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Damage can occur in a photo in the most inconvenient places, causing limbs or eyes to be damaged, or even missing. You can borrow limbs or eyes from the same or other images to fix this, but you need to practice. It's a good idea to practice on undamaged photos to get a feel for how body parts should go. In this image I'm going to demonstrate borrowing one eye to replace another eye. This photo isn't damaged, but it will work well for practicing the techniques I am going to show you. We will begin by using Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac, to duplicate our original image.
Start off with simple images, ones that have both eyes facing front, both arms showing, only facing slightly to the left or to the right. Once you master the simple poses, you can move into the more complicated poses, or bring in outside elements. The Library of Congress digital collection has a lot of great public-domain photographs like this one that you can practice on, if you don't have any of your own. Keeping this simple, we are just going to select an eye by going over here to our toolbar, grabbing a Selection tool, say the Lasso tool.
Let's use Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus to get in good and close on an area, and we are going to select here around this eye. Get lots of space, because you are going to want to blend it. You don't want it just really close, or you are going to have a little trouble there. Now we want to get this on its own layer. Let's use Ctrl+J or Command+J, and we will go up to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Select your Move tool, and you can either use your arrow keys or you can move it with your mouse. Place it in the general area. It makes it a little easier, especially if you're using a photo that isn't damaged. But in all cases, hopefully you are going to have some guide left in the damage where you can tell where it is.
So lower your Opacity so you can see the area underneath. I'll lower it a little more. See when I do this you can see the transition and that it's not just perfectly aligned. Why want to have enough of our new eye where we can see what we are doing with that too. Now we will hit Ctrl+T or Command+T to transform and Warp. And we're going to just warp it a little.
Follow the lines underneath, so you can tell when you're out of alignment. It might not be really obvious until you start moving it over. The key to flipping, especially eyes I think, is when you just flip it over and leave it, well, eyes aren't exactly like each other--and you've got a little angle. It has to be different in order to look natural. Let's see how this is looking. Not too bad.
It's actually not too bad of a match, but let's bring the Opacity up, and that could change things. I am going to hit Ctrl+T or Command+T again and Warp, and just without having the bottom one as a guide, just start moving it around and seeing, does that look right, does that look right to me? Something looks off about that, or that person looks cross-eyed. Well, then you know that you haven't got it right and if you notice that, other people are.
Be honest with your own work. Look at it with a critical eye, so you get it right. Okay, and we are going to go with that. Now one problem you see that's very obvious, at least to me, is now the light in the eye is on the wrong side. So I am going to show you what we can do to fix that, and then we will blend this in. First we are going to add a new blank layer, go over and grab our Clone Stamp tool, lower our Brush Size using our open bracket key.
And then we are going to put it over this pupil of this eye. that pupil into this eye. Now we are going to go back to our previous layer, and you can either grab your Eraser tool at a 20% Opacity to blend in the new eye or you can add a layer mask. The layer mask is preferable, because if you take too much away and you are using your Eraser tool, you can't get that back-- with a mask, you can. So let's add a layer mask.
We need our opposite color. Make sure that black is your foreground, grab your Brush tool, adjust the sizes you need to with your open and close bracket keys, and start blending in the area. If you go too far and you have some damage, like I said, with the mask you can just change your color from black to white and paint that back in. There, get all the places you need to get a better blend here.
All and all, that's not too bad. Pay attention to the details, like the lights in the eyes. That's always a good key to keep it looking natural. Let's zoom out here, and let's look at the before and after. Now in the before, she's looking more towards the camera, and this gives us the idea that she's looking more to the side, but it's not an unnatural look. Replacing parts in images is not easy, but it doesn't have to be overly hard either.
All it takes is guidance and practice. Put in the practice and let undamaged photos be your guide, and you'll be on your way to mastering the skill.
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