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5 Best YouTube Thumbnail Makers in 2022 [Windows, Mac]

Last Updated on Apr. 15, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Making YouTube Thumbnails

If you want to get more views on your YouTube videos, one of the easiest ways is to use better thumbnails.

With hundreds of videos covering the same topic, a good thumbnail is the only way to get yours picked over the rest. Your YouTube video thumbnails should give viewers a quick snapshot of what your videos are about while grabbing their attention when searching or browsing on YouTube.

This article will delve into the best thumbnail makers available and provide step-by-step instructions for making your own eye-catching thumbnails.

Top 3 YouTube Thumbnail Makers Snapshot

PhotoDirector Logo

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall

Edit photos, create thumbnails, and more through an incredible mix of tools and design packs, each ready to turn your images into inspiring works of art. More Info >

PicMonkey Logo

2. PicMonkey - Best Online Tool

Online photo editor with templates for logos, banners, thumbnails, etc. More Info >

Canva Logo

3. Canva - Best for Teams

Online tool for people and teams needing to design thumbnails, logos, social media content, and more. More Info >

Why Do You Need Great YouTube Thumbnails?

A thumbnail is a still image that should convey what your video is about. It is the first impression a viewer gets of your video and can mean the difference between having only a few clicks or thousands. 

A good thumbnail will give your video a professional look and make people want to watch it. It will clearly explain your video and make it more enticing to watch.

You may have the best content on a subject, but the person with the best thumbnail will win the click battle. Your thumbnail can make or break your video. 

YouTube will automatically generate a thumbnail if you don’t upload a custom one. 

Have you ever paused a movie and then laughed at the horrible expression on the actor’s face? That’s probably what you will look like if you let YouTube pick a random image from your video. You aren’t going to like it, and viewers aren’t either.   

YouTube even released a statement that said 90% of their best-performing videos have custom thumbnails.

5 Best Thumbnail Makers

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall Thumbnail Maker

PhotoDirector Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Thumbnail Creation: 10 / 10

Easy to Use: 10 / 10

Additional Tools: 10 / 10

Key Features

  • Huge selection of constantly updated features
  • Lots of tutorials and guided edits
  • AI-powered editing tools

PhotoDirector is a powerful, time-saving photo editing software with more than 1,900 special effects and templates for your YouTube thumbnail design. With its guided editing modules, you can add visual effects and do photo touch-ups in seconds—no need for editing experience. Even the most novice of editors can create stunning thumbnails. 

PhotoDirector also includes millions of stock photo options from Shutterstock and iStock, so you can easily add elements and imagery to your thumbnails. Plus, add text effects, overlays, and stickers, so your thumbnails look unique and professional. There are even AI tools like Sky Replacement and Object Detection to remove backgrounds quickly.

Download PhotoDirector for free and start making thumbnails that grab viewers' attention.

2. PicMonkey - Best Online Tool

PicMonkey Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser

Thumbnail Creation: 10 / 10

Easy to Use: 9 / 10

Additional Tools: 9 / 10

Key Features

  • User-friendly
  • Packed with features

PicMonkey is an online YouTube thumbnail maker by Shutterstock, and comes with over 100 professionally designed YouTube thumbnail templates. Customize your youtube thumbnail from a template or create a design from a blank canvas and add frames, overlays, filters, text, etc. PicMonkey also comes with beautification tools and effects like Ombre and Zombify.

3. Canva - Best for Teams

Canva Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser

Thumbnail Creation: 9 / 10

Easy to Use: 9 / 10

Additional Tools: 9 / 10

Key Features

  • Easy drag-and-drop interface
  • Collaboration feature to work with a team
  • Free version offers many features, and paid options are marked

Canva is a graphic design app with over 1 million graphics, templates, images, and fonts to use in your thumbnail creations. It offers thumbnail templates categorized by type, like music, food, travel, beauty, and tutorial. Other features include stock photos, illustrations, lines, shapes, frames, grids, and text. Plus, you can save your brand’s color palette, and the YouTube saving option makes your image the correct size and format.

4. Fotor - Best for Adding Emojis

Fotor Interface

Compatibility: Web browser, Windows, Mac

Thumbnail Creation: 8 / 10

Easy to Use: 8 / 10

Additional Tools: 7 / 10

Key Features

  • Good for beginners
  • Fast processing speed

Fotor is a cloud-based image design software with YouTube thumbnail templates for any scenario. It makes adding text, stickers, and emojis to your video thumbnails quick and easy. It also has editing features like the RGB spectrum curve, which gives you total control over the colors and tone of your thumbnail.

5. Pixlr - Best for Different Skill Levels

Pixlr Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser, Windows, Mac

Thumbnail Creation: 7 / 10

Easy to Use: 6 / 10

Additional Tools: 6 / 10

Key Features

  • Customizable interface
  • Design tools

Pixlr is a cloud-based photo and design editor with stylish social media templates. Add overlays, stickers, shapes, and change colors to customize a template, or start with a blank canvas. Pixlr has a Quick and Easy mode plus an Advanced Editor to cover every experience level of designers.

Best YouTube Thumbnail Maker Comparison Chart

Software PhotoDirector PicMonkey Canva Fotor Pixlr
OS Windows, Mac Web browser Web browser Web browser, Windows, Mac Web browser, Windows, Mac
Beginner-friendly Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Templates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stock Images Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
AI Tools Yes No No Yes Yes
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download

PhotoDirector vs


Windows, Mac








Stock Images



AI Tools



How to Make a Thumbnail for YouTube on Windows and Mac

Here’s how to make a thumbnail using PhotoDirector on Windows and Mac: 

  1. Import your photos using the Import button at the bottom of the Library tab. 
  2. Select the photo you want to use as your thumbnail and open the Edit tab. 
  3. Open the Guided Tools (magic wand icon on the right side), scroll down the left menu, and choose Background Removal under Improve/Remove.
  4. PhotoDirector Interface - Background Removal
  5. Under Select a brush: use the Auto select the most prominent object or brush tool to highlight the image's background. 
  6. PhotoDirector Interface - Brush Tool
  7. Choose Remove unselected area and click Apply.
  8. If needed, use the brush tool to fine-tune the edges.
  9. PhotoDirector Interface - Finetune Brush
  10. Add a color board to create a solid color background. 
  11. PhotoDirector Interface - Color Board

    You can skip this step if you have an image you would like to add underneath your cutout. Simply layer the cutout above the background image after step 8 and before step 9.

  12. Click OK to save changes to the image and continue editing.
  13. Click on the Text icon (the letter T) from the menu on the right. 
  14. PhotoDirector Interface - Add Text
  15. Click on your image where you would like the text box and write in your text. 
  16. Use the Text Menu to change your text's font, color, size, and style. 

    Move the Text box around and play with your text settings until you're happy. 

  17. Click Save/Share in the bottom left corner. 

Best Practices for YouTube Thumbnails

Here are some golden rules for making eye-catching thumbnails:

1. Add Bold Titles

Even the most beautiful image will cause viewers to scroll by if there isn’t a title. A photo of the Grand Canyon won’t tell you that the video is about “The 10 Best Sites to See in the US,” “The 5 Best Holes in the Ground,” or “Travel Tips for Visiting Arizona.”

Most people are scrolling through YouTube videos on their smartphones, meaning the thumbnails will be tiny. Make sure titles are bold, clear, and contrast with the background. The easier to see, the better.

2. Be Accurate

Omit “click-bait” with nothing to do with your actual video. If too many people click on your video and immediately turn it off, YouTube will stop featuring your video. It will also damage your brand and cause people not to click on your videos in the future.

3. Be Consistent

If you are trying to grow your brand, a consistent color scheme, font, and logo will help fans easily find your videos.

4. Use the Right Thumbnail Size

Your thumbnail will be viewed on big-screen TVs and smartphones, so make sure it looks good on any size screen. That means starting big and letting the device scale down and not vice-versa. 

YouTube guidelines state that thumbnails should be 1280 x 720p, with a minimum of 640p.

Download the Best YouTube Thumbnail Maker for Free

The best tool for creating custom thumbnails is PhotoDirector. It has professional tools used by graphic designers and professional photographers. In addition, it includes guided edits and templates plus tutorials to make it easy for beginners. 

PhotoDirector offers more effects, templates, and stock images than any other thumbnail maker, which means thumbnails made with it will stand out from the crowd. It constantly adds new features, keeping it up-to-date with the hottest trends.    

Download PhotoDirector to create a free YouTube thumbnail.

YouTube Thumbnail Maker FAQ

1. What Is a YouTube Thumbnail?

A YouTube thumbnail is a still photo that represents your video. It is the only thing viewers see when scrolling through content, so it needs to convey what your video is about in a single image.

2. How Do You Upload a Thumbnail to YouTube?

Follow the steps below to upload and share your YouTube thumbnail. Please note you need a verified account before you can upload custom thumbnails.

  1. Open YouTube Studio and sign in. 
  2. Choose Content from the menu on the left. 
  3. Select a video. 
  4. Go to Thumbnail, then Upload Thumbnail
  5. Choose your custom thumbnail. 
  6. Click Save.

3. How Do I Change a Thumbnail on YouTube?

  1. Log in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Choose Content from the menu on the left. 
  3. Choose the video you want to edit. 
  4. Go to the Thumbnail section and click on Upload Thumbnail
  5. Choose the file you want to use as your custom thumbnail. 
  6. Click Save

4. What Size Are YouTube Thumbnails?

The best size for YouTube thumbnails is 1280 X 720p, with a minimum of 640p. 

5. What Are the Requirements for YouTube Thumbnails?

Thumbnails can be no larger than 2MB and should have an aspect ratio of 16:9. They should be uploaded in image format like JPG, GIF, or PNG.

There is a Daily Custom Thumbnail Limit that varies per country and channel. 

As far as content, the thumbnail needs to follow the YouTube Community Guidelines and not contain nudity, graphic violence, or hate speech.

6. What Are Other Uses for Thumbnails?

Thumbnails are found all over the internet. They make for quicker scrolling because you can see many thumbnails at a time, whereas you can only see maybe two or three full-size images or videos at a time. 

Thumbnails are used on Pinterest to represent an article or recipe. 

Google Image Search uses thumbnails to represent the keywords typed into the search bar. 

Online stores like Amazon use thumbnails of items to help users quickly find what they need. 

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