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.
In this exercise we are going to finalize our composition, starting by restoring some of the focus to this top mask. I am still working inside Clumpy hair.psd and you should be working inside of your same file as well, because we are going to be taking advantage of history, which is only stored so long as the file is opened. I am going to go ahead and grab my History Brush, which you can get by pressing the Y key, and the idea is, we want to go ahead and brush back to its previous state, where the earrings and the collar and some of the hair up in the top left corner of the head are concerned.
However, right now I am getting the little Ghostbusters icon, which is telling me that I cannot paint inside of this mask. So I'll go ahead and bring up the History panel by going to the Window menu and choosing the History command. Notice in my case that the history source state is set to this particular version of the image when I first opened it, and when I opened this image, it didn't even contain this layer, so there's nothing to brush back to. I need to move my source state to the one directly before the most recent state, in my case it's the Deselect state, but whatever it may be for you, it should be right before that last application of Refine Mask.
Go ahead and click in front of that state, then close the History panel, and now we can brush-away. Make sure, by the way, that you're working with a soft brush, so I went ahead and right-clicked inside the Image window, cranked the Hardness down to 0% and that your Opacity value is 100%, the mode is Normal and so forth. And now, I'll go ahead and zoom in to this bottom portion of the image where the earring is and I will go ahead and paint that back to its previous state. Notice, by the way, that the layer Mask thumbnail is active, that's very important.
Now you might figure that you'd also want to go ahead and paint the shoulder of her Jean Jacket there, but that doesn't work so well, might as well leave that alone. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that change. And then I am going to increase the size of my brush quite dramatically here, and just click a couple of times in order to restore some of that original mask where the upper left portion of the head is concerned. Now I will press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out.
Now I figured this hair is looking pretty choppy downright, and I want to make it look better. So I am going to grab my Smudge tool. I am going to increase the size of my brush quite dramatically, and I'll go ahead and just kind of smear that hair outward just a little bit. I think I'm too close to the earring actually, so I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that change, and then I will go ahead and smear down from about there, ends up looking pretty good. It might be worthwhile to do a little smearing where these details are concerned, probably with a bigger brush however, let's try doing this, because I just want everything to look nice and natural up in this section, that looks pretty good to me.
The remaining steps are to reduce the focus of the castle in the background. After all there is low depth of field where she is concerned, much of the hair that's in the rear, that is farther away from the lens, it's out of focus; and so most assuredly this castle would not be in perfect focus either. So I am going to click on the castle layer to make it active. Then I will go up to the layer panel fly-out menu and I will choose Convert to Smart Object, so that I can apply a Smart Filter. And you know, just to get rid of that Ghostbuster icon, I am going to press the M key to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool.
Then I will go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur. I went ahead and set the Radius to 4 pixels, and then I'll click OK, in order accept that change. Now I didn't want the castle to be totally uniformly blurry, so I went over to this little slider icon to the right of the words Gaussian Blur, I double-clicked on it and I just took the Opacity value down to 90%, just a slight lowering of that opacity, so we can see a little bit of sharpness in the background, and then click OK in order accept that change.
And then my final thought was that the scene looks a little bit hot, in other words, it's a little bit too bright. So even though none of the highlights are blown or anything like that, I still feel like we need to sync the brightness a little bit. I went ahead and clicked on the very top layer, the model layer, and then I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click that black-white icon and choose the Brightness Contrast command, and I'll go ahead and call this dimmer, click OK. And for once I'm not going to assign a Blend mode to this adjustment layer.
I am just going to click inside the Brightness value and press Shift+Down Arrow three times in a row in order to reduce the brightness to -30. And that might be a little too far, maybe we should take it up to -25, how's that? All right, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change and we are done. Press the F key a couple of times here in order to switch to the Full Screen mode and zoom on in, and that folks, is one way at least to select a really tough hair image here inside Photoshop.
There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
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.