SO, follow the cut to learn how to make this banner (I also snuck in a quick saturation correction and sharpening tutorial):
*not actual size :p
**made in PS7, and fairly image-heavy, k? :)
1. Create a new file, setting the size @ 600x350 pixels, and create a new black fill layer. Pick whatever images you want to use, resize them and all that jazz, and fiddle around until you get an idea of what you want the layout to look like.
2. Now here's where you own creativity comes in. As you can see above, every image is a little different colour-wise, so any one tutorial isn't going to work for all of them. This is fine for me because I'm a fiddler, but I know this can be annoying so I'll give you a couple of hints.
First of all, take each image and play with it in its own file, then paste it back into the main file when you're happy with it.
a) a basic fix to neutralize images that are heavily colour-saturated (ie: really blue, really yellow, etc.): go to 'colour balance' (image > adjustments > colour balance) and do this:
blue: up the red and yellow
yellow/orange: up the cyan and blue
green: up the red and blue
b) for brightening the image, duplicate the base twice, set the first to screen and the second to soft light, then play with the opacities (and you can do this more than once if you need/want to). For these I also did a white layer set to 'overlay', and a light pink/lavender layer set to 'colour burn' (among other things), then lowered the opacities and fiddled until they looked good. But as I said, this is really all up to you. :)
c) here's my quick little sharpening tutorial: duplicate your image, select the bottom layer, go to filter > sharpen > sharpen edges, and sharpen edges twice. Reduce the opacity of the top layer to between 70 and 75%. Now, I usually like to do a bit of selective sharpening (ie: eyes and lips) so select a round brush at a small pixel size, select your sharpening tool, set the strength at 10% and go over the areas you want to sharpen. Voilá!
Now that you've done that, follow prehistoric's tutorial for rounding the edges of an image (make sure all visible layers are merged), then 'select all' and copy/paste it back into your banner file. As you can see I made the middle image black and white, which is something else you can play around with. :)
So now you've got this:
3. Now for the fun (and comparatively easy) part. :D Brushes!
I like to use brushes under the image to give some contrast against a solid background, and the flowery brushes just look pretty. The main blob/mask brush in the center is from ewanism and the flower brushes are from scarsonchest.
Now take your rounded rectangle tool, pick a few colours and make some little squares wherever you want.
Now you've got this.
4.Text time! The lyrics I used are from the song "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen, for those who want to know. The fonts I used are Bookman Oldstyle and AL Afternoon Delight. With the Bookman, I like to space out the letters when I'm doing banners and wallpapers so that way you can actually see what it says and it doesn't looked so squished and clumpy.
5. Now, you can't really see the text that well against the background, so go back to your rounded rectangle tool, pick a light/medium colour and draw rectangles under the text. Set them to multiply. This accomplishes two things: a) it allows you to see the text better, and b) it also gives a little added interest and texture to the whole thing. :)
6. I do like my tiny text brushes so add a few of those by colorfilter, and whatever else you want (butterflies, wee!) and you're done!
So that's that. If you have any questions about something specific, ask away and I'll do my best to answer. And you may use this banner if you'd like to. :) Now go be creative! ^_^b
:: images credit to purejorja.net
:: you don't have to credit me for the tutorial unless you feel a burning desire to do so :p
:: friend? :)