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Photo Compositing Collage, montage, masking, selections, combining, etc.

Help making masks of hair?

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Old 08-22-2005, 08:40 AM
jasosmith's Avatar
jasosmith jasosmith is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 42
Great job Flora - and you got rid of the messy armpit too.

I have just tried several times and I cant seem to get enough contrast in the image to start making a mask without ruining the detail in the hair. I have tried using levels, Apply, Channel mixer with the same results. Flora could you possibly run through the method that you used.

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Old 08-22-2005, 12:01 PM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The Swamps of Florida
Posts: 4,418
There are many ways of going about making the selection. If I can find a good channel to work with, I'll start there.

On a copy of the blue channel, I did gross selections of the extranious background areas and filled with white (yes.. white because I'm going to inverse this whole thing when I am done, but it's just easier for me to work with black details.) Use a black brush and paint in the basic shape, but leave the hair tendrils alone.

NOW I run Levels. You can see on my mask sample that I pulled whites and midtones way to the left. Adjust the midtone slider to get a pretty good representation of the hair tendrils. You can leave some gray in there to help the blending and soften the edges for the whispy look.

After doing the Levels adjustment, I Invert the blue copy mask. Use a white brush to paint out the water in the lower right. At this point I may use the Dodge/Burn tools to refine the definitions of the tendrils.

Apply the mask to a copy of your Background layer. Adjust the mask as necessary. Sometimes adding a slight gaussian blur to the mask helps, other times not. Just depends on resolution you are working in.

dee dee
Attached Images
File Type: jpg the-mask.jpg (26.8 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg swampys-kim-water.jpg (30.7 KB, 24 views)
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:56 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Milan, Italy
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Hi jasosmith,

thanks for your kindness!

I basically created my Mask as Dee Dee did ... but since I had taken the snapshots already I'm going to post it anyway ...

* Selected the blue Channel.

* Selected around the bride, inverted the selection anf filled it with white. (Attachment 1)

* Used the Levels to increase contrast .... (Attachment 2)

TIP: Use the midtone slider in the process to smoothen the transition and avoid eliminating precious details...

* Refined the mask using:
1) a semisoft edged brush set to Overlay (Tip from Katrin Eismann's Book on masking) (Opacity 20-40%) and carefully painted black on the fine strands of hair and white around them.
2) a semisoft edged black brush brush to fill the few light spots inside the selection. (Attachment 3)

* Inverted the mask and lightly blurred it. (Attachment 4)

(Attachment 5) is how the hair will look after applying the mask against a flat coloured background.

Hope this helps.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SNAP-0058.jpg (74.5 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-0059a.jpg (94.1 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-0060.jpg (55.3 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-0061.jpg (54.0 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-0062a.jpg (92.4 KB, 42 views)
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Old 08-22-2005, 04:20 PM
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Cameraken Cameraken is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Lancashire (UK)
Posts: 1,158
Thanks for your kind comments. Please do not adjust your monitor. You are quite right it’s my bad mask that caused the green hair.

My picture really was not intended as anything more than to show you a different background.
What I actually did with the skin started as an accident. I applied Neat Image to reduce the noise and had my settings wrong. I liked the effect so I left it in.
Neat Image is a free program available here

If you want to do the skin properly there are two good tutorials below along with another on masks by Flora.

Flora Masks
Nancy Skin
Patrick Skin

Also have a look at the bottom of this page. There are five links to other related threads.

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Old 08-22-2005, 05:05 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,717
Had to have a play with this one.

My masking method is substantially the same as others have used.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kim-water copy_filtered.jpg (94.4 KB, 45 views)
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Old 08-24-2005, 08:11 AM
jasosmith's Avatar
jasosmith jasosmith is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 42
Thanks Flora, Swampy and others for your help.
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:48 PM
TokenArt TokenArt is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 31
my attempt

I did some editing in photoshop using layers and highlight/shadow and some blur on the background to draw attention to a little on her to smooth her skin out some.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg kim-water.jpg (82.0 KB, 22 views)
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:28 PM
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RooB RooB is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 157
Instead of masking the bride, I tried adjusted color channels and levels individually, and then ran a little softener across the photo, and this is the end result.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kim-water_roob.jpg (97.7 KB, 23 views)
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