Twitter profiles now include a header image (also called a cover image) and if used wisely, it can turn a plain and boring Twitter profile into a slick, eye-catching affair. This header can be a color, a gradient, a texture, or an image, and after creating a perfect one, all you have to do is upload it to your Twitter profile. But how can you design a beautiful header without professional graphics software? One option is Slicetige-T ($3, free demo).
Don't be confused by the Lite Edition of this application, which is merely a demo. While not fully explained on the program's website, the Lite edition will let you try some of the features, but will not let you save any of it outside of preview mode. If you want to make use of the full set of features, you'll have to purchase the full version for the reasonable amount of $3.
Slicetige-T is a fairly new program, but you wouldn't guess it from the interface. Looking like something you might have used ten years ago, Slicetige-T takes some getting used to. The program does include a wizard that takes you through the important steps, but when it comes to using the different tools, you'll have to figure these out for yourself. You can start by either uploading a cover image of your own, creating a gradient or a pattern, or by using one of the templates that come with the full version of Slicetige-T. You can move the header around to find the perfect position or resize it to fit the header area.
After choosing the background, you can start adding goodies such as social buttons, text and QR codes. The social button interface is, again, somewhat hard to understand, but after giving it some time, you can create buttons for anything from Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ to Tumblr, deviantArt, and pretty much anything you can think of. These buttons are not links, so if you want them to be of any use, you need to specify your exact usernames on those networks.
You can also add text to your header, controlling everything from color and shadow to position, font and opacity. If you want something resembling a link, you can opt for a QR code, which can be scanned by a smartphone and can lead to a website of your choosing. Interesting idea, although I'm not entirely sure what it's really good for. In addition, this feature does not work properly on Windows 7 and Windows 8 at this time.
Things get a bit less smooth when you start working on your avatar. Slicetige offers two options for this: slice from cover photo, or load from file. The slice option lets you move your cover photo around, and slice your avatar directly from it. This is a nice feature, and can help you create some really cool effects. The problems start when you try loading an avatar from file. While the feature does work, it's very limited, and it's impossible to fully fit the avatar in its slot. Moreover, when you export the avatar and upload it to Twitter, you end up with a low-quality image. The feature is still useful for preview purposes, but you're better off not taking your actual avatar picture through Slicetige.
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