exact steps (with screen shot as proof) for uploading Facebook profile pic without artifacts
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I had posted something similar before but this time I'm asking for exact steps all the way through, including what exact program to install and what menu options to pick. Also, I would like a screen shot as proof that your steps work, before proceeding :) (part of why I'm paying $25)

I have a photo:
and I want to use a cropped square around my head as my Facebook profile pic. However, Facebook keeps introducing artifacts into the picture every time I try to upload a cropped version. Here you can see the original on the right, and Facebook's degraded version on the left:

So I want exact instructions on how to take a square from that photo, and post it as my profile pic. Requirements:
- Any software used must be freeware and must work on Windows. I would prefer a solution that uses software that can be downloaded and installed, rather than a web-based tool, because I don't want to be dependent on a web-based tool that might be removed someday. But if you only know how to do it using a web-based tool, that's fine.
- Please verify first that your steps work, all the way through to setting the picture as a profile picture. So, take the photo that I've linked to, crop it down to the face, do whatever magic you have to do to prevent the artifacting from happening, then upload it to Facebook either as your own temporary profile picture, or as a profile picture for a dummy Facebook account that you set up. Then take a screen shot of the Facebook profile, with the non-artifacted version of the photo displayed as the profile pic. Then in your solution, post a link to the screen shot.

I'm requiring the screen shot because it's very tempting to think that you have an idea which "might" work, but I've spent days trying to solve this problem using suggestions from people who think their idea "might" work, but something obscure went wrong at the last step. So now I'm requiring proof that the suggestion does work :) So in your "solution", please include a link to a screen shot.


I see almost no difference between the 2 images in http://peacefire.org/original-vs-facebook-artifacts.bmp ... are you just talking about the slight differences in color? because those are caused by the fact that facebook compresses photos and will change the format which (AFAIK) you cannot do anything about... aside from, perhaps, applying custom dithering to the photo before uploading it, or uploading a larger image. But neither of those would fully solve your issue, they would just (maybe) slightly reduce the noticeably of it. However, you really shouldn't worry about it cause you still look great in both - it's not like they slap a watermark on it or something. If there is some larger "artifacts" that i'm missing, please tell me and i'll try to come up with a solution
slang over 6 years ago
@slang800 I think the image on the left looks a lot graininer on a normal monitor display, even if the colors are the same. Moreover I looked at several friend's profile pictures and none of them had this problem. So it can apparently be done, I'm just looking for someone who knows how to do it.
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
I agree with slang800. However, you might try converting and saving to a bmp first. Close paint - so the image isn't in memory. Then reopen it and load your saved bmp, and see if that has artifacts. If not, upload that, and see if it still has artifacts.
elwood over 6 years ago
awarded to kc00l

Crowdsource coding tasks.

1 Solution

Winning solution

The file you provide is of too low resolution, 960x640 (less than 1 megapixel, if you do the math http://web.forret.com/tools/megapixel.asp?width=960&height=640) and it's already grainy even before cropping for a head shot.

The screenshot comparison of the two images are both grainy, I see no difference in resolution. On the other hand the image processed by the facebook engine has more visible color artefacts but that is almost inevitable, especially with a low resolution file.

I just uploaded your original 960x640 jpeg to my dummy facebook account, http://www.facebook.com/l00ck, and tried to set it as my profile picture by cropping the image directly in facebook. As you can see the point of view is a bit larger than those of the comparison screenshot you provide, explaining the graininess.

As I said above, the only solution is to provide a higher resolution copy of your original picture, 2 or 3 megapixel should be enough. You could then either crop the image before uploading to FB or just use the integrated cropping tool which does its job and its faster.

I can post a full workflow with screenshots if you provide a higher resolution file.


Have a look at your profile pic in my dummy FB account : https://www.facebook.com/l00ck

This is the comparison between low/high resolution images and cropped before upload or directly using Facebook cropper : https://www.dropbox.com/s/qwsyow3bql49e58/comparison.jpg

I prefer the narrower crop you can do outside Facebook to the wider square the Facebook crop engine imposes, but overall the quality seems comparable to me.

I'm quite confident you don't need a 22 megapixel for a Facebook picture, but the original 640 × 960 image was of too low resolution. The lower the pixel count the uglier the artefacts induced by the Facebook engine resizing. On the other hand even entry level smartphones output at least 5 megapixel pictures, while 13 megapixel cameras can be found on flagship phones.

I didn't need any exotic software to do the whole thing, a simple Microsoft Paint or a more complex Gimp should do the trick. Anyway the final picture will always be in the hands of the compression engine used by Facebook.


These are the exact steps to create the image to upload to facebook :

  1. open the 22 megapixel with any image editor
  2. crop a square having a 180 x N pixel side (for your 3840 x 5760 I used a 6 factor to obtain the same crop you used with the low resolution image).
  3. save in jpeg with 100% quality
  4. open your facebook profile and click on "Edit profile picture" and upload the final image
  5. done (Facebook engine should not propose to crop the picture since image dimensions are a multiple of 180 px, or maybe because it has a square aspect).
Oh OK. When I said "lower resolution", I suppose I was using that term incorrectly and I was referring to the color artifacts. However even if I'm starting with a low-res photo, my issue is that Facebook is making the photo worse. If you know the algorithm by which Facebook alters the colors, is there a way to "game" the system by setting the colors of your photo before you upload it, so it will still look the same or almost the same after Facebook alters it? Some of my friends' profile pictures that clearly don't have artifacting: https://www.facebook.com/cameron.w0ng https://www.facebook.com/charlielynn.stemler https://www.facebook.com/helenyuyu Are you saying that the only way they avoided the artifacts was to upload 2+ megapixel photos to begin with?
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
If you start with a higher resolution photo the averaging/smoothing/interpolating processing actions have higher chances to produce a better cropped image. The photos of the profiles you linked are ok, but honestly your profile picture seems ok as well. I know it's frustrating, but don't be too picky with profile pictures especially considering the final picture dimensions imposed by FB would always be too small and that's the main problem. I would gladly try to provide you a less artefacted profile picture if you have a higher resolution photo to start with.
kc00l over 6 years ago
OK I will ask the original photographer again if she can email me a copy of the picture. I know the picture doesn't look terrible anyway, however I've had experiences before where I tried uploading very simple graphic logos to a company page on Facebook, and the logos looked horribly after uploading because of the artifacting. Big professional companies don't have that kind of problem when they upload their logos, so I figured there must be some way to avoid it. I wondered why my friends didn't have that problem with their photos because I was pretty sure they didn't all have 3-megapixel photos to upload. I will update if I hear back from my friend with the high-res original photos.
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
OK here's the original, all 22 megapixels of it: http://peacefire.org/camano1.large.jpg Can you try uploading it to a dummy profile page to see if it looks less artifacted than my friend's pictures? While still keeping my head roughly the same size as it was in the original shown here? http://peacefire.org/original-vs-facebook-artifacts.bmp Thanks!
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
The bounty has expired. Could you please republish it ?
kc00l over 6 years ago
Just a quick word to tell you I have managed to create a better quality profile picture. Waiting for you to reopen the bounty for details :)
kc00l over 6 years ago
The expiration only means people can't post new solutions. But I still have 1 more day where I can approve the solution that you posted. So if you tell me in comments how to make it work I can still approve your solution and you get the bounty :)
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
Oops, sorry, didn't know that :) I'll edit the solution now.
kc00l over 6 years ago
Thanks, the profile picture does look non-artifacted now! Can you post the exact steps for how you created it in Paint, starting with the 22-megapixel jpeg? (To create the "crop before upload" picture that you created.) e.g.: (1) Resize the picture to 25% of its original dimensions, (2) mark out a square area exactly 180x180 pixels (or whatever), (3) crop to that selection and save as (as what, a jpeg? bitmap? etc.). I'm sure I could experiment and figure it out, but I just want to go through this once. And since there are several steps where I might make the wrong choice and ruin the final result (e.g. saving as jpeg instead of bmp, or cropping in the wrong dimensions), it's easier just to know exactly what to do.
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
Thanks. I turns out that when you said crop to "180xN", some values of N work better than others. I tried shrinking down the original by a factor of 6 and then cropping a 180x180 image, but that came out artifacted after I uploaded it. So then I shrunk down the original large picture by 50% and cropped a 540x540 image, and that uploaded without any artifacting. (I figured this out after I went back to your profile picture, and saw that among your attempts, you had uploaded a 180x180 one, and then a 540x540 one, and it was the 540x540 one that looked the best.)
bennetthaselton over 6 years ago
Thanks for accepting my solution. It's weird, I remember uploading a 1080 x 1080 pixel image. Maybe Facebook resized it to 540x540. Have a nice day !
kc00l over 6 years ago