Kubrick Headers, Part One

If you’re like me, you like noticing that new blogs are using WordPress. If the dead give-away is the Kubrick theme, that’s fine. It’s a kind of thumbprint and as more people come to recognize it, the strength of WordPress increases.

However, blue just doesn’t suit everyone the same. If we had some sort of header gallery where users could simply select a new header image whenever they wanted a change, but the theme would still be the highly recognizable Kubrick, that would be marvelous. And if they could do all of this from within the admin screen, it would be accessible to absolutely everyone.

I’ve been working on a total solution to what some people might call “the tired default theme problem.” WordPress 1.6, which is still in development, will support a theme-specific plugin file named functions.php. Each theme can have one, and it will be loaded whenever that theme is loaded. It may contain functions used within the theme’s code and it can provide an options page in the Presentation section of the site admin pages.

My Kubrick lets me select from several albums of custom header images I have created from photos and color gradients. It also lets me change the header text color from the admin screen. The only difference between my Kubrick and the standard version is the addition of a functions.php.

I’ll be submitting my functions.php and several new images for inclusion in WP 1.6. With the options page and ready-made images, new users will be able to customize their Kubrick in seconds and get down to the business of writing!

Now, I’ve done nothing but tease you all through this post. I think it’s time to give you something you can play with. I created this Adobe Photoshop template for making my own Kubrick header images. It has four horizontal guides to show the position of the site name and the tagline, and one vertical guide at the center.

Using this process and a lot of photos from my travels around the United States, I was able to create more than fifty header images in just a few hours:

  1. Open the template
  2. Open a photo
  3. Press Ctrl+A to select all of the photo
  4. Press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard
  5. Press Ctrl+Tab to go to the template
  6. Press Ctrl+V to paste the photo into the template. It should go into a new layer, between the Background and Wrapper. Wrapper has a feathered transparent area where your picture will show through.
  7. Press Ctrl+T to show the Transform bar so you can move and resize the image until it is nicely framed by the Wrapper and press Enter when it looks good.
  8. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S (Save for Web) to save the new header image as a jpg.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to make another header image with the same photo.
  10. Press Delete to delete the middle layer, leaving the template ready for another go.
  11. Press Ctrl-Tab to switch back to the photo
  12. Press Ctrl-F4 to close the photo, then go back to to step 2 to make another!

I made about twenty-five more header images using the Gradient Tool instead of pasting photos. Maybe someone would like to start up a Kubrick Header Repository where artists can share and users can download gazillions of original Kubrick header images… or else I might. 😉

15 thoughts on “Kubrick Headers, Part One”

  1. I just wanted to make sure you were familiar with the Kubricker, a utility that automatically switches headers for the Kubrick layout. Also, Digital Westex has hundreds of header art designed to be used with Kubrick available for free.

    Having the ability to automatically change the header from images you have uploaded or are available elsewhere will be really slick, though. And having this feature added to WordPressMU sites with an optional panel will really revolutionize header choices. It would be even cooler to add this choice to Themes beyond the Kubrick Default Theme. Just dreaming. 😉

  2. Lorelle, have another look at Kubrickr. It creates them but it doesn’t switch them. I’ll see what I can do about making uploading images from nice-n-easy from sources like Kubrickr or anywhere else, but I’m thinking more along the lines of having several dozen simple ones in the default install and setting up a cross-server download repository for people not on wordpress.com. All in good time! 🙂

  3. Awesome Andy, I’m yet to hear if there will be custom themes on WordPress.com and something like this would certainly be a very welcome addition for me… all the other theme’s current suck IMHO. I hope it gets into core here and for 1.6 in general.

    Have you been keeping up to date with K2? It would be nice if the same could be done to that when its released. Not sure if thats going to be the new Kubrick in 1.6… I should read whats been said myself. 🙂

  4. Craig, K2 could certainly do with similar treatment. To distill some recent conversations about WP 1.6 themes, Kubrick is likely to remain the default theme, though that point has not been set in stone.

  5. You are too cool for color TV. I’ve been making blogs for our statewide chapters and wondering what to do about the blah look alike headers. This is a perfect (and perfectly easy) solution! Thanks.

  6. Thank you for this tutorial!

    I am happy to report that this tutorial works great with WordPress 2.0.4

    The “kubrickheader.psd” Photoshop file and notes worked great! I am new to WordPress but I had immediate success converting default heading to my web site’s look after replacing the “kubrickheader.jpg” file name with my new “header.jpg” file name in the following locations:


  7. Your exactly right, we need a kubrick header gallery of some sort.

    Good job on the blog

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