you want over the background we created and open it. Copy the picture using CTRL + A and CTRL + C on the keyboard and paste it over the background image by using CTRL + V. Center the image or move it to whichever direction fits better or use free transform again to resize it making it either bigger or smaller. Apply the changes and depending on what you need to use the thumbnail for, add a text over the image we’ve created so far.
To do this, select the text tool from the left sidebar near the bottom, it’s right next to the zoom icon. Play around with the settings until you get a color and size noticeable enough for a thumbnail. Generally, we recommend a text color that is going to have a visible contrast compared to the rest of the photo. Make it big in size so people will not have any problems reading it.
To export our finished product, simply go back to the File tab in the upper-left corner and click save as. One important note is that you always have to use PNG files in this process because of their transparency feature.
Now after all is said and done and we have our thumbnail picture ready to go, all we need to do is sign in to our YouTube account and upload the thumbnail. You should follow the proper steps and go to Creator Studio and then open the Video Manager. After doing so, browse the videos uploaded there until you come across the one you want to outfit with your new thumbnail image and click on the option that says Edit. Go to the left side of the preview screen in order to choose your thumbnail and after it’s finished simply click on “save changes”. There is also the option of using the Creator Studio app now directly from YouTube to add a thumbnail to the video.