Facebook’s new, awesome Timeline feature is rolling out to everyone, and a few early adopters have discovered a neat trick where you cut your profile picture out from your cover photo, for a very cool picture-in-picture effect. Here’s how to do it.
There are two main methods to this trick: one for those that have Photoshop (which we found via our friends at Gizmodo), and one for those that don’t. Here’s how they both work.
If You Have Photoshop
If you have a copy of Photoshop, your life has been made easy by design team Ausgetrock.net, who have put together a template and Photoshop action that makes sizing up your photo a cinch. All you need is a big photo with your desired profile picture in the bottom left area — or an overlay that you can add to the bottom left corner of a picture to represent yourself.
To put it all together, open up the Photoshop template (which looks like a Facebook profile page), paste in your picture so that it aligns correctly with the way it’ll look on your profile, then run the Photoshop action to create two images: one that you’ll upload as your profile picture, and one that you’ll upload as your cover photo. Photoshop will have cropped them correctly so the final product looks like one, big image. See the video above to see how it’s done.
If You Don’t Have Photoshop
If you’re using a free image editor, like the GIMP, you’re going to need to do a bit more trial and error. Essentially, you need to take one large photo and crop it correctly so that you end up with an 851×314 cover photo and a 125×125 profile picture. Because Facebook requires your profile picture to be at least 180×180, though, even though it resizes it to 125×125, we’re going to create our image accordingly (that is, a 180×180 profile picture, and a 1225×452 cover photo). That way, everything stays high quality and it lines up correctly. Here’s what you need to do:
- Find an image for your cover/profile picture hybrid. Make sure it’s big. The bigger, the better, as it’ll give you much more room to work. It needs to be at least 1225×508, but the more space you can give yourself on the sides, the better — especially if you’re trying to line up a specific portion of the picture as your profile pic (like we did in the above Spider-Man example). If your image is too small, you may not get things to align correctly and you’ll be out of luck.
- Find a square portion of the image that you want to be your profile picture. In the example at the top of this post, I used Spider-Man’s face. Resize the entire image so that that square is 180×180 pixels, if necessary.
- Crop out that 180×180 square and save it as your profile picture. Once it’s saved, hit Undo so you go back to a view of the full image. That square should still be selected, so don’t unselect it yet. We need it to judge which portion of the full image is our cover photo.
- Grab the left edge of that 180×180 square, and drag it to the left 80 pixels, so that the square becomes a 220×180 selection. Then, grab the bottom edge and drag it up 56 pixels, so your selection becomes a small 220×124 rectangle. At no point in this step should you have moved the selection — just drag the edges.
- Grab the right edge of that selection and drag it out until the selection is 1225 pixels wide, then grab the top edge and drag it up until it’s 452 pixels tall. Crop the photo there, and save that new image as your cover photo.
- Upload each of those images to Facebook in their respective spots — cover photo and profile picture — and let your freinds’ jealousy start flowing.
If you did everything correctly, you should get something like the image at the top of this post, where everything aligns to form one big, cool, picture-in-picture effect. If not, go back and try again. This method can take a bit of trial and error sometimes before you get it working. You may also find (as I did, with the Spider-Man image) that the image isn’t wide or tall enough to fit the dimensions you need.
In some photos, like the Spider-Man one, you can use the clone stamp tool to extend the edge of the photo outwards, or do some fancy photo editing to get things to fit. If not, you’ll have to find a new cover photo, sadly. Again: the bigger your source image, the better. Try it out for yourself, and if you get some pretty cool results, share them with us in the comments below!