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Tutorial - How to crop pesky background color from hair (photoshop)

Lord Derryth

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"OMG, those amazing looking hairs drive me crazy when trying to crop a green screen."


No problem, here's a small tutorial that will show you how to crop your avatar and not mess up that beautiful hair.  I will demenstrate by using a model from Studio 40.  I will make this as easy as possible for you so there's no confusion.

Let's start by using this beautiful looking model.



Open your model picture in photoshop.  Double click the layer and name your layer.  I chose model.

Choose the "Select" tab and use color range.  Put the same settings as you see in the picture.  Before you hit "OK", click on the pictures background.  For example, mine is blue.  This will remove all the blue from the background.


When you hit "OK", go to the layers where your image is and click the masking button.  POOF!!! Background is gone but with a few minor problems.  Your avatar still has that blue or green background around the edges and hair.  No problem.  Let's refine it.

Hold control and click on the layer mask to select it.

Go to "select" and choose "refine edge".

Make sure contract and expand is set to -100.  Move the bar all the way to the left.  The rest is up to your eye.  Adjust occordingly.  

Once you're done, inverse your selection by using the short cut ctrl+shift+i.  Or choose "select" and inverse from there.

Now use a black soft brush, hold ctrl and press H to hide your selection.  "DO NOT DE-SELECT IT".  Start painting around the edges to remove that pesky background color of green or blue.  When you're done, deselect by clicking anywhere on the screen using your electical tool. 

Your image should look something like this.


I used a blackground so I can notice the blue around her hair.  There's a bit left but we're going to color that.

Create a new layer above your image layer.  Create  clipping mask.  Hold alt and click between your image and the new layer.  Use the eye dropper tool to choose the color of the hair you want to replace.  Now with your brush, set flow to 60 and start panting the blue or green off the hair.  Be creatieve and use different colors if you want like high lights.

This is what you get now.


After using my tricks and a keen eye for art, the end result is......






The eyes are not as dark as this picture shows.  Depending on resolution you use, you would light them up.  WOW, she's stunning. :)


Look at the difference.


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Thank you for your excellent original post.

/me nods, but, he does cover some other things in it like how to view layer pallets and stuff. And, he is dealing with a picture already on a transparent background which complicates matters a little.

The part I particularly like is the way that he takes the background colour out of the picture altogether then adds it back in. The method does not leave that pesky halo around the hair because it eliminates the background. There are a couple of similar methods out there where the photoshopper (giggles, is that a word?) inverts the colour then increases the contrast to make the background white, then does a layer mask and omg...I'm sure you get the idea.

Afterall, this is just another method...I thought I would offer it 

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