|Completed Denuine Facebook cover photo featuring Margot MacDonald & Michael Pearsall|
No cigar. In place of that popup, I awoke the morning of the 31st to find a decimated Denuine. I felt like one of the tornado survivors too often in the news lately, wandering around, looking for something familiar I could pick up & hug to cut through some of the numbness of losing my home and provide a clue to how to begin to rebuild it. The most obvious new feature was a big "drink me" button begging me to upload my "cover photo" to a new gaping hole sitting on real estate where important content had been the night before, as if I was supposed to know what a cover photo was and have one ready to share. Okay, I know photos; just give me the specs, and I'll start to think about this. I did a quick "Facebook timeline" Google search & found their video on the subject. I was impressed they were actually sharing some documentation. Then I watched the movie & discovered it's a story about some guy named Andy who grows up, gets a FB page, gets lucky and himself has a kid. (I'm guessing the daughter that's born signs up for a Facebook profile of her own & starts the cycle all over again to prove the sustainability of the business model.) The video made the purpose of Facebook profiles very clear, but I still had no specs & no clue to how to get my music page back. Finally mustering the courage to click that big button, I was rewarded with what I wanted to know in the form of a suggestion: To get the best quality image and fastest load times for your Page, upload an sRGB JPG file that's 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes. Thank you! I wanted to ask why Andy couldn't have told me that himself, but I guess he had better things to do. I'm hoping whoever slipped that helpful note into the site code doesn't get fired for being out of touch with corporate culture.
Hmmm, 851x315 pixels--that's one flat, wide image! It's more of a mural really and not something likely to be spit out by a 35mm-based camera (DX or FX, film or no film) without some serious
|Even playing down & dirty like Jonny Grave fails|
to guarantee a successfully horizontal cover image!
I finally remembered one of the few situations where I actually do shoot landscapes--summer visits to the beach at Ocean City, MD where I usually go to recharge my batteries after all the spring & winter shows. My
|Lightning strikes twice in Ocean City, MD|
Even though I was warming a bit, both to my prospects for actually succeeding at doing this as well as to my nascent design, I was still by any definition far from finished. Yes, I had proven myself cooler than the Facebook timeline equivalent to Twitter eggs with no cover image, but I was still only slightly cooler than those who had simply given up and posted some pretty scenery from a recent vacation. That's basically what I had done, and my only real advantage here was not being smart enough to read a weather report before heading to the beach. Ocean City, MD has precious little to do with Washington, DC music--lightning or no lightning. Still, there was something in those arcs of electrical energy that captured my imagination. It's maybe the closest force in nature to what I feel while listening to live music. Maybe this heavenly battle scene could be salvaged by something as simple as some Titans--only this time ones awesome enough not to get their butts kicked by Zeus & his peepz. Maybe all I needed to do was to get Margot MacDonald amazing!
I needed to look no further than my favorite from Margot's BlackRock concert last year. The photo isn't a particularly good capture of her beautiful face, but the positioning of her arms,
|Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam|
The next name to come to mind was Michael Pearsall, dashing lead singer for favorite DC band Honor by August, one of (if not THE) best bands in the region with a superb repertoire of songs spread over
|Honor by August's Michael Pearsall at Artisphere|
All the basic elements in place, I went to work making them look like they belonged together. Normally, I want my subject to pop out of the picture, really not that difficult with models like Margot & Michael, but this time around, I was going for something a bit more subdued. I'm thinking a cover image should get & hold some attention (much like the cover of a book) but it's really the content on the page that should immediately take over from it; so, I didn't want anything too flashy or distracting. Also, unlike the items posted below it on the page, this image won't change constantly; so, it should be interesting & pleasant enough not to get boring or tiring longer term. This really isn't a "how to" & I don't want to bore non-geeks too much, but some of the things I did to help the elements blend were to apply lighting effects to simulate illumination from the lightning, adjust the curves (highlights especially) in the blue direction, decrease the exposure, adjust Margot & Michael's skin tones to match each other, apply some masks (mostly with brushes and gradients) to make the rock stars blend smoothly into the picture, & finally decrease their opacity a tiny bit for the same reason. At one point during the editing, I was trying to erase the black horizontal boom you can see pictured from Michael's microphone by painting over it in the layer mask, but it wasn't budging. I laughed to realize what I was trying to erase was actually a thick black storm cloud in the identical position in the background (sky) layer!
I finally had a completed cover image I think does the best job I can of communicating the ion-laden excitement of live music, featuring two of my very favorite artists--not bad for the first full day of mandatory Facebook page timelines! I was in fact so inspired by the new design, I used it as the pattern for redesigning Denuine Twitter. The thing I didn't anticipate was that on the same day I created all of the above & put it in place, I would find myself blogging about the experience as well. To complete this third prong of activity, I'll leave you with a performance that gives me goose bumps. It'll also serve as a good introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the music of either of these two awesome featured artists. (Don't stop here; you're in for a ton of amazing music!) The show captured in this video was a special night at DC's 9:30 Club with Honor by August performing to a packed house. Margot MacDonald joined HBA's Michael Pearsall on stage to sing a duet with him on "Johnny (Pass Me Another One)"--one of the band's signature songs. There was lightning in the 9:30 Club that night, precisely the kind of lightning I want to share with each one of you on Denuine!
- SEE Denuine's new cover photo on our Facebook page
- CHECK OUT Denuine's redesigned Twitter
- SEE more photos of Margot MacDonald & HONOR BY AUGUST
- SEE Margot MacDonald live
- SIGN UP for Margot MacDonald's mailing list
- LIKE Margot MacDonald on Facebook
- FOLLOW Margot MacDonald on Twitter
- SUBSCRIBE to Margot MacDonald's YouTube channel
- SEE HONOR BY AUGUST live
- LIKE HONOR BY AUGUST on Facebook
- FOLLOW HONOR BY AUGUST on Twitter
- SUBSCRIBE to HONOR BY AUGUST's YouTube channel
- Margot MacDonald
- Honor by August
- Sing Me Insomnia
- Jonny Grave