Hair is no easy business; it is never the easiest thing to deal with when you are trying to extract it from another image with a background. No matter how meticulous you are with the selection tool, you will most likely get a result that looks like a magazine cutout. Introducing the Photoshop mask edge tool.
Using the Photoshop Mask Edge Tool
Hair is no easy business; it is never the easiest thing to deal with when you are trying to extract it from another image with a background. No matter how meticulous you are with the selection tool, you will most likely get a result that looks like a magazine cutout.
Luckily, Adobe has introduced us to “Mask Edge” tool after CS5 and our hairy situation is history. With the Photoshop mask edge tool, whether it’s weave, straight, dreadlocks, curly, wavy, red, blond, brown, brunette, or any other style, we’ve got them under control. So what do you say? Shall we let the cutting begin?
1. Open up the image that you want to cut out from the background. Heba has been a good sport and let me uses her as a model for this Photoshop mask edge tool tutorial.
2. Next, pick the “Quick Selection Tool” locating on your PSD tool bar. If you can’t see it, look for a “Magic Wand Tool”. Click and hold down your mouse on the “Magic Wand” icon to open up a hidden sub menu, and you should see the “Quick Selection Tool” hiding in there.
3. Once the Photoshop mask edge tool is picked, you can now use it to select part of the image that you want to extract. The goal here is to try and capture as much of the image as possible without getting too much of the grey color in the background.
Tips: While making selection, you can hold down “Shift” to add parts of the image to the selection, or hold down “Alt” to remove unnecessary parts.
4. Once you are happy with the selection, click on the “Add Layer Mask” button locating at the bottom of a “Layer” panel (if you can’t see it, press “F7” or go to Window >> Layers.) A thumbnail for the layer mask will appear next to your image and the background should now been removed, but it’s also make Heba looks like she’s having a bad hair day. Don’t worry we’ll fix this!
5. Click on the thumbnail of your layer mask then go to Window >> Properties. Once you see the “Propeties” panel look for a “Mask Edge…” button.
6. A “Refine Mask” panel should appear. To use the Photoshop Mask Edge tool, click on the brush icon inside the “Refine Mask” panel. Now comes the fun part. With the “Mask Edge” tool selected, start painting back part of the hair that was cropped out by the mask when we make our first selection. No need to be too neat on this.
8. Once you released your mouse, viola! The tool automatically removes the grey areas and Heba now got her fabulous locks back. Before clicking “Ok” make sure to select “New Layer with Layer Mask” on the “Output” area. This makes sure that you have a backup layer that you can access whenever you want.
9. You will notice that there are now two layers on the “Layers” panel, which are your back-up layer and its copy. Your back-up layer will automatically get hidden by Photoshop and you can now continue your editing on the copied layer.
10. With the copied layer selected, Press Ctrl (Cmd) + J. This is a shortcut that allows you to quickly duplicate layers. With layers stack on top of each other, you will see that more details of the hair is being picked up by the program and thus adding more volume to it.
11. After you are happy with the result. Merge all the layers together by holding shift and clicked on all the duplicated layers. Right click and you should see an option to “Merge Layers”
12. Now you can use the beautiful cut-out for any of your project!
And that’s it! With this Photoshop mask edge tool you can now chop, crop, and slice any monster hairdo that gets in your way.
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