Retouching Hair: Fixing Gaps

by Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby shows you how to add highlights, remove strands, fix gaps, change color, darken a part line, and hide roots when retouching hair in Photoshop. In this episode, Scott shows you how to fix fly-away hair, stray strands of hair, and the "frizzies".

Scott Kelby photo retouchingScott writes:

Retouching hair is one of the trickiest retouches
quoting Retouching hair is one of the trickiest retouches, because the Clone Stamp tool and the Healing Brush tool usually give you pretty lame results. So, you usually have to move hair from one place to another to cover the problem, and this is one of the situations where you need to do just that—covering a gap in the hair caused by your subject’s position, or movement, or a fan, or one of the dozen things that cause a gap to appear temporarily and mess up your shot. Here’s the best way I found to fix it . . . end quote

Step One: Here’s the image we want to retouch, and you can see the gaps in her hair, just above her shoulders. Again, using the Clone Stamp tool or Healing Brush tool here would be a nightmare (and a dead giveaway), so instead, we’re going to pick up chunks of nearby hair and use them to cover the gaps.

feather your lasso selection

Step Two: Get the Lasso tool (L) and draw a selection over a chunk of hair that’s near the gap you need to remove (as shown here, where I’ve selected an area just to the right of the gap on the left). You’re going to need to soften the edge of this selection, so it blends in when we move it over the gap. So, go under the Select menu, under Modify, and choose Feather. When the Feather Selection dialog appears, enter 4 pixels and click OK. By the way, 4 pixels isn’t a magical number—it’s just my starting place. The higher the number, the softer (and more transparent) the edges will be, so if they seem too soft, try 3, or even 2.

Command J copies to a new layer

Step Three: Now, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to place that chunk up on its own separate layer. Switch to the Move tool (V) and move that chunk layer over to the left until it covers the gap. Now, although it does sometimes happen, more often than not, it’s not going to cover the gap perfectly and just blend right in with the hair around it. So, in the next step, you’re going to have to tweak it, but don’t feel like you made a bad selection—you nearly always have to transform the copied hair chunk a bit to make it work.

NEXT: Let's manipulate these selections to fit the hair perfectly

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