Removing background around hair in photoshop in Photoshop can be very complicated if it is not done correctly. Today, we will see how to extract that annoying section of our photo with a few simple steps.
To see how to cut hair in Photoshop, I’m going to use one of the photos I took for the Brida group, specifically of Paco Juan Cabo, one of its members. You can see that the hair area has the proper contrast with the background. It is the first thing you have to look for in your photo since the cut will not be perfect if there is no good contrast.
STEP 1: Duplicate the appropriate channel
Once you have your photo in front of you and everything is ready, go to the Channels tab, which you will find next to Layers. And since the objective is to separate the model from the background with the black and white colors, choose the one that looks the darkest. In this case, the best option for this photo is the blue channel.
Thus, you will see that the background is still white, and your model has been darkened. This part works similarly to the layer masks that you could see in another tutorial. The black part will be the selection that we want to obtain.
Once your channel is selected, you will duplicate it to work on it without altering the original image. To do this, right-click on the track and then the Duplicate channel. A window will appear with various options. You accept and have your new channel ready.
Removing background around hair in Photoshop
STEP 2: Fill with black
The first part of this step will be done with Levels (a better option than Curves, which will keep the background whiter). By pressing “cmd+L” or “ctrl+L,” the window in question will appear. Here, you will move the sliders until you find a middle ground, where the background is white, and your subject is as dark as possible.
IMPORTANT! Don’t make it too dark; if you do, you’ll lose details of the hair and get a messy cutout. It is better to make the photo lighter and then darken it by hand. It is also essential not to lighten it too much because if the image has some backlighting, as in this case, you can get more spaces between the hair than desired.
Here you can see the result after using Levels. It is seen that some areas of the face and hair have been left with illuminated parts, so the next step is going to be to remove them.
STEP 3: Remove white areas
To do this, you are going to use two tools. The first will be the Burn tool, with a shortcut in (O). Select the Shadows or Shadows option at the top and, not to go too far, put an opacity of 40% to start with.
With it, paint the entire dark area, and you will see how those white areas that remained disappeared.
To top it off, if there are areas that have not entirely disappeared, you will use the Brush (B), with a hardness and an opacity of 100%.
STEP 4: Retouch the white
Now that your black color is uniform, you will remove the excess hair with the Dodge or Dodge tool (O). You will choose the Highlights or High Lights option and perform the same action as before, but with a reverse effect.
You will have something like this.
STEP 5: Load our selection
Once everything is as you want, you will proceed to load the selection. To do this, the first thing is to select the RGB channel again; if not, you will not see your photo correctly.
Once this is done, you will press “Cmd+click” or “Ctrl+click” on the layer thumbnail, and with it, you will obtain a selection with the shape of what that layer contains.
STEP 6: Remove the background
Back in the layers tab, it’s time to remove the background. This step can be done in several ways, but the best and the one that will offer you the most editing options is the way I like it, with a layer mask. (Follow my tutorial if you don’t know how they work).
Once created, you must invert the Mask (Cmd+I) or (Ctrl+I). Now you will have the final result, something like this.
BONUS: Personal trick
At this point in the tutorial, you will already have your hair well-trimmed, but if you want to go a little further, I am going to give you one of my tricks so that the result is entirely perfect,
What you are going to do is create a new layer on top of your model and add a Clipping Mask to it.
Now, you select your main layer, and with the Clone Stamp Tool, you will choose an area near the edge you want to remove.
Back to our upper layer, start painting (100% opacity) over these areas, and you will see how we are cloning the hair from the lower one.
All this, together with the fact that we have created a layer mask, will give you a perfect texture without losing the original form.
Then you can play around with other opacities to get different results.
And so far, the tutorial on cutting hair in Photoshop. It has been long, but it is worth it. I hope it has served you and can take advantage of it in your work. As always, I only ask you to share this on your social networks.