Pimp Your Facebook: How To Create An Awesome Timeline Banner

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 851x314 cover photo and a 125x125 profile picture. Because Facebook requires your profile picture to be at least 180x180, though, even though it resizes it to 125x125, we're going to create our image accordingly (that is, a 180x180 profile picture, and a 1225x452 cover photo). That way, everything stays high quality and it lines up correctly. Here's what you need to do:

  1. 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 1225x508, 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.
  2. 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 180x180 pixels, if necessary.
  3. Crop out that 180x180 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.
  4. Grab the left edge of that 180x180 square, and drag it to the left 80 pixels, so that the square becomes a 220x180 selection. Then, grab the bottom edge and drag it up 56 pixels, so your selection becomes a small 220x124 rectangle. At no point in this step should you have moved the selection — just drag the edges.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!


    I didn't really follow your instructions, mainly because I know how to use both GIMP and Photoshop but the dimensions I needed really came in handy so, thanks for that! :D

    I thought people were resistant to the facebook timeline?
    If you say its awesome than Im going to be all sheep like and make the switch now.

    Mind you, I have just had four drinks of vodka and am about to head out for a night on the town. Im susceptible to almost anything.

      The timeline is one of the best things Facebook has done. People just don't like change, even if its for the better.
      Try it.

    If you use GIMP, a user on the US site has posted a template

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    So, Facebook becomes more like MySpace. Good to know.

      You've never been on MySpace, have you?

    oh man, I have the funniest mental image of the character that thinks it's cool and quirky to do this. I think the adults will take the high road on this one.

    I used the photoshop template and the images are not aligning properly on fb. IT appears FB is now giving a "realign" option after the upload which doesn't seem to be present in the movie. Anyone else getting alignment probs?

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