Heads and Bodies – Part 2

This blog post chronicles my progress learning new Photoshop skills from the book How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed., by Steve Caplin, and my Friday Challenge submissions to the Forum linked to the book.

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As discussed in Heads and Bodies – Part 1, Chapter 8 contains a wealth of employment uses. And, the next tutorial even demonstrates a significant value of Steve Caplin’s How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed: expanding on techniques learned previously. This was a failing of my previous two courses on Photoshop. In those courses, a technique would be introduced by never used it again.  Not so with How to Cheat in Photoshop!

In Chapter 8 Caplin revisits Puppet Warp, which you’ll recall from the post Transformation and Distortion, back in Chapter 2.  This time, Puppet wrap is used to help with straightening posture as seen in the following examples:

Stand up straightBoth The key to making the slouchy teenager stand up straight placing the first set of pins on the major joints, where someone would naturally bend.  In this case, the pins were placed on her shoulders hands and midriff.  The next pin is placed on the neck and pulled upward, which makes the chin look deformed. Fortunately, moving the shoulder pins up restores the chin’s appearance. Next, a pin is placed on the model’s right clavicle and pulled up slightly to straighten the shoulders. Then, the pin on the hands is dragged to the left slightly to correct the tilting hips. Finally, a pin is placed on the sternum and pulled slightly up and to the right.  Now, if only it was as easy to fix a teenager’s attitude!

Body Banishing
Part 1 of this post discussed switching heads, but head substitution doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes a person needs to be removed completely.  While this sort of thing has been going on almost since the beginning of photographic images, it is much easier to do in modern versions of Photoshop:

011207-F-9269H-015To remove Matt Damon, Caplin instructs readers to select George Clooney, plus the background and sky from where Clooney’s hair parts all the way to the right of the image. The selected features are then moved to the left until Clooney covers up Matt Damon. Next, Clooney is then scaled so that he is in proportion with Brad Pitt.  Finally, the lower half of Clooney is selected and stretched so that he now reaches the bottom of the page.

Beyond Banishing Bodies
I found the Damon-removal tutorial all well and good, but I’ve been asked in the past to swap out one person for another.  I decided to try using the techniques learned so far with this image by swapping out Damon for the Dali Lama.  Using a Google Images search, I located the original image of the Dali Lama,  below. On the right are my results:

dalai-lamaAdditionBothFirst, I removed the microphone from the Dali Lama image.  Then I desaturated the image so it would match the Pitt/Clooney photo. Finally, I straightened the Dali Lama’s posture and gave him a sterner appearance so he now looks like he’s joking around with Pitt.  I also did a little clone stamping in the composite image to cover up the parts of  Damon that were sticking out behind the Dali Lama.

Then, I posted the composite image to the How to Cheat forum in the “Problems and Solutions” section.  Here is Caplin’s response:

Very nicely achieved! I like the way you’ve tilted the head back and removed the microphone – but especially, I like the way you’ve desaturated the new image to match the background. Very good work!

“Very nicely achieved” AND “very good work” – well, now that is progress!

A Hairy Situation
The final tutorial of this post introduces another technique for creating realistic hair cutouts, which is one the trickiest tasks in Photoshop.  In this tutorial Caplin uses the background eraser, but he cautions the technique works best if the hair is photographed against a plain, preferably white background, and even then it’s not easy as discussed regarding the image pair below:

The perfect haircutBothIf the original image had been cut out and then placed on a light and/or complex background, the job it would have been a much more straightforward selection.  A light, varied background will hid the light tinge at the edges of the hair caused by being photographed against a white background.

However, sometimes the hair cutout will go on a dark, plain background.  In this case, the light tinge needs to be dealt with so the cutout looks like it belongs in the new image.  Caplin suggests using the burn tool set to Highlights or the Clone Stamp tool, or even a combination of the two, to darken the light edges of the hair so the cutout looks as if it belongs in the new image.  He also suggests there is another cheat but leaves that for the next tutorial – as will I.

Next: Heads and Bodies – Part 3

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