A few years ago I started making a lot of cheesy Valentines with my face inserted on the body of someone famous. Then I would write something super cheesy for the Valentine. I have gotten better over the years and thought this would make a great Gimp tutorial. The tutorial is mainly concepts, so you could probably do this in Photoshop as well.
Step 1 - Mimic the photo you wish to use
|Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean|
Lighting is really important; we can change the skin tone, but changing lighting is extremely difficult. It is easier to get the lighting right while taking the picture than trying to get it to look well in the Gimp.
|Me trying to look like Orlando|
Obviously it is pretty helpful to have someone who is pretty good at photography as well as someone who can guide your face while looking at the image you are trying to duplicate.
Step 2 - Get an image of the face
Use the free select tool and select just the face (no hair).
|Select the face with free select tool|
Step 3 - Get the color palette
We want our skin tone to match the image as close as we can. We can always try to tweak that by hand working with levels and hue and saturation, but I find this to be difficult. An easier way to do this is to apply the same color palette to our face as the face of Orlando.
With the picture up of the face, go to Image>Mode>Indexed. With "Generate Optimum Palette" selected, click "Convert." Now go to Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Palettes
Right click on a new or existing palette and select "Import palette." Select image as the source, give the palette a name and press import.
Step 4 - Apply the color palette
Open the image of the face you wish to convert. Go to Image>Mode>Indexed.
Now your face will only have the colors of the face of the celebrity.
These two images are using the exact same colors.
It might be easier to see the difference, in this example of flowers:
|Example of normal image|
|Example of image with color palette|
The first image is the original. The second image has Orlando's color palette applied. The vibrant colors are now less vibrant and more earthy.
Step 5 - Place your face on top of the celebrity's face
Create a new layer and call it something like "My face." Drag your face onto that layer and resize and place the image so it is exactly over the face on the layer below. I usually turn the opacity down on the "My face" layer so I can know exactly where I am placing it.
|Image with the opacity down to help with placement|
|Image placed over face|
There are a lot of ways you can do this next step. You can use layer masks, you can just erase the background, you can select the background and delete it etc...
It does not really matter how you do it, but this is how I do it:
I create a copy of the background layer and put it just above the face layer. Then I use the erase tool and start from the nose erasing Orlando's face.
|Levels are off a bit|
Even though the face is in place, the levels are off. Go to Colors>Levels and adjust the levels until it matches well with the neck color. (Don't forget, while adjusting the levels, in addition to value (black and white) you can also adjust the levels for red, green and blue)
Keep working at it until it looks seamless. This is pretty good.
Step 7 - Bells and Whistles
Like I mentioned earlier. I do these for Valentines, so I like to make cheesy sayings. You don't have to do this, but it makes it a lot of fun. Remember that Google is your friend and you can search for a lot of different fonts. I did a Valentine for the Twilight movie; to get a font, I just Googled "Twilight font" and got something pretty good.
Below you can see some of my before and after to get some ideas for what you can do.
|Glee - Before|
|Glee - After|
|Lost - Before|
|Lost - After|
|Michael Jackson - Before|
|Michael Jackson - After|
|Mr. Darcy - Before|
|Mr. Darcy - After|
|Mr. T - Before|
|Mr. T - After|
|Chuck Norris - Before|
|Chuck Norris - After|
|The Office - Before|
|The Office - After|
|Pirates of the Caribbean - Before|
|Pirates of the Caribbean - After|
|Star Trek - Before|
|Star Trek - After|
|Twilight Edward - Before|
|Twilight Edward - After|
|Twilight Jacob - Before|
|Twilight Jacob - After|
|Wolverine - Before|
|Wolverine - After|
|Zac Effron - Before|
|Zac Effron - After|
|Inception - Before|
|Inception - After|
|Robin Hood - Before|
|Robin Hood - After|
|MI4 - Before|
|MI4 - After|
|Thor - Before|