Photoshop CS5 Hair Masking Problems Clarified

Started Oct 18, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Dan Tong Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Photoshop CS5 Hair Masking Problems Clarified

I've had problems using Photoshop CS5 new Refine Edge features for getting good masking with fine wisps of hair. It would never work as well for me as in the product demo videos.

I've finally figured out why and I now understand how to work around it, but thought that other people who have not already figured this out may benefit from these observations.


1. Generally when I'm dealing with hair, I am also extracting neck and shoulders etc.

2. In order to get clean cutouts with parts of the figure other than hair, I increase the contrast slider -DOING this screws up the special hair extraction tools effectiveness (Refine Radius Brush Tool for Edge Expansion). In fact any change using the Refine Edge Tools (Smooth, Feather, Contrast, Shift Edge) will ruin the work of the Refine Radius brush tool. If I don't use the Refine Edge Tools, then non-hair edges will often be sub-optimal.

You can see for yourself that if you start working on the hair and leave the Edge Adjust controls untouched, hair extraction appears to work pretty well, but as soon as you adjust the Edge Adjust controls, you will immediately lose the fine hair detail.

3. Therefore it is most often the case that I need to do a separate extraction for A) hair and B) everything else and save as separate layers, which I then have to edit and then combine.

This is pretty much not how the new features of the Refine Edge are supposed to work, so it is more of a bug. The stated goal for the new tools is to allow different and independent edge extraction for hair and non hair (soft and hard) edges in one step.

Thanks for listening,


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