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cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

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  • cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

    im starting to prepare myself for incoming photoshoot that i will be retouching.
    There will be many portraits that will need pasting background (landscape propably) behind the model. First question is which color of background do you find most easy to cut from? white or blue/green? ( i know there is a tool in "refine edge" which can erase color from edges or get it more natural but does it work effectivly? ) The goal for me is to achieve the most natural look after cutting - more the flying hair stay and wont get damged- better for me.
    Do you have any ideas guys which technique should i use?

    Thank you,

  • #2
    Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

    I'd say it depends much on the hair color as blond/light hairs pulls more color cast than dark ones....


    • #3
      Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

      I hope you aren't taking on too much. You say you are clipping out "many" shots. That sounds like a beast and I hope you are getting compensated for it.

      Photographically I would suggest using a plain background and do NOT blow it out. That is a quick way to destroy all of your soft transitions in the hair. If you are going to use a colored background to key it out, make sure not to let any of the color bleed onto the model. This can add a lot to your difficulty.

      It is a very good idea to learn about using calculations to isolate fine details such as hair. Refine edge gives varying results but can be a good tool towards the end of the workflow.


      • #4
        Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

        Thank you for reply.

        Its gonna be about 60 photos so...cutting from background should be fast and effective if i dont want to kill myself . I never used calculations before. That might be a good clue.


        • #5
          Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

          A personal opinion for you: Forget calculations for this project. Calculations may be the the way to get the most exact selections (not always), but it is time consuming.

          First it is time consuming to learn ( I have my self spent a lot of time and recourses to learn it, including several books and some live shows here on Retouchpro, and I am still no expert)

          Second it is time consuming to use. Personally I havent found one setup that always work, and you will probably end up trying all the different blend modes with all the different color spaces. And there are a lot of combinations

          You can try using a channel mixer layer, which is kind of a "calculations light" and sometimes that can give a good result.

          Personally I find that refine edge with a couple of extra tools give acceptable results. The problem with refine edge is that it normally leaves some grey around the stray hairs when you see it on your background layer.
          Here are 3 tips on "refining" after refine edge:

          0,5. Before using refine edge/mask edge on the hair(personally I use Mask Edge after making the mask) make a history snapshot. Now you can go wild on the hair without thinking about the rest of the body. Just use the History Brush and paint back on the body

          1 After Mask Edge duplicate your layer with the mask, now put the lower of the two on either screen or multiply. This should take away some unwanted grey.

          2. If thats not enough use an Inner Glow Layer Effect (sometimes outer glow too). Sample Hair color for the glow. Experiment with size and opacity and Softer vs Precise settings. Use screen or multiply on the glow, depending on hair color. Put it on its own layer by using the Layer->Layer Style->Create Layers and mask away from the body

          3. You can also use an overlay/soft light brush on your mask. This kind of takes away the greys without touching the black or white. A similar method is using the Dodge or Burn tools on your mask.

          These tips should make you able to use the faster "refine edge/mask edge workflow". When that is said, you should definetively check out calculations when you have the time.

          These tips I basicly learnt from Matt Kloskowskis book on compositing, and Katrin Eismanns lates book on compositing. They are good recourses for more on compositing.

          Hope this was of help


          • #6
            Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

            Agreed. Calculations is just one method of exacting a selection. When I saw that you were shooting sixty shots I said to myself "Oh... nevermind."

            Good advice above for powering through a ton of shots.

            Leave calculations for one solid image with some time of your hands.



            • #7
              Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

              Dark grey background works quite good usually.

              You can make it brighter (put a lamp on it) for darker haired people and darker for lighter haired people.

              That way you have a really good starting point for a mask in your channels.


              • #8
                Re: cutting hair from background (ideas/help)

                If you have 60 shots to do, it might be worth investing in Topaz ReMask or a similar product.


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