In this tutorial, you will learn how to swap faces in Photoshop with a fast and simple technique!
Swapping faces or swapping heads is perhaps what Photoshop is most commonly used for. Just about every magazine cover or any movie poster that you see has had a head or face replaced.
There are many ways to swap faces in Photoshop, but one of the quickest and most effective techniques is to use the Auto-Blend Layers command found in the Edit menu.
Auto-Blend is usually used to stitch panoramas together, but in this video, I will show you how you can use Auto-Blend to easily and quickly match skin tones to create seamless faces swaps.
Swapping faces in Photoshop can be a ton of fun, and it is not just for professionals anymore! After watching this Photoshop tutorial, you will be able to quickly swap faces from one head onto another with only a few clicks.
I’m sure that you will impress your friends with your newly acquired Photoshop skills!
Select Your Photos to Swap Faces in Photoshop
You can follow along with your own photo or download the Adobe Stock photos I am using in this tutorial. Here are the links to the photos:
Table of contents
Let’s Get Started With The Face Swap!
Open the two images that you will use to follow along with this tutorial.
First, select the face you want to swap into the model’s body. To do that, select the Lasso tool.
The Lasso Tool allows you to freehand a selection around the face.
Click-and-drag and make a selection around the face.
Note: there is no need to be precise about outlining the area.
When you are happy with the selection, press Ctrl C (Windows) or Command C (macOS) to copy the contents of the selection.
Go to your working document, the one with the photo with the model’s body and press Ctrl V (Windows) or Command V (macOS) to paste the face into the photo.
Scale the Face to Proportion
To swap faces in Photoshop you need to match the scale and position of both faces as best as possible.
Start by selecting the Move tool to move the face on top of the model’s face.
Then press Ctrl T (Windows) or Command T (macOS) to transform the layer and align the new face over to the model’s face.
It can be useful to use a guide to help you place the face. For example, you can align the inner corner of the right eye as your reference.
Click here to learn how to Enhance Eyes in Photoshop!
Then click-and-drag the Reference Point to the inner corner of the model’s eye. A Reference Point is a fixated point where all of the transformations are performed.
Note: If you don’t see the reference point, enable it from the Options bar by clicking on the reference point checkbox.
As you transform the layer, you could also reduce the Transparency so that you can better match it with the model’s face.
Hold Alt (Windows) or Options (macOS) and click-and-drag the corner of the selection to scale the face.
The best way to know if you have done it correctly is when both of the model’s eyes and the face layer’s eyes are aligned and well-proportioned.
You can further transform and distort the layer by using the Warp feature. Press Ctrl T (Windows) or Command T (macOS) > right-click > Warp.
In Photoshop CC 2019 or older, the warp only has a 3×3 grid that you can use to distort the image.
In Photoshop 2020 and newer, you can customize the grid to your own preference. The newer features allow you to better swap faces in Photoshop. Nevertheless, both methods work perfectly for this Photoshop trick.
On your Options bar, you’ll see three split icons: Split Warp Horizontally, Split Warp Vertically, or Split Warp Crosswire.
Select the Split Warp Vertically to add a split right in the middle of the face and divide it in half.
Click at the top point while holding Shift before you click on the bottom point. Then move both of the points at the same time by click-and-dragging, this will adjust the tilt of the face to truly match that of the model’s and making it look realistic.
NOTE: Feel free to add more splits to adjust specific parts of the face in a proportion of the body.
Apply a Layer Mask
Click on the Layer Mask icon to create a mask and select Black as your foreground color. A Layer Mask’s purpose is to hide pixels when you paint over it with Black.
Select the Move tool or press the V key on your keyboard.
Then make sure you click on the Brush icon in your Options bar and on the Brush Settings (F5), set the Brush Hardness to 100% and the Spacing to 1%.
Brush over the areas of the face layer that you don’t want to be affected by the blending.
Remember to hide areas of the new face that don’t match with the models. For example jaws, ears, and forehead.
When you’re happy with the mask, go over to the Layers panel and right-click on the layer > Apply Layer Mask.
Click on the model’s layer and press Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS) to duplicate the layer. Then hide the original model layer by clicking on the eye icon so that you can work on the copy of the model layer.
Swap Faces In Photoshop with Auto-Blend
The big secret on how to swap faces in Photoshop seamlessly is to use the Auto-Blend feature.
To start, select the pixels around the new face layer by holding Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) and clicking on the face layer thumbnail. This step will load a selection around the face.
Click on the eye icon to hide the face layer and reveal the copy of the background layer.
Go to Select > Modify > Contract.
Set the value to 5 pixels and press OK. Contracting the selection means that you will make the selection smaller by the number of pixels you entered in the Contract Selection box.
Now that the selection is smaller than the face layer, select the Model’s layer by clicking on it from the Layers panel, and press Backspace (Windows) or Delete (macOS) to delete the pixels inside the selection.
When you enable the face layer, you will see that the selection (and the hole you created) will be smaller than the face.
Next, select both layers by holding Shift, and click on both layers.
Go to Edit > Auto-Blend Layers > check both boxes for Seamless Tones and Colors and Content-Aware Fill Transparent Areas. Then Press OK.
Auto-Blend Layers was designed to stitch panoramas. Allowing you to easily match tones and color.
But you can use this same technology to swap faces in Photoshop! As you can see, it does a great job of blending faces seamlessly.
Press Ctrl D (Windows) or Command D (macOS) to Deselect.
If you go to the Layers panel, you will notice that a new layer has been made where the face layer has been merged with the model’s face.
Note: Older versions of Photoshop do not have the Content-Aware feature with Auto-Blend Layers. You can patch up the transparent areas by using the Healing Brush Tool.
Fix the Face Swap Problems
You’ll notice the shifting of the Luminous values and the Color values upon comparing the newly-merged layer with the original image.
To adjust this, simply highlight the face merge layer > hold Alt (Windows) or Options (macOS) > click the Layer Mask icon to create an inverted mask, which will hide the the image.
You then use the Brush Tool using a soft-edged brush to paint back the face in.
And you’re done!
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