How to Select Fuzzy Hair in Photoshop

In this video tutorial, Nathaniel Dodson from shows you how to select fuzzy hair in Photoshop. This is one of the most hairy (excuse the pun) tasks for a retoucher, and it comes in different variations. Maybe you’re not selecting hair but fur, trees or clouds. All of these objects can be very hard to select.

Check out how Nathaniel uses the Quick Selection tool and the Refine Edge tool. For a complete class on layer masking and selections, check out my Mask It Like a Pro! course.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Create a quick (and sloppy) selection of the background of the hair with the Quick Selection tool. Remember that selecting the inverse is sometimes easier than selecting the object itself.
  2. Open the Refine Edge dialog and use the Edge Detection settings and brushes to let Photoshop select the difficult parts of the hair for you.
  3. Create a layer mask from the selection. In this step, you hold down the Alt key to invert your selection (since you selected the background and not the hair itself).
  4. Optional: Bring your selected object into any image that you want to compose it with. This gives you a good indication of what you still need to do to create a perfect illusion in that specific case.
  5. Pick the Brush tool and set its mode to Soft Light. Paint right along the edges of the hair with either White to bring back some of the lost areas or with Black to gently remove unwanted areas. This technique is similar to the one I have shown you recently for tuning the contrast of a mask.

Added bonuses:

  • If you want to learn how to make a basic composite out of two images, you’ll pick up a lot of tricks long the way here.
  • Nathaniel shows you why and how to use Smart Objects and what difference they make in cases like this.
[via the tutvid YouTube channel]

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