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  Tutorials Photoshop Photo Editing Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

psdvault Photo Editing Nov 20, 2012

The Refine Mask Tool in Photoshop CS5 and CS6 has made hair selection extermetly easy for even the most frizzy hair styles. In this tutorial, I will show you step-by-step how you can use Refine Mask to make great hair selection with minimum amount of effort.

I think it's important for beginner to learn to use the Refine Mask so that you don't waste any time using any other time-consming methods.

This tutorial require Photoshop CS5 + to complete - However it doesn't hurt to take a look even if you don't have them yet :)

A preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)

refine mask 500x331 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Alright let's get started!

Note: Check out this video tutorial if you have any difficulty following the steps:

Let's load these two image into Photoshop. Copy and paste the model image on top of the background image. Grab the Quick Selection Tool and select the grey part of this model layer:

Important: Make sure you don't select any transitional areas around the area. In fact, the rougher the selection for hair, the better the result will be. Photoshop will fine-tune this selection for us later on, via the Refine Mask feature.

1 sele 500x334 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Click on the layer mask button on the layer palette to add a layer mask to this model layer:

1 layer mask 500x442 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

You will see the layer mask is applied to the grey part of this layer, and we want to invert this. To do this, we double-click on the mask to bring up the mask properties:

1 click Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Click on the "Invert" button to invert the mask:

1 invert Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

You can see the mask has been inverted and the model is now showing:

1 effect2 500x330 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

If you pay attention to the hair part, it needs some further work:

1 hair not nice 500x364 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

This brings us to the next part of the tutorial.  Click on the "Mask Edge" button above the invert button:

1 mask edge Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

And you will see the Refine Mask window - our fun begins here!

1 refine mask Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

On the view mode, we will use the "Black and White" mode for now - please feel free to have a look at other modes:

1 bw mask1 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Now we will want to have a look at our mask radius, so tick this "Show Radius" checkbox below:

1 show radius 500x253 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

You will see only a black canvas after ticking this option - but if you increase the "Radius" value a sightly, you will see a white line appearing - that's the edge of our mask:

1 radius 500x356 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

As we can see from the image above - the rest of the mask look fine, we will need to refine the hair part of the mask radious. To do this, we can use the "Refine Radious Tool":

1 refine radius tool Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Adjust the brush size from the option bar as you see fit:

1 adjust size 500x331 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Use this brush to paint around the outside of the hair part, you will see the hair starting to appear nicely:

1 after 500x420 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

There is no need to adjust the edge - but we do need to apply the following "Decontaminate Colors" option to add some more details into the hair:

1 decontaminate colors Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

Click on "Ok" to apply this Refine Mask setting, you will see Photoshop creates a new layer automatically, and here is the before and after hair effect:

Before:

1 before 500x246 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

After

1 after 2 500x170 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

As you can see this Refine Mask feature has done something magical and now the hair looks a lot better :)

refine mask 500x331 Quick and Effective Hair Extraction Techinque via Refine Mask in Photoshop (CS5+)

That's it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! If you have any question or suggestion to this technique, drop a comment below!

Thanks and have a great day!

   
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