How to Change a Facial Expression in Photoshop

Changing someone's facial expression is not something you will do very often, but it can be a real lifesaver for those occasional group shots where someone didn't smile or the like. This great video tutorial will show you everything you need to know to efficienty and convincingly edit facial expressions using Photoshop.

Coming to you from Unmesh Dinda for PiXimperfect, this helpful video tutorial will show you how to change facial expressions using Photoshop. The video begins with a demonstration of making subtle adjustments to a portrait's facial expression using Photoshop's Liquify tool, specifically the Face-Aware Liquify section, to make minor modifications, like slightly altering the smile. This tool is ideal for nuanced changes, providing control over various facial features. However, for more significant changes, the Liquify tool’s two-point control might not suffice.

To illustrate more drastic transformations, Dinda turns to the Neural Filters in Photoshop. By adjusting the "happiness" slider in the Smart Portrait filter, he demonstrates how to significantly alter facial expressions. This process, while producing some initial distortion, offers a solid base for further refinements. The tutorial then delves into correcting and refining these major changes to make them more believable. Techniques like dodging and burning are used to match the teeth's brightness with the eye whites, ensuring realism in the altered portrait.

As you will notice, while there's a use of AI tools, there's a balance with fundamental Photoshop techniques. Dinda advocates for blending the power of technology with manual skills, highlighting the necessity for artists to be adept in both areas to overcome technological limitations. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Dinda. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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That thumbnail is fire

I've used this and the results are a bit hit and miss. It's very easy to end up with a smile like Jack Nicholson's version of The Joker.

I tried facial expression changing tools in portrait editors like Photodiva (the one that adds a smile), but it's really hit or miss, some photos look great while others... not so much. Gotta try this one though.

I love Unmesh Dinda's videos -- they move quickly and you can always pause or replay sections. I agree that we need to just go out there and explore and play with PS from time to time, and with new tools emerging with such a pace now, there's a lot to experiment with.