Saturday, February 21, 2009

Off with his Head (3b & 4)

Yes: welcome back. Sorry I haven't been very motivated with finishing this series or posting here. In spite of the outcry to finish this series, the truth is that if you have followed this blog at all you have all the tools you need to finish the job.

What many of you have right now is this:


Phil's head has been color-adjusted so that it looks like it almost has the same skin tone as Batista does, and since it is safe in its own layer we can do almost anything we want with it.

What we want now is to orient and size Phil's head to match Batista's head, and then make the overlap seemless.

Now, no foolin': you can absolutely do this without any instruction.

Your first step is to tilt Phil's head at the same angle as Batista's head. You can do this in any number of ways, but the best reference guide to making this happen is to match the centerline of Phil's face which runs down the bridge of his nose to the same angle of the same line on Batista's nose. The more clever among you might try to match the line which runs eye-to-eye on Phil's head to the same line in Batista's head.

Either way, tilt Phil's head by selecting his head in the layer, then rotating it using the rotate tool.

At that point, you'll notice Phil's head is bigger than Batista's. Scale Phil's head so it is the same size. Again: this is barely 101 stuff.

The two things you might have a problem with is that Phil's head will not cover Batista's head adequately for a clean paste, so you're going to have to trim Batista's head off at the collar line to give Phil's head a clean space to paste into.

But the problem is that there's a gradient in the background behind Batista -- not a solid color, but a change from light to dark, right to left. So what you have to do is select his head, pick colors that will give you a decent gradient, then pull the gradient into the selected area.

Like this:


I have used the lasso tool to select Batista's head, and what you can't see is that I have feathered the selection by 2 pixels to give whatever it is we do here a softer edge.

In my sample image here I have dropped in labels "A" and "B". These represent the places I picked to use the eye-dropper to select a BG color and a FG color in order to pull out a gradient across Batista's head. When I go to the gradient tool, then, all I have to do is pull a diagonal line from "A" to "B" and I'll get something which blots out Batista's head and gives a presentable blank slate for Phil's head to fill in.

Like so:


The most very wily of you will see that, before deselecting the image, I also ran the "Gaussian Blur" filter to further mute the edges so that there are no places which are obviously not right. And since all of you are working at 2x resolution to shrink all little stuff into complete irrelevance in the final product, you will appreciate this step even more.

Anyway, that's it. That's all it takes to finish this project. Now you make Phil's head's layer visible again, drag it into position, and you get something like this:


If you are especially anal, you will use the smudge tool to make the place where Phil's neck touches Batista's neck without any cut line.

You can axe any questions you have in any of the Q&A posts.