I wont go into the crazy details about why, but recently I had to do a composite photo. If you've ever done one with anybody with plenty of hair, you may have struggled with the edges looking a little funky. Like I did.
So today I whipped up this tutorial as I was fixing this image of my lovely niece.
I've already finished compositing the image and um... didn't know what made it seem so off. Thankfully, someone was kind enough to point it out to me so here we are.
See the back sections of her hair? They don't exactly look like they were really in front of the background.
We'll work on a transparent layer above the actual image.
First, I select a color from her actual hair so it matches.
You can also alt click while hovering over the area of color you'd like to set in your palette.
Then I choose a 1px solid edged brush and start painting streaks like mad (works better if you've got a tablet... Mine's still packed from our move so I did it with my laptop thingy. Because... Felix dunked my mouse in the toilet. Don't ask. :P)
Choose another color.
And keep going until I have several colors there.
When I have plenty there to work with, I stop painting. I click on this little doohickey in my layers palette to lock the transparent pixels of that layer.
Then I use a large soft brush with a low flow and I paint a few of those softly so they'll blend with her hair just a bit better.
Getting better, right?
Now I'll add a layer mask to that transparent layer.
Change the flow of my brush again.
And paint on the layer mask to slightly mask away the ends of the hairs to soften them and blend them into the existing hair.
Even better, huh?
Now I'll duplicate that layer and go to filter>guassian blur.
I used these settings, but you may feel better to adjust yours to your own taste. This way the hair isn't so sharp.
Then I adjust the opacity of both layers to taste.
And that's about all there is to it!
Subtle, but more believeable, yes?
So now you can start taking people out of boring places and putting them in strange ones. Show me your composites!