I've noticed that a lot of South African Youtube Channels (Including my personal channel) are not customized as it should be. Look below images for before and after on my channel.
1. An image editing program like Photoshop or a free alternative Gimp.
2. A YouTube channel which is for free and you can link it to your gmail account.
3. To use FireFox or another web browser that supports this add-on: Diigo
4. Need images that you want to add to your channel to flow with what you mostly video-blog about
5. You need to know how to edit those images to mask it and take out the backgrounds.
If you don't want to do the above, then make sure you choose images with the same background colors and you make background color setting in YouTube the same color.
Optional get images of the Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Google +, Stumbelupon etc. badges so you can make it stand out in the background following to your Facebook, Twitter etc. links in your channel box. Also you need to know how to draw arrows in Gimp or Photoshop. See below for example
Ok by now you think this is really hard, but it's actually quite simple if you follow my steps below:
1. Open your browser and go to your YouTube channel. You need to fill in your details carefully because if you change it later on it will interrupt the Facebook, Twitter etc. badges.
So after you fill in your details, take a screenshot of your entire channel page with Diigo add on:
With Diigo, sign up with them and have their toolbar and select the arrow next to the Capture button and select Capture Entire Page. Let it upload to your Diigo library, and select original size and right click to save it.
2. That Screenshot is basically your template but you need the right size and you need to remove the middle Unsaved playlist block seen below.
So open it up in Gimp or Photoshop and crop the top part before the Unsaved playlist and press Enter. Change the canvas size to 1260 by 2000 pixels and click yes if it says the canvas is bigger than the new assigned dimensions. Save it as a Gimp or PS file.
Open the screen capture again in Gimp or PS and crop the bottom part as I did below. And place the bottom part in the Gimp or PS file we created above and align it correctly to the top as seen below.
We have to make sure we placed both of them correctly. So make sure your rulers are out and place your channel box 10 pixels from the top and 150 pixels from the left. As seen below. Merge the top and bottom layers for ease and name it channel.
3. Now our template is ready but we need to delete the white background. So select the shape tool and choose the round rectangle and make the radius 5 pixels.
Draw the rectangle above the channel box. To make sure you do it right, zoom in as much as you can so you get edge to edge. Go to paths and select the convert path to selection button at the bottom. Marching ants should be seen.
Once converted, make sure you select the channel layer and go to Select - Inverse and press CMD + X or Ctrl + X. The background should be cleared. As seen below
4. Now you can add your images or badges to customize your channel background the way you want. Remember to place all your images and extras in layers below your channel layer to see what it looks like.
For adding and making sure your badges are aligned properly, place it 20 pixels lower. The Unsaved playlist part took an extra 20 pixels. See below for how I positioned them.
BTW I made my own MyDigitalLife badge.
5. Once you have done customizing it to your liking. Hide the channel layer and Save for web and devices and save it as a JPEG High.
Then login to your Youtube account and go to Themes and Colors- Advanced Options and at the bottom upload your JPEG as a background image and a preview will be shown below!
And your done :) You can edit the colors for your text, links etc. To match your background. See my final channel customized how I wanted it below.
If you have any issues please comment and let me know. As for advice on using Gimp, I haven't used it in over a year so my knowledge is lacking for newer versions.