Giving somebody a tan???

I need to adjust the colour of a head to match a tanned body it will be pasted on.

I'm sure it's simple but I just can't seem to get it.

Any suggestions?


  • Masking and a grade layer.  If your subject is moving you'll have to track the mask.


  • Sorry @stargazer54 (and this makes me think it *will* be something very simple)... these are 2 still images. I've already cut just the head from person1 and can paste it on person2. The problem is that person2  has deep tan (actually a Wolverine pose) and person1 hasn't seen much sun.

    The simplest would be to change the colour of the head in a composite shot before pasting but I just can't find the effect to use.

    I'm not sure how a mask and grade layer would help but could well be missing something


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Put your FACE/SKIN on its own layer (it doesn't need to be in its own Composite Shot.) and add a Color Curves effect. 

    To adjust overall brightness you can add points in the middle to lower midtones and/or drag the upper right point straight down to choke highlights. 

    You can adjust the curve for each color channel--Red, Green and Blue--separately. In general you'll want to darken/reduce channels rather than raise them as you're darkening things. For skin tones of any ethnicity there will be more red than green and more green than blue. 

    You could look for tutorials on using Color Curves to adjust skin. Curves in Hitfilm work the same as Curves in Photoshop, Lightroom, Aftee Effects and any other software with Curves, so you shouldn't need a Hitfilm specific tutorial. Just skip anything working "CMYK." Hitfilm only works in an RGB color space, not CMYK. 

  • I have never done this before and I was just wondering if adjusting the color of the head to match a tanned body looks natural? I'm really curious on that. 

  • If you are careful with applying the effects, it can look very natural.  It'll just take a lot of tweaking to hone in on the right combination of changes to get the two skin tones to match.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @bakerlee yeah, if you do it right. It's not hard at all.

    Here's a pic from my wedding of my wife, myself, my second-oldest childhood friend, Patrick and his girlfriend, Evelyn. Just for fun I tried to swap their skin tones in Hitfilm using Curves. As I type this it's 6:36 am. I opened Hitfilm at 6:15, so that's under 20 minutes to swap both skin tones then overlap the original and swapped image, export, upload to flickr and type this up.

    Now, imagine if I'd taken the time to actually make it look, you know, good.... (Pat still has too much green in his adjusted midtones, Evelyn too much red in the shadows).

    Anyways, just darkening a head to match a tanned body is a lot easier than a full "ethnicity swap"

    Oh, you might need to add a Hue/Saturation filter after the curves to do a last adjustment there. On my skin swap it would probably help if I took out a bit of saturation on both, but, then again, this is a fairly extreme recolor.

  • @Triem23 Thanks for sharing! I always appreciate that, especially with examples. Fascinating that it only took you like 20 minutes to do it. Evelyn's skin color actually looks believable, I'm impressed. At first sight I could've never guessed what her actual skin color is, but with a second and closer look it's obvious. Patrick looks a little greenish, but you already mentioned that. I guess the 'ethnicity swap' works for every skin color, right? 


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @bakerlee well, I know the principles but this is probably only the second or third time I've done a really extreme skin recolor like that, and the first in Hitfilm. A photographer who does lots of retouching or a photomontage artist could do a better job and a lot faster than 20 minutes. :-) But the tools are certainly in Hitfilm to do it. 

  • @Triem23 Amazed again. In the end we didn^t go for the effect  but will be giving it a go in the future. I think I mentioned previously that there is so much to Hitfilm and we're only scratching the surface.


  • @Triem23 For something you did in barely 20 minutes it really looks decent. I've wanted to try skin recolering for a long time, but I messed up every time. The skin always looked so unnatural that you could obviously tell that it was being worked on. It came out way too dark. 

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