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Suggestion for Extracting Hairs


coolguy2018

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I've many many photos like this in which the background is like that and picture itself is not too clear

I've been trying too many things to extract hairs but nothing is satisfying

Can you please suggest what method or ways should I use to extract hairs from background in attached image with about professional results?

Thanks & regards.

a.jpg
 

IamSam

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So much of what Photoshop is capable of doing is solely based on the quality of the image that your working with. Poor images will produce poor results. Low resolution and blurriness are the worst offenders. Your best bet would be to try to increase the definition of the hair with a sharpening process before starting, otherwise it won't really matter what selection technique you use as the result will be the same.
 

SCTRWD

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Here are my 2 cents on the topic at large based on my humble everyday experience.
Oftentimes you just don't need to mask these stray hairs. Nor actually your clients want it(even if they say so:)). Doing this is a tedious work which most often gives mediocre results even with (lets be honest:)) most sophisticated techniques you can find here or elseplace. And it does not pay off in the long run. Especially if you have a lots of requests like this on your backlog:) Sometimes it is much easier just to imitate the stray hairs by hand.

It's actually very simple:
Just cut out the head roughly excluding the border stray hairs that catch the background somehow on it's own layer.
Add a new layer, choose some hair brush (there are a lots of them on the Internet or just use grass brush which comes with PS) and add new stray hairs at the border areas. Use Air Brush option and Brush attributes freely to change hairs density, size, direction, etc. to make these hairs look natural and similar to the source image. Add them as long as there is no discernible border between them and the underlying layer.
Lock this layer transparency and use clone stamp tool to color the stray hairs using the underlying layer as the source.
Finally merge the two layers together and you are ready to place it on any other background.
This saves you a lot of work and 99% of clients will never see the difference but will be happy as a clam with final result:)

Of course if you have a "special" client and you are ready to invest lots of your time and efforts to get "true" results you are free to go. Just make sure the client's gonna pay the price and won't forget you number once the project is done:).
 

coolguy2018

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Here are my 2 cents on the topic at large based on my humble everyday experience.
Oftentimes you just don't need to mask these stray hairs. Nor actually your clients want it(even if they say so:)). Doing this is a tedious work which most often gives mediocre results even with (lets be honest:)) most sophisticated techniques you can find here or elseplace. And it does not pay off in the long run. Especially if you have a lots of requests like this on your backlog:) Sometimes it is much easier just to imitate the stray hairs by hand.

It's actually very simple:
Just cut out the head roughly excluding the border stray hairs that catch the background somehow on it's own layer.
Add a new layer, choose some hair brush (there are a lots of them on the Internet or just use grass brush which comes with PS) and add new stray hairs at the border areas. Use Air Brush option and Brush attributes freely to change hairs density, size, direction, etc. to make these hairs look natural and similar to the source image. Add them as long as there is no discernible border between them and the underlying layer.
Lock this layer transparency and use clone stamp tool to color the stray hairs using the underlying layer as the source.
Finally merge the two layers together and you are ready to place it on any other background.
This saves you a lot of work and 99% of clients will never see the difference but will be happy as a clam with final result:)

Of course if you have a "special" client and you are ready to invest lots of your time and efforts to get "true" results you are free to go. Just make sure the client's gonna pay the price and won't forget you number once the project is done:).
Thank you very very much for your help.

Your suggestions really helped me out.

Thanks and regards...
 

polarwoc

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Just cut out the head roughly excluding the border stray hairs that catch the background somehow on it's own layer.
Add a new layer, choose some hair brush (there are a lots of them on the Internet or just use grass brush which comes with PS) and add new stray hairs at the border areas. Use Air Brush option and Brush attributes freely to change hairs density, size, direction, etc. to make these hairs look natural and similar to the source image. Add them as long as there is no discernible border between them and the underlying layer.
This is an excellent suggestion.
Just to reiterate, OP should make sure that the layer with stray hair should be given a blur to match the blur on the photo.
 

SCTRWD

Power User
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The main point behind my post was as follows:

From what I see of many posts on hair masking I conclude that most people just set the wrong goals from the start and essentially are barking the wrong tree in the process. They see the problem which is not, and try to blame and fight the wrong culprit.

They see their main problem in "halo" areas - semitransparent areas around stray hairs which catch the old background. These areas will later look bad on the new background.

So they think that the problem lies in "masking" and that there must be some "perfect mask" which will magically have semitransparent areas with only hairs but no old background. They try hard to find this "silver bullet" mask but to no avail.

And this is just because it's simply not possible and it's totally wrong idea from the very start based on the wrong understanding of how a mask works.

The soft mask WILL sure give you a "halo" while the hard mask will give you crisp cutout results without semitransparent areas at all.
And it's not mask's fault and it's not mask's problem. This IS simply how a mask works, this is how it SHOULD work and this is what it is for. You can't fight it and there is no need to.

The halo actually is not a problem at all and can be fought easy. Once you have a mask of the hairs just use the Stamp Clone tool over halo areas using the hair color from the source image while preserving the transparency information.

So halo is NOT a problem, it's solved easily and you can just ignore it for the time being.

That leaves us with only ONE problem left: making a mask for hairs. Just make SOME convincing mask of the hairs either from existing hairs or make your own hairs like in my post. If there are semitransparent areas in the original image they must be present in your mask as well.

To get rid of halo problem you can use stamp cloning as I said.

Now Happy New Year for all of you guys. Cheers!
 

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