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Thread: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Hi,

    I need to know how to do a head swap using Photoshop Elements, and I would like to ask if someone out there who is very proficient in editing to swap the heads in any of these photos with finesse so I can see what a good head swap should look like, simply as a visual reference to guide me when I try it.

    I would like to ask if someone could swap the head of the guy (in shadows) on the far left and also the head of the women (3rd from the right) where her eyes are closed... Sorry these are from my jpeg only days, and the white balance and exposure is different in each but this is just to learn how to do a head swap from and hopefully others will too.



    Thank you.

    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Hi Christina,

    Could you clarify which image is to be the final shot and which is donating faces please?
    Or may be you want to swap between the two?

    I ask because there is more shadow in "far left guy" in shot two, which suggests the second shot (arms up) is the one you want to keep (and the first shot is donating a face), but the second is the one in which "lady third from right" has her eyes open, so they don't need cloning from first to second.

    If it is just shadow, possibly dodging is an option to lighten the face, but for eyes closed, it would need to be cloned.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    This is not an easy task, as shadow guy's head is facing in a slightly different direction in the 2nd shot. I'll be interested to hear how this is done, too.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Hi Dave and Greg,

    The image I posted is not important as it is just a photo of a group of friends celebrating a football game that I took a few years ago... ie; it has no purpose and is just a snapshot, and will not be used for anything. So nothing needs to be fixed, I just want to see a good head swap.

    The only reason I posted this particular photos is because I contacted a photo studio stating that I would like to learn more about photography and that I would do anything for the learning experience... They asked me if I would be willing to help out with layouts and touch ups and if I could do things like head swaps which of course I have never done. I would just like to see a nice job of a head swap before I try one..


    So I just picked this photo out of the blue because it seemed suited for one... So it does not matter to me whose head is swapped for whose... Anything that is easier.

    It could be a photo of your own if that is easier? I will try and find another photo that might be more suited.

    Thank you.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Deleted unnecessary photos.
    Thank you. Truly appreciated.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 23rd July 2013 at 03:12 AM.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    I would like to add that if I have asked for something that is difficult and time consuming to do, that there is no need for me to see one... I just thought it might be something that I could learn to do sometime this week and if it is not a simple thing to do, no worries.

    My sincere apologies if I have asked for too much, I didn't realize that it was a hard thing to do.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 23rd July 2013 at 03:12 AM.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Christina - let's start with the easy one, which is the closed eyes.

    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    I don't use Elements, so I don't know the capabilities. but I believe the latest number of versions support layers. I did this in Photoshop CC, so hopefully the technique can be reproduced in elements.

    Put the defective image on top and the one you want to "borrow from" below it. I turned down the opacity of the top image so I could see through it and lined up the eyes. I then took a soft eraser (actually I used a layer mask, but don't know if Elements supports that functionality) and turned down the eraser opacity and gently erased the top layer to revel the eyes that are not closed beneath it. A total head transplant is not the best way to go.

    For the gentlemen on the left with the head in shadow, I used exactly the same technique as for the eyes; with a bit more care and fine-finish work. In this type of work, the least amount of "surgery" you can get away with, the better the final outcome. Use parts of both images and blend them by feathering them together, if at all possible.

    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one


    As for the other examples you put up; no, these are too far off to do these without a lot of work. Ideally the head alignment, angle they were shot at and lighting in both shots has to be close, otherwise they will not look right. Lighting and shadows that don't line up are a dead giveaway that a transplant has been done and it just won't look right. Not all images can be used to create this effect.

    I just noticed that I did not trim up the two images, so there is a bit of garbage on the edges that show the amount I had to move the two image to get the alignment right.

    One thing that actually worked in my favour is that the images that you posted are fairly low resolution, so this help hide any "sins".
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 23rd July 2013 at 02:27 AM.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    I think more often than not that a head swap will be done when you have several photos of the same people and when you want to replace a person's head with a better photo of the same person. Perhaps that's because the ideal photo is of eight people looking great but the ninth person has his eyes closed. You would grab one of the other photos where his eyes are open and move it to the photo where his eyes are closed.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Manfred,

    Thanks a million... Now that I know what a good head swap edit should look like I will try to do the same as best as I can in elements and I will follow your guidelines. Yes, Elements has layer masks. Please give me a couple of days to figure it out.

    Mike, thank you... Yes, that makes sense.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Manfred,

    Thanks a million... Now that I know what a good head swap edit should look like I will try to do the same as best as I can in elements and I will follow your guidelines. Yes, Elements has layer masks. Please give me a couple of days to figure it out.

    Mike, thank you... Yes, that makes sense.
    Layer masks are a lot more flexible than the erase tool, as they allow you to change the transparency of what shows through and what is blocked, so a paint brush, rather than the eraser tool is used.

    In this case I used a layer mask that totally obscured the layer beneath (a white mask). Paint in black to allow the material underneath through and in white to block things off again. I used a brush that had about 30% opacity, so it took three or four repeated brush strokes to show everything underneath through. A soft brush feathers the two layers together so there is no line showing where the two images blend.

    Once you get the hang of it, it is quite fast. I doubt I spent more than 2 or 3 minutes on each image.

    Have fun!

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Manfred, thank you so much for the extra tips.. You've made it sound simple, so I'm hopeful that I will be able to do it fairly well. I suppose my friends would be happy to have a better photo of themselves. Until later...

    Greg, if you want to play with the photo to learn to do the same that is just fine with me.



    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Layer masks are a lot more flexible than the erase tool, as they allow you to change the transparency of what shows through and what is blocked, so a paint brush, rather than the eraser tool is used.

    In this case I used a layer mask that totally obscured the layer beneath (a white mask). Paint in black to allow the material underneath through and in white to block things off again. I used a brush that had about 30% opacity, so it took three or four repeated brush strokes to show everything underneath through. A soft brush feathers the two layers together so there is no line showing where the two images blend.

    Once you get the hang of it, it is quite fast. I doubt I spent more than 2 or 3 minutes on each image.

    Have fun!

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Christina, Photoshop Elements has a feature called "Photomerge Group Shot" which does exactly what you want. In PSE 6 (the version I have) it is found under File>New.

    As for the person whose face is in the shadows, I would first try to lighten up the face only rather than do the head swap.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Thank you Ben... After I try Manfred's way I will try the photomerge group shot as well, and post both edits, hopefully late this afternoon.

    Yes, lightening up the shadows instead of a head swap makes sense. Will do.

    Thank you. Truly appreciated.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    Christina, Photoshop Elements has a feature called "Photomerge Group Shot" which does exactly what you want. In PSE 6 (the version I have) it is found under File>New.

    As for the person whose face is in the shadows, I would first try to lighten up the face only rather than do the head swap.
    I can't comment on "Photomerge Group Shot", as this feature does not exist in Photoshop, the merge functionality is really for pano type work. Doing the matching using the various tools in PS does work fairly well.

    As for lightening shadows, a word of caution because the technique does not always give particularly good results in instances where we have to deal with multi-stop differences between the highlight and shadow detail, especially when working with jpegs. Brighten the shadow detail by dodging and you start to bring out the noise and pixelation in the image. I find that using the patch or clone tool and contouring are my preferred method in those cases; i.e. transplant features from the bright to the shadow side.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Manfred, My apologies for being so dense but I have been struggling for about 45 minutes...

    For some reason I can't figure out how to create a layer from the two images which I have open in Photoshop Elements. I have gotten as far as creating a background layer from one of the images, but when I select the background layer I created and try to find the option to copy and paste it as a layer onto the first image it just does not seem to be there.

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...lements-9.html

    Thank you

    Ben, I tried the photomerge preset but it did not work well at all because of the different lighting on the person in the photo and because of the different sized heads... But thank you for sharing this with me because now I understand why the photos have to be almost identical for this to work well.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    For some reason I can't figure out how to create a layer from the two images which I have open in Photoshop Elements. I have gotten as far as creating a background layer from one of the images, but when I select the background layer I created and try to find the option to copy and paste it as a layer onto the first image it just does not seem to be there.
    Christina, I don't have PSE, but in PS it is simply a matter of clicking and dragging a layer (in the layer panel) from one open file to the other. If PSE has a tabbed window, this necessitates putting the files into separate, untabbed windows. In PS one drags a tab out of the tab bar and, hey presto, you have a floating, independent window. You may also need to duplicate the background of the image you will be dragging, in case PSE doesn't allow dragging the background out of the window.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Christina,

    Manfred has this issue cracked but for more complicated edits similar to this you can use more than one layer and use different heads from different pictures. Simply make a selection from one image, copy and paste it onto a new layer in the main image and follow Manfred's instructions above. You can then manipulate the angles and position of these selections using the Move and Transform tools.

    A good tip I learned quite a few years ago when taking group shots, was to get them all to close their eyes before the shot. Then say "OPEN!" when you're ready to take the shot. Doesn't always work but it is always a laugh.

    Also there is ALWAYS one person that will be allergic to flash and therefore every time your finger goes near the camera they will shut their eyes. So always take more than one shot. Take five or six at least until this culprit can be identified. Then give them a pair of matchsticks.

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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Thank you Hendrick... I just figured it out by reading a chapter in my photo shop elements book...

    I got as far as aligning the open eyes of the woman over the photo of her closed eyes, moving the top layer to match and erasing the top layer to bring out the background layer where her eyes are open, but now the rest of the photo is out of alignment..

    There is something about the concept of working with two different in photos that I am just not getting...

    Here is what I managed to do... Kind of interesting, si

    Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    I did not find this easy to do, and I am going to have to advise the photo studio that I am not ready to touch up anyone's photos as it has taken me two hours to get this far.

    However, it has been a good lesson for me to learn in terms of how important it is to know how to edit, and I've also learned a bit about working with layers... But for now I am going to finish learning how to use light room properly, and at a later date I will come back to Elements and the use of layers.

    I would like to express my appreciation for all the help and to say that I learned a few new things today, but I'm just not quite ready, yet - for using layers...

  19. #19
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Thank you Mark,

    I will give it one more shot trying your suggestion. And thank you for the group photo tips, next time around I will try it for sure.

    I should also say that I have not worked with layers before... In my frustration I took a photo of my husband and followed the portrait chapter using adjustment layers to soften his expression lines, whiten teeth and the whites of the eyes, and I used an unsharp adjustment mask layer, and I even added a vignette... A first for me and I can see why the use of layers is useful in portraiture but I seem to have some kind of mental handicap about using two different photos as layers... Nevertheless I learned something new today.. Thank you to all.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blue Boy View Post
    Christina,

    Manfred has this issue cracked but for more complicated edits similar to this you can use more than one layer and use different heads from different pictures. Simply make a selection from one image, copy and paste it onto a new layer in the main image and follow Manfred's instructions above. You can then manipulate the angles and position of these selections using the Move and Transform tools.

    A good tip I learned quite a few years ago when taking group shots, was to get them all to close their eyes before the shot. Then say "OPEN!" when you're ready to take the shot. Doesn't always work but it is always a laugh.

    Also there is ALWAYS one person that will be allergic to flash and therefore every time your finger goes near the camera they will shut their eyes. So always take more than one shot. Take five or six at least until this culprit can be identified. Then give them a pair of matchsticks.

  20. #20
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Head Swaps 101 - Asking someone who is good at editing to do one

    Last step is take up the opacity of the top layer so the fix is all that shows through from the bottom layer.

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