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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie I'll show you how to create a Facebook profile picture that matches your cover art. Right now I'm looking at that cover art that we created in the previous movie, but I need to bring back that inset profile picture, so I'm going to have to change out the layer mask that's associated with this blue rock layer, down here toward the bottom of the stack. So I'll right-click on the existing layer mask and choose Delete Layer Mask just to get rid of it. And then I'll switch over to my Channels panel and I'll Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Mac, on that Frames channel in order to load it up as a selection outline.
Then I'll switch back to the Layers panel and drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel and click on it, and that brings back that inset profile picture in the form of this big gradient D. When you're looking at the profile picture against the cover art, it appears 160 pixels tall by 160 pixels wide. However, you cannot submit your profile picture at those dimensions, because Facebook will not accept any profile picture that's smaller than 180 pixels by 180 pixels, always square by the way.
And Facebook recommends that you create your profile pictures 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall. So the first thing we want to do is crop the artwork to 160 pixels, and you do that by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command, and this assumes by the way that you're working inside of a layered piece of artwork and that the background, if you have one, is blank. And the reason that's so important is because the Canvas Size command will retain all the pixels on all of your layers, except the background. That's the only one that will get cropped.
Next, you want to switch from Inches to Pixels, and you want to make sure that Relative is turned off, as it is for me. Change both your Width and your Height values to 160 pixels like so, and then click on the bottom left square here in order to crop away the top right region and click OK. Photoshop will give you a very misleading error message that suggests that it's actually going to clip away pixels. It's not going to, so just go ahead and click the Proceed button, and you'll see that your profile picture is still somewhat visible inside of the window.
We need to nudge it into the proper place, so press Ctrl+Alt+A or Command+Option+A on the Mac to select all of your layers inside the Layers panel, and then you want to press Control+Shift+Down Arrow, that's Command+Shift+Down Arrow on the Mac. You want to go and scoot this artwork over as well; I'm pressing a combination of Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow, along with Command+ Shift+Left Arrow on the Mac. And you just want to make sure that you're not seeing any white around the edges, like that. If you do, just nudge it back. And you should see the artwork absolutely centered.
Now I was telling you in the previous movie that most of my layers are either vector layers or they're smart objects, meaning that I can scale them anytime I want to. And I'll do that by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Image Size command, or you can press Ctrl+Alt+I or Command+Option+I on the Mac. Now when the Image Size dialog box comes up on screen, you want to make sure that all three of these check boxes down here at the bottom are turned on. I also recommend that you set the Interpolation to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients).
And then we'll go ahead and dial in those values that Facebook recommends, that is 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall. And finally, go ahead and click OK in order to scale your artwork. It might take a few moments for it to happen depending on how complicated your artwork is, but we now have a profile picture that we can use. What you want to do is go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web, and again, I'm going to go with the JPEG format, just as I did in the previous movie. But because we have a very small piece of artwork that we're working with here, and Facebook is going to go ahead and resample it, I recommend that you crank up the Quality setting to Maximum, and that way at least you're giving Facebook the best quality image you can.
And then go ahead and click the Save button in order to save your changes. Now I've already done this in advance, so I'm going to Cancel out. And I'm going to switch back over to Facebook here. And then what you do is you hover over your existing profile picture and you click on Edit Profile Picture, you click on the little button there, and then you choose Upload Photo. And again, that's how it works now as I'm recording this movie, you never know when these kinds of things are going to change. And then after that point, you go ahead and locate your file on disk and follow the instructions from there on.
Now there's one more thing I want to show you about profile pictures. Notice that everything aligns just perfectly where the cover and the profile picture are concerned. Facebook is automatically downsampling that image to 160 pixels wide by 160 pixels tall, but elsewhere where you see your profile picture, it's going to appear cropped. Let me show you something. I'm going to switch back to Photoshop. Here is the cropping that occurs. Assuming that you scaled your artwork to 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall, go ahead and make sure your Rectangular Marquee tool is selected, then go up to the Options bar and choose Fixed Size, and dial in a Width value of 176 pixels and a Height value of 176 pixels.
And this will allow you to preview your crop. Then just go ahead and click in the upper left corner of the image like this and press Shift+Down Arrow, then Down Arrow twice, then Shift+Right Arrow, and Right Arrow twice, and that will go ahead and scoot the selection 12 pixels down and 12 pixels to the right, thereby exactly centering it inside of the image. This is the crop zone right there, so anything outside that selection is going to get cropped away when you're seeing the profile picture by itself. And you just have to make sure you're comfortable with that.
Or there's one other alternative that's available to you. I'll go ahead and switch back over to Facebook. The other option is to click on Edit Profile Picture like so, and then choose Edit Thumbnail. You've got this option right here, Scale to fit, and if you turn it on, it's going to go ahead and scale the D in my case, to fit inside of this area. It doesn't affect the profile picture that appears along with the cover art, it just affects other variations on the profile picture, the ones that get cropped.
And then you would click Save in order to update. In my case I don't want that to happen, I actually like the cropped version of the D, because that gets rid of that little bit of brush at the top, so I'm going to go ahead and Cancel out of here. And that friends is how you go about creating an absolutely stunning profile picture that absolutely matches your Facebook cover art using Photoshop.
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