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Whispy Hair Woes...

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  #1  
Old 06-02-2005, 01:06 AM
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rnbluvva rnbluvva is offline
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Question Whispy Hair Woes...

Alright.. so I finally got down to really trying to learn how to do good extractions! Straight lines and most body parts, great... whispy hair... getting this accurate is making me pull out MY hair!

I am using some images I found on the web for practice. This particular one is I have attached from International Wig.

I have been using the Photoshop CS Extract feature to do this and I was wondering if I am perhaps not working the controls right. I read the help in the PS User Help and it said to use a larger brush for whispy hair and trees etc. I did just that. I was wondering if some folks here could share their best techniques for extracting really whispy hair? Is there a channel method that is more accurate for this sort of thing, or do I just have to tweak brush settings more that I am?

I have tried using the cleanup and edge touchup tools, but I haven't quite figured them out with regards to opacity etc. I am also just learning to use a pen tablet, which is wonderful BTW. I see the instructions on the cleanup tool that state: "Makes mask transparent. Hold down ALT to make opaque. Press 1-9,0 to change pressure". Can someone explain how these directions to me in more detail? Do I use the pen and press a number to manipulate this function and if I do, does 1 make it less opaque and 9 moreso?
Same applies for the Edge Cleanup Tool, it states: "Cleans edges. Hold down CTRL to move the edge. Press 1-9,0 to change pressure.
If someone could explain how to use these functions, I'd apprecaite it.

Below I have attached the original image (mercury.jpg), a screenshot of how I outlined the image to be extracted (extract_settings.jpg) and then the extracted image on a black matte background (xtract_black_matte.jpg). I'd love to know how I can get the extracting to be more precise.
I used a 4px brush for the easier parts and a 10px brush for the whispy areas.

Thanks
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mercury.jpg (18.6 KB, 214 views)
File Type: jpg extract_settings.jpg (37.9 KB, 170 views)
File Type: jpg xtract_black_matte.jpg (32.7 KB, 206 views)
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:02 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Nothing to do with extract, but take a look at:
http://www.russellbrown.com/images/t...cedMasking.mov

(21mb movie, you might want to save it to your hd first)
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:06 AM
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rnbluvva rnbluvva is offline
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You Rawk Doug! Awesome tut! Merci!

This guy would make a great voiceover actor. He's pretty funny huh!
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Old 06-02-2005, 10:23 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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As an addition to Russell's excellent tutorial, also try fine tuning the mask using a tip that Doug posted a couple of days ago.

Click on mask, apply levels to it, and adjust mid-slider to fine tune mask.

Did a quick mask, using blue channel, and applied to image you provided.

Any questions feel free to ask.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mercury copy.jpg (83.7 KB, 166 views)
File Type: jpg Mask Layers.jpg (17.0 KB, 74 views)
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Old 06-02-2005, 01:07 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Russell Brown is Creative Director for Adobe, and the man responsible for convincing Adobe to buy the rights to produce Photoshop from the Knoll brothers. He does have a unique presentation style, but anything with his name on it is worth a look.

http://www.russellbrown.com
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Old 06-02-2005, 03:43 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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For me, the problem here wasn't the mask at all ... I'm a great admirer of Russel Brown and his 'Advanced Masking' tutorial is really great! (like all of his tips and tutorials!!!) ... But in this case, since the contrast between the subject and the white background was very clear and strong, I just used a copy of the green channel for my mask .....

The big problem, in my opinion, are 'fringing' and wrong lighting on the hair ends due to the very drastic change of background .... I've never been completely satisfied with my results anytime I tried it!!

Gently changing the colour of the background and with the help of a gradient, trying to keep the new background closer to the original one (Katrin Eismann) is much easier and, in my opinion, can give very good results...

rnbluvva,

Personally I'm not very fond of PS 'Extract Tool' and my 'experimenting' with it is exactly the same you described .... I actually think you did a very good job with it!!!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg F_mercury.jpg (99.9 KB, 183 views)
File Type: jpg F_mercury1.jpg (94.7 KB, 214 views)
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2005, 03:55 PM
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Racc Iria Racc Iria is offline
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One way to get rid of the "Halo" around the edges of hair...

I've done this technique a couple of times and have gotten pretty good results, and it's simple.

After you have gotten a satisfactory mask of the hair and have changed the background and noticed the halo around the soft edges of the hair, just sample a color from the hair near the edges that's good, and lightly paint around the edges with a small soft brush. Or you can create a new layer, apply the same mask to it, and paint with a small soft brush on the new layer. Using a different layer also lets you change the blend mode. Depending on the image, different blend modes may get better results. Some good ones to try are Color, Hue, Pin Light, Hard Light, Soft Light, Multiply, and of course, Normal. I usually highlight the dropdown list and scroll through them using the arrow keys to quickly change the blend mode to see which works best.

Or, if you've collapsed the layer and its mask, resulting in a layer with transparency but no mask, you can do the same thing... just lock the transparency of the layer, and lightly paint with a small soft brush along the edges.

Either way, this changes the color of the semi-transparent pixels causing the halo to match the hair, but still have the same level of transparency. After that, you can use any background you wish. No more halo.

--Racc

Last edited by Racc Iria; 06-02-2005 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:02 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi Racc,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Racc Iria
just lock the transparency of the layer,
I've always used blank Layers set to Color, Darken, Multiply in these cases .... but never thought of 'locking the transparency' .... It makes a big difference! It works great! Thank you so much for the excellent tip!!
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2005, 05:13 PM
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Racc Iria Racc Iria is offline
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Thanks, Flora.

I think you were reading my mind. You posted as I was editing that technique. With a mask, there's no need to lock the transparency. The mask does that.

But, locking the transparency is great if you've got a layer with transparency but no mask and just want to do a quick touch-up right on the same layer.

I usually use layers with different blend modes as well... much more control.

--Racc

Last edited by Racc Iria; 06-03-2005 at 08:33 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2005, 06:23 PM
Jaime Jaime is offline
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rnbluvva,

Just in case you don’t know, the last book of Katrin Esimann “Photoshop: Masking and composite” shows you differents techniques and strategies to accomplish many difficult extractions.
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