So the challenge that I faced with this project is that I had nearly 100 images of models that needed to be clipped out of their backgrounds so that they could later be put into a different colored background. Each of these images had models with slightly tousled wind blown hair, which is a nightmare to clip out well. We had a limited budget and limited time to get these images ready for placement within our look book. I had a wacky idea on how to do this with Photoshop and after a successful test we did all of our images this way. It allowed us to clip our images very quickly and cost effectively. Here are the steps we took.
We sent it out to another production artist to create a rough clipping mask. I assume this was created by using the pen tool over the harder edges and then using refine selection wand over the softer edges and hair (this is how I would have done it if I had the time to do so).
You can see how this does a decent job, but it’s still a bit sloppy on the hair when I put the image over a red background.
Next I made rough selection with the lasso tool around the hair and duplicated that to another layer.
I softened the area by creating a mask and then painting in the mask with a soft round brush. Feathering the selection could have also done this, but I personally like using a brush as it gives me much more control.
Next I applied a levels layer to this selection layer and pushed up the whites to be pure white.
At this point it was time to color this area to the exact same color as the background I would be placing the model in. This was done by applying a color overlay effect to the layer at the same exact color to the same exact tint by using a multiply effect to the same tint as the color being used as the background in InDesign.
I could have stopped here, but then I put the original clipped image into it’s own group and applied a mask to this group. I did this because I wanted to paint into this mask as well, but I wanted to preserve the original mask and everything already done with it.
I then painted into this mask to remove any excess white still showing through in the original clipping.
Lastly I wanted to repaint in a little hair for those areas where I felt the image lost it.
At this point the work was done, and in total it took about 2 to 10 minutes for each image to complete these steps and averaged around 4 minutes.
Here is an example of the final result. This ended up saving us thousands of dollars and hours and hours of time.