Photoshop tutorial: Use Face Aware Liquify to add smiles and change expressions realistically in Photoshop

Discover step-by-step how to retouch a photo to give someone a subtle, realistic smile using Photoshop 2016's new Face Aware Liquify tool.


One of the new features of Photoshop CC 2016, Face Aware Liquify lets you quickly and easily change the expression on someone's face – adding a smile or a frown, or bringing out more complex emotions.

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However, if used heavy handedly you can end up with unnatural results (unless you're after a caricature). You need to be aware that, for example, adding a smile requires more than just moving the ends of the lips upwards – unless you want your subject to resemble Heath Ledger's Joker from Batman: The Dark Knight with cold eyes making a smile seem maniacal.

To avoid this, you also need to adjust a number of other facial features. In this tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice shows you how to use Face Aware Liquify in Photoshop for natural-looking results.

See also: Retouch photos using Photoshops Liquify tool. How to use the new Select and Mask tools in Photoshop 2016. How to use Photoshop's new Match Font tool.

Tigz says that, as with main Liquify tools, the key to getting realistic results is to go slowly, with small increments. Make minor adjustments and keep referring back to your original as you go to make sure you haven’t gone overboard.

STEP 1

First, open your chosen image and go to Filter > Liquify to open the Liquify dialog.

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With this chap, we want to make him happier with what's in front of him – and balance out his face a little.


STEP 2

You will need to make sure the Face tool (A) is turned on so that Photoshop automatically analyses each image for faces and marks them with path like brackets.

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The first thing you’ll notice is that if you hover over the features of the face, a series of dots and patches appear, specifically over the eyes, nose, lips and around the face. We’ll look at each of these individually in the following steps.

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STEP 3

Lets start by looking at the path that encircles the face. Dragging the top and bottom path points will elongate/shorten the forehead and the chin. Here I’ve decided to drag the forehead up a little, while keeping the chin as shot.

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Tip: If you happen to be working on an image of someone with a beard, extending the chin can also create fuller looking facial hair.


STEP 4

The points on the cheekbones and jawbones also allow for fine tuning of the bone structure. A smile is often accompanied by a widening of the jawline (which can also be used to make a face seem more masculine if you don't add the smile we're giving him later).

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If I'd brought the jaw line and face width in at the same time, it would make the face look slimmer.

Here I’ve narrowed the face while increasing (strengthening) the jawline.


STEP 5

Now lets take a look at the eyes, which have four new dots and a dashed line each. First, try clicking and dragging on the eye to move it around. You’ll notice that Photoshop protects the appearance of the eye while it's being moved.

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For this screenshot here, I've created an example of how far the eye can be moved. However, I’m going to go ahead and press Cmd/Ctrl + Z to undo a step and reposition to a more suitable placement for this particular image.

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STEP 6

The large square marker controls the overall size of the eye proportionally, while the three smaller dots give you full manual control over Eye Height and Width.

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I’ve used the square marker to decrease the size of the eyes – which had previously been magnified by the glasses – to a more realistic size.


STEP 7

Dragging up and down on the dashed line next to the eyes will also change the tilt of the eyes. However, this isn't necessary here.

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Tip: Along with an extra setting for Eye Distance, you can find manual sliders for all of these controls in the Properties menu on the right of your screen.


STEP 8

Next, lets look at the nose, which should have a three point path underneath it. Once again, you’ll notice that the nose can be repositioned as required by clicking and dragging in the middle of the nose.

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STEP 9

The two outer dots of the path control Nose Width, while the middle dot controls Nose Height. Here, I’ve reduced the width of the nose just a little for purely aesthetic reasons. Again, these can be adjusted via the sliders in the Properties panel if preferred.

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STEP 11

Finally let's have a look at the mouth. The two dots either side of the mouth control the width, allowing you the extend the lipline out and make the mouth more of a feature if required.

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STEP 12

Each lip also has it’s own height adjuster, allowing you to balance out the two or emphasise one for effect – for example a pouted bottom lip. They can also be controlled proportionally to each other via the Mouth Height Option in the Properties panel.

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STEP 13

As for the curves on either side of the mouth, this can be used to add a hint of a smile (or frown) to the person in your photo. Simply drag up and down as required - but don't overdo it.

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STEP 14

At this stage, make any final tweaks to your settings. Once you’re happy with your results, press OK in the bottom-right-hand corner to come back into the main Photoshop interface.

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