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Animal photo manipulation with Gimp

A slightly advanced Gimp tutorial, but still appropriate for the beginners as well. We will replace the fox's head with the head of a hamster.

  Author: mat | Version: 2.8.0 | 19th April 2013 |  

If you really are a total Gimp beginner, I suggest you go through the very basic animal head replacement tutorial first:.

Open an image of an animal you want to borrow its head from.

To work wit the same images as I did, download the hamster and the fox image.


We will no select the hamster's head using the Gimp Quick Mask selection method.

Turn the Quick Mask on (see picture).


Choose the Brush Tool.


Choose the brush Hardness 075 and an appropriate brush Size.


Press D and then X to set the white brush color.

Now paint over the hamster's head and neck the way I did to uncover the mask (this will later on create a selection).


Now set the very small brush size like 2 or 3.


And carefully paint over the remaining parts of the hamster's fur.

Don't forget, if you press X to change the brush color back to black, you can apply the mask back if you uncovered the parts of the image that should stay covered.


Keep changing the brush size to make the selecting process easier and more accurate.

You should end up with something like this.

Now click the Quick Mask (step 2) button to turn the mask off. The head should now be selected. Press Ctrl + C to copy the selection.


Open the picture of the animal you want to attach the new head to, a fox in my case and press Ctrl + V to paste the hamster head.


Right-click the new Floating Selection layer and choose To New Layer.


Now choose the Scale Tool.


Click the hamster head and resize it so it will fit the new body and press Scale to confirm the change.

If you hold Ctrl while resizing the head won't loose its proportions.


Choose the Move Tool and reduce the head's opacity.


We reduced the opacity so we can see the old head bellow which enables us to position the new head much easier.


Choose the Rotate Tool.


And Rotate the head a bit if needed. Click Rotate to confirm.


Now choose the Move Tool again and fine tune the new head position once more.

Don't worry about the ears or other stuff sticking out, we will take of that in the next steps to come.


Choose the Eraser Tool.


Set the eraser Opacity to about 18, set an appropriate size and hardness to 50 or 25.

For the best result you will need to keep changing the hardness, you might wanna go to 75 as well so the edges won't be too smooth.


Now carefully erase on the edges of the hamster head so it will slowly blend in with the fox.

Keep changing size of the Eraser as well for better end result.


When done erasing, choose the fox layer.


Now choose the Clone Too.


Remove the stuff that's sticking out from the back of hamster's head, like the fox's ears.

To do that press and hold Alt key then click the background near the ears to select the cloning source. Release the Alt key and simply paint over the objects you want to remove. For the optimal result, keep changing the cloning source.


You are basically done. You can also correct the head levels a bit by selecting the head layer, clicking Colors -> Levels and adjust the levels.

You can also adjust the colors a bit by clicking Colors -> Hue-Saturation... and trying out different settings. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to drop us a comment bellow.

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NikMan, 21st Apr 2013, 4:19 AM
Gimp is really best choice for everyone who don't want to be a pirate or not have money (600 euros is too much). thank you mat for sharing. I just hope to see some examples too, not just yours.
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mat, 21st Apr 2013, 12:29 PM
Yea it's a great piece of software. There are quite a few Gimps tuts on the site so it was only natural thing to do to add the same categories we have for Photoshop. I'm sure others will be adding Gimp tuts as well, just give it some time.
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