Dee Langdon, a recent visitor (and hopefully a reader) asked
'Do you have a software recommendation to create a 125×125 ad?'
This post tells you how to find good resources to get you started.
What type of help do you need?
This is an important question. Often when you get into graphics, even a simple favicon, many people are 'clueless.' Others have a basic understanding of what they want and just need a more professional image. Some have image making software on their PC or know someone who knows someone... The adventurous ones will just give it a try using 'free' online image generators.
Ready for Adventure
If you want to learn and have some time on your hands to experiment, try these online generators recommended on the EntreCard website. If nothing else they can help you decide where you want to go next (to a professional perhaps, with a basic concept in mind).
I made this one at Free125Cards.com:
Select a prefabricated background, click 'personalize" to add your text. You can resize, drag and drop text for proper placement --- very easy to use! One thing -- I didn't see was a way to control the font color.
Here's one I saw in that site's public gallery --- not bad for free! If you sign up, your ad in the gallery will have a link to your blog, etc. And the file types are generated as '.png', a high quality picture format.
The free online services do not generate animated ads. So for animation you need to consult a 'professional' or someone with enough bucks to buy and learn the software.
[tip] If you do not mind some Hard Work, download the free Microsoft Gif Animator software. It just joins the images in animation. You yourself will have to create all frames[/tip]
Do it yourself
As for free 'parts' to build your own ad, you can get a 125 x 125 background and photo images at MarcRoger's site or composites at Diet Pulpit. Just use your hand saw (image manipulator software) to add your text on top. SplashUp is a site that lets you upload the background/image and then add your own text. I did not try it yet, if you do let us know. Also a reader, Sarah suggested you can get free backgrounds at HeavenGraphics.
Gimp.org is a free online service for the semi-professional or DIY --- do it yourselfer. GIMP is a 'feature rich' open source program that lets you compose and manipulate images. If you recognize the terms quoted from their features list, then you can help me!
- Painting - 1)Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc. 2) Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high quality anti-aliasing 3) Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool 4) Supports custom brushes and patterns...
- System- Tile based memory management so image size is limited only by available disk space and Virtually unlimited number of images open at one time
- Advanced Manipulation- 1) Full alpha channel support 2) Layers and channels 3) Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace) .... and much more!
Can't be bothered
If you want someone else to 'just do it', open your wallet and call a professional (or semi-professional, but 'good) graphic designer. Or find a do-it-yourselfer who can help you with a simple ad. Animation, as in the BWS animated ad, falls in the complex category, so expect to pay more.
My GIF animator software is part of MS Image Composer, which came with MS FrontPage (for web development). The animator and image composer are quite old but still work in Windows XP. To create animated ads, I first used Image Composer to manipulate multiple images into a composite, adding text (similar to the free123 feature). But I control or create which images are used. For example, the ad for a contest won by CreativeJunkie used snippets of her header background. To finish the animated ad I used Image Composer to set the animation rate and frame rotation.
If you're interesting in having us create a custom ad for your blog, use the contact form --- low rates for subscribers and members of our Blogger Cafe. We'll see if we can work with you --- Mr. I is good at coming up with slogans! Who knows, this could be another way of monetizing our blog... for that premium WP theme...
Have you dabbled in Ad design?
Ads are a good way to promote and brand your blog. Consider where you want to use your ad. Once you have an ad, chances are you can use it in your own 'grab my button' box. So create your own button box and exchange with your friends. Give it a try. Leave a comment if you have other resources to recommend! And by all means sign up for our next blog post! It's free...