How to Swap Faces In Photoshop
Learn how to quickly and easily swap faces in Photoshop with the “Auto-Blend Layers” technique. Swapping faces, also known as head swapping, is a common task in Photoshop used to change, replace, or blend faces and even Photoshop a face onto another body effectively.
This tutorial will guide you through the process of swapping faces in Photoshop, demonstrating how to blend faces, change faces, and replace faces effectively. By the end of the tutorial, you’ll have the skills to perform head swaps in Photoshop with just a few clicks. Impress your friends with your newfound ability to swap and blend faces in Photoshop!
Step 1: Open and Prepare Your Images in Photoshop
Before delving into the intriguing realm of face swapping in Photoshop, it’s essential to meticulously select your source images. To achieve optimal results, opt for two photos where both subjects are facing the same direction. Pay attention to the lighting conditions as well; ideally, your photos should have minimal shadows and soft lighting to ensure smoother blending, which is necessary for achieving smooth and softened skin.
For this tutorial, we will be working with the following two images:
Body: The photograph with the pink background, featuring the female model.
Face: The image with the white background, showcasing the female model.
To begin, open both images in Photoshop by either pressing CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on Mac) or selecting “File” > “Open” from the top dropdown menu.
Step 2: Select and Prepare the Second Model’s Face
We will initiate the face swap process with the “Face” photo. Ensure that you are on the layer containing the model’s face. If you are working with a flattened JPG file, you are already on the correct layer. However, if your file is a layered Photoshop document, you need to select the appropriate layer from the Layers panel.
With the correct layer selected, choose the Lasso tool from the Toolbar on the left side.
Carefully trace an outline around all the key facial features you intend to swap, including the eyes, nose, and mouth. Don’t overlook details such as cheekbones, eyebrows, and unique features like moles. Be cautious not to select any of the model’s hair.
Step 3: Copy and Paste the Second Model’s Face
Once you have outlined the desired features, you will see a dashed marquee line around your selection. Now, copy the selection by going to “Edit” > “Copy” from the top dropdown menu.
Next, switch to the “Body” photo and paste the selection you made from the “Face” photo by selecting “Edit” > “Paste” from the dropdown menu. At this stage, don’t be concerned if it appears slightly misaligned. You can make adjustments shortly using the Move Tool.
Step 4: Resize and Position the Face
In the Layers panel, ensure that the new layer containing the face from the “Face” image is selected.
To make it easier to visualize the blending process, you can reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%. This will allow you to see both faces simultaneously.
Now, go to the top dropdown menu and select “Edit” > “Transform” > “Scale.” This action places a bounding box around the face. To maintain proper proportions, position your cursor at one of the corners, hold down the SHIFT key, and drag the corner until the new face matches the size of the original face beneath it. Pay close attention to aligning the eyes, nose, and mouth as you resize.
Once you are satisfied with the size and alignment, press ENTER (RETURN on Mac) to apply the transformation. Finally, reset the opacity of the “Face” layer back to 100%.
Tip: Need precise alignment while resizing? Try zooming in on the image for a closer look by holding down the ALT (Option on Mac) key and scrolling your mouse wheel. This will help you fine-tune the resizing process, ensuring a seamless blend of the two faces.
Step 5: Duplicate the Background Layer for Safety
For added safety and to preserve your original image for potential touch-ups later, it’s a good practice to duplicate the background layer. To do this, select the layer that contains the first model’s body. There are two methods to duplicate the layer:
Option 1: Click on the Layers panel menu, then choose “Duplicate Layer…” and assign a name like “Body Copy.”
Option 2: Alternatively, you can simply press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on Mac) to duplicate the layer without accessing the Layers menu.
In the Layers panel, click the eye icon next to the Background layer to temporarily hide it. This ensures that you’re working on a duplicate while preserving the original background.
Step 6: Make a Precise Selection in the Body Layer
In the Layers panel, select the “Face” layer. Then, from the top dropdown menu, choose “Select” > “Load Selection.” A pop-up window will appear.
To configure the selection correctly, ensure the following settings:
- Channel: Set it to “Face transparency” if you have already removed the background from the “Face” image, or select an appropriate channel that represents the subject’s outline if you haven’t removed the background.
- Make sure the “Invert” box is unchecked.
- Choose “New Selection” to create a fresh selection based on the chosen channel.
After configuring these settings, click the OK button to confirm. Back in the Layers panel, click the eye icon next to the “Face” layer. This action will make the new face invisible, but it’s important not to deselect the selection you’ve just created. This precise selection will be crucial for blending the new face with the body seamlessly in the upcoming steps.
Step 7: Create a Subtle Overlap of the Face with the Body
With the “Body” layer selected in the Layers panel, proceed to refine the overlap between the face and body. From the dropdown menu, select “Select” > “Modify” > “Contract.”
A dialog box will appear, prompting you to set the contract amount. Enter a value of about 10 pixels to create a subtle overlap that helps seamlessly blend the face with the body. Click OK to apply the contraction.
Step 8: Delete the Face from the Body Layer
Maintaining the “Body” layer as the active layer, use the BACKSPACE key (DELETE on Mac) to remove the area beneath the face within the selected, contracted region. This will clear the space for the new face. After deleting the area, press CTRL+D (COMMAND+D on Mac) to deselect any active selection. At this point, your image may look slightly distorted, but don’t worry; we’ll address this in the next step.
Step 9: Blend the Face and Body Together Seamlessly
Toggle the visibility of the “Face” layer back on by clicking the eye icon next to it. You should now see both the face and the body again. In the Layers panel, select both the “Face” and “Body” layers simultaneously by holding down the SHIFT key to ensure they’re both highlighted. Then, go to the top dropdown menu and select “Edit” > “Auto-Blend Layers.”
In the Auto-Blend Layers pop-up window, choose the “Panorama” option. Additionally, check the boxes for “Seamless Tones and Colors” and “Content Aware Fill Transparent Areas.”
These settings will instruct Photoshop to create a new merged layer with the two faces blended together seamlessly.
Step 10: Perform Touch-Up Refinements (If Needed)
To achieve a polished final result, toggle the visibility of the original background layer back on by clicking the eye icon next to the Background layer. Ensure that any layers positioned between the new merged layer and the original background layer are hidden from view.
With the new merged layer selected, pick the Eraser tool from the Toolbar.
Carefully erase any areas on the new model’s face that require refinement and retouching in order to reveal the original layer beneath. Work meticulously, using a small brush with 0% hardness for precise control and blending.
Once you are satisfied with the blending and overall appearance, it’s essential to save your masterpiece.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the face-swapping process in Photoshop. Happy face-swapping adventures await you!
There are several compelling reasons to change a face in Photoshop:
- Diverse Representation: To add diversity and relatability to models in your product photos, as consumers often connect more with individuals who resemble them.
- Perfect Composition: When you have an ideal shot where everything, except the model’s face, is in the right position, Photoshop allows you to enhance the overall composition.
- Emotional Transformation: Photoshop can help turn a frowning or angry child into a joyful one, capturing a more heartwarming and memorable moment.
Mastering the art of swapping faces in Photoshop using the “Auto-Blend Layers” technique opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you want to change, replace, or blend faces seamlessly, this quick and easy tutorial equips you with the skills to achieve impressive results in just a few clicks. So go ahead and explore the fun and endless potential of face swaps in Photoshop, and prepare to amaze your friends with your newfound editing prowess!