Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easy Peasy Facebook Covers

How would you like a fancy cover for your Facebook Timeline? It's the easiest thing to do. No resizing, no templates, no messing around.

That paragraph apparently makes me a heretic because whenever I try to explain it the know-it-alls jump on it and try to get you to do it the difficult way. The stupid, time-wasting way. I'm not sure why that is other than the know-it-alls having the need to demonstrate their over-powering know-it-allness. Or the need to get you on their blog as traffic fodder.

So, without further rambling, this particular know-it-all is going to tell you the secret then you can join me in eternal banishment.

Imagine you are a normal person. A non-scrapbooker. That thing your family would like you to be! Click on the bottom right of your Facebook cover. It invites you to change the cover. What does it do then? It invites you to choose a photo.

Choose a photo.

Not set up custom size in MMS/Photoshop. Not use a template. Not resize anything.

Choose a photo.

So it stands to reason that any photo will do. After all, the normal people in the world don't have digi scrapping layouts. They have a photo.

Facebook resizes the photo to get the size it wants. Just as it will resize your layout. Ah, but, you say, it needs a cerain shape. No, it doesn't. A certain part of the layout will show but you get to move it up and down to choose the part you want. So what you need - and all you need - is a regular layout where the photos or other bits you want are in about 25% of the page. White space scrappers rejoice!

Now is the time to take a look at my cover layouts HERE. What do you see? Square layouts apart from one - the bunny one - which was a desktop layout.

Some of them lend themselves to being a Facebook cover without any tweaking, like the one I'm using today for my wedding anniversary or the one of my parents' wedding. The family tree ones are adaptations of pages I was making anyway for our family tree site. No time was wasted with tutorials and templates. I have tried the 851 x whatever templates but on my big monitor they look fuzzy. This suggests Facebook is doing something clever with its own resizing. Well done, though, those designers who offer them as freebies. It's good marketing.

Step by step, then:

1) Choose one layout you've already done where the bits you want are in about 25% of the page. They don't all have to be in a line. Don't worry, you don't have to use this as a FB cover. Unless it looks brilliant!

2) Start a new Facebook album called Facebook Cover Layouts or something to make it obvious it's not going to be your kids round the Christmas tree. MAKE THIS ALBUM PUBLIC. This is important because it's where your designer credits will be seen. Later on you will have several cover layouts in here and you can change your cover whenever you want.

3) Add your layout. IMMEDIATELY go onto your timeline and click on the menu arrow to the right of the photo. HIDE IT from your timeline or you will confuse your friends. You can upload your original 3600 x 3600 if you want to then go and make a coffee as it will take a while to upload. I save 1200 x 1200 versions of most of my pages for online sharing so I use that.

4) Go to Change Cover on your cover and select the photo. You will see that FB has reduced the size so that the full width of your layout shows. Click on Reposition Photo as slide it up and down until you get the bit you like. Does it look fantastic? Then hit SAVE. If it doesn't then don't save it. You are only doing this for practice.

Easy huh?

Now go through your layouts and see if you have any that would be good for your FB cover. If not, open a regular 12 x 12 page and start creating. You can put all your elements top of bottom or you can make a clever arty page with stuff in one corner too. Have fun. Don't forget the designer credits. Add them to the page itself (you can see where I've done that) or type them into the box when you upload the page on Facebook.

See? No need for resizing. No need for templates. No need for know-it-alls wasting your time.

Boycott MoreThan3Shared!

I can't stand having my time wasted. Maybe that comes from spending years having to account for it so the clients could get billed when I had a Proper Job. There are currently two huge timewasters for digi scrappers:

1) The pesky MoreThan3Shared site. Ok, that is funnier if you're in the UK because we have TV ads for an insurance company called More Than. I won't give its real name because Blogger hates it too.

2) Facebook Covers. The easiest thing in the world but I can bet you've had your time wasted... More in my next post. I'd like to work up to Full Rant Mode.

MoreThan3Shared has always been a pain because it makes you wait to download freebies. Can you imagine going into a supermarket where a demonstrator is giving our samples of a new product, they give it to you then say "Just stand over there for a while before eating it"? How about if they say to you "Before you eat this sample - which we are only giving you in the hope that you buy more of it - we want your personal details and email address so we can sell you other junk"?

Well, that's what MoreThan3Shared does. Enough already. Designers use freebies as a marketing tool in the hope that you will buy the associated kits (it certainly works on me). Everybody wins.There are other download services available so there is no use for wasting our vaulable time. If the link goes to MT3S click off it! Vote with your feet. Or, rather, your mouse.

Yesterday I set up a group on Facebook for those who like collecting fre3bies. You can join it HERE. I've already had snitty messages from designers moaning about the ban on MoreThan3Shared. They know where the door is.

A Tweak Here, A Tweak There ...

Mother-in-law Maureen has a huge box of photos from when she was a child. Her Dad was a keen photographer and developed most of his own photos. Sadly, that has meant the emulsion on some has degraded even more than you would expect for prints from the 1930s. I kept looking at this one after I'd scanned it and wondered what I could do with it:

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Click HERE for a larger version.

So ... I just jumped in and mostly used Paint Shop Pro 8. I have PSPX4 but it gives me a headache. I ran it through the Auto-Fix on Picnik (I really will miss that) and, of course, it brought up every little scratch. The main problem though was cloning bits to replace the missing section. Her arm still isn't right and I'll tweak it even more but it was good enough for a few pages. Here's just one made with Raspberry Road Designs' Seashells and Seashores which I love to bits as it's the right colours for the UK seaside.

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