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How to Photoshop Happy Faces to Sad Faces

Updated February 21, 2017

Subjects in a photograph usually assume "Say cheese!" means to break out into a happy face. Capturing subjects with sad faces may be more difficult, but manipulating images after the fact doesn't have to be. While the Adobe Photoshop software may not be able to transform happy faces to sad ones with 100 per cent realism, it does let you experiment with facial expressions, and manipulate grins and grimaces.

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  1. Open Photoshop. Click the "File" menu. Select "Open." Browse to the picture of the happy face to turn into a sad face and double-click the image.

  2. Click the "Magnify" tool on the bottom of the Tools pane. Zoom in on the person's mouth.

  3. Click the "Lasso" tool at the top of the Tools pane. Draw an outline around the person's mouth, sticking as close to the lips as possible. Blinking dotted lines surround the mouth.

  4. Pull down the "Edit" menu and click "Transform." Select "Flip Vertical." The happy smile turns into a frown or grimace, but there is a hole left in the face.

  5. Click the "Healing Brush Tool" on the Tools pane -- the tool looks like a bandage. Position the cursor on the person's cheek directly next to, but not over, where the hole is. Press the "Alt" key and click the cursor one time, copying the skin.

  6. Release the "Alt" key and drag the cursor over the hole, depositing skin into the hole and surrounding the mouth.

  7. Click the "File" menu. Select "Save As." Enter a new name for the frowny-face picture and click the "Save" button.

  8. Tip

    This process looks much more realistic and requires far less touchup on a cartoon happy face like the iconic smiley. The technique for flipping the smile upside down is the same, but because you're not dealing with skin, make-up and other facial issues, you won't have to use the Healing Brush tool. To further transform the image into something slightly more realistic, take advantage of some of Photoshop's distortion tools. Found off the "Edit" menu's "Transform" flyout menu, try warping, distorting or scaling the mouth after flipping it. If the person is grinning, their teeth may look funny and out of whack when flipped, as well as the size of their lips and the way the lips stretch across the face.

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About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

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