How to Make a Thumbnail for YouTube Videos – Easy & Free!

July 25, 2019 posted by

thumbnails are one of the most critical elements to ranking your content and to getting views so in this tutorial we're gonna step through exactly how to make thumbnails for YouTube videos easy fast and free hey it's Justin Brown here from primal video where we help you amplify your business and brand with video if you're new here make sure you click that subscribe button and all the links to everything we mentioned in this video you can find linked in the description box below so let's jump into it YouTube thumbnails are an incredibly important element of video optimization without an attractive thumbnail you won't grab the attention of your potential viewers which means you'll miss out on the click and the view so fortunately though there are free ways to easily create effective thumbnails in this video we're gonna run through a full custom YouTube thumbnail tutorial so you can follow along step-by-step we're gonna step through exactly how we used to do it before we started outsourcing our thumbnails so while it is a simple process to create your own if you are interested in outsourcing that I'm going to share with you exactly how we do that at the end of this video now probably the biggest misconception is that you need to be using apps like Photoshop to create your thumbnails so if you've got Photoshop and you know how to use it then by all means definitely go for it but you can definitely do it without Photoshop simple apps like even keynote and PowerPoint are fantastic for creating thumbnail images mic used to create most of our thumbnails just using keynote but the process is nearly identical using a free online service like canva that'll work across all platforms so today we're going to use canva because it's so simple to get great results fast and it's completely free okay now if you're creating thumbnail images with yourself in the meaning that you're going to be pulling a freeze-frame out of the video you've created it's a good idea to at the end of your recording just go across the end here to actually pose for a few different thumbnail images so what I'll do to start out with is I'll do the cheesy smile pointed some stuff give a couple of different options so that when I'm coming through here to find the thumbnail image for our video then I can just take a screenshot or export a freeze-frame from here much easier to find then one that's back through here partway through a sentence or something trying to find something that looks half decent so always at the end try to for something put a few different faces pointed a few different things so that you've got some options so for our example here we'll just use this one here now using VLC to playback your videos you can just choose video take snapshot and that will save out that freeze-frame for you or you can make the video playback bigger and just take a screen shot of your screen here and use that as your image so if you're on Mac that's command shift 4 or if you're on Windows you can open up the snip tool and we'll just save that to the desktop image okay so now that we got our image sorted this jump over to canva and you want to hit this big button in the top corner create a design which will bring you to this page here now if you come over here to use custom dimensions just type in 1920 by 1080 mmm pres design there's a heap of preset templates and layouts and all those sorts of things in here what we're gonna do is bring in how image first so it uploads select upload your own images find the image that we just saved out and that's good to go now to be used in our thumb now so we just stretch that up size that up so that it fits our canvas size you actually make it a bit bigger than the original size and you can you've got some little bit of flexibility to move it around a bit the next thing we want to do is add in some text but generally to make your text pop out on a thumbnail like this I'd like to add in a shape behind it so we'll come down here okay go to elements then shapes and we'll just pick one of these free shapes I like going the square but squashing it down so it is a rectangle bring that up about here somewhere and on that box we can change the color by pressing up here and let's add a new document color we're gonna paste in our primal video color so this is where you can keep everything on brand and till your brand colors and we will add some text so I'll click on text now in here again there's a heap of different presets that you can use to just drag these out if you like the way they look I will delete that and we're just going to come back up to the top and just go add a heading and drag that on type in how to and we will make this our font which is Oswald one of these days I should really learn the alphabet we'll get bold and we will make it bigger and I'll resize this box down a bit make that font white back to the color picker and go white how to know you can do here is if you select these two boxes the background and the actual font itself which we can do to by drawing a box around them here then we actually group them together and once they're grouped you can do things like scale it up you can rotate them a bit so a lot of our branding is slightly angled like that so you can move it around we'll just get all the text in there first then what position them so it looks good so what we can do we if we want to duplicate this we can just select it and come over here to copy there are two of them so we can now go how to edit faster we might do so it's easier to edit either select it and choose ungroup and then we can edit these two separate just stretch this out so if it's edit faster we can then resize the box I got how to edit faster what we might do for this one to mix it up a little bit is let's just click the background color let's change that to a dark right maybe we'll make the font white as well now to edit faster might go a bit darker gray do you need to pick the preset colors here or you can add a new color and here's where you get to dial it in cool now to edit faster so what we might do here is just reposition our background image in my scale it up a little bit more and move it over just a touch now we've got more room for the text up in this corner and again we can change the angles on them I will scale this one down just a little bit now to edit faster now you can also bring in other graphics and things as well so we come over here to uploads and upload your own images will pick the Adobe Premiere logo because this it's all about how to edit faster once that's uploaded we will click on it because it's nearly done it's uploading you will click on it that will bring it into our project here we can scale it up and down maybe we'll put it up in the top corner yeah or even actually let's put it down in the bottom corner yeah so it's all the creative process it's all about matching your brand but there's one other thing that I would suggest that you do with your images to make them pop a bit more here on your thumbnails if we click on our background image and we come up here to filter and we go to Advanced Options obviously you can adjust your brightness your contrast saturation tint is a heap of different options in here or there's preset filters think of these like Instagram filters that you can apply to your thumbnails as well what I suggest is that you people don't normal depending on how good or bad your photo is and I would boost the saturation just a little bit so that your colors pop a bit more and keep in mind that most people going to be viewing these pretty small on their screen or on their phone so you it doesn't actually matter if it's probably a little bit over the top in this case because it's going to look good when it's much smaller and the other thing you can do is to sharpen it up a little bit so if you grab the blur slider and slide it up you're going to blur it but if you go the other way you're actually going to do the opposite of it and sharpen it up so I'd probably just add a little bit of sharpen on there as well just to make it a little bit more crispy so those are the primary ones that I would suggest you play with but feel free to adjust the brightness the contrast and make any other Corrections or adjustments to your image to get it how you'd like it cool so looking this now it looks pretty good I might actually just do some final tweaking and I'd probably make the text here just a little bit bigger okay that's looking pretty good there just to give you an example of the thumbnail images most people are actually gonna be viewing it and this sort of size so you want to make sure that it looks good at the smaller size and that you've also taken into consideration where the graphic elements and things are over it so you probably don't have too much text in this top right hand corner because you can see as they mouse over to get the little watch later button and exactly the same down the bottom right-hand corner with the time or the length of the video so if you've got critical text down there then it could potentially be covered up when the user Mouse's over so you can see with this one here we put the mouse over it it's only covering the premiere logo it's not actually covering how to edit videos faster okay coming back to our thumbnail now there's one more thing I do want to show you in the elements because this is a pretty cool design thing that you can do these under shapes you can do some simple things that are gonna make your thumbnails pop just click another rectangle let's scale this one up quite a bit let's move it off to the side here and before we do this rotate it a little bit so it's on an angle let's bring this down to about here and we can come up here to the transparency button and we can lower that down so you can start to see the things behind it and the other thing you can do is hit a range you see that our white box is currently over the top of everything there we can actually send it to the back so I just keep hitting back until it's behind all of your elements so it's another way that you can just break up your thumbnails and add a little bit more polish to them just by using some simple elements like a rectangle and rotating it once you're done all you need to do is hit download choose JPEG and hit download and it's gonna ask you where you want to save it on your computer and jump into YouTube and upload it on your video now earlier in the video I did mention that we are now outsourcing our thumbnail design so we use a service called design pickle to do that so they're a subscription design service where you pay a monthly fee and you get unlimited design so it works great not just for the thumbnails but really any Instagram any social graphic branding PDF guides banners with any graphic design work that you need so that's what we're currently using to outsource our graphic design work and obviously the links in the description below if you're interested in checking that out so now that you've got your thumbnail templates ordered another powerful element of branding is animated titles and introductions and it's not as hard as you might think check out the videos linked on screen for a heap more information on those and I'll see you soon


47 Replies to “How to Make a Thumbnail for YouTube Videos – Easy & Free!”

  1. Jolly Jax says:

    Any small youtuber wanna help each other out? 😀

  2. Paula Fontenelle says:

    Hi dear! Tks for the tutorial. How do you upload the thumbnail so that it shows on YouTube?

  3. AveRice says:

    I am

  4. golden briana says:

    what if it get furze on canva what should you do?

  5. Shirl Bussman says:

    I love listening to you. Is Canva for a Computer or a cell phone?

  6. Sudipta Livz says:

    Nice video and very informative. Thanks for uploading.

  7. Hazard Gaming says:

    Nice video..

  8. NE THEARA says:

    I love your Videos My idol. i want to see Videos you later..

  9. roblox with amy and mary time says:

    it's very helpful thanks a lot

  10. Divine Pioneer says:

    Newbie Here. Hotep

  11. Christina Almas says:

    Thank you so much. My thumbnail look real wonderful.

  12. Decorclip says:

    You are the Best👍

  13. RGW says:

    Sub to me everyone

  14. IAmTheOne11tt says:

    How to get snip tool?

  15. shadow 7035 says:


  16. Ciara Mulligan says:

    Goodluck on your channels babes

  17. Patrick J. Trevenen says:

    You said CANVA is free, I will have to see because I looked at it before and it was not free.

  18. isaiahgaming yongo says:

    hey bro thanks for helping me i like you

  19. Hay Day Tinker Terri says:

    I am a content creator for the game, Hay Day. My channel is Hay Day Tinker Terri. I am having such a hard time getting set up to Live Stream. I am not very Tech savvy. I am trying to set up OBS, AirServer and StreamLabs so I can go from just making videos to actually Live Streaming. Is there anyone out there that would be so kind as to walk me through the steps of getting set up? I am disabled and because of the COLA raise I will be getting in January I will no longer be eligible for Medi-Caid to go with my MediCare. I cannot afford any type of Advantage plan or even co-pays. The only way I know how to possibly help myself is to do live streaming on YouTube so I can perhaps make enough extra income to cover the extra cost. I really need Health coverage terribly because of my many life threatening ailments. I am Terri Eberhard Jennings on Face Book. Thank you so much! I would greatly appreciate any help I could be given to get started.🤗🤗🤗

  20. EpicX says:

    thx i needed it

  21. RB TEXAS NEWS says:

    Can I add other photos as a thumbnail without taking photos of myself. I'm working on a project for a friend who has his own thumbnail he wants me to use .

  22. Mig Bye bye says:

    Thx i just started yt?

  23. Learning TCP/IP Networking says:

    Tried Canva myself. I like it a lot! Thanks Justin! 🙂

  24. Altruren says:

    Thank you for taking the time to do this Justin. I really appreciate it.

  25. 50sherron Hamilton says:

    i love your video please subscribe 💯🙏

  26. 50sherron Hamilton says:

    Yes am New please help me thank bless👍💃

  27. sam gamer says:

    hey guys im new to youtube so can you sub to me plz

  28. I love Rolobx says:

    how to put it un youtube?

  29. Outdoorsman Dave says:

    Wow that looks so simple. I need to try something new because I'm just not growing much, so BIG thanks.

  30. khmertech says:

    2 months 11 subscribers here. Growing slow like a snail. Need good thumbnails pretty bad which I’m suck at it

  31. Thomas Odom says:

    I liked your yutube alot. Im been doing tshirts,hats,decals i want to learn more about makinng thumbnails and how to edit my vedeo. What did you use to bring your vedeo in. To pick a pic. For your thumbnail. And what editing program should i use. I want to start bloging. But i dont know where to start. Ive got a android for rt. Now. Im getting a exsternal mic. For the phone. Please help what do i really need. Like apps and programs hope can help me thanks.

  32. Isaiah Burney says:


  33. PUNE THE CYBORG says:


  34. YENDA GH LIVE says:

    Please What Software did you use for your Video Editing, Names Poping out and picrures

  35. Todd Kane says:

    This is incredibly helpful. Love that you allow the time to just go through the process in detail without a lot of cuts. Thanks Justin!

  36. The Influencer Project says:

    This will upgrade our YouTube channel. Thanks, Justin.

  37. gamer girl says:

    I'm a YouTuber 😃

  38. Floortiay says:

    I am new soz

  39. robinmsw05 says:

    thanka a lot

  40. TP Damba says:

    Nice work…For Small you tubers this video gives enthusiasm !

  41. vlad productions says:

    Thank you this helped me so much 😁

  42. TRY ME TV says:

    Hi Thank you for this video, I will for sure try this , guys I am also doing a How to video please check it out in my channel Try Me TV.

  43. Mayor Isko Moreno Fanatics says:

    thank you, Mr. Brown, I'm a new youtuber.

  44. Auggi Rangel says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, it was just what I was looking for. You did a terrific job of explaining things. You got yourself a new sub

  45. Ashlyne Hills says:

    How do you add the thumbnail though?

  46. Unboxing YT says:

    I am only here because my brother does not want to tell me how to make one

  47. ZENOVA says:

    Great video. This guy looks like Chris Martin from from Coldplay

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