How to make difficult hair selections in Photoshop CC

May 19, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to make difficult hair selections in Photoshop CC

May 19, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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difficult_hair_selections

If you photograph people or even furry animals, then at some point you’re probably going to have to make some kind of hair selection that lets you cut your subject out from its background.

While cutting out hard edged shapes like body parts covered in skin or clothes are often fairly straightforward, hair can still be quite a challenge.  In this video from Tutvid, Nathaniel Dodson shows us some methods to help assist with this process.

YouTube video

Utilising Photoshop’s Calculations feature to create multiple smaller alpha masks of different parts of the hair, then combining them into a single selection mask, it’s a technique that requires a little more work than other hair selection methods.

difficult_hair_selections_calculations

Some shots, however, will demand that time if you want to get perfect and believable results if you’re cutting people out and trying to stick them onto another background.

difficult_hair_selections_composite

While other software may provide much easier methods of selecting hair, you can never know too many Photoshop features or techniques, and this one can be applied to help overcome many other problems as well.

What other tips do you have for making difficult hair selections?  Let us know in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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