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Hair Masking Technique in Photoshop by Tokunboh Opeyemi

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.54.58 AM

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you step-by-step hair removal technique effect in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level tutorial and I will show how easy it is to hair mask an image and using a blending mode technique for final result. Freely use any image for this tutorial. Let’s get this done!

Note: The tutorial is created in version CS6 – therefore some screen shots may have different layout to the earlier version.

Step 1


Open the model image or any image of your choice and load in photoshop as seen below:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.06 AM

Switch to the channels tab beside the layer panel and select the blue channels or any of the color channels having more contrast, Note: The contrast varies based on the image status: light proportion and environment:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.13 AM



Step 2



Duplicate the blue channel and rename:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.22 AM
Next, Invert the Image, using Ctrl + I or Go to Image menu > Adjustments and click on Invert: This enable the hair strand to be more visible:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.31 AM

Step 3


This step is quite tricky and need more attention as we need to capture most of the hair strands by zooming closely and we need our first adjusment layer tool: Levels use a similar value as seen below:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.39 AM

Next, play around with curves as our result is to make the image model completely white while the background remain full black (An Alpha State):

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.45 AM


Step 4


Now, we need to start painting the model using the Brush tool, use similar size as seen below and make your forground white and start painting:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.50 AM
For smaller part of the hair use a smaller brush size as seen below and keep painting the image until it turns white:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.55.56 AM
At this point your image should look like this, fully in alpha mode:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.03 AM

Nest, switch back to the RGB layer in the channel tab as seen in the circled area, to return to the full image color:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.09 AM
Then click on add layer mask located in the circle below or go to Layer menu click on Layer mask and click on reveal selection:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.14 AM
Next add an image background below the image layer as seen in image below:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.20 AM

Step 5


Now we need to select the image, Switch to the layer panel tab, Go to Select menu and click on Load selection

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.25 AM
Then go to the channel field and choose the image channel which you rename in Step 2 and click on ok:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.31 AM
Now, we need to polish the image hair strands by removing any white pixel around the image hair, duplicate the image layer and convert each layer into smart object, and change blend mode of the image layer below to Multiply:


Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.38 AM
Next, add a layer mask to the to image on top and zoom closely to the hair strands, grab your brush tool or press B on the keyboard, use similar value as seen below in the brush panel settings and clean the white areas of the image hair strands as seen in image 1 and edges of the image body as seen in image 2:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.46 AM
Here should be your final result, Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. Drop me a mail, if you have any question.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.56.56 AM


For comment and observation, kindly mail us at info@olabodeskills.com



About the Author

Tokunboh Opeyemi is the creative director of Insfire Studio, an award winning interactive designer with more than 5 years experience in the field of creative design. He has a strong passion for teaching and he is a typography master. His work has been featured in top design blog like Abduzeedo, Olabodeskills, Design Layerz, Creative Hub  amongst others. He is bringing his wealth of experience to the users of olabodeskills in the areas of typography, inspiration and other design related.



About Olabode Skill

Olabodeskills is a creative portal that teaches, shares, showcases and features brilliant ideas, concepts and skills in the arts – from graphic/design, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, visual media, decorative arts, architecture, performing arts and interactive media. It is for everyone in the design world – graphic/web designers, web developers, programmers, illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, writers, architects, package designers, animation/multimedia pros, video editors, make-up artists and the design wannabes. We are devoted and dedicated to developing solid ties to our design community, advancing the eminence of design, and building an encouraging uniformity in our different world.

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