Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Using Photoshop Layers To Fill In What's Not There

I'm reasonably good at making Masks.  I use Adobe Photoshop's (PS) Quick Selection Tool (W) and Topaz Labs' Remask and PS's Calculations.  Whatever  is the best tool for the task at hand.  But, sometimes things slip through the cracks or are too much trouble to bother with.  Take a look at today's image. There's a lot of fringe down at the bottom of the dancer's regalia.  The background was a mess.  People standing around, other dancers, banners, tents, evergreen boughs, speakers, and all sorts of other "stuff".  The fringe wasn't a big problem to extract.  The big deal was tiny tips of the feathers and pom-pom in the headdress.  To find out what the solution was (at least the solution I used) to "getting" the detail, hit the "Read More".

Ever heard of a fellow by the name of Glyn Dewis?  If not, maybe you'd want to Google him (or hit him up on YouTube).  He's a good photographer and an excellent retoucher/crafter of images, from England.  (He's from England, not necessarily his images.)  He has a book out called "The Photoshop Workbook".  One of the things he discusses is exactly what's going on in today's image.  There'a a Brush (B) in PS that does magic to fixing fine details.  The image he shows is a mouse.  Rather than trying to get every hair on the mouse's back, he "builds" his own.  Rather than buying his book (er, I mean in addition to buying his book) you can find his YouTube video here showing how he uses a standard PS Brush (brush # 112) to create/replace missing mouse hair.

Well, if you can use it for a mouse, then you can use it for the tips of a feathered headdress.  Same principle.  Pick the foreground and background colors that match up fairly well with what you're trying to fill in and have at it.

Use the Brush Engine to spread out the Spacing and create some Jitter.  Vary the size and be sure to match the angle you need the whatever (hair, fur, feather tips, etc.) to appear as and, using a Layer under (and another over), blend in the faux hair. 

If you were to do a persons hair and the hair was close cropped (by the barber), keep the replacement hair short.  Using a large Brush would look unnatural.  The big thing if you're trying to do something like this is to be gentle.  If you go ape sh** it'll just look stupid.

Subtle, gentle, easy, delicate, whatever it takes to say treading lightly is the way to go using this sort of technique.