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Separating flesh tones from hair

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Separating flesh tones from hair

In this exercise, I'll show you how to use our hair mask in order to separate the hair from the flesh tones, so we can regain the details along the model's jaw, neck, and shoulders. Now, I am going to switch over to the RGB composite at the top of the Channels panel. Switch back to the Layers panel, Shift+ click on the layer mask for the M2 R10 layer in order to turn it back on, so we are now seeing the two model layers working together inside of our composition thus far. The M1 R40 layer; that's the one that contains the good details where the model's jaw, neck, and shoulders are concerned.

Separating flesh tones from hair

In this exercise, I'll show you how to use our hair mask in order to separate the hair from the flesh tones, so we can regain the details along the model's jaw, neck, and shoulders. Now, I am going to switch over to the RGB composite at the top of the Channels panel. Switch back to the Layers panel, Shift+ click on the layer mask for the M2 R10 layer in order to turn it back on, so we are now seeing the two model layers working together inside of our composition thus far. The M1 R40 layer; that's the one that contains the good details where the model's jaw, neck, and shoulders are concerned.

If you want to see what I mean, I'll go ahead and switch the Blend mode from this layer from Multiply back to Normal, and you can see that that brings in that good information along the shoulders, along the neck, and along the jaw on both sides of the model. So what I propose we do is we take this layer, we make a duplicate of it, and then we mask her hair away, because after all, where this layer is concerned, it's the hair that's the problem. All right! So with this layer selected, let's go ahead and press Control+Alt+J, or Command+Option+J on the Mac, in order to both duplicate and name that layer. And I am going to call this one fleshtones, and then click OK.

Now let's move that layer to the top of the stack, like so. Then switch back to M1 R40, and restore it from Normal to Multiply, so that we're burning those details into place. Now, we can't see the difference at this point, because the fleshtones layer is covering it up, and we will need to mask that hair away before it makes any difference. I want you to click on the Layer Mask thumbnail for that fleshtones layer in order to make it active, then switch back to the Channels panel and press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click on that hair-only mask in order to load it as the selection outline.

Now that you've selected the hair independently of everything inside of her face, except for that left eye, which we're actually not concerned about, then return to Layers panel, and with that layer mask selected -- very important that the layer mask is selected; not the layer itself -- fill that selection outline with black. And in my case, the foreground color is black, so I will press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete on the Mac, in order to blacken out that hair. Now I'll click off the hair in order to deselect it.

Notice that didn't make all that much of a difference. We still have those bright halos around the hairs, and that's because if you Alt+click or Option+click on the layer mask in order to view it independently of the image, you'll see that we didn't really mask all of the hair away. We just masked away the interior of the hair. But that's actually 90% of the battle, because that helps separate those flesh tones from the hair, and now we can just paint the hair away, mostly.

So let me show you how that works, and we have to be careful, by the way, at this point. Go ahead and grab your Brush tool, which you can get, of course, by pressing the B key. Increase the heck out of the size of your cursor, and right-click, and make sure that the Hardness value is cranked up to 100%. It is for me, so good. Then make sure your Blend mode is set to Normal. It is for me, so I'm ready to go. Black is my foreground color, so I am just going to paint along up here. Do not paint over her jaw. You do not want to paint into this area.

We're just painting out in the big area of hair; might as well take care of that hair as well. Up here is another place to click and get rid of stuff. Paint sort of close to her eye, if you want to; you just do not want to paint over anything that even might be a flesh tone. So you want to take it easy around these areas right there. I've now gotten rid of, I think, all of the big exterior areas of the hair. Now we need to get closer to those flesh tones. There's a little something wrong right there at this point, so I'll go ahead and click to hide it, and I am going to grab my Elliptical Marquee tool, because after all, so much of life is elliptical. And then I'm going to drag around this jaw line until I get a pretty good match. And of course, as usual, I am using the spacebar for alignment.

Then, once I've successfully selected along this edge of the jaw, I am going to go up to the Select menu, and choose Inverse, or press Control+Shift+I; Command+Shift+I on the Mac. The reason I'm doing this is that I want to paint outside the jaw; I want the jaw to be protected. Then let's go back and grab that Brush tool. Now, here is where you have to be careful. You can't just do one of these numbers, because you'll paint right into her neck. And even though that's an exaggeration of what you might end up doing, those kinds of edits are very common; it's very easy to make those sorts of mistakes if you are not paying absolute attention.

So I'll press Control+Z, Command+ Z on a Mac, to undo that change. I'll start over here where I can't possibly create any problems, and drag upward, like so. To test your work, press Control+D, Command+ D on the Mac, and go ahead and kind of zoom in there. Make sure that you didn't end up creating any kind of harsh transition, and in my case, I did. So I am going to press Control+Alt+ Z a couple of times in a row. That would be Command+Option+Z on the Mac a couple of times. And with that selection outline intact there, I'm going to press the Right Arrow key in order to nudge it just slightly over to the right.

Then, I'll press Control+H, or Command +H on the Mac, so I can hide that selection outline, and keep better track of what I'm doing. And now I'll click, and that looks good. That looks like a pretty darn good transition to me. Zoom out; get rid of this little bit of garbage as well. Notice I've got this little bit of edge here; we'll take care of that in a moment. Now we need to do the same thing over here on the left-hand jaw, so press Control+D, Command+D on a Mac, in order to deselect the image. Draw another elliptical marquee. So I went ahead and switched to the Elliptical Marquee tool, and I'm going to encircle this area right here.

Of course, I am using the spacebar for alignment. Once you've done that, you go up to the Select menu, choose the Inverse command; Control+Shift+I, Command+Shift+I on the Mac, and then you go ahead and grab your Brush tool once again. Press Control+H, or Command+H on the Mac, so you can keep track of what you're doing, and paint. This is where you've got to be really careful, because notice this: if you do this kind of number right there, and you don't notice that you just painted into the jaw just a little bit, that is going to mess things up like crazy in future steps.

So don't want to do that. I will press Control+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, and I will paint from right about there, midway up the jaw, upward like so, and we get a nice smooth transition. Now press Control+D, or Command+D on a Mac, in order to deselect the image. I am going to reduce the size of my cursor by pressing the left bracket key, and I will right-click inside the image window to bring up the Brushes panel. Reduce the Hardness value to 0% this time around. Press the Enter key a couple of times in a row in order to accept that modification. Press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on the Mac, to switch to the Overlay mode, and then press the X key in order to make your foreground color white.

Actually, I am going to increase the size of my cursor a little bit, and then paint along these details, like so, because we want some nice sharp edges around the jaw, and around the neck, and around the shoulders. So go ahead and paint all the way around there. Now I'll press Control+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, in order to zoom out. And I'll press the M key a couple of times to switch back to that Rectangular Marquee tool. And then you can just go ahead and click on the image thumbnail in the Layers panel in order to switch away from that layer mask, and notice what a great result we get.

So this is the composition without the fleshtones layer; bad jaw, bad neck, bad shoulders, especially over here on the left-hand side. And this is the difference with the new fleshtones layer; we get this wonderful backlighting, as if the light source is behind her, which is going to work out brilliantly by the time we're done with this composition, and we end up with these very smooth, organic transitions as well. The final step here, where the model is concerned, is to integrate her lighting, so she feels like she's actually part of the background. Very simple stuff; just a matter of applying a Color Overlay effect, and I will show you how that works in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

128 video lessons · 28934 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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