That's a great banner image, but I agree that it should be re-edited to make less of it get covered up by the text, particularly the top of the image getting covered up by that dark stripe across the top of the screen. Of course, that means that the MOC part would have to be about 25-30% smaller.
You're right about the fact that most MOCs are not long and narrow enough to really take advantage of the banner size and shape, at least for Castlers. I could see a side view of, say, a MOC of an F-16, or a car, or an X-wing or something. A long train MOC would be pretty good - an engine and several cars. Your example is kind of a castle/fantasy/steampunk version of the F-16 or spaceship.
Good point to bring up size, and I'll go back and edit this into my post above later. Flickr suggests that an image for the banner should be 2048x768. Because of dynamic sizing this will get stretched or shrunk a bit as people resize their browser window, but this will fit the default banner best. I think that Flickr automatically keeps the center (along the horizontal axis) of your image at the center of the browser window, so you shouldn't have too much 'action' near the left and right edges of the image.
Okay, I've done some further work on banner image size. As noted, Flickr suggests you use an image that is 2048x768, so that's where I started. First I made an 2048x768 image that was just plain white:
And pasted that in as a banner, and got this:
Notice that this highlights another important consideration: In addition to the text and your avatar image that get pasted over the banner image, there is also this gradient fading shadow along the bottom third of your banner.
Okay, so then I put images of five figs in the exact center and each corner of that 2048x768 image:
When this was used as a banner image, notice that the figures in the corners are almost completely gone! Not just obscured by the text and other stuff, but almost entirely cropped:
To help emphasize the usable area, I added more figs to the image:
When the above is used as a banner, you see this:
Okay, this 2048x768 is obviously very far off, as the top and bottom rows of figs are all cropped. I should note at this point that dynamic sizing is going to throw a wrench in the works here. Here is the exact same banner image, but I started with my browser filling the screen, and then resized the browser window to be more narrow.
Notice that as the browser window size changes, the banner is stretched and squeezed and cropped differently. As the window is narrowed, more of the bottom is shown, and the center of the image is pushed upward until it start to interfere with that top bar. Also note that there is some minimum width, and if you squeeze your browser window in even more, it just crops more and more of the right edge of the image rather than squeezing the image in.
So my initial impulse to just make shrink the banner image in the vertical dimension could be problematic. If I just make a blue box that is 2048x500, it looks fine when my browser is sized to fill my window, but as I shrink down the window and the banner image gets squeezed, an annoying gap appears.
It's behind the shaded part, so not a horrible result, but the whole point of this exercise is to optimize the banner image so it looks good, so let's minimize this. The next experiment is to make an image that is 2048x600, but importantly we will leave the top 2048x75 and the bottom 2048x125 as void space. Ultimately this will match whatever is the background of our main image. So if our main image is going to be an isolated MOC on a plain background, we should have this bottom stretch just be that background color. If, OTOH, our banner image is going to be some scene that is LEGO edge-to-edge, those portions should be, for instance, sky and ground. here I show an image with those void spaces emphasized in blue:
And here just white:
This gives us a result that is pretty good as far as it goes. We've dealt with the overall size, and the issues related to dynamic sizing, but we have not yet dealt with the annoying dark gray bars and the text that go over top of the image.
What in the world??!??! I've been working on this for a long time, because i wanted to turn this into a 'how-to' article and I wanted to document everything. I just clicked to a different page on Flickr, and when I went back to my photostream, it expanded the banner image and changed the resolution. Grrrr!
I swear to you guys, I did nothing to change the banner image between this image and the image above. I've actually now gone back and tried other images, and the same thing happens. You past in the image and get it looking good, and then you go away and come back and it looks different. I give up for now - I'll try to figure this out tomorrow.
Good morning. I seem to have fixed it by using a much larger image. I created this 3000x2000 image in Gimp, where the light blue areas are going to be outside the visible space of the Flickr cover photo. Now I'm not getting the odd resizing. Of course, I'm also on a different computer right now, using Firefox rather than Chrome. We'll see how this looks when I'm at home tonight.
I'll wait till then to play around further with this. My ultimate plan is to make a step-by-step guide to creating a template, which can then be used to manipulate images for these banner images on Flickr. Don't worry, my guide will be much shorter than this post; I'm just trying to document everything I'm doing.