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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

matching skin tones

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Old 11-28-2002, 02:45 AM
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Bandit Bandit is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Birmingham, England
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matching skin tones

Hi everyone,
A couple of weeks ago I poated a thread (somewhere!) asking for advice on matching skin tones when placing the head off one photo and placing it onto the body of another photo, I got some great feed back on matching skin tones (thanks Trimoon) so I thought I would share this tutorial with you all.

Here is a technique that I use, I hope this helps.

1, First of all, lets have the new head placed into our new image - Stop when you have got the face at the right dimensions - ie the same size.

2, Ok we want to change a face, but leave the hair from the original photograph. This means we are going to have to remove parts of the new face, and get the skin tones to match in with the original image.

So the first step is to add a layer mask to our new face. Do this by clicking on the New Layer Mask icon which is on the bottom of the Layers palette.

3, Press D to make sure the colour palette is set to its default settings, and then press B to activate the Brush tool. Now choose a small-medium brush. Press the Z key and zoom into the area surrounding the head.

Press the B key to activate the Brush tool once more. Begin to remove the unwanted areas surrounding the head - try and keep most of the face as possible at this point - just remove clothing and background etc.

4, Now that we just have the face and hair, its time to get the positioning. Click the V key to activate the Move tool, and line up the new face with the original. Hint: it might make it easier to adjust the opacity of the face layer while doing this - just return it back to 100% when you are happy with the positioning.

5, Happy with the position of the new face? Ok, now to bring back the original hair style. Click on J to activate the Airbrush tool. In the options area at the top of the screen (PS6) adjust the pressure of the brush to about 53-58%. In earlier versions, double click the Airbrush tool and wait for the Options Panel to appear. Enter the values of the pressure here.


6, Place the cursor on the original hairstyle - making sure the new face layer is still active, and begin to airbrush away unwanted hair from the new face. Stop when the hair from the new face has completely disappeared, and if necessary, the ears. Be warned - use a complex hair style and this could be a little time consuming but worth it in the end.

7, If needed, adjust the size of the face slightly by using the Free Transform tool (CTRL+T), just to make sure everything fits.

Because we used the Airbrush tool to remove unwanted hair on a low setting, we have managed to effectively 'mould' the two faces together. All that remains now is to get the skin tones to match.

8, With the face layer still active, click once on the thumbnail of the face in the Layers Palette (you should see an icon of a paintbrush) - this will take us out of our Layer Mask mode for now - the mask is still there, and won't be affected.

From here we can work on the face further, and if necessary bring back some original features.

9, Either press CTRL+B to bring up the Colour Balance dialogue box. The two main colours we want to adjust are the Red & the Yellow.

10, Lets adjust the Red colour first. Click on the small arrow under the colours Cyan & Red. Drag this arrow towards the right slightly. You should see more red being added to the face.

Now add some yellow. Click on the arrow for the Yellow and Blue and move it to the left.

Continue the above step until you get the colours to match with the original face. If need be, bring up the Brightness & Contrast option to make any further adjustments
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