May 28, 2007
Here’s a neat tip from yours truly on my method of superimposing. This post specifically covers superimposing your face on top of another, but it lays out the basics of superimposing virtually anything you can imagine as the sky is the limit when working with Photoshop.
Lately on Facebook, I’ve been having a little bit of fun with my profile pictures. Instead of using something like a self-portrait, or God forbid, a “myspace angle“, I’ve superimposed my face on top of famous movie characters.
From the before/after image above, you should get a pretty good idea of what this post is about now if you didn’t fully understand what I meant by superimposing before. If you’re looking to improve your skills in using Photoshop, have a little fun, or produce a humorous profile picture for your preferred IM app/social networking site, read on.
(Note: This tutorial requires Photoshop CS+)
- First, find a picture of something you’d like to superimpose your face on. I like to use screen captures from movies, movie posters and the like. Let’s start my example with the latest superimposition I’ve done, the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest movie poster.
- Next, we need a picture of your face which fits the angle of the face you would like to replace. I chose to replace Johnny Depp’s face, so I took a snapshot of myself looking in the same direction he was. The angle is really important, so try your best to get the angle to look the same. To do this step, a digital camera will suffice, but if you have a Mac with an iSight, Photo Booth is really great for this.
- Open up your self-portrait in Photoshop, and duplicate the Background layer so you essentially have 2 layers of your self portrait.
Why have duplicate layers? We’re going to be altering one of them and having an untouched version is nice just in case you screw up.
- Next, create a new layer in between those two and make it a neon bright color such as cyan or magic pink.
- There are probably a ton of ways that you can go about superimposing, but this is probably where most methods differ. Here, I make use of the Extract tool which I never learned how to use until after about 7 years of using Photoshop. It was at this time that I came across a tutorial by Bert Monroy which covered it and now it’s one of my most favorite tools.
Why not use the pen tool or marquee tool to cut out our face from our self-portrait? The Extract tool will “softly” cut it out and it’s a lot quicker too. In the end, it allows for better blending and awesome results.
Now, to actually using this tool…
Select the “Background copy” layer, then from the Photoshop menu, go to:
Filter > Extract
You should now be presented with a separate window with your selected layer. By default, the highlighting tool should be selected (the icon looks like a felt marker). If not, select it at the left of this window.
Now, trace around your face that you would like to extract as shown below.
- Photoshop still needs to know whether you want to select inside your tracing, or outside of your tracing. Select the paint bucket tool from the left, and fill inside your tracing as shown below.
- Now press “OK” to the right and you should have the following result:
It might look like the result is rough around the edges, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing (it only looks bad because of the bright contrasting background behind it).
- Open your movie poster from step 1 into Photoshop and take your face you just extracted and drag and drop it into the movie poster.
This can easily be fixed by Free Transforming the layer with your face.
For those who haven’t discovered this tool yet, right click anywhere inside the window, and click on “Free Transform” from the contextual menu. Once you activate Free Transform, you should see a boundary box around the layer with your face. Just treat it like you’re resizing a window (you’re what you call “scaling” here), and resize it to fit the face you want to replace. In this case, we need to make it smaller so it covers up Johnny Depp’s face, but not leave it too large either.
- After cleaning up our layer by erasing some of the rough edges which stick out. We’re pretty much finished with out task of superimposing.
In the above image, you might notice that my face is a little bit more yellower than the original self-portrait. This is to make it so my face blends in better with the overall image as the movie poster has an underlying yellow tone. You can try the built in “Match Color” feature of Photoshop, or do manual hue adjustments.
Stay tuned for next time on how to add in the little details to make your face blend in better (eg. beard, makeup), and how to make it look like you were casted, instead of Johnny Depp: