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Creating a hair-only mask

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Creating a hair-only mask

Now, when we last left off, as you may recall, the model's hair was looking absolutely great; her face looks great as well. But the bottom portions of her jaw, and along her neckline, and into her shoulders looks absolutely wretched. And so what we need to do is create a third layer of the model in which we mask her flesh tones away from her hair. This time around we can go ahead and create the mask directly inside of our composition at hand. Now, you may recall that the Channels panel is always seeing the composite view of the image.

Creating a hair-only mask

Now, when we last left off, as you may recall, the model's hair was looking absolutely great; her face looks great as well. But the bottom portions of her jaw, and along her neckline, and into her shoulders looks absolutely wretched. And so what we need to do is create a third layer of the model in which we mask her flesh tones away from her hair. This time around we can go ahead and create the mask directly inside of our composition at hand. Now, you may recall that the Channels panel is always seeing the composite view of the image.

So what I need you to do, if you are working along with me, is press the Shift key and click the Layer Mask thumbnail for the M2 R10 layer. And that'll go ahead and temporarily turn that layer mask off, so that we are revealing the original model. Now switch over to the Channels panel. We need to find the channel that does the best job of distinguishing the flesh tones from the hair this time around. That's not going to be the Blue Channel, because both the flesh tones and the hair are very dark. If we switch to the Green Channel, we will see those flesh tones brighten up, and while the hair brightens up just little bit, not so much. We've got a lot of contrast going on.

And then you switch to the Red Channel, and that's it. We have got some very bright flesh tones. We still have some dark hair. So that's the channel we are going to work from this time around. Go ahead and drag that Red Channel, and drop it on to the little Page icon. And of course, the model needs to be bright, and the background needs to be dark, so press Control+I, or Command+I on a Mac, to invert the image, and make that hair in particular very bright. And now let's increase the contrast by pressing Control+L, or Command+L on a Mac, and I'm going to take that black point value up to 100, and I will reduce the white point value to 200.

And these are some values that I just came up with through trial and error. I will click OK. Of course, I want to rename my layer, so I remember what in the world I did. So I will call it R invert 100/1/200, and press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac. All right, now we need to go in and selectively enhance the contrast. We need to darken the luminance levels inside of her skin tones, and brighten those inside of her hair. And you may feel like that's exactly the opposite of what we want to do, because after all, don't we want it somehow keep her flesh tones in this third layer, and make the hair go away? Well, yes, but this is going to get us to that goal, because what we are going to do is we are going to select the hair, and we are going to make it black. You'll see, but this is the approach that we are ultimately going to take.

So however you get there, by the way, however you distinguish the hair and the flesh tones doesn't really matter. Whether you make one white, and the other black; doesn't really matter what specific approach you take as long as you get them to be the opposite of each other. And we are going to do that using the Brush tool. So press the B key in order to get that brush. I am going to right-click inside the image window. I am going to take that Size value up to the usual 1000 pixels, where this image is concerned. Take the Hardness value down to 0%; press the Enter key a couple of times in order to accept that change. Press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on a Mac, to switch to the Overlay Blend mode.

I am going to back out a little bit here. We are going to start things off by painting with black. So black is my foreground color, and I am going to go ahead and paint inside of her face. Now, you are going to a big number on that face, incidentally. We are not really worried about maintaining smooth transitions this time around. If things start getting a little jagged, that's okay. I am going to take another swing at her neck, and then her chin, like so. Reduce the size of the cursor by pressing the left bracket key, and paint into that eye; maybe paint into the left eye as well, although ultimately we are not going to be able to separate that left eye nearly as successfully as the right.

Now increase the size of your cursor, and press the X key so that we are painting with white, and we want to make that hair as bright as possible. So we are looking for really sudden transitions, as you can see. That looks pretty good to me. So I took about four swipes at it. Let's go ahead and zoom in a couple of clicks here. Reduce the size of the cursor; increase the Hardness. And probably the easiest way to do that in this case is to right- click inside the image window, and take that Hardness value up to 100%, then press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option+N on a Mac, to reinstate the Normal Blend mode up here in the Options bar.

And I am going to decrease the size of my cursor, press the X key so we were painting with black, paint that right eye away, like so. Then paint those remaining portions of her mouth. I think that's what's going on there. And the bottom of her chin; we want that to go away too. Believe it or not, this wretched looking mask is going to end up doing it for us. So don't worry about the left-hand eye. We can't really distinguish it very well. You could try to do this kind of number where you kind of paint it away, but no matter what, you are going to end up with the little bit of harsh edge, so why even bother? I am going to press Control+Z, Command +Z on the Mac, to undo that change.

I might get rid of that a little bit there, and you could get in to the top portion of that eye, like so, but I am telling you right now, it's not really worth the effort. We are going to get some very nice results out of what we have so far. All right, so we have now created a highly accurate hair mask, but you know what suddenly occurs to me? I was telling you how rigorous I like to be where my channels are concerned. I like to go ahead and create a duplicate of the channel before I start brushing inside of it, and I totally forgot to do that this time around.

If you're interested, I am going to show you how to resolve that problem, so we have two different alpha channels for this mask: one that represents R invert 100/1/200, and the other that represents our brush modifications, in the very next exercise. If that doesn't interest you, then skip to the exercise after that, in which I will show you how to employ this hair mask in order to regain the skin tones inside the model.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 28924 viewers

Deke McClelland

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  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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