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How to Face Swap Yourself Using Photoshop

Updated on November 15, 2016
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Drew is a Photoshop wizard and someone who has millions of ideas, but no paper or pencil to jot them down.


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In This Hub

You've seen those face-in-hole websites or other people's attempts at face swapping and think that you can make an even better one on your own, well then, koudos to you! This is one of those fun Photoshop hubs that will give you a little basic to intermediate knowledge about swapping your face into another photo. I will give you 2 pictures that you can work with, or if you prefer, you can use your own! Below are the two images.

Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement

Let's begin!

Let's start by saving the 2 images above. One is a picture of Ironman, and the other is of me (what a beautiful mug). Name them how you see fit in a place where you know where they are. Now begin by opening the Iron Man photo first in a new document. In the Layers window, right-click the locked Background layer and select "layer from background". This will unlock the layer. Right-click this layer again and select "Duplicate layer". This will save the original photo layer while creating a new layer copy. Name this layer "Workable Iron Man". Tip: Get in the habit of naming your layers. It helps in the long run.

Save the file as a .psd file (should be already selected).

Selecting The Face

To start selecting the face, use any type of Lasso Tool. I prefer using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. It's not as free-form as the original lasso tool, but it won't snap to unwanted areas like the magnetic lasso tool. I like it because you can select individual points where you want the lasso to wrap around and you get a nice even edge going from point to point.

Make sure you select Mr. Stark's face and a slight edging around it.
Hint: It helps if you zoom in! Ctrl + will increase the zoom while Ctrl - will decrease the zoom.

The Unwanted Parts

Once you have selected his face, DELETE IT. This is the part that you don't need. It's where your face is going to go! Now don't worry when you hit the delete key and his face doesn't disappear. Remember that background layer you duplicated? Yup! It's still there. For now, we will hide this layer. To hide the layer from view, go to the layers window and click the eyeball to the left of the layer name. This will only hide the layer from view (will NOT delete it).

You can go ahead and deselect his face.

The Other Face

 Now let's get the other face selected and put into the first Iron Man photo. To begin, open in a new document either my face, or your face. Do the same selecting method that you used for Stark's face. Simply select around the edges until you have the whole face selected.

Copying and Pasting

Now that we have the head selected, why do we go ahead and, copy and paste. You can either go to Edit > Copy OR if you really want to impress your friends, hold Ctrl and then press the C key. This will Copy the selection of my face that you have just Lassoed! To paste this into the Iron Man photo, select the Iron man project in the bar just below the Lasso tool options bar (or in this case above the ruler on my screen) and then go to Edit > Paste. You can also use another keyboard shortcut for pasting as well. While holding the Ctrl key hit the V key. This will create a new layer for the object being pasted into the photo/project in Photoshop so that you don't have to manually create one. Name this layer "My Face".

Your Face Is Too Large!

Not to worry young padawan! This is because the "My Face" picture was a higher *resolution than the Iron Man photo. You can change the size of any picture or object in Photoshop quite easily with the Move Tool. The Move Tool is the first tool on the toolbar. Go ahead and click on it, or press the V key as a shortcut.

Now that you have the Move Tool selected, you will notice little boxes pop up around the edge of "My Face". These are called Handles. These handles will change the shape of the photo/object when you click and drag them. Hint: Holding "Shift" before (and during) you click and drag will decrease/increase the size of the picture in *proportion.

The way you want to do this is to get the "My Face" layer to about the same size the face that will look like it will fit into the empty hole. Let's do this now. When you click and drag on a handle (don't forget to hold shift!) you will need to drag in towards the center of the "My Face" picture. This will decrease it. Don't worry if it disappears into the gray nothingness. Just make sure you can still see the handles. When you have decreased it enough, let go of it and then (not on a handle) click on the photo and bring it back into the work area. If you need to decrease the size more, do the same thing as above. If you mess up, don't panic! It's an easy fix! Edit > Undo. Or to impress that girl, hold Ctrl and then press the Z key. This will undo the last thing that you have just done. Hint: If you have screwed up so much that you need to go back 2 or 3 steps, hold "Ctrl" and "Alt" and then press the "Z" key a few times.

When you have the face to a point where you think it will look good in that helmet, press Enter. Or you can click the little Check Mark button that has appeared in the options bar above the photo. The Cancel Orb-ish button will revert the photo back to it's original size.

*resolution: Means, in this case, a large photo with a high pixel count (as compared to the Iron Man photo. Try this out! Zoom in as far as you can on the Iron Man photo. Within 2 or 3 times of zooming in, you will begin to see the pixels become more obvious. You don't want "pixely" things.

*Proportion: Means that the picture, when shrunk or expanded is at the same width and height when multiplied by the same number. Examples:
3 x 2 is the same as 6 x 4 and 12 x 8
120 x 50 is the same as 240 x 100
Try to keep things in proportion!

Switching layers

This is quick and easy. In the Layers Window, simply drag the "My Face" layer down below the "Workable Iron Man" layer. This is because we are going to be INSIDE the helmet. In some cases, you will want your head to be the one that is on top.

Fit "My Face" into the helmet. Don't worry if there are some empty spaces! We are going to fixe that!

Little Things Don't Go Unnoticed

This is where a lot of people stop. They got their face in the hole and then they think they are done. But, just look at the picture. Does it look like it REALLY belongs there? Not really. Here's where the hard work comes in. Just stay cool. It's ok, I'm here.

Let's begin by filling in those empty spaces around the face. Take the Clone Stamp Tool (It ooks like a little stamp maker on the toolbar). To begin, zoom up really close to the picture. about 300% is good, or 3 zooms. Make sure you're on the "My Face" layer. Hold Alt then click the mouse button on the cheek of my face. This will set the part that will be cloned or copied. (You can let go of Alt now) Now, on the edge of my face (Where the holes are!) click and drag along the empty space until it is all covered. This will be smoother if you have selected a brush style that is a blended brush for the cloning process to have a smoother flow.

Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement

Copying Skin Color

The face is now fully in the helmet, but it STILL isn't enough. Remember that very first layer that was duplicated? Well we want that original layer. Click the eyeball (on the layers window) on the layers "My Face" (This will make it disappear) and the original "layer 0" (This will make it appear). You will now have Mr. Stark's face back. Click the Eyedropper Tool (Looks like an eyedropper duh) on the toolbar. and then click on Mr. Stark's face (preferably the darker side). This will copy that specific pixel color. It should be some sort of rather dark peach.

Now that you have the color copied, click once again on both eyeballs. This will bring "My Face" back and make "Layer 0" disappear.

Changing Skin Color

Now, with the color copied, and the layer once again visible, select the Brush Tool. There is a drop down box which you can click on and it will bring up a variety of brush modes. Select the one that says "Color".

Now carefully, paint in over the face (avoid the eyes and lips as best you can). When this is done, you will see that now the skin color has changed very slightly and has a darker tone to it.

Final Step: Burning and Dodging

This next part is where we see if we did a good job preparing for this final step. We need to Burn the edges of "My Face" so that it looks like I'm wearing the helmet. We also need to burn the rest of my face to make it even more darker.

Begin by doing the whole face. Set the burn amount (located in the tool options menu bar) to about 60%. This will allow you to go over it again if need be while not entirely messing up the photo.

Give "My Face" a good burning. I went over the entire face twice (yes even the eyes). I then added a quick burn to the forehead just below the helmet.

Next is burning the outsides of "My Face". We want them to be a bit darker than the whole face. So you might have to turn down the % amount, but 60% is still fine. Just burn the edges!

 Last, but not least, is Dodging. This will highlight the area where the light (in the photo) has highlighted a face. It's the same idea as burning, but the opposite effect! You want to find where the light is coming from in the photo (in this case the top left) and avoiding and shadow makers (the helmet faceplate).

The Final Product

 Congratz! You did it! Now all you have to do is save it and show it off. Or keep it a secret of your undying love for Iron Man.

After Thoughts

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Was it everything you could have dreamed of and more? If not, then please comment with what can be improved upon. I am always looking to create better content in my tutorials for visitors and would enjoy your feedback - good or bad. Please answer the quick poll if you're in a hurry as well!

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    • pleohub profile image

      pleohub 6 years ago from Cebu City

      Cool.. Very nice. Just what I'm looking for.

    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      This is pretty cool and amazing! I'm excited to try this. Thanks for sharing! ^_^!

    • profile image

      Shivam srivastava 3 years ago

      it was just really amazing

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