The Yoji Guide to E-cards

Many are the times I have seen an e-card with great potential end up going down the pipes. Either the text is off or the image is blurry or, you get the idea. So after some deliberation I've decided to write a simplistic e-card making tutorial to help prevent future cards from meeting an undesirable end. In five steps too, I might add.

Now before we get started I should tell you to follow the TOS. It would be a shame to do all the work for nothing.

Step one: Deliberation. Before you get started on your creation you have to have a game play. Sure, hammering away at ye old photoshop and hoping for the best is fun but the results are mixed at best. The first thing you should do in the creative process is decide on a caption. Think of the caption as the thirty pound lump of reactive metal to your friend's bathtub. If your caption isn't good enough then your card won't make a crack on anybody's face, let alone a smile or hysterical laughter that may result in a loss of bladder control.

Step two: Image is everything. Congratulations, you have a caption. Now all you need is an image to go with it, right? Think of the image as the water in your friend's bathtub. If you don't have high quality then the explosion will be mild at best. When locating a screenshot you need to think of two things, compatibility and quality. Your caption should match your image (now I feel retarded for stating the obvious) and the image must be easy to work with. If it's too big and altering the size causes pixelation, don't use it and get another. If you can't find another, try cutting out a section of your image to use instead.

Steps one and two don't have to be followed in that order. It is perfectly fine to find an image first and then add a caption. Just make sure to get high quality and all should be well.

Step three: Placement. Currently the e-card submission size on TheO is 350X350 pix, nothing higher or lower. Now when it comes to placement you should always do the image first and when it comes to image placement size is everything.

For images that are too big: First you should use your head, if the image is only off by 80pix or less then you can get away with cutting out a 350X350 block. If the image is bigger by 81+ then you should try resizing it. If the image doesn't turn into a pixilated mess then by all means place it and move onto the next step. However, if it ends up looking like a space invader then you should try cutting out a 350X350 block.

For images that are too small: This scenario comes with its own problems but thankfully they have highly simplistic solutions that don't require much brain power. If the image isn't tall or wide enough then place it where best suited. For long captions you should place an image that isn't tall enough at the top or bottom. For images that aren't wide enough, place to the left or right. If the caption is short then by all means place the image in the center. If the image is much smaller then place it in the center and write your caption on both the top and the bottom sections of your digital canvas.

Step four: Caption conundrum. By now you should be ready to place the caption. There isn't much I can put here about placement; I pretty much coved it in the last step. So rather than retype the same thing again I'm gonna give you four rules to follow.

1. Use a text that complements your caption. If it's eccentric then use an old, cursive text. If it's an insult then go with big and bold.

2. If you're writing the caption on the image, use a text color that stands out. If it blends in then you've both distorted the image and hurt the eyes of whomever attempts to read it.

3. Spell-check your work! It won't get published if it looks like you typed it with your toes.

4. Use the correct text size. Most editing packages will shrink and make the text pixelated if it is too big. You don't have to get the caption on in one line but you do have to get it on. Use a size that is readable and don't be afraid to have many lines of text.

Step five: Submit it! You've finished working so get to sharing. Just remember to add the correct tags and all should go well. Also remember to follow the TOS, too.

There you have it, follow these steps and you should have some success with your cards.