A “Hair-Raising” Experience
You have a great photo and want to do a layout with an extraction. When doing extractions, what is the one thing you dread the most? H-A-I-R! All those wispy little strands of hair … so frustrating!
I’ve got a quick and easy tip for you today.
I’m going to be using my friend here. He’s a Great Blue Heron. He lives in my neighborhood and he was snacking in our backyard today.
(Yes, I took his picture with “Mr. T”. heh)
I’m using Mr. Heron here because he has both: dark and light wispy feathers (hair).
First let’s duplicate your original image and hide it. You’re going to need it later.
Now I’m going to extract his image … roughly.
He looks pretty good, but I want to see his beautiful coif. Let’s start with the dark side and then move on into the light.
As you can see, I’ve made my original layer visible again. I’m using my extraction tool to make a selection around the dark strands. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I’d suggest selecting only the portion that you’ll need.
Promote this selection to a separate layer. Then hide the original again.
Here’s what my Layer palette looks like.
Change the opacity of the dark hair to “Multiply”.
Now it still doesn’t look right.
We’re going to adjust the saturation levels of black and white to correct this. PSP users go to Adjust/Brightness and Contrast/Levels. Photoshop aficionados go to Image/Adjustments/Levels.
Drag the white level to the left until the darkness disappears. These are the settings I used here. However, if these don’t work for you … just slide your levels and adjust them accordingly.
Now look what we have. Much better. Isn’t this easier that cutting away all the wispy parts? Yay!
One thing to remember is that this will only work well with dark hair because of the multiply opacity, the lighter background and the levels that are used.
However, for all of the towheads out there … let’s go toward the light. *Cue celestial music*
As you can see, I’ve made my original layer visible again. I’m using my extraction tool to make a selection around the strands. Again it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I’d suggest selecting only the portion that you’ll need.
Promote this selection to a separate layer. Then hide the original again. Now change to opacity of this layer to “Screen”
Again, we’re going to need to adjust the saturation levels. However, this time we’ll be moving the black slider to the right. Depending on how dark your background is … you may need to adjust the white level as well.
I went back in and erased a little of the water background showing through. And here’s Mr. Heron with a nice cut and a trim. He’s ready to have a layout built up around him.
(NOTE* – Again, remember … this works best with dark hair against a light background OR with light hair against a dark background.
I want to show you that this trick is not just for the birds. *groan*
Here’s another example using this same method and adjustment of saturation levels with my DD, Morgan. Dark hair again a lighter background.
There is some brushwork involved here, but not much. I’ll have another tutorial coming up soon for brushwork with hair. Meanwhile, good luck and happy trimming!