How to Map a Texture on a Face in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will learn how to map a texture on a face according to its shape and contours.
mapping texture
To start, you will need a main photo on which you will apply the texture and a photo that you will use as the texture. This is my main photo.
 mapping texture man
And this is a close up of a rock that I’ll use as the texture.
 mapping texture rock
Step 1
Switch over to the Channels panel.
 mapping texture channels panel
We need to select a channel which gives the highest contrast. One by one, click on each channel and see how the photo appears. I chose the Green channel since it’s the one with the highest contrast.
 mapping texture green channel
After selecting the channel, click on the small menu icon in the top-right and choose Duplicate Channel.
 mapping texture duplicate channel
Make sure that you select New as the destination of the duplicate channel.
 mapping texture duplicate channel dialog
 mapping texture green channel result
Step 2
Now, we will be working on the displacement map we just created for some tie. We will remove most of the details of the man’s face or else they will cause problems. Go to Filter > Noise > Median and increase the Radius to remove as much detail as possible while still keeping the major edges intact.
 mapping texture median
 mapping texture median result
Now, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and increase the Radius to blur as much as possible while still keeping the important details intact (such as eyes and mouth).
 mapping texture blur
 mapping texture blur result
Convert the picture to Grayscale mode by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. Now, go to File > Save As, name the file whatever you want and be sure to set the Format to Photoshop.
 mapping texture save
You can now close the displacement map.
Step 3
On our original photo, make sure that all channels are visible.
 mapping texture channels panel
Now, go back to the Layers panel and using any selection tool, make a selection of the area you want to apply the texture to. I used the Lasso Tool to create a selection of the man’s face.
 mapping texture lasso tool
We now have to remove the eyes from the selection. Hold the Alt (Windows) / Option (Macs) key and make a selection around the eyes.
 mapping texture selection
We don’t need to use our selection right now, but we will need it later. Save the selection by going to Select > Save Selection and name the selection “face”.
 mapping texture save selection
After saving, press Ctrl+D (Windows) / Command+D (Macs) to deselect the selection.
Step 4
Open the photo you will use as the texture in a separate window. Now, go to Layer > Duplicate Layer, name the duplicate layer “texture” and set the original image (the man’s picture) as the Destination.
 mapping texture duplicate layer
You can close the texture image. Now, we will load the selection we saved earlier. Go to the Channels panel and you will find the saved selection. To load it, command-click (Macs) / ctrl-click (Windows) on the channel’s thumbnail.
mapping texture face channel
Go back to the Layers panel and you will see the selection outline has reappeared.
 mapping texture loaded selection
With the texture layer selected and the selection loaded, press the Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
 mapping texture layer mask
 mapping texture layer mask result
Now, change the texture layer’s blending mode to Overlay.
mapping texture overlay
 mapping texture overlay result
Step 5
The image is looking pretty good, but to add a bit more realism, we will use the displacement map to make the texture fit around the face’s contours. Select the texture layer by clicking on its thumbnail.
 mapping texture texture layer
Click on the link icon between the texture layer’s preview and mask thumbnail.
 mapping texture link
Go to Filter > Distort > Displace and use the settings shown below.
 mapping texture displace
In the second dialog box, open the displacement map that you saved earlier.
 mapping texture open displacement map
And we’re done!
 mapping texture


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