Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PhotoShop Tutorial: Headswaps and Other Photo Fixes

First thank you so much everyone who has participated in my “getting to know you” post. It’s been fun so far as I’ve been browsing each of your blogs and reading more about you. Be patient with me, I’m still working on visiting all of you, and I’m seriously loving it! You guys are so awesome!!
In case you missed me over at Shwin & Shwin last week, I shared a tutorial on headswaps and other photo fixes.
For pictures with children, I mostly just want everyone looking at the camera. However, my daughter is sitting on grandpa’s lap, picking her nose. Cute, right? It’s easy enough to swap out.
Or what if you have a cute photo, but someone’s face is shadowed. Using the same photo, I was able to swap out the shadowed face for a lighter one.
And this is one I always get: eyes are closed. Guess what?! You can swap those out as well.
All three of these techniques were done using the lasso tool, a layer mask, and a photo blending brush. It might seem like a lot of steps right now, but I promise it is really easy and only takes a few minutes. Ready to learn how? Let’s get started.
First we need to make our brush. Select your brush tool (shortcut, hit B), and choose “Airbrush Soft Round 300”
We need to make the following changes to this brush. You need to have your Brushes palette showing. You can do this by going up to Window and making sure Brushes has a checkmark next to it. (shortcut F5).
Highlight “Brush Tip Shape” and get all your settings like so:
Brush Tip Shape
Then highlight “Other Dynamics” and set like so:
Other Dynamics
Click the boxes next to “Noise”, “Airbrush”, and “Smoothing” to place check marks next to them. Your final settings should look like this. Make sure other boxes aren’t checked that shouldn’t be.
Final Brush setting
We need to save this brush so we don’t have to make it ever again. At the bottom of the brushes palette, click on the square button next to the garbage can.
Create brush
Give it a unique name that will help you remember what it is and click OK. I called mine “Photo Blending”.
Now that our brush is made, we really are ready to go. Open the photo that needs editing as well as the photo that we are going to steal body parts from. In my case I started with these two photos. The first one is the one I’m going to edit, and the second one is the photo I’m going to get her eyes from.
Working with the second photo, select your Lasso Tool (the one that looks like a cowboy lasso, shortcut L). Select the desired area by dragging your lasso around it like so, in my case I need her eyes.
Lasso Tool
Using your Move Tool (main arrow, shortcut V), drag the selected area to your other photo (the one we are editing).
Drag eyes
Go ahead and minimize your 2nd photo. We don’t need it anymore. Move the selected area over the desired location. Now we need to line it up, make sure it’s the right size, etc. The best way I’ve found to do this is working with my zoom and opacity.
Zoom and opacity
I zoomed in 50% and adjusted my opacity to 66%. I had to resize and move mine around a bit, but I used her eyebrows and nose as a guideline to line everything up.
Line up eyes
If you were fortunate to be able to steal body parts from another picture that had the exact same lighting, then you can skip this next step. Notice how mine are different colors. I need to fix that, so down in my layers palette make sure that your body part is selected (my new eyes). Then go ahead and change your opacity back to 100%, but stay zoomed in.
Then I’m going to go up to the menu and select “Image”, “Adjustments”, “Brightness/Contrast”.
Play around with the brightness and contrast until you think it matches well enough. I adjusted my brightness +51 and left my contrast the same.
Next we are going to blend the two parts together with a layer mask and our photo blending brush. In your layers palette make sure layer of the body part selection is highlighted and click on the button at the bottom that looks like a square with a circle in it.
Layer mask
Then we need to select our brush tool and choose our “Photo Blending” brush. My diameter was bigger than I needed, so I changed mine to 89 px.
Select brush tool
Make sure your foreground color is set to black and begin taking your brush along the edges to blend. Here’s mine about halfway done to give you an idea.
Halfway blended
Keep using your brush until it’s completely blended, and then you are done! Save the file as a .jpeg and you have a new edited picture!!!
Please let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Thank you this is awesome will this work the same with pspx3 (paint shop pro x3)?

  2. This is awesome, with two young kids this will come in handy lol.... so many photos I've had to pass up in my scrapbooks because of things like this. :) Hubby got me PS but I don't know how to use it, I used it a little in high school but that was a while ago.... Thanks!

  3. Kreationz4kidz- Unfortunately I don't know anything about paint shop pro x3 so I'm not sure if it would work. It will work with PSE (PhotoShop Elements).

  4. Do the layers have to be merged or flattened before you can save them?

  5. Tanya-

    The layers do not have to be merged or flattened. Just go ahead and save the entire thing as a jpeg and it will be automatically merged/flattened.

  6. Which version of PSE are you using?

  7. This is great! I don't have photoshop, I'm using Gimp, but your tutorial has given me more than enough information to have a go.

    Thanks for the time you've spent on this. I'm off to play with all my failed photos :-)

  8. I've been trying to find a way to "prefect" this for awhile. Thank you for an easy explanation! I hadn't tried the layer mask step and it really makes a positive difference!

  9. Do you have to have a paid version of photo shop to be able to do this type thing?

  10. also allows you to layer is a free application online.

  11. Awesome! Thank you! I've done a lot of head swaps before, but this method is so much better than the one I was using!

  12. Thanks. Question... what is the best way to resize the pasted section?

  13. Wow ! This is wonderful! Thanks for great tutorial!

  14. I have Photoshop Elements 9. I don't have the option to adjust my brushes, that I can find anyway. Any help would be appreciated.

  15. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing...

  16. Brilliant tutorial! thank you so much :D

  17. Brilliant tutorial! thank you so much :D


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