Making a Detailed Guise

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The first job in creating a more detailed face texture is finding and preparing source photographs to work with. Taking photographs of a friend or colleague is probably the cheapest option and will provide you with the exact images you need to create a fully detailed texture. You can also use stock and library images from the internet providing you have permission.

Tips for photographing your own source images

  • When shooting your own photos make sure you shoot in controlled conditions to get the best lighting you can.
  • An overcast day is best if photographing outdoors. If indoors, find somewhere bright with even lighting.
  • Be aware of shadows, you need to capture a face with even lighting with as few shadows as possible.
  • Make sure the focus is a sharp as possible.
  • Make sure your depth of field is as big as possible so most of the face stays in focus.
  • Try to get equal exposures for each photo, so blending them later will be easy.
  • Making sure the head is tilted up to reduce nose and jaw line shadows and to allow for capture of those areas.

Source Images

If you are paying for images or sourcing free ones you can successfully follow this guide with one high resolution Forward Facing or Side Profile (45 degree) photo. For the best results I recommend photographing the following images.

  • Forward Facing - Capturing full face, lower neck to top of head. Head tilted up slightly with EYES OPEN.
  • Side Profile 45 degrees. Again head tilted slightly up with EYES CLOSED.
  • Close up of Lips
  • Close up of eyelid closed (relaxed).
  • Close up of Nostrils & Tip of Nose (front on tilted up slightly)

Step by Step Guide

This guide uses photoshop to complete all the steps involved. But most image editing packages which have a layers feature should produce identical results. The most common tools we will be using are brushes, eraser, layer masks, transform & warp.

This process is just one method we use to create guises. You can also paint a complete face without photographs, or just warp manipulate a face into place. I find this method produces a good enough result with the least amount of stretching and blurring of the features and skin details. Remember this is just a guide. Feel free to alter the process any way you see fit.

Steps 1 to 10

1. First thing we do is set up our photoshop file. I find it useful to keep a template file which has layers all ready set up to start a new guise. It contains the UV map, the generic teeth and tongue and a base layer for the face. This can easily be put together from the provided templates on the guises page. Your file should be 1024x1024 or 2048x2048 pixels square. You can work at a higher resolution if you like and scale down. What's important is that you keep to the square image format and uv layout with a transparent background when saving our you png guise file.


2. Next we find some source images. Again make sure you have permission to use and manipulate them. For this tutorial guide I have selected three images which have a high enough resolution to work with. I have marked the areas we are most interested in for building our guise. The forward facing photo offers the most facial details, but ignoring the shaded side of the face. The 45 side profile provides a good amount of skin texture for the jaw line area. The third image is to use if we need to extra eyelid or face details.


3. Using the lasso tool (or suitable selection tool) select an area around the mouth. This is the first facial part we will place. Making sure to leave a big enough area of skin around your selection. Now copy (CTRL+C) to save that selection to the clip board.


4. Now back to our guise file and where we paste in our selection. It will automatically get added to its own layer. I find it useful to create groups to organise my layers. We will be pasting in many of these body parts so once pasted in, make sure your layers are clearly labelled and placed in the correct groups. Now would also be a good time to save your file, making sure to preserve the layers (psd or other). You may notice when pasting in images from different sources the size changes. This is due to different resolutions, so feel free to scale things up or down if needed when placing them. Obviously scaling up will reduce quality and detail which is why high resolution source images are best. Move the lips into place, lining up the uv map as best you can for now. Remember to save incrementally as you work, so you can always go back to the last step if you make a mistake.


5. Notice the shaded side of the lips? What comes next forms the bulk of the process in getting a nice evenly lit guise texture. I don't want the shaded side of the face, so I will need to duplicate and flip the lips, then remove the shaded side. We are mirroring all the parts we paste in to removed undesirable details, blurs and shadows. You may find some source images have blurry areas, or shadows...I find this is the best method to remove them but keeping the face intact.


6. Right click on the lips layer and duplicate it. Then make sure to select the top lips layer and click flip it horizontally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal).


7. With the top layer still selected, now select the Eraser tool. Set it to about 30% transparency and start painting away the shaded side. You will notice the lighter side on the layer below starts to show through. Make sure you get rid of everything on the shaded side leaving no artifacts, but keep a smooth gradual transition in the middle lip area. You can hide the lips layer below if to help spot any bits you missed.


8. The joining overlap between the two layers sometimes doesn't blend well, so we need to copy an extra bit to cover it up. Here i'm selecting a small section to paste over that join.


9. Once pasted in, you can again carefully erase what you don't need. The trick with this is getting nice gradual blends on the edges of all the parts you overlap. This technique is used throughout this guide to mirror various facial parts. If you prefer, instead of erasing you can use layer masks to paint away what you don't need, whilst preserving your layers.


10. Now we have three layers for the lips. Once you happy with your new lip and everything aligns to each layer and the uv guides you can merge those three lips layers. Select all three layers > Right Click > Merge Selected


Steps 11 to 20

11. Now we have our lips placed we can arranging the rest of the face.


12. Using the front facing photo, select and copy an area around the lower eyelid, also taking an area of the nose and cheek. Making sure to select the best non shadowed side of the face to do so.


13. Paste it and transform it (move & scale) until you have it aligned with the uv map.


14. You can then duplicate the layer, flip it horizontally and then move and align the duplicate to the other side, matching the uv's.


15. Now select and copy the best side of the nose, taking in a bit of cheek and brow with your selection.


16. Paste and place it to match the uv. You may need to scale it in one direction of another to get a match.


17. Now duplicate the layer and flip horizontally. Now using the Eraser (transparency 10%) carefully erase away the overlapping edge creating a nice invisible blend between the two layers.


18. Now select and copy the nostril area from the best source image you have for it. This is where a high resolution version can be useful.


19. Place it above the first nose layer.


20. Now duplicate and flip horizontally and erase away the overlapping line between them. Then merge the two layers together and call Nose Tip or something. Don't worry about the edge of the nostril areas where they overlap the nose layer for now. You can however use the eraser to blend the line between the Nose and Nose Tip layers.


Steps 21 to 30

21. Now we select a large area of the cheek.


22. Placing it under the nose and and eyes layers. Aligning it so the it matches up with the mouth and nose as best as it can.


23. Now duplicate it and drag which ever layer is underneath up and to the side slightly. By blending these two layers we create more cheek and cover a bigger area.


24. Using the eraser tool (transparency low - 10%) blend away the upper layer line where it overlaps the lower layer. You may need to use the clone stamp tool to fill in any gaps. Then merge the two layers when happy with the result.


25. Then duplicate & flip horizontally, aligning the duplicate to the uv layout on the other side of the face.


26. Place the cheeks layer at the bottom of the facial parts layer stack and soften (erase away) the edges of all the layers above. Nose, Nose Tip, Lower lids, Lips.


27. Now select and copy the top lip area, grabbing some of the cheek and edge of nostril.


28. Place and align it to the uv map.


29. Then erase away the edges so it blends well with cheek, nose and lips.


30. Then duplicate and flip horizontally and place on the other side. Using the eraser to carefully blend the overlap area. Once complete, merge the two layers and call Upper Lip.


Steps 31 to 40

31. Now select and copy the chin area.


32. Place the chin. Again, duplicate and flip horizontally, blending the two sides.


33. Merge the two layers/sides together and move the layer below the lips layer but above the cheeks. Now erase/blend the edges where they overlap the cheeks.


34. Now select and copy a large area of the forehead. I'm taking the shaded area, but will cover most of it up when I duplicate and flip.


35. Place the forehead. I have scaled mine up a bit so it goes just beyond the edge of the uv map. Do not worry about going outside, as a last step we trim off anything outside that area.


36. Now begin erasing away the shaded area we don't need.


37. This should leave and a nicely mirrored and blended forehead. Now merge the two layers together and place the just above the cheeks in the layer stack. I try to keep all the large areas of skin at the bottom of the stack and the smaller elements above.


38. Now select and copy the best eyebrow you can find. On most photo's I often find the depth of field falls off here, so keep an eye out for the focus and try to pick the best brow you can. You can always find a similar eyebrow from another photo, and place it if it works. It can be fun to mix and match different peoples features. For now though, we are creating a straight forward likeness!


39. Place the eye brows and align to the uv map. Don't blend or merge them just yet as we need to check the placement in the InYaFace web app.


40. Hide all the layers except the brows,nose, nose tip, lips, chin, eyelids. Making sure the background is transparent, File>Save for Web>png 24 bit with transparency checked.


Steps 41 to 50

41. Go to the InYaFace web UI and upload the test guise. The result should look something like the image below. use the Controls to move the face about and check the placement of the brows, lower eye lids, lips and nose. Make a note of anything that needs moving and maybe repeat this step until everything looks correctly placed. Once you have a png file ready for upload follow this guide to upload. Guises#Adding_a_new_guise.


42. Now back in photoshop, select and copy the inside eye/nose area.


43. Place and blend as best you can. The eyelid is perhaps the hardest area to map. Having great photo reference is beneficial in this step. Our source ref is a little limited so I ended up taking more steps than usual to get some kind of end result. Decide how you want to stack your layers as it affects how you will blend you layers together. I placed my inner eyes under the nose and lower lids.


44. Now try to find a good sample of an eyelid. I don't have one in my source images so will combine a few parts to fake it.


45. Select and copy the parts you need and start placing them so they can be blended together.


46. Matching the top eyelid to the uv can be trick and may require some heavy manipulating to get it just right. I tend to copy small sections and overlap them to build a fake eyelid...blending the edges where needed.


47. Once I have something that fits, I duplicate and flip horizontally and align on both sides, then merge the two layers.


48. Now we start to patch up the gaps around the eye. So select and copy any areas you can to fill in the gaps.


49. The upper eyelid and area to the outside of the eye are placed next.


50. Blend them, duplicate, flip, align, then merge them down with the original eyelid layer.


Steps 51 to 60

51. Now select and copy an area from the inside of the eye and nose.


52. Now we place it, blend it, duplicate and flip it horizontally again. Keep in mind when flipping over the duplicates...they don't always blend nicely depending on positioning, so they may require a further bit of work to smooth away some edges. Using an eraser with a very low transparency setting (1%-5%) is useful for such tiny adjustments.


53. The upper eyelid needs a bit of work and we have some blank spots on the inside of the nose still so lets address that next.


54. Select and copy a section of nose and cheek if needed.


55. Placing it above all the other layers, blend it in with the surrounding skin, then duplicate and flip to the other side.


56. Now the central area of the face is starting to come together.


57. Next we are going to fill the large area of skin between the face and the jaw line. I have found the best way to achieve this is by taking a large selection of skin from a 45 or side profile photo. Making sure to include the cheek, chin and forehead if possible.


58. Paste this in as a base layer, at the bottom of the layer stack and position it so the edges overlap the uv map area on the jawline.


59. Again, duplicate the layer and flip it and place it on the opposite side so it can be blended. You'll notice we get some blotchy areas showing up which can be removed later. Use the clone stamp tool here to removed unwanted details or artifacts from the mirroring process. You can spend time making both sides look different by cloning sections to randomise details.


60. Now focus your attention to blending each layer which overlaps the jawline skin base we created. You will need to blend the edges of the cheeks layer, the eyes and forehead to create as seamless as possible transition. Again using an eraser or layer mask with very low transparency will help achieve this with light touches as you go. You might need to patch in more skin layers from the cheeks or eyes if you have gaps.


Steps 61 to 75

61. I have duplicated the chin in this image, scaled it up slightly and moved it down under the original chin. Then I blended it in further with the base skin.


62. Next we need to fill the temple area with a skin patch, so select and copy a good area of skin which best matches that area of skin. If you don't have a source image which has that you can improvise by using a section of skin from elsewhere.


63. Paste in the temple patch below everything else, then blend away the edge of the jawline line and forehead where they overlap.


64. Keep working to fill the all the areas of the uv map with suitable skin. You can patch over as many areas as you like until the face starts looking finished. When you are happy with the result, save out a png and check it on the InYaFace Web UI.


65. At this point we have all the main areas covered, the features are aligned. But we still have eyelashes and fine details to add. We can also address any issues with blemishes, gaps, blurred areas and uneven lighting. As you can see I have highlighted some of the areas I need to fix on the example guise.


66. I want to darken the edge of the upper eye lid. I will do this by painting on top of the eye lid layer. Using a soft brush with a low transparency 50% and flow of 10.


67. Sample a darker shade of colour from the eyelid and start to paint in a darker line along the uv map eyelid edge. You might find doing a bit of back and forth testing between painting and looking at the results on InYaFace will get the look you want.


68. Next I look at the colour and levels of the complete face. I often add adjustment layers at the top of the face group stack to control levels, colour balance and hue and saturation. Make adjustments as you need to, removing colour casts or darkening the skin slightly if needed. Using adjustment layers give us the flexibility to make non destructive changes to our guise.


69. As you can see I have also added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.


70. Next I look at the original source image for skin details and distinguishing marks which might have got missed during our digital collage process. We also need to create some eyelashes. You can either select and copy moles and marks or sample the colours from the source image and paint them on the guise.


71. I find painting them often gives a better sharper result. So I create a new layer above the skin layers and paint on all the tiny details. In the example I painted on the moles on the right of the nose. I also painted on the lower eye lashes. These can be kept on their own layer if you wish or the paint layer. Make sure to keep them off the skin layers however, just in case you ever need to make changes.


72. To get a better more realistic look, you can adjust the layer properties. Double click the painted layer to open the dialogue box shown. Holding down alt you can drag back and split the marker on the Underlying Layer Slider. Experiment with sliding it back and observe how it changes the areas you have painted. What it's doing is showing through some of the layers underneath, giving you a certain amount of transparency. This is a good trick for painting eye makeup etc, where you might want highlights and skin texture to show through a fine layer of coloured makeup.


73. Next I painted in the upper eyelashes. These have their own uv's at the top right of the texture map. You can just paint one and flip it for the other.


74. The final steps involve a fair amount of testing back and forth between InYaFace and making tweaks. Each time you test look at your changes and adjust accordingly. I have marked some areas I might fix, like the upper lip, making it slightly bigger vertically so we see a bit more of it. Also looking at the transition area between the face and jawline patches. Spend time on these to remove anything that draws the eye towards it, any marks or lines left over from the creation process.


75. When your guise is finished you should have a well organised and layered file. Save out a finished face.png with a transparent background, upload it to InYaFace and use it on your Socibot. Once you have a png file ready for upload follow this guide to upload. Guises#Adding_a_new_guise.