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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair

with Deke McClelland

Video: Welcome

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.
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  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 43s
    1. Creating a contrast mask
      4m 34s
    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 16s
    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 16s
    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

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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair
3h 6m Intermediate Dec 20, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subjects:
Design Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Welcome

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.

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