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  Tutorials Photoshop Photo Editing Blending faces

Blending faces

Ever wanted to change someone's face?

Ever wanted to change someone's body?

image 1

That's what we are going to do using Adobe Photoshop and few easy steps.

Surprising result guaranteed!

The goal: 

The goal of this Photoshop Tutorial is to blend together two different pictures and obtain a new one with exchanged faces.

image 2

The starting material:

Our starting material will be one picture of Brigitte Bardot:

image 3

...and a picture of Austin Powers:

image 4

As always, if you want to start the tutorial using the same material we used you can simply download the original photos by clicking on it and save it (right click -> save as...)


Time to start the action!

Just launch Photoshop and open up both the pictures you are going to use.

Make sure Austin Powers is the active window (click on its title bar to give it focus) then Select -> All (or simply press Ctrl-A) to select the entire frame.

Then Edit->Copy (Ctrl-C) and move to the Brigitte's photo (click on its title bar), here paste the clipboard content by clicking on Edit->Paste (Ctrl-V).

Now you should have something like this:

image 5

The next few steps are done in order to match the two faces size and orientation.

To better compare the two faces we are going to set opacity for the new Austin's layer to 50% or some value which lets you see enough of the top layer and enough of the bottom layer.

To change opacity you have to change its value in the layer's panel:

image 6

Then we need to transform the Austin's layer to match Brigitte's face.

Choose Edit->Free Transform (Ctrl-T) and a bounding box with handles will appear around the layer:

image 7

Now you can drag it around, scale it and rotate it, simply using those handles.

That's exactly what we are going to do.

Move it on Brigitte's face and scale it down a bit. Use the eyes and the mouth to match the size and the position. You can play around with the opacity again, to better see the result.

Depending on what you have in mind you can choose to make the new face slightly bigger, add some fun look or whatever you like.

In this tutorial we are going to do it clean, the fun effect will come out anyway ;)

Here's what we did:

image 8

We just scaled it down a bit and moved in position.

Then we decided that flipping the layer horizontally produced a more convincing effect.

To do that just select Edit->Transform->Flip Horizontal.

Lastly we rotated it few degrees counterclockwise.

Layer mask technique:

The technique we are going to apply is the Layer Mask Technique. A Layer Mask is a greyscale mask linked to one specific layer. It works like a soft selection and lets you paint the layer's opacity with a brush.

If you paint it black the opacity is 0%.

If you paint it white the opacity is 100%.

256 greyscale tones can be used to paint in between values.

To create a new Layer Mask just select the layer you want to use and click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom part of the Layer Panel:

image 9

image 10

These masks are extremely useful.

Let's see how to use them at their most!

Blend softly the two layers: 

We have to remove all the white frame around Austin's face and make him softly merge the Brigitte's layer.

For this step a higher opacity value is often useful, letting you better control what's going on. We used 65%.

Make sure the foreground color is black and the background is white

image 11

Select the Brush tool along with a medium/big brush (30 px for our photo), 40% hardness.

Start painting some black strokes on Austin's white frame, you'll see it disappearing and start seeing Brigitte's hair instead:

image 12

Notice the Layer's panel. In the small thumbnail beside the Austin face there's the thumbnail for the Layer Mask. We painted a couple of black strokes. But we didn't actually painted black color on the image, the black strokes are in the mask (the information of the layer is still there, it's just temporarily masked, we didn't affected the original image).

If you want to paint with your brush back onto the Austin's face you should make active the Layer content. To do this just left-click on it. To paint again on the mask click back on it.

And what if you want to see the Layer Mask content in the main window?

You can simply Alt-click on the Mask's thumbnail or on the Layer's thumbnail to switch from one view to the other.

With your soft brush still selected and the layer's mask active keep on painting until you masked away all the useless part of Austin, in order to make it fit on Brigitte's face.

The workflow will be very fast and linear:

We said that we are not deleting information, simply masking it.

This also means that if you paint a stroke you're not satisfied with you can simply press 'x' key on your keyboard to switch from foreground color to background color (from black to white) and paint back the information with the white brush.

This technique allows you to make and extra fine work because you can make a first rough mask with a big hard brush, then refine it with a soft brush and switch back and forth from mask and unmask to make it the way you like it the most.

Here's our work after few minutes brushing:

image 13

Austin's opacity is restored to 100%.

That's starting to make sense!!

The use of Layer Mask helped us so much to mix the two layers softly and choose the correct selection of Austin to use.

But the colors are still pretty different and we don't want our beloved Austin Powers to be sticked onto Brigitte's body. They must be one!

Matching colors:

These are not necessary steps, this work is just made to improve the blending. If you're doing it for fun you can be satisfied already.

We are going to use two main function:

- Image->Adjustments->Color Balance
- Image->Adjustments->Levels

Make sure to make active Austin's Layer, click on its thumbnail (deselect the mask or we'll apply changes to the black and white mask).

Then open up the Color Balance window.

Here you can choose to adjust balance for Shadows, Midtones, Highlights.

Start from Midtones and drag back and forth each of the bars you have and look at the result. Keep adjusting until you see the color matches. Repeat for Shadows and Highlights.

here are the setting we used for these pictures:

- Midtones: -36 ; +5 ; +11 ;
- Shadows: -19 ; +13 ; +32 ;
- Highlights: +3 ; +1 ; -1 ;

Here's the result compared with the unbalanced version:

image 14

That's much better.

Go for the Levels now:

The technique is the same, just look what happens sliding the bars back and forth. Until you're satisfied.

Here are the setting we used:

RGB Channel Input levels: 0 ; 0.94 ; 255
RGB Channel Output levels: 8 ; 233

And here's the result:

image 15

Our improvements did a good job.

We then also subtracted 5 points from saturation (Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation)

And here's the final result:

image 2

Uh! Now Austin has the real mojo!


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