Whether you’re an ecommerce retailer, a photographer shooting product photos for an online store, or a person just learning graphic design and image-editing software, knowing how to remove the background from your photos is a skill you’ll use countless times.
When it comes to the image of a person, the hair can cause frustration and added time when done incorrectly. So that’s what we’re here for!
In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn the image masking technique and how to use the eraser tool, making your life a whole lot easier. Once you master one of the more difficult background removal processes, you’ll be able to tackle any photo or image.
Start by removing some of the background by opening the layer palette (Windows>Layers).
If it is locked, double click to unlock it. When the pop up window appear, hit OK.
Next, choose the Eraser tool from Photoshop’s Tool Panel and begin removing the background.
Be careful to go around the woman’s head as close to her hair as possible but without touching her hair with the Eraser Tool. See the image as an example.
Next, add a new layer by clicking the upper right corner of the Layer window, name the new layer, and click OK.
At the bottom of the Layers window, click the Adjustments icon, and choose Solid Color.
We suggest choosing a dark color so it’s easier to see if any white bits remain in background.
Next, we’ll remove all the white around the hair.
Return to the Tools window and choose the Background Eraser tool.
For the brush Size, we recommend 100 but you can choose a smaller size. Then click Sample 1, the right eyedropper.
Set the Limits to Discontinuous.
And then set Tolerance to 50% and confirm that the Protect Foreground Color box is checked.
Holding down the mouse button you can begin to replace the white background with the dark color you chose.
Continue this process all the way around the hair.
Once you’re done all that should remain of the white background is a tiny white outline around the edge of the hair.
You now have the option to change the background color to anything you like by double clicking on the background color thumbnail so the color window appears.
By choosing a lighter color, the white edging around the hair will be less obvious.
The opposite goes when choosing darker colors.
Okay, you’re almost done. Go back to the Tool panel and select the Burn tool.
Double click the background Layer and for the Range, choose Midtones and for Exposure choose 100%.
Use the tool to go over all the edges of the hair, darkening them up to remove any remaining white.
You’re done! From here, you’re free to change the background to any color you choose.
While we’ve presented this using Photoshop CS5, the process remains the same for other versions. Feel free to check out our other tutorial, showing you how to remove the background from product image in Photoshop.
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