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LinkedIn Learning

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Hair

via LinkedIn Learning


Shows how to select hair—down to the individual strands—and composite portraits against new backgrounds.

In this installment of his popular Masking & Compositing series, Photoshop guru Deke McClelland shows how to select hair—down to the individual strands—and composite portraits against new backgrounds. The course covers how to mask out hair, paint in detail, blend hair, merge channels, and match light sources. Deke also explores special techniques for working with both dark and light hair, as well as extracting hair from complex backgrounds.


  • Welcome
1. Calculating a Hair Mask
  • Introducing the hair masking options
  • Calculating with the Add mode
  • Using the Scale and Offset values
  • Calculating with the Subtract mode
  • Enhancing a mask with Apply Image
  • Traditional blue screen masking
  • Painting in the missing details
  • Compositing dark hair
  • Creating an in-text reflection effect
2. Masking Dark Hair
  • Creating a contrast mask
  • Cleaning up a base mask
  • Reinstating missing details
  • Building a second-pass mask
  • Bringing back the most fragile hairs
  • Smudging bad transitions
  • Painting in missing hairs
  • Matching the light source
3. Masking Light Hair
  • Calculating blonde hair
  • Creating two contrasting iterations
  • Merging two iterations inside a mask
  • Performing selective edits with Dodge and Burn
  • Painting in Airbrush mode
  • Repairing details with a warped ellipse
  • Pulling a background with Apply Image
  • Blending clipped layers independently
  • Building a flame mask
  • Compositing and coloring the flame
4. Masking the Tough Stuff
  • Making a first-pass calculation
  • Making a second-pass calculation
  • Refining and combining the two passes
  • Painting and editing the third-pass mask
  • Merging channels inside a mask
  • Cleaning up with Dodge and Brush
  • Adding the earring to the mask
  • Tweaking and integrating the hair
  • Restoring the mask's focus with History
  • Next steps

Taught by

Deke McClelland

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