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

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  • 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
    Attached Files

  • #2

    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.

    Attached Files


    • #3
      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.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        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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