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tricky hair extraction / background replacement

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  #1  
Old 09-07-2011, 02:32 PM
P_fuzz P_fuzz is offline
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tricky hair extraction / background replacement

looking for advice in this particularly tricky shot.

I am trying to remove the building in the background and replace it with a grey overcast sky, but the hair is proving to be a bit of an arse to do it convincingly.

the best I managed so far was adding strands of hair from a different picture, but then I get in trouble integrating those strands to the rest of the natural hair...

what is the forum take on it?
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:35 PM
P_fuzz P_fuzz is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

this is where I am right now
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:35 PM
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Chantal Chantal is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Ever tried the 'smudge' tool to reconstruct the hair? Try to cut the edges as much as possible and add the rest of the curls with smudge.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:25 PM
P_fuzz P_fuzz is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

never tried the smudge technique... will check up on that! thanks
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:46 AM
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DJSoulglo DJSoulglo is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Wouldn't a rather simple luminosity selection (cmd+click on the RGB layer in the channels palet) get you dangerously close in one click?
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Old 09-08-2011, 12:09 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Dupe the Red channel, then manipulate the contrast until you have most of the hair edge intact. You can fake the rest with cloning and brushes to give yourself a good hair mask.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:36 PM
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nebulaoperator nebulaoperator is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Channels looks the best option here so far with some levels , D&B to play with. Someone suggested luminosity looks likeinteresting suggestion too. Hair are contrasty so should not have a prob. One's I had a job to extract batch of studio shots on the white background the trickiest for me was blond the rest were peanuts.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:28 AM
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John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Hi P_Fuzz
The attempt you shared actually looked pretty good already.

I am only an apprentice when it comes to masking so take my thoughts below with a grain of salt. All the suggestions in previous posts are all good directions to try.

Here is the technique I used on your image (hope you don't mind).

- Modify the image to create the highest possible contrast with the background and hair. Other than previous posts thoguhts you can also try a B&W conversion to darken the background
- Put a 50% gray level above the image and set to hard mix. Paint black or white with low opacity brush until the tufts of the hair come through (Note this will look like you applied a threshold adjustment layer).
- Stamp this layer
- Copy and paste this layer into the layer mask of you image with the background desired underneath. Turn off or delete the other layers you used to create the initial mask. Note, all the previous work was to get a good starting mask for Refine Mask below.
- Paint in white on the mask for the rest of the head
- Use the Refine Mask tool on the Layer Mask. I start with the refine radius tool and slider (this part is important to have it match well with the background layer). If you don't know how to use this tool there are many video tutorials available. I like using the option that will show the layer below coming through so you know what it looks like on the fly.
- Once it looks close I added a little feathering. That lets the subtleties of the hair tufts come through.

Seemed to work for you image.

Here is the resulting image that came out. Background courtesy of stock exchange(http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1340005):

Mask-Hair.jpg

PS - As a side note, for the image to look realistic is a little tough when you have a face/hair that is clearly lit by sunlight and you want a background with an overcast sky. You don't see those together too often without some break in the clouds
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:45 PM
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nebulaoperator nebulaoperator is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

Great extraction John!
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:00 PM
P_fuzz P_fuzz is offline
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Re: tricky hair extraction / background replacemen

that really looks great, john. I will try following your steps and see if I get anywhere near!
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