This technique, which captures every single strand of hair, relies on you capturing an image of your subject on a background that gives you good tonal separation with the hair. This tutorial is NOT intended for changing the background behind a subject that you captured against a busy background and then decided you now want to use it in a composite project. This technique is intended for projects that you know you will be changing the background at the time of capturing your subject. This tutorial has had over 130,000 views on YouTube and has excellent feedback. The magic for restoring the last 10% of hair detail lies in the power of Photoshop’s bend modes (Multiply for hiding white, Screen for hiding black and Overlay/Soft Light or Hard Light for hiding grey). It’s the final step that produces the Wow factor. It’s the step that some professional retouchers have missed out on.
- “One of the best selection tutorials I have ever seen. Astonishingly helpful.”
- “Really good video best I have seen on “Select and Mask”
- “I’ve watched dozens of tutorials on the select and mask, and this is the one that I needed.”
- “Awesome job! Learned a lot! :D”
You can use backgrounds that are black, grey or white. Do not overexpose a white background otherwise you will lose fine detail in camera. White backgrounds become grey when they are further away from the light source than the model. Do not have your model too close to the background otherwise the shadow from the model on the background will cause problems. You can shoot someone with dark hair against a black background if you apply backlighting to all the hair. If you choose to photography against a black background the new background should be darker than mid grey. if you photography against a white background the new background should be lighter than mid grey. Avoid using rim lights when using this technique otherwise you will end up with some hair that is lighter than the background and some hair that is darker than the background. For this lighting you will need to switch to green- or blue-screen.
The images for this movie tutorial can be downloaded from my Creative Cloud account:
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