One thing people always seem to want to learn in Photoshop is how to superimpose a head onto a different body – or a Face Swap, as it is popularly known. This could be a father and son face swap as we’ve done here, or perhaps you could transform someone into a celebrity or bodybuilder.
Of course, there are more practical uses for face swapping, too. For example, if one person in a group photo has their eyes closed, you could copy a new head in from a similar image (see our 6 photo editing steps every photographer should know).
We’ll let you debate its merits, in the meantime, this is how it’s done…
How to make a Face Swap photo
01 MAKE A SELECTION
Open your start image and grab the Lasso tool from the Tools Panel, then draw a rough selection around the man’s head and neck. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the selected area to a new layer. Grab the Move tool and check Auto-Select Layer and Show Transform Controls in the Options Bar.
02 POSITION THE COPY
Drag the head over the boy. Lower the layer Opacity to help you judge the position and hold Shift while dragging the corner of the transform box to resize. Use the arrow keys to nudge the head into place. Hit Enter to apply the transformation and bring Opacity back up.
03 SELECT THE HEAD
Grab the Quick Selection tool from the Tools Panel and paint over the face and hair to select it – hold down Alt and paint to subtract if the selection goes wrong. Next, go to Select>Modify>Feather and set the Radius to 1-2 pixels then hit OK.
04 MAKE THE MASK
Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel to turn the selection into a mask. Grab the Brush tool from the Tools Panel and hit D to reset your colours to black and white. Choose a soft-edged circular brush tip from the Brush Picker.
05 FINE-TUNE THE MASK
Make sure the Layer Mask thumbnail is highlighted in the Layers Panel then paint around the edges with black to fine-tune the mask and blend the layers. Hit X to flip your colour to white if you need to reveal the head.
06 SWAP THE OTHER HEAD
You may need to adjust tones to match the head to the body. If so, highlight the image thumbnail on the layer then hit Cmd/Ctrl+M to bring up Curves. Drag up or down on the curve to lighten or darken. When happy, hide the layer and repeat the process for the other head.