How to Create a YouTube Thumbnail in Photoshop?

Many YouTube content creators and marketers use online tools like Canva to create YouTube thumbnails. Sometimes, I also do. But, what’s there in Photoshop that attracts content creators to create a YouTube thumbnail? Let’s see this on this tutorial of how to create a YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop.

Yes, you guessed it right. The answer is flexibility. You can get some amazing templates on Canva but it’s the flexibility that gives an edge to the Photoshop.

Here’s my thumbnail.

Before we go ahead, I would like to tell you that you need to keep below things in your mind

  • People look at thumbnails and decide whether they should watch a video or not. They rarely look at the title of the videos. So, you need to make sure that you write the title of the video in the thumbnail also.
  • The contrast between the text and the background should be high. But, you need to make sure that thumbnail is looking pleasing also.
  • You’re going to use the same type of thumbnail on all your videos. So, make sure that you design it right.
  • The size of the thumbnail should be 1280 x 720 pixels.

Let’s start.

Step 1 – Cut out the background

Open the photo of the person. Thank you for this photo, Pixabay.


Grab the Quick Selection Tool from the tool panel or press Shift + W again and again until it activates.


Click on “Select Subject” in the option panel.

This will select the lady.

Press Cmd + C / Ctrl + C to copy the person.

We’ll use her later.

I have also written a detailed tutorial on removing the background in Photoshop. You may want to check that out also.

Step 2 – Create a new document for the thumbnail

Press Cmd + N / Ctrl + N to create a new document.

Put the width and height as 1280 and 720 pixels. Press Create.

Click on the foreground color.

Write #fff568 in the color code box. Press OK.

Now press Opt + Delete / Alt + Backspace to fill the background with yellow color.

Step 3 – Place the lady

Time to place the lady. You have already copied the lady when you were in step 1. This time we’re going to paste her.

Press Cmd + V / Ctrl + V to paste her. Photoshop will place her at the center.

Time to align her. Activate the Free Transform Tool either by going to Edit > Free Transform or by pressing Cmd + T / Ctrl + T.

Now align her. See the below GIF.

Step 4 – Write the Text

Grab the Horizontal Type Tool.

Change the font and color.

Start writing the text. I am using Impact font.

Don’t worry about the formatting. We’ll fix it.

Activate the Free Transform Tool and align the text. Press Return/Enter when done.

Step 5 – Create the YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop

Time to add a black background to the text.

Grab the Rectangle Tool from the tool panel.

Change the Fill to Black and Stroke to null.

Draw a rectangle around the text.

Now, this rectangle will cover the text. This is because the layer of the rectangle tool is above the text.

Reshuffle the layer in the layer panel. Drag the girl layer to the top, then the text, and then the black background.

See the photo now.


Top 7 Adobe Photoshop Courses Online

I know that you want to learn Photoshop to show off to your friends or earn some side income. You may also want to become a graphic designer or an artist. Or, perhaps, you want photography and want to take your photos to the next level. In all the cases, you need to learn Photoshop. But Photoshop is not as easy as opening Microsoft Word where you need to open the software and start typing. When I first had a look at Photoshop interface back in 2012, believe me, I had no idea where should I go to even open an image. I know that many of you are in the same place and have no idea where to go. This is why I writing this article to list the top 7 Adobe Photoshop courses online.

Related: I have also written an article on top books to learn Photoshop.

I tried to gather all the courses that are free but almost all of them are not worthy of your time. This is why I needed to include paid courses. I have used an algorithm to rank the courses which are based on below factors:

1: Free or Paid
2: Rating
3: Viewership
4: Quality

All of the above factors have been given some weight and the result is the weighted average of all the factors. The one with the highest average goes to the top of the list of top Adobe Photoshop courses online.

So, let’s start with the last one.

7: Photoshop CC One-on-One

Price: Paid

This is the one of the most elaborative online course on Photoshop CC that explains all the aspects of Photoshop (at least most of them). The downside is that it’s too elaborative. The course is of around 16 hours and I know that you can get to know Photoshop in a 5-6 hours course.

If you’re a subscriber of Lynda then this course is free for you. Otherwise, you need to subscribe to Lynda at the cost of $25/- month. Try to complete the course in one month and cancel the subscription. So, basically, the tutorial comes at a price of $25.

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6: Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC

Price: Paid

The positive side is that the tutorial is updated with Photoshop CC 2017 (the latest version when I am writing this article). The downside is that the tutorial is not that much interactive. The second downside is that this course comes at a standalone price. Unlike Lynda, there’s no subscription model where you subscribe and get to watch all the courses for no extra cost.

You must also know that I don’t like long courses much. The same goes for this one. It’s 13.5 hours long. 😢

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5: Photoshop CC 2015: Essential Training

Price: Paid

The course would have been in the top position in the list of top 7 Adobe Photoshop courses online but lacked at its recency. The course was made back in 2015 although almost all of the concepts still hold true. For all the readers who are very new to Photoshop, I must tell you that Adobe launches a new version of Photoshop every year but each new version has subtle changes and an addition of 3-4 new features. So, even if you use Photoshop 2017, you can use the concepts of Photoshop 2015.

The best thing about this course is that it’s made by one of the world’s most renowned Photoshop expert – Julienne Kost (no wonder this is one of the most watched Photoshop course on Lynda) 😮

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4: Photoshop Beginners Mastery: From Zero to Hero in Photoshop

Price: Paid

The best thing about this tutorial is that the lecturer kept it short. He didn’t pour all the information is one course. The result is that people don’t lose interest. The tutorial is only 2.5 hours long.

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Related: I have also written an article on top magazines to subscribe for Photoshop.

3: Photoshop Course Online by Good Creative Academy

Price: Free

Here comes a free course. The course is not as much as interactive as the ones listed previously. But the fact that its free means it’s accessible to everyone and this is what puts it in the third place in the list of top 7 Adobe Photoshop courses online.

The course is of 41 videos and explains almost all the things that a beginner needs to know.

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2: Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: The Basics

Price: Paid

Here’s the latest masterpiece by Julianne Kost, the one I was talking about. Ah, did I mention that Fast Company has put her on the list of 100 Most Creative Person in the planet?

This course would’ve been in the first place in the list of top 7 Adobe Photoshop courses online if only it was free. But the weights that I gave to free vs. paid has put it in the second position.

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1: The Complete Beginners Guide to Adobe Photoshop by TastyTuts

Price: Free

This collection of 34 videos is all you need to have to learn the basics of Photoshop. Being free of cost means that you have to watch it without paying a single penny from your pocket.

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This is all that I have.

If you have come across a course that you think is awesome but not present on the above list, let me know in the comment section below. I’ll review it. If it’s passed, I’ll add it to the list.