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06-21-2017, 08:58 PM   #1
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Need help with Facebook Cover Photo Scaling

I've been charged with creating our school's P&C facebook page. I'm aware that Facebooks cover page dimensions are 851x315. I followed this tutorial here with one of my images for testing (taken with a K-50).

My problem is once scaled to fit approximately (and there is some parts missing due to the aspect ratio differences, but that's fine), the image just looks ghastly pixelated and not preserving sharpness or details that are seen on the full res file. Should I be compressing/resizing the image somewhat in LR first and then try the steps in the tutorial again? Do i need to change the Resolution-Pixels/Inch etc?

Basically I'm going to hit this issue a lot in future, as it's best to change the cover pictures frequently to create activity and traction for the group, so I need to know how I might be able to shoot pictures with my K-1 and make changes to a finished file that will be better optimized for a facebook cover (same goes for when I start my own business and use my work for cover photos for my page eventually)...

Cheers,

Bruce

06-21-2017, 10:39 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Your best bet is to pre-scale the image to the exact dimensions. When scaling by only a small amount, the image quality can be significantly impacted.

Alternatively, upload a large file and use facebook's online system to crop it.

Adam
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06-22-2017, 05:26 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Basically I'm going to hit this issue a lot in future, as it's best to change the cover pictures frequently to create activity and traction for the group, so I need to know how I might be able to shoot pictures with my K-1 and make changes to a finished file that will be better optimized for a facebook cover (same goes for when I start my own business and use my work for cover photos for my page eventually)...
Yea, as Adam said.
If you use Photoshop you can input the canvas dimensions. I actually do it double the dimensions, but exact right aspect ratio. Then when you export/save the jpeg, make sure it is sRGB, compression at max quality 100 (no compression, no loss), and none of that Optimized or Progressive.
Basically, you want to do all of the work so that facebook doesn't do the work for you. Because it will do a poor job. This does not go just for facebook, but for pretty much any website - most websites will resize or crop or recompress images if they don't fit their exact criteria. And when they do that, they make the overall quality worse.

Edit: Here, look at the attachment. This is what I would do before uploading it. I took the photo from your Flickr link, then made it slightly darker, cropped it, resized it, added sharpening. Will delete the attachment soon, just wanted to show you. Feel free to download the attachment and try using it, see if it looks okay. If this was my raw, I would actually do more PP, like adding more contrast, film grain (to keep sky from banding), more saturation.. You can do all this in Photoshop or RawTherapee (free)
Edit2: attachment deleted

Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-22-2017 at 01:39 PM.
06-22-2017, 08:22 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I have read a couple articles that say you should keep the file size below 98k. This has to do with Facebook using their own color space called tiny sgb. Otherwise you can get a lot of artifacts especially with red colors when they compress it. Definitely keep it at 851 by 315 pixels or 1702 by 630 pixels. Resolution only affects printing so it does not apply.

06-22-2017, 01:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Yea, as Adam said.
If you use Photoshop you can input the canvas dimensions. I actually do it double the dimensions, but exact right aspect ratio. Then when you export/save the jpeg, make sure it is sRGB, compression at max quality 100 (no compression, no loss), and none of that Optimized or Progressive.
Basically, you want to do all of the work so that facebook doesn't do the work for you. Because it will do a poor job. This does not go just for facebook, but for pretty much any website - most websites will resize or crop or recompress images if they don't fit their exact criteria. And when they do that, they make the overall quality worse.

Edit: Here, look at the attachment. This is what I would do before uploading it. I took the photo from your Flickr link, then made it slightly darker, cropped it, resized it, added sharpening. Will delete the attachment soon, just wanted to show you. Feel free to download the attachment and try using it, see if it looks okay. If this was my raw, I would actually do more PP, like adding more contrast, film grain (to keep sky from banding), more saturation.. You can do all this in Photoshop or RawTherapee (free)
Ok, thanks for that. I downloaded your image and compared to what I managed and yours is sharper and more detailed (forgetting the other stuff such as better lighting/contrast etc). Ok, so treat me like an idiot... if I am going to be continually doing this sorta thing, am I best to open a new saved preset everytime i fire up photoshop (such as 'fb cover' with 851x315), and then do all that stuff that site recommends such as open up the image you want, 'Duplicate Layer' etc..., or is that simply not necessary, just instead opening up the file you want as your fb cover, and then changing canvas size/image size etc? I know it's silly, but I would appreciate a step by step account of exactly what you did as your version came out significantly better than mine, and I think I did (at the time) do the same stuff as you in terms of 'max quality 100, Optimized/Progressive off' etc... :S The steps; cropping, resizing and adding sharpening specifically might help.

Cheers!

Bruce (the idiot)
06-22-2017, 01:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
and then do all that stuff that site recommends such as open up the image you want, 'Duplicate Layer' etc..., or is that simply not necessary, just instead opening up the file you want as your fb cover, and then changing canvas size/image size etc? I know it's silly, but I would appreciate a step by step account of exactly what you did as your version came out significantly better than mine, and I think I did (at the time) do the same stuff as you in terms of 'max quality 100, Optimized/Progressive off' etc... :S The steps; cropping, resizing and adding sharpening specifically might help.
I didn't do it like that. The workflow depends on your software. Here is one way I would do it, just off the top of my head:
a) Open the dng in Photoshop.
b) Do the PP in the CameraRaw dialog. You can do more later, just try to get it as close to right as you can. Don't overdo the contrast and stuff, but don't be too shy
c) Now you have the image open in PS. I always right click Background and then 'Layer from background', and then I duplicate the layer so that if I make a mistake, I have the bottom most layer as the original
d) Duplicate the layer again, and apply Filter, Other, Highpass. A relatively small number, between 0.8-1.9. It should be the number that makes things look 'in focus' but not 'prickly' (number too small) or 'blocky' (number too big)
e) turn the Highpass layer blending mode to Overlay and lower its opacity down to 50 - 70 %. Zoom in to 100% and play with the opacity until it looks good, but not oversharpened.
f) Crop photo to 1702x630 aspect ratio. Grab the crop tool and input those numbers to get the exact aspect ratio. Select the crop that you want, it can be just a part of the photo, as long as the aspect is right.
g) Resize. PS has a dialog for resizing and it offers different rescaling algorithms. It tells you which is best for reduction - choose that one (or automatic) and resize to 1702. If the other number does not align perfectly to 630, you can crop off one or two pixels after resizing
h) Now grab the layer beneath the Highpass one. The one that is a copy of the original background. Select that, and then go Filter, Sharpening, Smart sharpen. Look at the image at 100% when you do this
i) You can do more adjustments now, like finalizing contrast and saturation (levels, curves, use whatever you wish, or all of it. I do small adjustment with a lot of those, so the small adjustments stack up without looking too harsh)
j) If the sky is banding or there is posterization, add Film grain or Noise (monochrome, choose the %. Whatever is the minimum % that makes the banding go away)
k) If the photo looks a bit over the top, as in too sharp or too noisy, you can lower the opacity of that layer a little bit. You have the original Background layer behind as the base
l) If you want to add text or something you can add it now. Text tool, add new layer, choose font, etc. Keep colours harmonic and make sure it is readable. Avoid Comic sans
m) File, Save for web or devices, choose color space (sRGB), disable progressive and optimized, and set compression to highest quality.
n) Send me $100 for this wonderful tutorial.

If you use something like Lightroom as well as PS, I would do everything in Lightroom, except for the final resizing, cropping, and sharpening. I would export the file as 16bit uncompressed tiff from LR, work on that file in PS, and then delete the tiff when the upload of the final jpeg is successful. You can use RawTherapee as well, though it has a steeper learning curve

I don't do this process on all my photos, or even many of them. I would only do it to share a small thumbnail online, for web purposes. And I would adjust the process per photo. Normally I just use Lightroom or RawTherapee and nothing else. I don't crop unless there is something terrible in the frame. I only resize for web sharing.

Edit: Oh, and Noise Reduction, if you shot at high ISO. NR should be done near the beginning, before the first sharpening. Note that resizing the photo so much will remove a lot of the noise anyway, so don't apply a lot of NR. NR removes some detail, creates artifacts.. Lens CA correction should be done near the beginning, as well. Probably before the other things. LR does it automatically after you set it up. I think the CameraRaw dialog has this option somewhere

Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-22-2017 at 02:09 PM.
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