Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair

with Deke McClelland

Video: Welcome

Shows how to select hair—down to the individual strands—and composite portraits against new backgrounds.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 14s
    1. Welcome
      2m 14s
  2. 41m 22s
    1. Introducing the hair masking options
      4m 18s
    2. Calculating with the Add mode
      5m 58s
    3. Using the Scale and Offset values
      3m 47s
    4. Calculating with the Subtract mode
      5m 19s
    5. Enhancing a mask with Apply Image
      4m 42s
    6. Traditional blue screen masking
      3m 7s
    7. Painting in the missing details
      4m 23s
    8. Compositing dark hair
      5m 47s
    9. Creating an in-text reflection effect
      4m 1s
  3. 41m 44s
    1. Creating a contrast mask
      4m 35s
    2. Cleaning up a base mask
      5m 55s
    3. Reinstating missing details
      5m 12s
    4. Building a second-pass mask
      6m 30s
    5. Bringing back the most fragile hairs
      5m 17s
    6. Smudging bad transitions
      5m 19s
    7. Painting in missing hairs
      5m 6s
    8. Matching the light source
      3m 50s
  4. 51m 12s
    1. Calculating blonde hair
      4m 50s
    2. Creating two contrasting iterations
      3m 27s
    3. Merging two iterations inside a mask
      4m 44s
    4. Performing selective edits with Dodge and Burn
      5m 19s
    5. Painting in Airbrush mode
      4m 30s
    6. Repairing details with a warped ellipse
      6m 18s
    7. Pulling a background with Apply Image
      3m 57s
    8. Blending clipped layers independently
      6m 42s
    9. Building a flame mask
      7m 25s
    10. Compositing and coloring the flame
      4m 0s
  5. 48m 17s
    1. Making a first-pass calculation
      4m 54s
    2. Making a second-pass calculation
      4m 32s
    3. Refining and combining the two passes
      5m 28s
    4. Painting and editing the third-pass mask
      6m 16s
    5. Merging channels inside a mask
      4m 5s
    6. Cleaning up with Dodge and Brush
      7m 41s
    7. Adding the earring to the mask
      4m 17s
    8. Tweaking and integrating the hair
      6m 1s
    9. Restoring the mask's focus with History
      5m 3s
  6. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

please wait ...
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair
Video Duration: 0s 3h 6m Intermediate


View Course Description

In this installment of his popular Masking & Compositing series, Photoshop guru Deke McClelland shows how to select hair—down to the individual strands—and composite portraits against new backgrounds. The course covers how to mask out hair, paint in detail, blend hair, merge channels, and match light sources. Deke also explores special techniques for working with both dark and light hair, as well as extracting hair from complex backgrounds.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the Calculations command
  • Calculating masks with the Subtract and Add modes
  • Enhancing a mask with Apply Image
  • Creating a traditional blue screen mask
  • Masking dark hair against a busy background
  • Painting in missing hairs with a Wacom tablet
  • Masking blonde hair and flames
  • Performing selective edits with Dodge and Burn
  • Masking a difficult image in multiple passes


Hi! I am Deke McClelland. Welcome to Photoshop Masking and Compositing Hair, my unflinching guide to isolating that most delicate detail in all of digital imaging, human hair. To you and I a strand of hair is an admittedly fine, but ultimately discrete object. To Photoshop, it's the usual series of pixels, and such thin strands of pixels. They come, they go, and they mingle with the surrounding environment.

One hair may be darker than its background and the next one lighter. The transitions may be obvious and abrupt, or so subtle you can hardly distinguish them. And here's the worst part, hair grows and shrinks when set against similar luminance levels. So a dark hair will appear slim against the light background and thicken up as the background darkens, even though the actual hair never changed. It's a photographic illusion that creates special challenges when masking. The upshot is that hair doesn't respond well to Photoshop's automated tools, which is why I'll be showing you a handful of advanced manual approaches, all of which produce excellent results.

I'll start by introducing you to the commands that do the best job of seeing hair, Calculations and Apply Image. Then I'll show you two unique Blend modes; Add and Subtract and their supporting options, Scale and Offset. From then on, we'll examine hair in a series of four projects. First, we'll isolate hair set against a blue screen or sky. Then we'll work on dark hair, even going so far as to paint in missing strands with the Wacom Tablet.

In Chapter 3, we'll select blonde hair, and just for fun we'll mask a translucent flame. And finally, we'll take on the tough stuff, hair of all luminance levels set against an almost identically colored and very busy background. Over the next three hours we'll start simple and then get very, very complex. Here is how to masking composite hair in Photoshop.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair.






Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.