Avatar and Facebook profile cover are a unique means of expression and an opportunity to stand out among other users. These two images are completely independent of each other. The avatar is displayed next to any comments and user statuses, and the cover is visible only on your personal page. But what if you develop such an avatar and a cover that will be part of a single design?
In this lesson we will learn how to create a cover on which you hold in your hand a card with your avatar. Thus, we will unite two separate elements within one design.
If you do not have time, you can buy ready-made templates for social networks and Facebook covers on the Envato Market.
Analyzing the workspace
Facebook has an interesting approach to posting avatars and covers. But before we start work, we must find out what the limitations are. There is nothing worse than to encounter problems that were not initially considered.
Regarding the profile graphics, there are several hard and fast rules to follow:
– The cover must be exactly 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high. If the picture has other options, Facebook will automatically cut it or stretch it to the desired size.
– An avatar should be square, on a computer it is displayed in the size of 160 x 160 pixels (smaller on mobile devices). It is strange that Facebook does not allow uploading images of exactly this size (160 x 160). By the way, the minimum size of a picture that Facebook allows to set as an avatar is 180 x 180 pixels.
– Around the avatar, in any case, there will always be a white outline. It is registered in the source code, and we can not change it in any way. But we will try to take this into account in the design.
To facilitate our work, a psd-file is attached to this lesson.
2. We select photos
The concept of my design is as follows: the cover image shows the main picture with me, in which I hold the card in my avatar in my hand. Instead of the photographs that I hold in my hands, I used ordinary white cards, to which we later impose pictures.
The most difficult was to take a picture for the cover. The allowable resolution is rather inconvenient, which is why I had to hold the cards too high, and this does not look natural and easy.
Having finished with a picture for the cover, we need to take some more different photos. Show your creativity and experiment with clothes, postures and additional attributes. It is important that all the photos are different, but visually something unites them, for example, it can be the same background and camera settings.
3. Cover layout
The template uses smart objects, thanks to which the exported photos will always be placed exactly pixel by pixel. But inside a smart object it is quite difficult to correctly place the object. Therefore, first we will select the most successful position of the photo on the template, and then transfer it to the smart object.
Open the file with the template in Photoshop. Then go File – PlaceLinked (File – Place Linked) to import our photo into the template. Place the picture immediately above the layer with the cover.
On the layer with our image, press the key combination Alt + Ctrl + G or go to Layer – CreateClippingMask (Layer – Create Clipping Mask) to convert the photo to a clipping mask. Thus, the visibility of the photo will depend on the boundaries of the layer to which this photo is attached, like a clipping mask.
Move on Edit – FreeTransform (Editing – Free Transformation) to make the nodal points for editing, scale and rotate the image until the photo fits well into the space reserved for the cover.
It is unlikely that after scaling photos fit perfectly into the template. Here in this case, the limited size of the cover is really useful. The idea is to use two copies of the image: one to cut out the arm area with the avatar, and the other to fit the rest of the photo. This will allow us to create the highest quality and realistic results.
Duplicate photo Layer – DuplicateLayer (Layer – Duplicate Layer) (Ctrl + J). Then convert the copy to a clipping mask. Layer – CreateClippingMask (Layer – create clipping mask) (Alt + ctrl + G).
Take RectangularMarqueeTool (M) (Rectangular selection) and select the area of the hand that holds the avatar. Then, using the selection form, create a clipping mask for the copy of the image. Layer – LayerMask – RevealSelection (Layer – Layer Mask – Show selected areas). Now we will not see any changes, because under the masked layer we have a copy of the photo.
Select the original layer with the photo and activate the free transformation Edit – FreeTransform (Editing – Free Transformation) (Ctrl + T) to correct the location of the photo, while making sure that the rest of the cards are clearly visible.
With the Shift key pressed on the layers panel, select both copies of the photo. Then combine them together. Layer – MergeLayers (Layer – Merge layers) (Ctrl + E).
When finished with positioning, further editing of the photos will take place inside the smart object with the cover. Make sure the photo layer is active, then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer thumbnail on the layers panel to load its selection. Next, go Edit – Copy (Edit – Copy) (Ctrl + C) to copy the selected area.
4. Create effects on the cover.
Now we have to transfer the finished cover to the smart object and complete the creation of the desired effect. I decided to make the photo black and white and increase the contrast. You can do the same or come up with something of your own!
Double click on the smart object with the cover to open it for editing. Then go Edit – Paste (Edit – Paste) (Ctrl + V) to paste the area copied in the previous step to a new layer.
We use QuickSelectionTool (W) (Quick selection) to select a model with cards and separate them from the background. Next, use the selection to create a mask. Layer – LayerMask – Reveal Selection (Layer – Mask Layer – Show selected areas).
We select the appropriate background and insert it into the smart object. I chose a blurred city photo from the Envato Market website.
If necessary, adjust the background. For example, you can add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and increase the brightness of the background.
Go to the menu File – Place (File – Post) (Embedded (Built-in) or Linked (Connected)) and add one of the additional photos that we took at the beginning of the lesson. Scale it, rotate it and move it to place it on the card in the opposite hand from the avatar. Change the photo blending mode to Multiply (Multiply) to keep the image shading on the cover and not to overlap it with the image.
Again take QuickSelectionTool (W) (Quick selection) and select the fingers, then move Layer – LayerMask – HideSelection (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide selected areas).
Add other photos using the method described above. We add masks to remove unnecessary areas and create the appearance that each card is a new shot.
Hold the Alt key and go to Layer – MergeVisible (Layer – Merge visible) to merge all visible layers on a separate new one. Then convert this layer into a smart object. Layer – SmartObjects – ConverttoSmartObject (Layer – Smart Object – Convert to Smart Object).
Move on Filter – CameraRawFilter (Filter – Camera Raw) and tab Basic (Basic) we enter the following settings:
Exposure (Exposure): +0.30
Highlights (Light): +88
Shadows (Shadows): +42
Whites (White): +86
Clarity (Sharpness): +37
Saturation (Saturation): -76
Switch to the tab Effects (Effects) and enter the following settings:
Dehaze (Smoke removal): +26
Post Crop Vignetting (Vignetting) Amount (Quantity): -33
After applying the Camera Raw filter, click on the filter mask on the layers panel. Around the three cards create a selection and fill it with black color. Edit – Fill (Editing – Fill) (Contents (Content) install on Black (The black)). Thanks to this we will remove the black and white effect on the cards.
Save the file with the cover and return to the document with the template. Hide or delete the photo layer for the cover that we used at the beginning to position it correctly so that we can see the new cover created in the smart object.
5. We work with the avatar
Now we can do an avatar! Despite the fact that Facebook avatars are only 180 x 180 pixels in size, it will be better if we create a large image. In our template, you can work with an avatar up to 1000 pixels wide and high.
Double click on the smart object Profile–Blank (Profile-empty) to open it. Note that the source file is significantly larger than the required 180 pixels. The higher the quality of the original image, the better the installed avatar will look.
Go to the menu File – Place (File – Post) (Embedded (Built-in) or Linked (Connected)) to insert the selected photo into a smart object with an avatar. Then save the file, but do not close it!
Go back to the template file to check what the avatar looks like with our photo. It turned out well, but the realism of the result depends largely on the light shadow from the fingers. Do not forget that we can not make any manipulations with a white stroke, so the shadow on the avatar should be barely noticeable.
In the template above the avatar layer create a new layer for the shadow. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer thumbnail with the avatar to load its selection. Then we take a soft round brush (B) with a low opacity of gray and carefully apply the shadows under the fingers.
Using MoveTool (V) (Move), transfer the shadow layer to the smart object with the avatar. Then go Edit – FreeTransform (Edit – Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) and adjust the shadow to the size of the avatar. If due to scaling pixels become noticeable, take BrushTool (B) (Brush) and modify the shadow.
Again, save the smart object and check how the avatar looks in the template. Delete the shadow layer in the template to check if the shadow remains in the smart object.
Open smart objects with avatar and cover. Then go File – Export – ExportAs (File – Export – Export as) and save each file in JPG format with 100% quality (Facebook itself compresses the quality of the pictures).