How-To: Photoshop Face Replacement
Sometimes when I browse around the web I see images that match others pretty well and wonder what it would look like to marry them together. I used to do this all the time, back in the day, when Photoshop was still “new hotness” and digital airbrushing was something I could make a living on. Thankfully, in all those years, I learned a few things, most importantly – how to not waste time.
So, in light of saving time and enabling creativity, I give you the “Six Fast and Easy Steps For Swapping Out A Face in Photoshop”:
We’re going to be making Sergey Brin, rockin’ the Project Glass things from Google, into Iron Man. Why? Because the source files really fit, and the message of Project Glass really resonates a sort of, “Stark Industries” kind of feel with me… even though they’re not weaponry.
Here we have 2 layers in Photoshop. Thanks to a quick Google Image search for “Tony Stark” I was able to find a photo from the film at about the right angle. As an added bonus, their expression was nearly the same. One thing you’ll notice if you do the search is that I had to “Horizontal Flip” the Tony Stark Image.
Clickstream: Select Layer > Ctrl + T (transform tool) > Right Click Canvas > Flip Horizontal
The size of Stark versus Sergey is off. Now, the image I pulled of Stark was a lot larger than the one I found of Sergey.
Rule: Reduce, don’t expand. It’s better to start with an image that’s too large than have to work with an image that’s too small.
A trick I learned a while back while matching up layer sizing is to simply make the top layer 80% Opacity
Clickstream: Select the top layer > In the LAYERS pane > “Opacity” (top right) > Change from 100% to ~80%
Now, select the bottom layer and using the “Transform Tool” from above, down-size the layer, and match up the eyes from each to be about the same.
Quick Tip: Holding down the SHIFT key while re-sizing something constrains the proportions, so you don’t end up with a distorted Stark under the Sergey.
You should end up with something like this:
See how that lines up? The top layer is probably about 90% Opacity in this. The neck line isn’t too far off, and the eyes are basically spot on. The added bonus here was that Sergey rocked a beard.
Since this isn’t “super serious Client-judo” I use something designers call “destructive blending”, it’s a fancy term for “using the eraser”. Getting rid of the excess stuff around the top layer is pretty simple, but you need to get in good to see the blending around the face, especially the neck and forehead.
Clickstream: (E) for Eraser > Right click the canvas > Set the “Hardness” to about 0% > Erase
Shortcut: Using the “[" and "]” keys you can increase and decrease the size of the brush to improve accuracy.
One of the things that makes this easy is matching the hair color, and using the beard lines as the blending / erasing spots. If you’re doing this on a person without a beard or hair, it’ll take a bit more time, but try to match your subject the best possible, it’s easier to merge two bald heads than it is to make someone bald…
Now on to “Exposure”
Here’s the most complicated part of the tutorial, and it’s pretty darn easy once you get the hang of it. See how the above image has a dulled-down top layer? That’s not magic, it’s simply an “Exposure Layer”.
Reference the image to the right; see that circle at the bottom there? The half black/white one that looks like a poorly done yin-yang symbol? Click that, and select “Exposure”. Now before going any futher, do this:
- Select the “Exposure 1″ layer
- Press (G) to bring up your paint bucket
- Make your bucket color black, I usually press (D) for this
- Click the canvas
- Press (B) to bring up your brush
- Make your brush color white
- Paint over the top layer, in this case, Sergey’s face
Ok, you’ve successfully created a “Mask” for the Exposure layer. Now, click the Exposure Layer, and give it a “Exposure: +.10″ and “Offset: -0.018~” and “Gamma Correction: 0.70″
Step 6: Repeat the above process for a “Hue/Saturation” layer, and set “Hue: -166″.
The only thing you need to do now, is set the Opacity of the Hue/Saturation layer to about 30%… since you don’t need Sergey to be papa Smurf.
Zoom in to your image, and use the eraser tool around the edges, spot check the ears, and such… use the sliders in the Exposure and Hue layers to make minor adjustments as needed, for the most part though, these are the secrets to photo matching manually in Photoshop and swapping out parts. There’s also snazzy tools for color and hue matching built into Photoshop, I have no idea how to use those, but I’m sure there are tutorials on YouTube.
05.24.12 • posted in: Creativity