Heads and Bodies – Part 1

Welcome back! This chapter, number eight, in How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed, by Steve Caplin has a wealth of employment uses.  Companies frequently take pictures of their staff to use in promotional materials. But what to do when one of those staff members leaves and the company now needs a new person in the photo?  With Photoshop, it’s possible to swap out heads in a believable way, or even remove one person and add another.  This chapter has tutorials covering these workaday techniques.

Making the Head Fit
The subject of this tutorial is simple swapping of one head for another, in this case the tennis player Nicole Vaidisova with Anna Kournikova.  In the following image panel, note how the end bit of Kournikova’s pigtail is peaking out behind Vaidisova’s back in the Combined image, which is subtle but key to creating a realistic affect:

186 - Making the Head FitThreeIt’s easiest to swap heads that have been photographed from similar angles.  Here, the smooth transition is created by using a layer mask and then painting out the highlight under Kournikova’s chin.

Complex Head Attachment
In the previous example the skin tones were similar between the two images.  Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.  Mostly the skin tones don’t match, faces are obscured by objects, the lighting is different, image sizes are dissimilar and/or the grain of the images may be different. In this tutorial Caplin teaches how to address all these concerns.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABesides scaling Gates head to fit, his skin tones needed to be adjusted using a Curves layer mask.  Then, I copied the microphone and placed it on a new layer above the Gates head layer so it would be in front of his face, as in the Eric Clapton original image. Finally, the lighting effects and the grain of the original image needed to be added to the Gates head layer.  Now Gates looks like a rockin’ dude!

Combining Body Parts
Sometimes Various body parts need to be combined to achieve the proper look.  Here’s how it’s done in the following humorous tutorial:

Note the differences in skin tones between the three components.  Again, I matched these using Curves adjustment layers.  In addition, the woman’s torso was subtly rotated and all three parts were blended together where they joined using layer masks. While the subject matter makes the result an obvious composite, it’s easy to see how these techniques can be useful for shuffling employees – or even refreshing an executive who is sporting a modernized hairdo.

Next: Heads and Bodies  – Part 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *