Advance Hair Masking In Photoshop

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In this tutorial I will be going though 2 different techniques to mask hair. The first will be applicable to all versions of Photoshop, while the second will only work with Photoshop CS5 and above.

As you can see from the sample image, I’m not making it easy for you! If you learn to mask this type of crazy frizzy hair, then you can pretty much mask anything!

Also, as a side note, I’m at Photoshop World in Las Vegas this week, so my apologies in advance for any late email or comment replies!

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Final Image

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Advance Hair Masking In Photoshop


  1. janice says

    Love the tutorial, but when I go to download the tutorial files, I get an Action called Retro Effect. Can you help me out here please? Great job as usual JR!

  2. William Liles says

    It is always interesting that an image with a near solid background is used to demonstrate hair masking.
    I would like to see one that has a multi colored background, such as a tree with leaves or something else similar.

    • says


      It’s because this is how professional compositors, photographers, and even film makers do it! They don’t take photos or film of people in busy backgrounds if they’re intending on masking them out. They want to make their life easy, so they use a solid color as a background.

      In real world projects, the artist has control of many variables, including the background. If you’re photographing a person for an advertisement it would make no sense to put them in front of trees if they’re just going to be masked out. If you think about movies, they always use a green screen (or blue) because it’s easier to key out (mask). Sometimes they even take the solid colored backgrounds on location to get the images (or video) of the background and model separately to have more control in post production.

      But if you ever had the need to remove hair from a busy background, try the channels technique, and just realize that it will never be as good as if you would of had a solid background.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Suzanne says

    I can’t find a download button Anywhere on this page. Just sign up for emails. Where is it, please? I’m ready to do some hair magic!

  4. Photo Guy says

    Good tutorial.
    I found this CS5 video on masking hair from Adobe using the Quick Selection & Refine Edge Mask options. Have you tried this method? If so, does it really work as good as they say or do you recommend the old reliable method using Channels to create the mask combined with dodging & burning?

  5. Randy says

    When I click ctrl+ I then use the lasso tool, I can’t get the white color on the face, to just fill in like on the video. What do I need to do?

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