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Extremly difficult hair extraction

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  #1  
Old 03-13-2012, 05:26 PM
mlerrigo mlerrigo is offline
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Extremly difficult hair extraction

Hi

I've tried everything to extract the hair from this image without success. channels, calculations, together with refine edge etc,etc... And would love to know if any of you could help.

I'm not asking you to do work for me just if you want to have a go at it then just share the procedures with me, and everybody else.

I can get so far but it's the finer hairs that are the problem and it looks bad without them..

Thanks in advance for all your help, attempts and advice...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlerrigo/6980402427/
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2012, 02:27 AM
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Pajero Pajero is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Hi

tried to download the image from your link but all I got was
"The owner has disabled downloading of their photos"
I took a screenshot of it, so resolution and quality are not the best to work with.
You don't say what software you are using.

Anyway, here is what I managed to do using PS CS5.

1 Mask
2 B&A with different backgrounds.

For the masking I followed this Tutorial

Hope this helps!
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File Type: jpg SNAP-020-a.jpg (96.3 KB, 154 views)
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2012, 02:37 AM
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Phaeton Phaeton is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Hi
I was going to try but I'm not able to download the image. I think you've done all you could, given that the contrast is pretty poor between hair and background. You could try extracting it to a passable standard; then the finer hair will have to be painted in – strand by strand, I'm afraid. See attachment.
Eddie
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2012, 04:20 AM
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ashphotoart ashphotoart is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Phaeton, post an tutorial how you setup your brush to paint the hairs. It would be fun for me and others.
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2012, 05:35 AM
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Phaeton Phaeton is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Hmm... it's not a tutorial per se, more a guide – a lot depends on the resolution of the image, the sharpness of the hair, the intent:
Roughly:
1. Create a blank layer
2. Brush set to hard (sometimes a softish brush) and small pixels (1–2px), opacity @ 100% but sometimes lees, depending on how much "fill in between" is needed and how wispy the hair needs to be
3. Alt click to sample hair colours (fairly constantly – you want the individual strands of hair to be slightly different in colour, rather than a uniform mass)
4. It helps to have a soft straight hand with the stylus, the strokes need to be fluid but firm – one stroke per strand. I've never been able to do this with a mouse; only my Wacom
5. Pay attention to the hair direction, some flyways are always necessary to mask away the "cut out" look.
6. To blend the painted ones, go over the original hair a bit.
7. Play with the layer's opacity
8. Work bit by bit, in many layers if necessary.
9. Some of these layers can be blurred slightly depending on image sharpness
10. Finally combine all the painted hair in one final layer and clip a noise layer to it to match the original's noise.

Some people use the smudge tool as well to great effect for this as well. This has never worked for me plus the smudge tool can be a tad slow so I prefer to paint. Whichever way, it's a pain sometimes...
Cheers
Eddie
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2012, 11:05 AM
redcrown redcrown is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

That is a most difficult extraction given the low contrast and color difference between hair and background. One of the things I do in such situations is try to increase that difference using a temp copy of the image, build the mask on the temp copy, and copy it back to the original.

Use Levels, Curves, Selective color, HueSat, High Pass, etc., to push the image way beyond reason but give better definition between hair and background. Sometimes I use Topaz Detail, which works well to better define the light "frizzies".

On top of that, painting in new hair is often necessary. For those (like me) with no artistic talent (like Phaeton), there are a number of free hair brushes available. There is a good video tutorial somewhere on the Russel Brown site.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:11 PM
mshi mshi is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

or the quickest way for really tough ones can be this piece of software called Fluid Mask.

http://www.vertustech.com/fluidMask/overview.html
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2012, 04:57 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

The tutorials on the web all suck. You extract as close as possible, make adjustment layers relative to your new background, sometimes bits of multiply blending. You can draw in new hair, extract detail from the old hair and clip that to the new hair. Add lighting to it. It can be somewhat time consuming overall to get it right, but there's no point in trying to get the settings on levels and calculations just right forever when it's just not going to present you with a fully acceptable result. This stuff takes refinement, and you need to be sure you're taking it in the right direction or you're just wasting your time.

On this one specifically I'd pen mask out the larger locks maintaining smooth curvature (and I'm very very good with the pen tool). Then I'd use adjustment layers and masks around the edge to blend for the new background or use multiply mode at partial opacity in that area. I'd draw in some frizz bit by bit. It requires some finesse. You need to match real stuff. You don't just pick a small brush. It can be a custom brush, and it should have some resemblance to the real width of the hair. It requires some basic drawing skill, and there might be other ways of doing it, but this is an appropriate method as it can produce results that are usable at high resolution. This kind of thing will actually produce results when the basic calculations methods and things fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redcrown View Post
That is a most difficult extraction given the low contrast and color difference between hair and background. One of the things I do in such situations is try to increase that difference using a temp copy of the image, build the mask on the temp copy, and copy it back to the original.

Use Levels, Curves, Selective color, HueSat, High Pass, etc., to push the image way beyond reason but give better definition between hair and background. Sometimes I use Topaz Detail, which works well to better define the light "frizzies".

On top of that, painting in new hair is often necessary. For those (like me) with no artistic talent (like Phaeton), there are a number of free hair brushes available. There is a good video tutorial somewhere on the Russel Brown site.
The flyaways will break no matter what, and most of that hair has the influence of other colors affects its color. With anything the OP wants to preserve, I'd pen mask it or do a somewhat light version of that high contrast extraction. I wouldn't go crazy trying to get it perfect because there's no way to do this where it'll work regardless of what you put it up against. Sometimes if you look close, there are gaps in the initial hair or parts where it practically fades into the background already. You won't extract that in a clean manner because it doesn't have a complete existence independent of its background. Taking away the background in itself then will make it look fake and cut out. When it's a plain background, sometimes you can take in just a pixel or two around it and use adjustment layers and stuff to blend the old thing into something like a sky. Using as much of the old detail as possible can be beneficial, but it won't provide everything.

You can paint in new hair, extract detail from other hair and clip that to the new painted hair. You just have to match everything including direction, color, highlight, appropriate length, and lighting influence from the new background.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mshi View Post
or the quickest way for really tough ones can be this piece of software called Fluid Mask.

http://www.vertustech.com/fluidMask/overview.html
No it's not. Those programs are garbage, because they don't handle anything past what the basic PS tools could already handle.

Last edited by kav; 03-16-2012 at 05:05 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2012, 05:37 AM
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Pajero Pajero is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
The tutorials on the web all suck.
A bit hard, ain't it? I wander if you even bothered to watch the Dr. Russell Brown Tutorial I linked to my post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
The flyaways will break no matter what, and most of that hair has the influence of other colors affects its color.
I agree with the first part of your sentence; for what the color is concerned the Tutorial covers that aspect quite well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
I wouldn't go crazy trying to get it perfect because there's no way to do this where it'll work regardless of what you put it up against. Sometimes if you look close, there are gaps in the initial hair or parts where it practically fades into the background already. You won't extract that in a clean manner because it doesn't have a complete existence independent of its background.
I agree with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
You can paint in new hair, extract detail from other hair and clip that to the new painted hair. You just have to match everything including direction, color, highlight, appropriate length, and lighting influence from the new background.
Personally I think Phaeton offered an excellent example of alternative if nothing else is satisfying without "going crazy trying to get it perfect"


Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
No it's not. Those programs are garbage, because they don't handle anything past what the basic PS tools could already handle.
I have tried Fluid Mask in the past. I found it difficult and very time consuming, but since it might have been me, I'd never define it "garbage".
But hey, everybody is entitled to their own opinion and preferences or?
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  #10  
Old 03-16-2012, 06:21 AM
ShadowLight ShadowLight is offline
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Re: Extremly difficult hair extraction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pajero View Post
Hi

tried to download the image from your link but all I got was
"The owner has disabled downloading of their photos"
I took a screenshot of it, so resolution and quality are not the best to work with.
You don't say what software you are using.

Anyway, here is what I managed to do using PS CS5.

1 Mask
2 B&A with different backgrounds.

For the masking I followed this Tutorial

Hope this helps!
Not bad, but it looks like you've lost the illumination, to me.
Highlights are completely gone in the 3rd image (from the masked curls on the back) with the blue bg, where it should be even a brighter scene altogether.

maybe if you +add contrast and brighten up the masked area, will be better
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