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Looking for methods of pulling the hair from the background...

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Old 04-12-2005, 06:53 PM
Gary J Gary J is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 2
Question Looking for methods of pulling the hair from the background...

Hi. I am a newbie at photo restoration, but I have the time and desire to learn it. I have a photo that I have been fiddling with for awhile and I really can't get decent results. I am trying to locate where the hair stops and the background begins in the attached photo.

I am using Photoshop CS, most current version, with an optical mouse (I have a Wacom pen on order).

Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Gary
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File Type: jpg Henry.jpg (28.9 KB, 51 views)
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Old 04-12-2005, 07:48 PM
Ken Fournelle Ken Fournelle is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 248

Here are the steps I took with your picture. I will try to explain my methods as best I can.

1. Duplicated the background layer (never work on the background layer)
2. I took a look at the Channels and noticed the Red channel does not have
much detail left in it.
3. I selected a Levels Adjustment Layer and brought the right and left triangles so that they "touch" their respective edges of the Histogram
4. I selected a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer. Checked monochrome
and in each channel made changes R-25, G-35, B-40
5. I selected a Curves Adjustment Layer and made a nice, little, "S" Curve
It improved the contrast and tone.
6. I Merged Visible, but kept the layers intact. Flora has a nice action for this in the Actions section of this site.
7. To the Merged Visible Layer a applied Neat Image at 45%
8. I added an Empty Layer, (Layer>New Layer), and changed the blending
mode to Softlight and with a soft, black brush at 10-20% opacity painted
over the shadows, lips, eyes, any hair I could see.
9. I aded another Empty Layer and used the Clone Stamp Tool and the Healing Brush Tool to clean up the image.
10. I went back to the Merged Visible layer and with the Magnetic Lasso traced around the man's image. I reversed the selection Shift>Command>I
and selected the background. I then did Command>L and adjusted the Levels to darken the background. (I should have saved this to it's own layer, Command>J).
11. At the top of the stack I created another Empty Layer and used the Softlight Blend trick again and tried to work on the hair a little. Not much result.
12. I did another Merge Visible Layer and did a High Pass sharpening technique for sharpening.

There was not much detail in the hair to work with. I think to finish off the image I would have done a nice sepia tint.

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File Type: jpg Henry-W.jpg (67.8 KB, 52 views)
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:06 AM
Gary Richardson's Avatar
Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,717
Hi Gary,

First of all, welcome to RP.

Had a go with your image. Did'nt want to make the difference between hair and background too great as it would upset the lighting of the shot.

I first copied the background to a new layer. Then applied a levels layer, linked to the copied layer and used it to emphasise contrast as much as possible. Then I used extract filter to isolate man from background. Cleaned up the extraction a little using history brush and eraser.

Now dispose of levels layer, and set blend mode of copied layer to multiply. Reduced layer opacity to about 20%, then applied a graduated layer mask fading from white at the top of the man's face to black at the bottom.

Finally cleaned up a few minor blemishes with clone tool, and ran through Neat Image to reduce noise.

Hope this helps.
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File Type: jpg Henry E_filtered.jpg (61.2 KB, 36 views)
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Old 04-13-2005, 06:34 AM
Gary J Gary J is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 2
Thank you much

You guys are great, thank you for the instruction. Now I will try to replicate the processes you used and use that as my learning tool. What a great site!

Thks, G
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