Monday, December 28, 2015

New YouTube and Twitter Profile Artwork!

Thought I'd drop a quick note about the new Watkins Robotics YouTube and Twitter Artwork that has just been created and uploaded. See the section below titled "A Word about the Channel Art" for information on how these images were generated.

In a previous blog, I mentioned the establishment of a new YouTube Channel and a brand new Twitter account. These were created to augment this newly reborn blog and allow the Robotics, Electronics, and Technology information to be focused into a communications stream all to itself. 

The decision was made to create these new accounts as a result of research spawned by discussions with friends and colleagues. It seems rather universal that when people follow Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, and blogs, this is usually done because the viewers are drawn to a specific topic or series of posts. While it can be refreshing to see posts that are not specifically related to the original items of interest, this can sometimes serve to distract the intended audience. 

My original YouTube Channel and Twitter accounts still exist but those will be used primarily to share information which is more general in nature (see bottom of article for links). Those channels are where you will find what might be considered a more personal or "behind the scenes" look at my life and other areas of interest. Check out those data streams to see what else is happening in my world. 

From this point forward, all Robotics, Electronics, and Technology projects, reviews, tutorials, and opinion pieces will be concentrated on the brand new "Watkins Robotics" accounts. The Twitter account has been active for a while now and the content has been growing. Follow me on Twitter for updates regarding new blog posts and YouTube videos!

The YouTube account is brand new however, and as of this writing there have been no videos uploaded. No need to be concerned though because production is currently in progress on a series of basic tutorials. A sizable list of new ideas for videos and blogs has also been constructed. So stay tuned! 

A Word about the Channel Art...

Sony Movie Studio 13 (Platinum Edition) was used to generate the channel art for these new accounts. The work began with a visit to the Google/YouTube Support pages for some research regarding proper image sizes and the "safe area" dimensions recommended therein. It is good to keep in mind that the image you upload to YouTube (and Google+) will be altered when users view your profile on different devices. 

The recommended size for YouTube Channel Art is 2560x1440 pixels. The better part of this will not be seen by many viewers and, because of this, you will want to have your most important information within the center of the picture. There is a "safe area" in the middle of your drawing which YouTube will always ensure is visible across all end-user devices. This zone is in the exact center of the image and its size is 1546x423 pixels. Please visit the Quick Spec Sheet on the YouTube help site for more detailed information. 

Also note that the recommended size for a YouTube profile picture is 800x800 pixels. You will have to update that image via your Google+ profile page and there will be a delay before you see this reflected on your YouTube profile. Keep in mind that your profile picture will remain rectangular on YouTube but will become a circle centered on the midpoint of your uploaded image when it is displayed alongside of your Google+ activity.

The process to create these images next met with a visit to to search for "free to use for personal and commercial" images released under Creative Commons CC0. The highest quality version of the desired background image was downloaded and imported into Sony Movie Studio. This image served as the bottom layer upon which was placed the channel name and tagline text.

A few custom video aspect ratio templates were constructed to assist with creating the artwork using the recommended dimensions. Respect was also maintained for that all-important "safe area" at the center of the screen. The custom aspect ratios were 2560x1440 for the background image, 1546x423 for the safe area, and 800x800 for the profile picture.

The 1546x423 pixel aspect ratio was chosen first and was used to create the area of graphics that seemed most important. It is here that the channel name and the tagline text were placed. It took some careful experimentation to find the font and text effects that produced a look that aligned with the design goals. Once the safe zone had been created, the aspect ratio was changed to the 2560x1440 setting to allow construction of the full-sized channel art image. Sony Movie Studio allows you to save a screenshot of a video frame. This is how the final channel art image was produced. Make sure the video preview window is set to "Full/Auto" and click the the save icon. That's all there is to it!

Likewise, in order to manufacture the profile icon, the video aspect ratio template was simply switched to the custom 800x800 pixel setting, the save icon was clicked, and viola! A properly sized profile icon was born. 

Lastly, the Twitter profile editor openly allowed the unobstructed uploading of the unaltered image files that were created for YouTube. After uploading, the profile editor will display a prompt allowing the user to scale the image. This feature was used to allow the channel name text to be larger than it may have appeared otherwise (see the image at the top of this article). 

A considerable amount of effort went into figuring out how to configure Sony Movie Studio so that it would properly produce artwork using the dimensions required for the this task. A video tutorial showing others how this can be accomplished is under serious consideration. Please comment below if you would like to see this come to fruition.

Thanks for reading. Have a great day and keep coming back!

Thank you,
Watkins Robotics


Watkins Robotics Twitter -

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