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Classic "stray hair" scenario

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  • Classic "stray hair" scenario

    I appreciate that there is no classic right or wrong about this, but I have a series of models to work on.

    To remove the background colour and, inevitably, a lot of stray hairs (see example).
    My basic approach is to use "Quick Selection" which covers around 90%;
    then I tidy in "Refine Edges"; but I am still finding that even this does not solve the stray straggly hairs (particularly towards the bottom of the picture).

    Any suggestions or tips?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Classic "stray hair" scenario

    You're going to have some amount of extra work on that hair no matter what as the two aren't clearly separated. Some people have claimed to do okay with calculations and other methods. In the end I have found them to all require cleanup which is basically painting solid hair where you want it or adjusting to include some influence from the new background. It is possible to subtract both some alpha and some of the underlying color, but there is no clear path to doing that. Suck it up and do the paint work or you're more likely to end up stuck here.

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    • #3
      Re: Classic "stray hair" scenario

      most of the color overlap is in the red channel. rather than starting with the quick select tool you might want to start with a dupe of the green or blue channel. run levels on it, clean it up with the brush in overlay mode, then use that as the basis of your layer mask, then go into refine mask from there.

      it sounds more complicated than it is.

      and you still might have to tweak your mask with a brush, depending on the background you'll be using.

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      • #4
        Re: Classic "stray hair" scenario

        Any auto masking I have seen always leaves you a tidy up job. I prefer to hand paint strands with a one or two pixel brush on an overlay. This means you can change the hair colour easily (often a hilite hair on a dark background needs to be a dark hair on a light background) plus the background colour can be changed later if required. You can also use certain areas multiple times if the style allows repetition. For cropped or tighter hair styles you can use the smudge tool and drag the pixels away from the scalp in keeping with the overall stye. Match brush size to strand thickness. If a hair curls, follow the line to a natural conclusion beyond the scalp line rather than cropping it. Often I use three layers of different focus to simulate focus drop off front to back. Lastly, use this stage to edit the hair anyway - it is often better to remove flyaway hair. Good luck; hair work is tedious but can make or break a picture!
        Last edited by Repairman; 07-04-2013, 12:08 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Classic "stray hair" scenario

          Thanks very much to everyone. The example I posted was only one of many pictures I have to work on.
          Some useful tips there though.
          I have a bit of time on this, so – can to an extent – experiment a bit to see what works best for me.

          Many thanks

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