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Hair masking help

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  • Hair masking help

    Does anyone have a good strategy for masking out this hair? The problem is that the color of the hair is very close to the color of the background.

    I've used Fluid Mask 3 and it can't pull a mask from the wisps of hair. I've toyed with creating a mask from the green color channel in PS but there isn't enough difference to pull a clean mask.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Hair masking help

    My computer is at the shop yet this is what I would try

    - create layer above original and create a double gradient to exactly match the double gradient of the background of the original
    - set blend mode of this new layer to difference
    - add curves adjustment layer and adjust to amplify the difference
    - stamp to a new layer
    - copy and paste result to layer mask
    - invert mask if appropriate
    - use normal available adjustment tools:commands and refine mask from there

    Can't test it out right now yet have used that approach in the past

    Hope this is useful.


    • #3
      Re: Hair masking help

      do you have skype cos I could show you how to do it in 1 30 secs?


      • #4
        Re: Hair masking help

        There are many advanced hair masking techniques and fluid mask is a bit crap for hair but with this image of yours you can just get away with one of the simplest tricks. I just did it using the simplest hair masking technique.

        1. Duplicate layer
        2. Under top layer create new layer and fill with obnoxious dark green.
        3. Double click "quick mask mode" at bottom of tool bar. Tick "selected areas" and change colour to obnoxious dark green at 100% opacity.
        4. With top layer selected go to select/colour range. In your colour range options select "sample colours".
        Have your fuzziness set to 44
        Have "selection" ticked
        Have selection preview set to "quick mask"
        5. Shift click all over the background brown on the left
        6. When the BG is completely green click OK.
        7. With your top layer selected click on "add layer mask at bottom of layers palette
        8. With new mask selected hit cmd I to invert it (control I on a pc)
        9. Now just brush in with white those areas on your mask that are still a little green looking and if you want to add a few more strands just paint them in with a brush with "shape dynamics" ticked and a low opacity.
        Hope this helped.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Hair masking help

          Thanks so much everyone for you thoughtful responses. I used a combination of your recommended techniques and got a great result!


          • #6
            Re: Hair masking help

            Here's my shot. Pretty quick but I think you get the point.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Re: Hair masking help

              Another quick technique that often work on hair:
              1. Make a rough mask. I used Quick Selection Tool, then switched to quick mask to block in the bits I missed.
              2. Apply mask to layer (I recommend you have the background you want already placed behind it).
              3. Click "Mask Edge" from the Masks palette.
              4. Increase the "Radius" parameter quite a bit (often more than you think). Tweak settings until happy (radius first, then feather/contrast/shift edge. You can also use the color contamination options if you need to – not needed on this picture).
                Try setting the preview to "On Layers" to see it live.
              5. Use brush/dodge/burn to clean up any problems by hand.
              6. Combine with the masks for the rest of the person (or keep hair on a separate layer).

              The attached result was achieved in less than two minutes.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Re: Hair masking help

                All the ideas were great and I used several of them to build a foundation for the mask. I ended up using a hair strand shaped brush and carefully painted in individual hairs on the mask to match the flared out parts--it was somewhat tedious but necessary. This is going to be a broadcast spot, and the background is going to fade away so it needs to be next to perfect, otherwise it will stand out.

                Thanks again everyone for your help!


                • #9
                  Re: Hair masking help

                  Quick select and refine mask to get close… then just take a brush set to pen pressure and draw a few hairs in…easier then masking… below took 5 minutes all together.

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Re: Hair masking help

                    Really nice job, Butch!


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