Advance Hair Masking In Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will go through 2 different techniques to mask hair.

The first will apply 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 crazy frizzy hair, 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!

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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Jesús – I may have done something wrong but the download link downloaded the ptc-reto-effect action.

Betty Blackman

you make things look easy.. I’m so glad I found your site.
Thank you


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!


Thanks, but I got 2 photos in the download – no tutorial.


Thanks for this tutorial. I will be referring back to it often.

William Liles

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.

Jessica V

I have to disagree. In “Perfect World” projects, the artist may have control of the variables. But “Real World” projects have small photo budgets or deadlines that don’t allow for custom photography and rely on stock, or a combination of stock and custom images. There are constant situations where designers have to composite these images and remove objects from complex backgrounds. The reason there are no tutorials that show successful curly hair masking from busy, multi-colored backgrounds is because it really can’t be done. Yet. Photoshop makes great leaps all the time… I’m sure it will get there.

Mick Fitzpatrick

First of all – I love your tutorials.
On the subject of ‘Perfect World’ and ‘Real World’ projects, many of us, who are not professional graphic artists etc. tend to look at our existing photographs for images to use. Most of the time these images are on ‘less than perfect’ backgrounds.
We do not have the luxury of images that have been specifically produced with plain backgrounds.
So, what I am asking, is despite the fact that there would be compromises to be made, could you please help us with a tutorial that would show us how best to cope with these complex backgrounds?
I am sure that the majority of non-professionals would be extremely grateful if this was at all possible.
Keep up the fantastic work. It is much appreciated.


jest Work of art!!!!!
I deal with graphics almost 5 years
And it never seems as easy as now!!!


Thanks for your great tutorials.


thx for the great tutorial
can i get the woman image for training ?


Very Impressive tutorial with detail …….nice keep it up

Gary F. Pitel

I can’t download the files that come with the tutorial. Please help me with this problem.


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!

Photo Guy

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?

Gary F. Pitel


Larry Gerard

can’t download files – the buttons all say error


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?


Greta tutorial but the files are not downloading!

Karsten Qvist

Thanks, it’s a great turorial! I love the way it explains several different tools very clearly, and help me move beyond what I already knew. Now, being aware of these possibilities my current struggle with masks is in relation to situations where it wasn’t possible to control the background in the original capture, in my case wild animal photography. Any advice on this?

Karsten Qvist

Thanks, can really imagine that a but of synthetic hair can be helpful. Will certainly look into that 🙂


Awesome tutorial.Before read this tutorial I am try do this but i can’t create it. Now i am success after see this tutorials & follow your step.Thanks lots for great tutorial.


Wow just Awesome and nice tutorial thank you very much for share it . It’s really helpful for all image editor . I enjoy that video good work bro !!!


It’s really helpful for all image editor. I enjoy that video.

Scott Hollingsworth

So, I had problems downloading the tutorial. I stumbled on the solution by hovering my mouse over the “Download Tutorial Here” and then clicking Delete. The box went away and a link remained. I clicked on the link and it downloaded. Very cryptic.

I did “like” your website on Facebook before hitting delete!


Aatif Shahzad

It is really awesome tutorial, I learned some new things from this video, Thanks for the video which improve my skills.

Carolyn P. Reed

After “Pinteresting” for years for ideas, inspiration, technical, and tutorials.. I find that your Photoshop tutorials are the absolute best. You don’t waste time, but you’re very descriptive in what you do. It’s the perfect pace for me. I love that you show alternative methods for same results. These are tutorials I feel like I can work with alongside with my own practice sessions. You’re tutorials are very organized, succinct and easy to follow along. It makes me feel like these challenging fixes/effects are doable for a non-professional high-end retoucher like me (I do regular to medium retouching, but it’s not my specialty). I find this tutorial (The messy hair tute, really helpful. I have had trouble always with trying to figure out how to include/not include the extraneous fly away hairs, without compromising the image. I have tried plug ins like PortraitPro, but they still don’t tet the hair correct masked. The background shoes through always. Even with detailed selections! The RGB adjustments you do, with regard to this lesson are more advanced than I’m used to. But I feel like if I watch this 10 times and try it on my own, that I just might get the hang of this. It’s so relative to all the types of shoots I do. Thank you for your dedication and taking the time to offer these tutorials. Thanks!! Carolyn – CPR Photography – Palm Desert, CA (outside of Palm Springs). 🙂


I can’t download your tutorial files, it says download here, but there is no files to download?


I will get this amazing for me .thank you!…


Thanks a lot for this nice sharing.


Hi, I really enjoyed you video tutorial ….I can do it now. i request you to make tutorial on others photo editing task.
Thanks for sharing>

Wayne Griffis

What a fantastic tutorial. Many many thanks for sharing with us.


Thank you for this tutorial, it seems like it would be really complicated but you make it look so simple and I’m really looking forward to trying this out in the future!

Lance Jekel

Really informative and helpful tips!These tips have been of great benefit to my work.I would like to get something more modern from this site.Thanks For Sharing and Keep Up the Good Work.