Miss Behaving: The “Mane” Attraction – Part I
The “Mane” Attraction – Part I … (Get it? Hair tutorial= ”mane”? “part”? Get it?) I know … I know. Big shout out to Becky and the Crew who helped me with the title. You didn’t think I was going to take ALL the blame, did you? Heh
I want to start off this week by sincerely thanking you all for such wonderful comments on the “Extraction for Dummies” tutorial. I was tickled pink to read that it actually helped a lot of you. I’m also really grateful to know that people actually read them.
Thank you all. I’d like to thank Maya, Becky, the Academy …. *ahem* What? Too much perhaps?
The next couple of weeks, it’s all about hair. We’re going to start this follicular series slowly. Today we’ll be doing an “easy” extraction of hair.
This is my friend, Jagger. One of the coolest kids I’ve ever met.
I’ve uploaded him here if you want to follow along with me. Again, all I ask is that you please respect his innocence if you use him in a layout.
I say this hair extraction will be easy, because we’ll be working with light hair against a pretty dark background. (PS … this also works for dark hair against a light background). I’ve covered something similar before using the adjustment of Levels in the Hair Raising tutorial. However, since my friend, Jagger here has more complex hair than Mr. Heron, this tutorial will be going into a more detailed extraction.
Our goal is to get all of the fine hairs included into our final extraction.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Duplicate your original layer. Really, are you surprised I said that? PS Users: Highlight the layer with your original photo on it and hit “Ctrl + J”. PSP/Corel Users: Highlight the layer with your original photo on it and right-click and choose Duplicate.
As we did in the “Extraction for Dummies” tutorial, we are going to check our Hair progess on separate backgrounds. Create two Color Fill layers. One light background: Color #93a49a and one dark background: Color @ 2a494e.
Create a new fill layer (circled in red) and choose Solid Color.
To start, I’m going to use color #2a494e.
Create another new layer and replace the color with #93a49a
Place both of these layers beneath your Original Photo layer.
Create a new layer (circled in red) and choose New Raster Layer.
Go to your Tool Box Menu and choose your Flood Fill tool.
To start, set your Foreground color to #2a494e.
Take your Flood fill tool (bucket) and click inside your image. By doing this, you should have a layer full of color.
Repeat the above process and replace the color with #93a49a
Place both of these layers beneath your Original Photo layer.
First, extract your image except for the hair. If you need help on extracting an image, please see the “Extractions for Dummies” tutorial.
This photo has light hair and a semi dark background, which is to our benefit. The same would be true if we were using dark hair against a light background. We are going to use this to our advantage by using Channels.
Image files store color information in Channels, or planes, of colors. The Channels are shown in grayscale (black & white) mode. We are going to use the Color Channels to increase the contrast between the black and white portions of our photo and create a selection based upon that contrast.
Confused yet? Enlightenment cometh. I hope. Heh
Go to your Channels palette and determine which channel has the most contrast to it. In this case, it is the Red channel. Again, if you are working with dark hair against a light background … look for the most contrast.
We’re going to boost the contrast. You don’t want to make changes on this layer because it will change your original photo. Highlight the Red channel and drag it down to the Create new layer (circled in red).
Now we have a nice shiny new duplicate channel layer to play with.
Go to Image > Split Channels > RGB Color
The color channels will emerge as three different images. We are looking for the image with the strongest black and white contrast. In this case, it is the Red channel. Again, if you are working with dark hair against a light background … look for the most contrast.
Copy this image and Paste it onto the image you are currently working on.
Ultimately, because we are working with light hair on Jagger, we will be selecting the white portion of this layer, so we want to adjust the Levels to boost the contrast between the black and white. If you are working with dark hair, we will be selecting the black portion of this layer. So you will also be adjusting the Levels to boost the contrast between the black and the white.
The next step is to adjust the black and white Levels to create said contrast.
I’m still working in the Channels palette on the copy recently made, hit “Ctrl + L” to bring up the Levels menu. Slide the Black button to the left to increase the black. Likewise, slide the White button to the right to increase the white.
Go to Adjust > Brightness and Contrast > Levels
Slide the Black button to the left to increase the black. Likewise, slide the White button to the right to increase the white.
I still have a bit of white/gray areas around my extraction. I want to paint those areas black so that when we “select” the white, these areas will not be included. I’ll show you what I mean below. If you are working with dark hair, you are going to paint unwanted black/gray areas with white so that when you “select” the black, these areas will not be included.
Still working on the Red channel copy layer in the Channels palette … hit “Ctrl + Enter” . On your channels palette, when you click on ”Ctrl + Enter” you are automatically selecting the white portions of your image. If you are working with dark hair, hit “Ctrl + Enter”, this automatically selects the white areas of your image. Now hit “Ctrl + Shift + I” to invert the selection. Now the black areas of your image are selected.
As I mentioned previously, I have some unwanted gray/white areas that are included in the selection. We don’t want this area to be included in our selection therefore I’m going to “paint” them out. I’m going to paint directly onto the Copy of the Red Channel that was made. If you are working with dark hair, look for any black/gray areas you do not want included in your current selection.
Go to your Tool box, and select your Paint brush.
I’m going to use a round brush and start at size 65. As I move in closer though, I’ll reduce the size.
If you are working with light hair, set your foreground color to black. If you are working with dark hair, set your foreground color to white.
Zoom in close to make sure you get those pesky little ants. On the bottom left hand corner you’ll see the percentage size of the image you are currently viewing. I zoom in to a minimum of 300%.
Deselect: Go to Select > Deselect, paint in the unwanted areas with your paint brush.
Once you have painted in the areas that you need to, we are now going to Reselect the white by hitting “Ctrl + Enter”. If you are working with dark hair, hit “Ctrl + Enter” then “Ctrl + Shift + I” to Reselect the black.
Keep those “ants” marching and go back to your Layers Palette and Highlight your Original copy photo.
Go to your Tool box and choose the Polygonal Lasso tool (mine is set there by default … you really could use any of the three selection tools … what we are looking for is the menu that comes up when you Right-click.)
“Ants” are still marching right? Original photo still highlighted? Right-click inside the image and choose “Layer via Copy”.
Looking good so far!
I’m not going to use anything but the hair, so I’ve extracted everything but the “Mane” attraction. Sorry, couldn’t resist using the title again. Heh
Go to: Selections > Load/Save Selections > Load selection from Alpha Channel
Load the selection from your document. Errr … pay no attention to the document title. At this point in the tutorial, I’m getting a little frustrated. Heh If you are going to be working with dark hair, make sure to check the “Invert image” box.
Obviously, we have a LOT of unwanted selected white areas. (PS. I changed the name of the file. Heh)
Highlight the Original Photo copy in your layer palette and Right-Click. Choose Promote Selection to Layer.
Place this selection above your other layers.
As I mentioned previously, we don’t want this area to be included in our selection therefore I’m going to extract the unwanted areas out. I’m going to change the background to my lighter color so I can be sure to see what I’m doing. If you are working with dark hair, you might want to work with the darker background color.
Deselect your Selection. On your Menu bar: Go to Selections > Select none. Zoom in close to make sure you remove any unwanted areas.
Go to your Tool Box menu and choose your Move Tool.
I usually zoom in to at least 300%.
Trace around the unwanted areas with your Freehand Selection Tool.
Located on your Tool Box Menu. For your convenience, there’s a nifty pull-down menu and it’s easy to choose your Freedhand Selection tool.
For This extraction, I’ve used the Feather set at 2 and Smoothing at 3. Make sure to have the Selection type set to: Point to Point and the Mode set to: Replace.
We are only interested in keeping the hair. Knowing that I will not need the face or other parts of the body, I have extracted these sections as well. So all I have left is the wispy hairs.
Hit delete a few times. The naughty little extras are gone.
We could stop here and our image would look pretty good. In fact, it looks great against the dark background. However, I like my extractions to be the best they can be. There are still minor, little bitty edges that I really don’t like around the perimeter of the hair lines when I look closely at the extraction against the light background. To remedy this infraction of perfection, there is an easy fix.
Highlight the layer that includes your hair only. Duplicate this layer by hitting “Ctrl + J”. Change the Blending mode of this layer to “Screen” and lower the Opacity to 85%. If you are working with dark hair, change the blending mode of this layer to “Multiply” and lower the Opacity accordingly.
A world of difference.
Against a Light Background:
Against a Dark Background:
We have a little extra worok to do, but the results will be similar. Highlight the layer that includes your hair only. Duplicate this layer by Right-clicking on the layer, then choose Duplicate. Duplicate it once more, so that we have a total of three layers of hair. On the Original hair layer, lower the Opacity to 51%. One the Second Hair layer, Change the Blending mode to “Lighten” and maintain the Opacity at 100%. On the final layer of hair, change the Blending mode to Blending mode to “Screen” and lower the Opacity to 40%. If you are working with dark hair, duplicate the hair layers so that you have a total of three. First layer should be Normal @ 51%, Second layer change the Blending mode to “Darken” and the final layer, change the blending mode of this layer to “Multiply” and lower the Opacity accordingly.
Yay! Looks so much better.
Against a light background:
Against a dark background:
Of course, these are my settings for Jagger’s hair. You may have to adjust and play with the layer’s settings to get a natural looking hair line. Experiment with Blend Modes and Opacity settings. Remember, “Screen” and “Lighten” is for light hair against dark backgrounds and “Darken” and “Multiply” is for dark hair against Light backgrounds.
This preview was made with Studio Gypsy’s “Keeper of Time”.
Again, it’s not difficult. However, it is time consuming but worth the extra effort. The best advice I can give to you is the same I gave for extraction. Practice, practice, practice.
Thank you all again for the comments and feedback. It warms the cockles of my heart. The next “Mane Attraction” tutorial will explain how I extract and create hair with the smudge tool and brushes. You are in LUCK. Studio Wendy has made some AMAZING custom made brushes that you absolutely cannot live without if you are working with hair.
Good luck all and if you have any questions at all or need clarification on anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Either comment here, or PM me in Scrapbookgraphics forums.