Photoshop Tutorial: How to Select Hair in Photoshop
Discover how to use Photoshop selection tools to properly separate a figure from the background
It is one of the most dreaded tasks for those taking their first steps in Adobe Photoshop: how can your subject be perfectly separated from its background, in order to manipulate both separately?
Fortunately, the photo editing software has some smart selection tools that make this task easier—if you know how to use them. Photographer and post-producer Oriol Segon (@oriolsegontorra) explains an efficient technique to select your subject in Adobe Photoshop[/b], even when we face lots of hair or other complex edges that need to be separated from the background.
Watch the video tutorial below:
The first thing we have to do is go to the Selection tools and choose "Select subject". Photoshop will try to automatically detect the figure we want to separate from the background.
Select and Apply Mask
Once our subject is selected, we can use "Select and Apply Mask" to confirm that we like the selection and we want the program to apply a mask to separate the figure from the background.
Now that we have the figure separated, we need a darker background to refine the edge more precisely. Go to "View mode" and select "Black".
Refine the edges
The time has come to refine the edges. We just have to choose the "Refine Edge" brush and start working on the contour of our figure.
Apply a fade
To further soften the edges of our figure, we should apply a "Fade". We find this option in the "Global Improvements" tab.
Working on the background
Now, if we want to work on the background separately, we can duplicate the layer to start.
...and if the background is too heavy due to filters or improvements, we can rasterize it to make it more manageable.
Figure and background are separated.
Got it! All that's left now, to make things easier, is to rename the background layer as "Background", and you're all done.
If you liked these tips, remember that you can learn how to edit and retouch photos in Photoshop from scratch with Oriol Segon. Discover his five online courses, Domestika Basics: Adobe Photoshop for Photographers.
You might also like:
- Domestika Basics: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, 5 courses by Carles Marsal
- Domestika Basics: Adobe Photoshop for Web Design, a course by Arturo Servín
- Photograph Retouching for Fashion and Beauty with Photoshop, a course by Alain Perdomo
- Photograph Retouching and Visual Effects with Photoshop, a course by Mario Olvera
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