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Animal Morph Effect in Photoshop (2 Parts)

Posted on 20th July 2018
For this Tutorial, we are going to use the image of a person facing front, and one of the animal to morph into.

1 - In Photoshop, open your image. Use the “Polygonal Lasso Tool” (L) to make a selection of the face.







2 - Click on the “Select and Mask” button on the Top Menu, check the “Smart Radius” box and use a “Radius” of about 8 Pixels. Use the “Refine Edge Brush Tool” (R) with a 100 px Soft brush to draw around the hair. Output to a “Selection”.



3 - Go to Select > Save Selection, save to a “New Channel” and name it “Contour”.







4 - Right-click on top of your Layer and choose “Duplicate Layer”, choose “New Document” as “Destination” and name it “Displacement”.





5 - Make sure you are in your new “Displacement” file, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a “Radius” of 7.0 Pixels. Go to File > Save As and save it in the location of your choice.









6 - Open the image of the animal you wish to morph your subject into, use the “Lasso Tool” (L) to make a selection around the face and click on the “Select and Mask” button.





7 - Check the “Smart Radius” box and use a 90 Pixels “Radius”, a “Smooth” of 5 and a “Contrast” of 20%. Output to a “New Layer”.





8 - Select your “Background” Layer and go to Select > Color Range. Select “Highlights” and adjust the “Fuzziness” and “Range” levers until the “Whiskers” are as defined as possible. If both sides won’t work you can isolate just one side.





9 - Click “Q” to enter “Quick mask Mode”, select the “Brush Tool” (B), use Black as “Foreground” color to delete all the White areas that are not the Whiskers. Change the “Size” and “Hardness” of the brush as needed.





10 - Go to Select > Select and Mask (Alt/Option + Command/Control + R) and play with the “Mask” settings to make your selection as even as possible.





11 - Click on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel” to create a “New Layer”, name it “Whiskers1” and click “Alt/Option + Delete” to fill your selection with White (“Background” color).





12 - Select your two upper Layers (“Background copy” and “Whiskers1”), drag them up to your subject’s image “Tab” then, down on top of your image. Use “Free Transform” (Command/Control + T) to resize them. Once you are done click “Enter”.





13 - Select only your Top Layer (Animal face), lower its “Opacity” to 40%, and hide the “Whiskers1” layer by clicking on the small eye icon left of its Thumbnail. Enter “Free Transform” (Command/Control + T) and click the “Warp” button on the Top Menu. Move the “Mesh” points and handles to make your image fit the subjects face as much as possible. Once you are happy click the small “Checkmark” on the Top Menu or hit “Enter”.





14 - If you notice that fitting the eyes, mouth and nose is not possible, duplicate your Layer (Command/Control + J), enter “Warp” Transform and make different modifications for the last two. Change the “Blending Mode” to “Multiply”.







15 - Make a selection around the eyes, go to Select > Select and Mask (Alt/Option + Command/Control + R) and check the “Smart Radius” box and use a “Radius” of about 70 Pixels”, a “Smooth” of 5 and a “Contrast” of 10%. Output to “Selection”.



16 - Go to Select > Save Selection, save to a “New Channel” and name it “Eyes”. Go back to your Layer (the one that has the “Eyes” fitted), click on the small “Add Layer Mask” button at the bottom of the Panel.







17 - Rename this layer “Eyes” and move it to the Top. Duplicate the other Layer (the one that has the “Nose and Mouth” fitted), name it “Face” and name de duplicate “Chin”. Hide them for now.



18 - In the “Channels Panel” click on top of the “Eyes” Channel Thumbnail while holding the “Command/Control” Key to make a selection, then go back to the “Face” Layer. “Invert” your selection (Command/Control + I) and add a “Layer Mask” to this Layer too.





19 - Using the “Brush Tool” (B) with a Large, soft brush (100 px and 0% Hardness), click on the “Face” Layer Mask and erase some of the overlapping portions so they are not noticeable. To bring back something, just change the “Foreground” color from Black to “White”. Select both Layers and click on the small “Folder” icon at the bottom of the Panel to “Group” them together. Name the group “Face”.









20 -  Select your folder, go to Filter > Covert for Smart Filters and click “OK” when asked. Then, go to Filter Distort > Displace. Use an “Horizontal” and “Vertical Scale” of 5, click “OK” and navigate to the “Displacement.psd” file you saved before. Choose it and click “Open”.













21 - In the “Channels Panel” click on top of the “Contour” Channel Thumbnail while holding the “Command/Control” Key to make a selection, then go back to the “Face” Layer. Add a “Layer Mask”.





22 - Using the “Brush Tool” (B) with a Large, soft brush (95 px and 0% Hardness) with a 28% “Opacity”, click on the “Face” Layer Mask and erase some of the edges on the “Hair” line. Decrease the size of the brush and smooth the edges around the face a bit. Change the “Hardness” and “Opacity” to 100% or closer to it and erase the “Eyes” to bring out the ones of the subject. Finally, lower the “Opacity” back to about 50% and erase a bit of fur from the lips. To bring back something, just change the “Foreground” color from Black to “White”.













23 - Move the “Chin” Layer to the Top, make sure its “Blending Mode” is “Normal” and add a “Layer Mask” to it. “Invert” the “Mask” (Command/Control + I) so it’s filled with Black and use a Large, soft brush (220 px and 0% Hardness) with a 50% “Opacity” and bring out some of the fur on the “Chin” and other spots. To erase some of it, change the “Foreground” color.











24 - Turn on the “Whiskers1” Layer, duplicate it and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Hold the “Shift” Key to drag the duplicate to the other side of the face. Change the “Blending Mode” of both Layers to “Soft Light” and the “Opacity” to 70%.







25 - Reduce the “Opacity” of the “Chin” Layer to 80%. Then, duplicate your “Background” Layer, drag it to the Top and change the “Blending Mode” to “Soft Light” and the “Opacity” to 50%.





26 - Your Image should be similar to this.

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