• author: WordsAtScale

The Art of Creating Eye-Catching Thumbnails

As a content creator, one of the key elements that can greatly impact the performance of your videos is the thumbnail. It is the first thing that potential viewers see before deciding whether to click and watch your content or not. In this article, we will explore the importance of thumbnails and delve into the process of creating captivating ones.

The Evolution of Thumbnails

Traditionally, my thumbnails used to be simple and similar in style, featuring a few words and a relevant image. However, I have recently made a change in my thumbnail approach. Now, each thumbnail tells a story and involves a bit of creative dressing up. Although I am not a professional designer and lack expertise in Photoshop, many of you have noticed and appreciated this change. Due to the interest shown by my audience, I have decided to share a thumbnail tutorial to shed light on my process.

Before we dive into the tutorial, it is important to note that the quality and complexity of thumbnails do not always guarantee higher click-through rates (CTR). Despite my new thumbnails being more artistic and visually appealing, it is my experience that simpler and more amateurish-looking thumbnails with bold, attention-grabbing words tend to perform better in terms of CTR. The average viewer's attention span is often fleeting, so it is crucial to capture their attention immediately.

The Thumbnail Creation Process

  1. Generating Ideas: The thumbnail creation process commences with generating ideas. I begin by thinking about the story I want to convey visually through my thumbnails. For instance, when creating a thumbnail for a video about AI content detection and comparing results from different tools, the image of two Terminator-like robots hunting a human came to mind. The robots symbolize the tools reviewed in the video.

  2. Prompting for Ideas: When you find yourself stuck in your imagination, it can be helpful to use basic prompts to generate thumbnail ideas. For example, I may ask for suggestions like "Please suggest 10 click-worthy thumbnail ideas for a video about content detection." These prompts can be simple or can utilize advanced priming techniques to attract attention.

    • Some suggested thumbnail ideas could include:
      • Split screen imagery depicting a battle between AI bots
      • Glowing-eyed robot brains representing different AI tools
      • Stylized clash of two magnifying glasses symbolizing detective work
  3. Selecting a Thumbnail Template: Once the initial idea is formed, I use a design tool like Canva to bring it to life. Canva provides thumbnail templates that offer different layout ideas, inspiring the overall look. While I do not replicate the templates directly, they serve as a starting point for inspiration. The font from a selected template may influence my design choices.

  4. Images and Editing: To find suitable images, I make use of Bing Image Creator, a free tool that offers numerous image variations. In the case of the AI content detection video, I searched for Terminator-like robots. Once I identify an image that fits my idea, I upload it to Canva.

    • Note: If the image does not fit the thumbnail dimensions, I use Dolly, a tool specifically for extending images. It allows me to generate AI-assisted image extensions to ensure a perfect fit.
  5. Refining and Enhancing: After uploading the image to Canva, I may make some adjustments to ensure it fits the screen properly. Canva's AI-powered tools, such as the Magic Eraser, help me remove any unwanted elements from the image without distorting the background. This allows for a cleaner and more visually appealing final result.

  6. Addition of Text: Once the image is ready, I add impactful text that complements the thumbnail. For example, using bold words like "Detection Madness" grabs attention, while a subheading like "Passes Every Time" adds value and entices viewers to click.

  7. Incorporating My Face: While there are thumbnails that thrive without including my face, I prefer to keep it for several reasons. Firstly, it satisfies the ego. Secondly, it provides creative freedom, as viewers can associate my face with my content.

By following these steps, the thumbnail creation process is well underway, ensuring that each thumbnail stands out and entices viewers to click and discover what lies beneath the captivating image and words.

Creating eye-catching thumbnails is a continual learning process. It involves experimentation, tinkering, and analyzing the impact of different elements on CTR. As a content creator, understanding the significance of thumbnails and employing effective techniques can significantly enhance the visibility and success of your videos. So, go ahead and let your creative juices flow to craft thumbnails that captivate and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

How to Create Eye-Catching Thumbnails for Your Videos

When it comes to creating thumbnails for our videos, there are a few key elements that I like to incorporate. In this article, I will share with you my process and tools for creating visually appealing and consistent thumbnails that help me stand out and maintain recognition among my audience.

Keeping the Face for Consistency and Recognition

One of the reasons why I choose to keep my face on all of my thumbnails is not only because of my ego, but also because it allows me to have creative freedom while still maintaining consistency. By having my face consistently present in the thumbnails, people can easily recognize me and my content. To achieve this, I have a collection of pre-taken photos that I use repeatedly.

Transforming Images with Magic Edit

To make my thumbnails more interesting, I utilize the magic edit feature. Instead of using the magic eraser, I highlight areas of the image that I want to alter and use magic edit to transform them into something entirely different. This technique is particularly useful when creating costumes or substituting certain elements in the image.

For example, in one of my recent thumbnails, I wanted to incorporate a Terminator Rebel suit. After selecting the area I wanted to replace, I generated various suggestions and settled on one that resonated with me. This quick and easy process allows me to experiment and create captivating visuals.

Enhancing the Eyes with Graphics

In addition to changing the overall appearance of my thumbnails, I also pay attention to specific details. One element I often modify is my eyes. Using the same technique as before, I can substitute my eyes with various effects. In a recent thumbnail, I wanted to create a menacing look by adding red laser lights. By selecting the graphic option and experimenting with different effects, I was able to achieve the desired result.

Background Removal and Adding Glow

Once the image is ready, I download it as a PNG file and return to the original canvas. At times, the background may not automatically become transparent, but I can easily rectify that using the background remover tool, which I frequently use. This tool allows me to smoothly remove the background and seamlessly place myself in the spotlight.

Another feature I frequently incorporate is the glow effect. By selecting the photo and accessing the shadow options, I click on glow. This effect helps enhance certain areas of the image and can be adjusted to fit the desired aesthetic. For instance, I often choose a greenish or red glow to add an extra touch of intrigue to the thumbnail.


Creating captivating thumbnails is an essential aspect of attracting viewers to our videos. By utilizing tools like magic edit, graphics, background remover, and glow effects, I am able to create visually compelling and recognizable thumbnails. I hope you found this article helpful. Remember to like, share, and subscribe if you haven't already. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in the next article!

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