Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > need help with hair

Retoucher

Stephanie M Retoucher

Posts: 276

Portland, Maine, US

I really enjoy retouching... but hair is my nemesis. I've made some good progress after reading some threads here and especially watching Natalia's video on cloning in darken mode, but I need some guidance on what to do in situations like this:

http://i46.tinypic.com/4vfnms.jpg

where I've got a section of hair that is just extremely messy. Am I doomed to spend hours cloning each piece away? Is there a better way? I feel like painting in a new section of hair would be better than trying to fix a mess like that, but I'm not the best digital painter and would really appreciate any tips, tutorials, vids, links, anything at all to help me with this.

Nov 29 12 12:11 pm Link

Retoucher

Megan E Griscom

Posts: 453

Bordentown, New Jersey, US

Stephanie Mac wrote:
I really enjoy retouching... but hair is my nemesis. I've made some good progress after reading some threads here and especially watching Natalia's video on cloning in darken mode, but I need some guidance on what to do in situations like this:

http://i46.tinypic.com/4vfnms.jpg

where I've got a section of hair that is just extremely messy. Am I doomed to spend hours cloning each piece away? Is there a better way? I feel like painting in a new section of hair would be better than trying to fix a mess like that, but I'm not the best digital painter and would really appreciate any tips, tutorials, vids, links, anything at all to help me with this.

I will be trolling this thread for any answers. I'm with you. This braid almost killed me...! I've been doing same thing....clone in dark mode. Sometimes i switch to spot heal if hair is going in same direction. Some times I add a little softness to the hard brush.  I can't paint very well either and havent found any good tutorials. I would like to learn it for the very reason above....

Nov 29 12 12:36 pm Link

Photographer

Deirdre Holmes

Posts: 1264

San Pedro, California, US

Here's an old thread about retouching hair. lots of good info - http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=764322

Here's another one about getting hair out of the face with some good info too
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=641580

Hair is my nemesis too ;P
hth smile

Nov 29 12 12:55 pm Link

Retoucher

Stephanie M Retoucher

Posts: 276

Portland, Maine, US

Deirdre Holmes wrote:
Here's an old thread about retouching hair. lots of good info - http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=764322

Here's another one about getting hair out of the face with some good info too
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=641580

Hair is my nemesis too ;P
hth smile

Thanks Deirdre, I tried to download the video but it kept redirecting me to a random website.

Nov 29 12 01:21 pm Link

Retoucher

Mike Needham Retouching

Posts: 369

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

The truth is patience is the key. Darken and lighten blend modes and a bit of heal on the more obvious transitions (obviously not including the hair).

Nov 29 12 02:15 pm Link

Photographer

richy01

Posts: 153

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

Dec 01 12 05:42 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

One of the better tutorials on the subject: http://vimeo.com/25667413

Dec 01 12 07:09 am Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

Stephanie, you mentioned that you felt it would often be quicker to paint in a section of hair from scratch, and I agree with you. I think, in the long run, learning to paint hair is a great investment in time, and you shouldn't shy away from it because it's maybe intimidating at first. It's actually one of the easiest things to digitally paint convincingly. You can use the smudge tool or a brush on a separate layer which allows you to make flowing, gestural marks which can later be truncated with the eraser and adjusted in other ways. Using a jittery brush setting can also be useful. Natalia has demonstrated the smudge tool technique on video, and you might find viewing that useful. Here's an example of a problem section of hair, with the retouched area completely reconstructed (re-invented) using the techniques I've mentioned. It took about 3/4 hour.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/paintinhair.jpg

Dec 01 12 09:55 am Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

I forgot to say that blurring the extra strands is an important part of the technique, and adding noise may also be necessary to create a convincing look.

Dec 01 12 10:01 am Link

Retoucher

Stephanie M Retoucher

Posts: 276

Portland, Maine, US

Thanks Mac, do you happen to remember what video of Natalia's it was? Or is it in her retouching DVD?

Dec 01 12 01:16 pm Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

It's in her retouching video. She uses the smudge tool to pick up colour with a very small brush size. Then she (if I remember correctly) goes Filter>Blur>Blur, Add Noise at about 1.5, then another Blur or Blur More.

Dec 01 12 02:23 pm Link

Retoucher

Megan E Griscom

Posts: 453

Bordentown, New Jersey, US

AKMac wrote:
Stephanie, you mentioned that you felt it would often be quicker to paint in a section of hair from scratch, and I agree with you. I think, in the long run, learning to paint hair is a great investment in time, and you shouldn't shy away from it because it's maybe intimidating at first. It's actually one of the easiest things to digitally paint convincingly. You can use the smudge tool or a brush on a separate layer which allows you to make flowing, gestural marks which can later be truncated with the eraser and adjusted in other ways. Using a jittery brush setting can also be useful. Natalia has demonstrated the smudge tool technique on video, and you might find viewing that useful. Here's an example of a problem section of hair, with the retouched area completely reconstructed (re-invented) using the techniques I've mentioned. It took about 3/4 hour.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/paintinhair.jpg

So what are the steps to do this. Ive read things about clipped layers and such but havent been able to follow it. The tutorials I saw wasnt the look i was going for...it wasnt natural.  But this is exactly what i'm looking to learn. I think it will save a lot of time for problems areas.

Dec 01 12 03:21 pm Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

You can use the smudge tool and or a standard brush. You need to set it very small and hard, because you will blur it later. The smudge tool will pick up colour from adjacent areas, but that's not always what you want. So using the brush tool and Alt clicking to select colour can be more useful in certain circumstances. The basic technique is to draw the hair strands and then add a minimal blur, add noise and then blur again. I tend to fine tune the colour and tone later using the Hue Saturation Command from the main menu, rather than an adjustment layers, because it's more direct. Also using D&B to adjust local tone areas for shine etc is good. Work with fast sweeping strokes of the pen, from the elbow, starting and ending the strokes well beyond the target area. Then use a fairly hard eraser to cut off the excess if the newly painted strands need to emerge from under an existing edge, and a big soft eraser to blend out the painted strands into the existing hair. Using separate layers for underlying darker strands, a layer of strands on top of that, and the final, fully visible surface strands allows for later fine tuning of the tonal/colour relationships. I've recently been using a brush with some jitter which I like. It's still just a small, hard round brush. You can also work with pressure sensitivity.
It's really all about trial and error, but once you start to get the hang of it, it's surprisingly easy. 
That's all.

Dec 01 12 03:52 pm Link

Retoucher

Megan E Griscom

Posts: 453

Bordentown, New Jersey, US

AKMac wrote:
You can use the smudge tool and or a standard brush. You need to set it very small and hard, because you will blur it later. The smudge tool will pick up colour from adjacent areas, but that's not always what you want. So using the brush tool and Alt clicking to select colour can be more useful in certain circumstances. The basic technique is to draw the hair strands and then add a minimal blur, add noise and then blur again. I tend to fine tune the colour and tone later using the Hue Saturation Command from the main menu, rather than an adjustment layers, because it's more direct. Also using D&B to adjust local tone areas for shine etc is good. Work with fast sweeping strokes of the pen, from the elbow, starting and ending the strokes well beyond the target area. Then use a fairly hard eraser to cut off the excess if the newly painted strands need to emerge from under an existing edge, and a big soft eraser to blend out the painted strands into the existing hair. Using separate layers for underlying darker strands, a layer of strands on top of that, and the final, fully visible surface strands allows for later fine tuning of the tonal/colour relationships. I've recently been using a brush with some jitter which I like. It's still just a small, hard round brush. You can also work with pressure sensitivity.
It's really all about trial and error, but once you start to get the hang of it, it's surprisingly easy. 
That's all.

I think its the layers part that always confuses me. THe tutorials...even the good ones...always skip over that part. What kind of layer? A copy of the background? A blank layer?

Dec 01 12 04:23 pm Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

Blank layers.

Dec 02 12 01:03 am Link

Retoucher

nebulaoperator

Posts: 340

London, England, United Kingdom

It is great help from fellow retouchers and AKMac gives you most of fundamental and used techniques. I used Natalias tips on hair painting too and from other retouchers. I found my self using smudge tool, brush painting with fading set and recently discovered simply using clone tool on normal mode to paint hair.I also use darken and lighter mode with clone tool too. I hated a lot doing hair at the start and the bigest hell for me was to start learning painting them but the only way to perfect your skills is practice, try and error like AKMac suggested. After a while you will get hold of things and hair retouching will start flowing. It is still one of the most chalanging and time consuming things for me.

Dec 02 12 01:45 am Link

Photographer

Kawika Photography

Posts: 110

San Diego, California, US

AKMac wrote:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/paintinhair.jpg

There's another skill I'm not good at nor have the patience for. smile Seriously though, that's a great result. I'll drink less coffee and give it a go. Cheers

Dec 02 12 12:09 pm Link

Retoucher

Han Sam

Posts: 149

Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

AKMac: thks for your tips, I wanna ask you remove hair before (with clone) or you just drew overwrite?

Dec 03 12 02:06 am Link

Photographer

Barely StL

Posts: 929

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Natalia Taffarel has several (at least four) tutorials on different techniques for retouching hair.

You might be able to use one of these techniques to save some time:

http://vimeo.com/25667413

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP2EbW8OtUU

Dec 03 12 02:31 am Link

Photographer

Sentimental-SINtimental

Posts: 1314

Castle Rock, Washington, US

Strangely... after learning Nat's technique on hair I find looking at that braid as an edit fairly easy.

I would like to play with the whole image if possible... contact me

Dec 03 12 11:29 am Link

Photographer

SKITA Studios

Posts: 1566

Boston, Massachusetts, US

AKMac wrote:
I tend to fine tune the colour and tone later using the Hue Saturation Command from the main menu, rather than an adjustment layers, because it's more direct.

How do you get the colors to change realistically?  Just dodge/burn various parts of it to match the lighting?
Redrawing it does sound a lot faster than fiddling w/ hiding all the little hairs...

Dec 05 12 07:13 am Link

Retoucher

AKMac

Posts: 330

London, England, United Kingdom

SKITA Studios wrote:

How do you get the colors to change realistically?  Just dodge/burn various parts of it to match the lighting?
Redrawing it does sound a lot faster than fiddling w/ hiding all the little hairs...

That's something you need to do by eye. Every situation is unique.

Dec 05 12 11:22 am Link

Photographer

Dannielle Levan

Posts: 12857

New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada

AKMac wrote:
Stephanie, you mentioned that you felt it would often be quicker to paint in a section of hair from scratch, and I agree with you. I think, in the long run, learning to paint hair is a great investment in time, and you shouldn't shy away from it because it's maybe intimidating at first. It's actually one of the easiest things to digitally paint convincingly. You can use the smudge tool or a brush on a separate layer which allows you to make flowing, gestural marks which can later be truncated with the eraser and adjusted in other ways. Using a jittery brush setting can also be useful. Natalia has demonstrated the smudge tool technique on video, and you might find viewing that useful. Here's an example of a problem section of hair, with the retouched area completely reconstructed (re-invented) using the techniques I've mentioned. It took about 3/4 hour.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/paintinhair.jpg

I agree with this, and i've done it before. Sometimes it's goot to 'fake' it, but only if you think you can pull it off!

Dec 05 12 11:38 am Link

Retoucher

Retouch007

Posts: 403

East Newark, New Jersey, US

Great thread and advice! : ) Down the road though you will definitely get several hair samples to comp in (so learn to do that also) but nevertheless it's very important to know just in case. Particularly with the flyaways.

Dec 05 12 11:56 am Link

Retoucher

Zoltan Retoucher

Posts: 130

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

http://i.imgur.com/IJl8S.jpg

Check out my partner zarihs retoucher work love the way he did this . You can see more samples like this one http://www.zarihsretouching.com/

Dec 05 12 01:10 pm Link

Retoucher

Agnese Lupike

Posts: 138

Chesterfield, England, United Kingdom

well if u dont want to paint hair then just smudge the flying hair away smile, i do it sometimes, when i have really little material to work with when cloning in darken and lighten mode.

Dec 05 12 01:12 pm Link

Retoucher

OTTO poste1

Posts: 191

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I worked on this photo and yes, the hair took me hours but I have to admit that I am not really efficient yet. 

that's what I got :
https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/74275_10151324727286648_1333404200_n.jpg

I created a split frequency separation, so the color information and texture information would be separated. If you don't how to do this, here is how to :

- create two duplicates of your image.
One will be named LOW layer (the bottom copy) and the other HIGH layer (the top copy).

- blur the "low" layer with gaussian blur until all the flying hair are so blurred they are be visible anymore (this way, you know they will be on the "high"layer when you create it). (For this photo, it was quite a high radius, around 30 if I remember well. It really depends on the resolution of your photo).

Then, to create the "high" frequency layer.
- select the other layer that you named "high", use the Apply Image (Image>Apply Image on mac, dont know if it's the same for PC).

- In the "layer box", select the layer that is called "low",
- click the "Invert" box if your image is in 16bits, (leave it unchecked if your image is in 8bits).
- in the "blending" box choose "Add" for an image in 16bits (for an 8bits image, choose "substract")
- in the "Scale" box, choose a value of 2 for an image in 16 or 8 bits.
- in the "Offset" box, leave the value at 0 for a 16bits image (or 128 for an 8 bits image)
- Click OK

now your high layer is gray with only the texture information remaining.
- in your layers palette choose the "linear light" blending mode.

Your image should look exactly like your original, only the color information ("low" layer) and the texture information ("high"layer) are separated onto two different layers.

You can then start cloning the hair on the "high layer" with the Clone tool, set on "Current Layer" in "normal mode"in the tool's options.
This helps quite a bit to clone out not only the flying hair, but zits on skin etc.. only cloning the texture and not the color information.

Sounds like a handful, but it's quite fast to do once you get the hang of it.

Once I cloned out all the flying hair (yes.. it took quiiiite a while), I had to redraw some parts of the braid that had lost too much texture information. There wasn't too much to draw, which is good if you are not too used to draw hair, and the hair strands are quite short so it's good for training.

For this, I created an empty layer and drew with a brush I created, picking different colors of the original hair. (because I always forget about the Smudge tool technic tongue)
Hair strands are never totally smooth, so I added a jitter with a dual brush in the brush options panel.
Once you have drawn the strands, as the others say, blur so it looks natural and add some noise to match the noise of the rest of the hair/photo so it blends in perfectly, dodge and burn and there you go.

Dec 05 12 01:12 pm Link

Retoucher

Zoltan Retoucher

Posts: 130

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Agnese Lupike wrote:
well if u dont want to paint hair then just smudge the flying hair away smile, i do it sometimes, when i have really little material to work with when cloning in darken and lighten mode.

Cloning is good option too !!!!

Dec 05 12 01:13 pm Link

Photographer

A Gordon

Posts: 62

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi,

Sorry, I'm a bit late to the conversation.

This is the method I use.
Quick and easy... pain relief!

Hair Fix! Stray Hairs and Flyaway Hairs Tutorial

Dec 05 12 02:22 pm Link

Retoucher

Stephanie M Retoucher

Posts: 276

Portland, Maine, US

Thanks so much everyone! I need to practice more, but the painting is going well so far.

Dec 06 12 06:31 pm Link