Dating back some 2,000 years, to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, Halloween is now the second most commercially successful festival world-wide after Christmas. It is sometimes referred to as the Witches New Year’s Eve.
I’ll show you how to create a Halloween header for your Facebook Timeline. In the tutorial you will learn all about feathering, fills, transparencies and glows!
To create a great design easily and quickly you need some photo & graphics software like the all-in-one Xara Photo & Graphic Designer. You can download a free trial version and we have also provided a Halloween header that is the correct size for Facebook. Once downloaded, double click on it to open it in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and then delete the colour swatch – this was used to provide the pre-set colours on the bottom colour line – note the 3 colours and 2 linked colours which you will see on the left end.
You will see a Tool bar down the left and as you select each of the tools you will notice that the options on the top (called the infobar) will change accordingly. To work on this graphic you may wish to increase the zoom to make it larger and easier to see the individual elements.
1. Firstly, ungroup both graphics by marquee-selecting both objects – In the Selector tool just drag from outside the top left to below the bottom right of the objects. As you drag you’ll see a red border rectangle. Then select CTRL+U to ungroup.
Select the pumpkin’s black ellipse and select CTRL+K to clone it (this will place a copy on top of the existing black ellipse). Click on the orange Glow A colour on the colour line to fill the cloned ellipse in an orange colour. We need to increase its size so, in the W% field on the infobar, enter the value 130 and press the RETURN key to set the width to 130%. With the orange ellipse still selected, use CTRL+K to clone it, then select the yellow Glow C colour on the colour line and set the width to 90%.
Select CTRL+B to send the yellow ellipse to the back then Select CTRL+B to send the orange ellipse to the back. It should look like this:
2. Hold down the Shift key and click the left mouse button (called shift-select) to select the pumpkin eyes, nose and mouth then select CTRL+G to group all 4 objects. Clone the group and fill with the ‘Glow C Link’ colour. Select CTRL+SHIFT+B to move it back one level, then nudge it down by 4 pixels using the down arrow key on your keyboard, to create the cut-out effect.
Now we will change the background to black. With the Selector tool click to select the outside line of the large outer rectangle, then CTRL-B to move it to the back, then click on the black on the colour line to change it from white to black.
3. Now we shall add a glow into the pumpkin. Select the black ellipse, then select the Fill tool and ‘Elliptical’ from the tool’s infobar. You will see 2 lines at 90 degrees with arrows on the ends – you can drag these arrows to adjust the length of the fade of the fill. Click on the centre square where the lines meet and then click on Glow A colour on the colour line.
Now we will do the same effect for the face shapes. Select the face, then select the Fill tool and elliptical. Click on the centre square and select Glow C colour, then click on the outer square and select Glow A colour.
4. We will now soften the edges a little. Select the yellow group of 4 face shapes, then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the orange set of 4 face shapes so that all 8 shapes are selected. Using the ‘feather’ option at the top right of the infobar adjust it to add approximately 2 pixels.
Now select the black pumpkin ellipse and add 5.5 pixels of feathering.
Tip: Shift+click will add to the current selected object. Alt+click will select the object under the currently selected object.
5. Now we will give the ‘Halloween’ graphic a graduated fill. Select it and then ungroup it with CTRL+U. Select the yellow shape and feather it by 3 pixels. Next select the black ‘Halloween’ graphic and select the Fill tool but this time, choose a linear fill. Select the fill arrow end square, which is in the centre of the graphic, and select the Glow A colour. Move the arrow tip until it is pointing down the page to adjust the direction of the linear fill and drag either end of the fill arrow to adjust the depth of the linear fill.
6. This template has the ‘snap’ switched on so you can separate and move apart the two ‘Halloween’ graphics to make it easier to work with and they will snap back into place easily when you move them back on top of each other. Select the feathered yellow ‘Halloween’ shape again and select the Shadow tool then select the ‘Glow’ button on the Shadow Tool infoBar Increase the blur to 32 pixels and set the shadow transparency to 0%. Select the Halloween graphic again and zoom in on the glow shadow then drag the Glow B colour from the colour line and drop it onto the shadow to create an orange glow. Now put the two Halloween graphics together again.
7. We will put a similar ‘glow’ shadow on the pumpkin. Select the yellow ellipse and, on the top infobar, go to the ‘feather’ option and enter 20 pixels. Now select the orange ellipse and then set the ‘feather’ to 15 pixels.
8. We will now put a large overall glow behind the graphic to make it more eerie as though it were in the evening fog. Select the black background, then using the Fill tool, select the Elliptical type, click on the central square and then click on the Glow A colour. You can drag the arrow points if you wish to adjust the size or angle of the fill.
9. Finally, we will increase the intensity of the glow behind the ‘Halloween’ text. Select the Freehand & Brush tool and draw a shape that is roughly oblong on top of the text. Then select it and select the Glow C colour.
Tip: As an alternative to drawing a shape you could use the Freehand & Brush Tool and select a brush width of 48pixels and then draw a short curved line.
10. Feather the shape by 15 pixels, then select the Transparency tool and add a flat type of 20% using the info bar slider control. Use Ctrl+B to put it behind the Halloween text.
That’s it. Finished. What an achievement and you didn’t need any design or graphic skills!
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2013 is the most flexible and time-saving all-in-one solution for impressive graphics: Powerful image editing, astounding illustration capabilities, professional design templates & extensive desktop publishing (DTP), all in a single intuitive program! It’s ideal for private and professional use: at home, in clubs, in academic institutions, and at work.